Vanesa Kasif, a senior genealogist at Campus, specializes in genealogical research to discover family roots, including Spanish roots. Today, following the change in the Citizenship Law in Spain and Portugal, many Jews are trying to locate a connection and attachment to the Spanish exiles to obtain citizenship from one of the countries. Vanessa tells us stories from her challenging work, including moving stories.
It is worth knowing that Vanessa Kassif's vast experience in genealogical research enables many Israelis to realize their dream and receive the desired citizenship from Spain or Portugal. The genealogical research can also reveal relatives who do not know about their existence in Israel and around the world. The research is used for other unique needs. Vanessa shares some interesting stories.
Genealogical research to prove inheritance
One day, a new client who told me that she had received an inheritance came to me, but she had to prove her eligibility. She says that the family has Sephardic roots, but she did not have documents to prove it, and therefore she found it difficult to prove that the house she inherited was indeed intended for her because she has no blood ties with the deceased.
To help her, I arranged a meeting with her at the campus office and asked her to come with documents, pictures and anything else that might help me in the research, to prove a blood connection to the man. I want to mention that during my work I have established deep and personal ties with many organizations in Israel and around the world, including the Central Archives of the Jewish People, located at the Edmond Safra National Library in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.
The archive contains many collections of international organizations and Israeli organizations, as well as more than 300 private collections and documentary material on Jewish communities by country and date. With the help of the archive's skilled staff, I managed to locate the immigration file of the client's family from Jerusalem. I received a copy of the file several weeks later, and during a thorough examination of the many documents, I found detailed and interesting documentation about the family of the deceased, including various medical documents, transit documents during the Second World War, places where the deceased's family lived and documents proving the connection between the client and the deceased.
My genealogy research proved beyond any shadow of a doubt the blood ties between them and the right to inherit the prestigious property in Jerusalem. Thus the client also discovered Spanish roots and is now awaiting Spanish citizenship.
From Brazil to a Spanish passport
One day a customer from Brazil contacted me, we talked on Skype, and he asked me to check his roots. The client was born and lived in Brazil. He remembered that his mother had claimed that his grandmother was Jewish. According to her, the grandmother had emigrated from Turkey to Israel. After she married, she moved to Brazil, and after a few years returned to Israel.
To discover its roots, I went to the Ministry of Religious Affairs to locate the grandmother's Ketubah, and afterward, I went to the burial society to establish her burial place in Israel and restore her death certificate. I must note that there is a great deal of documentation in the offices of the burial society, which many are unaware of. For example, it is possible to check who was present on the day of burial, who conducted the ceremony and more. Through a short study, I managed to discover relatives of the client living in Israel. Of course, I updated the client from Brazil at all stages of my research.
Through genealogical research, the Brazilian client also discovered a family that did not know of its existence and completed a procedure for obtaining Portuguese citizenship. He has already received a new Portuguese passport, which is considered a European passport in every respect.
Blood connection between the Fredo family and the Alexandroni family
One of the most exciting stories I have experienced is the proof of a relationship between two families with Spanish roots. One day the Pedro family asked me to find out if one of their relatives had married a member of the Alexandroni family. Unfortunately, they did not have documents from previous generations, I tried to locate relevant documents in the various databases on the Internet and in other places, but I could not find a link between the families.
I almost gave up on the subject, but while I was taking genealogical research to discover Spanish roots for another client, I visited Yad Vashem. I decided to try my luck in the information archive instead. Much to my delight, I managed relatively quickly to locate a document attesting to a marriage between a member of the Pedro family and a woman from the Alexandroni family. The customers, of course, were happy to find the connection and today they are also waiting for passports and citizenship from Spain.
Challenging and exciting work
During my work, I meet with many people and help them locate relatives, essential documents, documentation of their families and of course discovering Spanish roots. Today, following the new Spanish Citizenship Act of 2015, which seeks to redress the injustice caused to Jews expelled from the country in 1492, more people turn to me to find out whether they can issue a Spanish or Portuguese passport.
I am happy to help everyone. During the genealogical research, many customers discover a rich and fascinating history of their family throughout the generations. Most of them also achieve a dream and receive a European passport that gives them many advantages.