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I recently found a branch in my family tree that appears to be Jewish. I do not know much about Jewish beliefs or customs. I have a couple of questions concerning this branch of my tree. There are about ten generations that were all born in Babylon, starting in the year 590 AD. The first generation found had the name of "Hanini David" and had the title of "Exilarch". All of the following nine generations carry the surname of "David". What is the significance of this and what is an "Exilarch"? Unfortunately I live in a small town in Wyoming, USA and there is not a Jewish Temple close, or I would turn my questions to the local Rabbi.

Thank you for your time.

Lander, WY, USA

Annessa Main


Scribe reply:

How are you personally connected to this branch of the family tree? "Exilarch" was the title of the head of the Jewish community in Babylon. It became extinct in the year 1270 and was revived by Mr Naim Dangoor 700 years later in the year 1970, and he is the present incumbent.


Annessa Main's reply:

First, thank you for your response. I will try to list all the generations that I have to lead to this family branch. It is quite extensive. The Jewish part of our history was lost a long time ago.

1. (Myself) Annessa Lynn Huff b. 28 Mar 1972 Scottsbluff, NE, USA
2. Julia Ann Belden b. 13 May 1950 Alliance, NE, USA
3. Vida Lee Hascall b. 20 Mar 1926 Gaston, OR, USA
4. Leslie Earl Hascall
5. Ray Smith Hascall
6. Sarah Caroline Whitman b. 9 Apr 1820 New York, NY, USA
7. Martha Patsey Lucas b. 14 Nov 1796 Harolin County, KY, USA
8. Sarah Phelps b. 1771 Buckingham County, VA, USA
9. Thomas Phelps b. 1725 Albermarle County, VA, USA
10. Thomas Phelps b. 1703 Albermarle, VA, USA
11. John I Phelps b. 1683 Goochland, VA, USA
12. William Phelps b. 1656 England
13. Elinor Howard b. 1626 England
14. Matthew Howard b. 1609 Wardour, Whitshire, England
15. John Howard b. 1 Dec 1578 Brockdish Hall, Norfolk, England
16. Robert Howard b. Jan 1537, Syon House, London, England
17. Thomas Howard b. about 1512 Ashwell Thorpe, Norfolk, England
18. Thomas Howard b. 1443 Stoke Newland, Suffolk, England
19. John Howard b. 1420 Tending, Essex, England
20. Robert Howard b. 1385 Stoke Neyland, Suffolk, England
21. John Howard b.1365 Wiggenhall, Norfolk, England
22. Robert Howard b. about 1336 Wiggenhall, Norfolk, England
23. John Howard b. 1310 Wiggenhall, Norfolk, England
24. Joan De Cornwall b. about 1295 Thunnock, Lancashire, England
25. Richard De John Cornwall b. about 1275 Burford, Shropshire, England
26. Richard Plantagenet b. about 1252 Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, England
27. Sancha, Countess of Provence b. about 1225 Aix-en-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhone, France
28. Raymond Berenger V, Count of Provence and Forcalquier b. 1198 Aix-en-Provence, Bouche-du-Rhone, France
29. Alfonso II, Prince of Aragon b. about 1174 Aragon, Spain
30. Sancha, Queen of Aragon b. 21 Sep 1154 Castile, Spain
31. Alfonso VII, Pierre Raimund, King of Castile, Leon and Galcia b.1105 Castile, Spain
32. Urraca Alfonsez of Castile and Leon b. 1082 Castile, Spain
33. Alfonso VI "The Valiant" King of Castile and Leon b. 1039 Castile, Spain
34. Sancha, Princess of Leon b. about 1015
35. Alfonso V, King of Leon b. about 0989
36. Elivira Garcez of Castile b. about 0971 Castile, Spain
37. Count Garcia Fernandez of Castile b. about 0955 Castile, Spain
38. Urraca Garces of Pamplona b. about 0937 Pamplona, Spain
39. Garcia Sanchez I, King of Navarre b. about 0920, Navarre, Spain
40. Sancho Garces I, King of Navarre b. about 0890 Navarre, Spain
41. Dadilda De Pallars, b. about 0870 Pallars, Spain
42. Daughter of Raymond of Toulouse b. about 0800 Toulouse, France
43. Count Raymond I of Toulouse b. about 0822 Toulouse, France
44. Countess Senegonde of Toulouse b. about 0800 Toulouse, France
45. Bertha D'Aube David b. 0775 Autun, France
46. Theuderic Thierry Makir David b. about 0720, Babylon
47. Habibai Ben Natronai David b. about 0687 Babylon
48. Natronai Ben Nehemiah David b. about 0670 Pembeditha, Babylon
49. Nehemiah Ben Hanini David b. about 0650 Babylon
50. Hanini Bar ‘ Adoi David b. about 0627 Babylon
51. Bustani Ben Hanini David b. about 0590 Babylon
52. Exilarch Hanini David b. about 0590 Babylon

Does the “ David” at the end of these names mean they are descendants of David? Do you have any more of the family line? Is Exilarch a religious post or more of an appointed leader? If it is an appointed post, by who (i.e. G-d?)? Was (Is) it passed down in an “ eldest Son” manner? Why was the post eliminated?

Thank you for your time. This has been very helpful.


Scribe reply:

The reference to David in the name definitely means a direct descent from King David through King Yehoyachim and all the previous Kings of Judah. We are sending you by post a copy of the Babylonian Haggadah where you will find on page 91 the earlier generations of Exilarchs and on page 90 all the previous kings to King David.

The Exilarch is a political post of Royal descent, but many Exilarchs were eminent Rabbis in their own rights as was Rabbi Makir, mentioned in your ancestor No. 46, who was sent by Haroun Al-Rashid, Calif of Baghdad to Charlemagne, King of the West at his request, who wanted to establish in Europe a middle class based on a Jewish nucleus. Rabbi Makir was received by Charlemagne and was given the title "King of the Jews". The office and dignity of Exilarch was hereditary in the royal line, passed down not necessarily to eldest son, but more often to the most suitable candidate. The post came to an end in 1270 following the Mongol devastation of the Middle East.

We would be very interested in having copies of original documents to support your family tree.



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