Sephardic Genealogy Lecturer : Scott Alfassa Marks

  • Vice-president of the Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture (Founded 1968)
  • Former Director of Research and Development for Sephardic House, Institute for Researching and Promoting Sephardic History and Genealogy
  • Consultant to the American Sephardi Federation
  • Consultant to the Center for Jewish History, Genealogy Institute
  • Consultant to the Hispano-Crypto Jewish Resource Center at Denver University
  • Published in journals such as Los Muestros (Journal of the European Sephardic Institute), Casa Shalom Journal (Institute of Marrano-Anusim Studies), Lashon (in Los Angeles), Journal of the Orlando Jewish Genealogical Society, Turcoman International Magazine, Journal of the Turkish-American Business Forum, Kol haKEHILA (Newsletter of the Greek Jewish Monuments), and the Sephardi Image Magazine.
  • Moderator and editor of the largest world wide Internet Sephardic history and genealogy discussion group.
  • I have spoken previously on Sephardic topics in Orlando and Miami at the Jewish Genealogical Societies, as well as at private congregational functions.
  • Founder of the largest repository of educational Sephardica on the Internet

I am available for speaking engagements on Sephardic genealogical topics. I can speak about sources of archival records in the United States and in Israel, Turkey, and Greece. Cemeteries records, ketubbot (Jewish marriage contracts), and the availability of records in Turkey and the former Turkish territories.

The material of interest to a Sephardic genealogist is spread over a great variety of sources, much of which was originally published without intention of being used for genealogical research. Such material resides in the vast literature of (non-genealogical) Jewish studies, Ottoman economic history, and Ottoman philately (i.e., stamp collecting). For example, studies in Ottoman economic history often mention the interaction of Jewish merchants with European counterparts from the 17th through early 20th centuries. Ottoman philatelic studies provide important information on town names, their locations within the Ottoman Empire, alternative names, and most importantly, their spelling in the old Ottoman script.

How were the identities and numbers of the Jewish merchants in such studies established? The answer is in the archives of diplomatic and commercial correspondence, identifying these merchants by name, that were accessed by the original research. But in the subsequently published studies in academic journals specific names were not required for the purposes of the papers and were omitted. One task of a Sephardic genealogist is to revisit many of these studies to identify relevant archives.

As organizations such as ASF (American Sephardi Federation) and SH (Sephardic House) respond to the genealogical interests of the Sephardic Diaspora, more material from the wide variety of sources will be gleaned for their genealogical content. The identification of useful material for the Sephardic genealogist is a continuing and evolving process. Consequently this Introduction cannot claim to present all relevant tools, techniques, and resources of use to the Sephardic genealogist as the useful source list has not been finalized


I charge $350 for a one hour presentation. My presentation includes audio and video presentations. Overhead color transparencies, and a power point presentation is available. Airline and hotel arrangements would be set up and paid for by the host agency, and $50. per day for meals. Charges such as any transportation: taxi / rental car, and photocopies would also be covered by the host agency. Payment is due within 30 days or pay $750 in advance. I am available for world wide speaking engagements.