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29 September 2011

The Gomez Family, Sephardic influence from the Caribbean in New York

In 1792, under a buttonwood tree at 68 Wall Street, in New York City, 24 brokers gathered and signed the Buttonwood Agreement, that would eventually lead to the creation of the New York Stock Exchange. That event would have such an incredible impact on the world as the New York Stock Exchange is now the center of the financial world. It is one of those men whose own history is also a great example of the effect the Sephardic Jews of the Caribbean have had on early America. Those who study the history of the exchange will note that Isaac M. Gomez (1768-1831) was a broker who resided at 32 Maiden Lane in New York, but that is far from the whole story. Who was this man and where did he come from?
Isaac Moses Gomez was born on 28 July 1768 in New York City into a sephardic Jewish family. His father, Moses Gomez (1728-1789) lived his whole live in New York. His mother, Esther Gomez, daughter of Isaac and Deborah De Leon Gomez was born in Barbados in 1739. Isaac married into a Jewish family from Newport, Rhode Island, when on 26 May 1790 he married Abigail Lopez (1771-1851), daughter of Aaron and Sarah Rodriguez Riveira Lopez. He and Abigail became the parents of 10 children.
In looking into the family tree of Isaac, the influences from the Islands of the Caribbean become very apparent. In the family record that has been preserved in the papers of Malcolm Stern (FHL Film #1013428) Isaac gives details on some of his own ancestry. Included within those are;
  • Mordecai Gomez married a Miss Esther Compas of Jamaica by whom he had three sons, Moses, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses married in Jamaica, and Isaac married Esther Jesurum in Curacao.
  • Daniel Gomez (his grandfather) married Rebecca De Torres, daughter of Joseph and Simha De Torres, of Jamaica. They had 2 sons before she died. He then married Esther Levy of Curacao.
  • Isaac Gomez married Deborah De Leon of Barbados.
  • Benjamin Gomez married Esther Nunes of Barbados.
The influence of these Caribbean Jews, like so many other families was then taken to places such as New York, Philadelphia and Newport, all places the family settled in. The Gomez descendants then married into prominent families. These families had familiar surnames such as Seixas, Levy and Hendricks.
This proves once again how research into early United States families must begin with a search of the records of the Caribbean Islands.
The records of the Gomez family have been added to the Knowles Collection- Jews of South America and the Caribbean and will be available after the next update.

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