Elaine traces family to the Judean kings

A SCOTTISH woman believes she has traced her lineage to the kings of Judea.

Glaswegian Elaine Angell has also discovered that one of her maternal antecedents was the head of the Sanhedrin in Tiberias, while another was the editor of the final edition of the Babylonian Talmud.

It is quite a departure from the clinical psychologist's typical Ashkenazi childhood.

Elaine said: "The earliest people living in Babylon had come from Ancient Israel, including my relatives, so there are links with the kings of Judea. It is wonderfully exciting."

Using a specialist genealogy website, she found her family tree incorporated branches in Germany, Italy and Spain - and has links with Spanish royalty in Aragon, Castile and Girona, from where many Sephardim originated.

Elaine's maternal great-grandmother, Mabel Frances Speculand (nee Lion), was born in Glasgow and kept a notebook which contained family tree information.

"When I was young, I was aware that some of our family history had been recorded," Elaine recalled.

"Her daughter, Patricia, who was my grandmother, was one of eight children and carried on the tradition of recording our family history, which she then passed on to my mother Margery's sisters Irene, and Maxine Mendelson.

"Irene and Maxine never married and they became interested in extending the family tree.

"They did an awful lot of research in the days before the internet."

After the sisters died, Elaine's brother, Allen Sternstein, gave her a "big bundle of papers," which contained much family history.

Mother-of-three Elaine, who is married to Frank, was curious about whether to trace it back further - which she did.

"One of my cousins in Israel, Moshe Felber, was also working on the family tree and he had traced it back to the 17th century, in Metz, France," she explained.

"I heard as a child there was a link with a royal court, which was thought to have been Versailles, but I couldn't discover a link with the French kings."

Elaine knows of one other person who has traced their lineage so far back.

She also believes, thanks to her research, that she is a cousin of film critic Barry Norman and BBC arts correspondent Will Gompertz - as well as being related to the Goldsmith and Rothschild dynasties.

"I am planning on writing all of the information I have discovered on one document for future generations of the family," Elaine added.

"I would like it to stimulate their curiosity and feel a sense of pride in their Jewish heritage."

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