My Israel Family Tree

Franklin-Israel-and-son-Robert-EFranklin R. Israel (my great grandmother’s father, on my paternal side) with son Robert E. Israel


Here is an updated Israel family “tree” done in a simple list format. This one begins with the modern relatives and ends with those in the 1600s.

I continue to research and refine this tree, but it is becoming more and more “confirmed” by the day. Locating old census records, death certificates, and other documents online–plus, the daily growing wealth of information on Ancestry.com and many other websites (all of which MUST be verified before using!) has brought me to the point of defying anyone to find a major error in this listing as it is shown here.

It looks like our Israel family had a heck of a time getting to America over the past 4 or 5 centuries!

They probably originated in Pisa, Italy further back than I’ve been able to find records for (the “de Pisa” in name). From there, they most likely emigrated to the Iberian Peninsula before it was the Spain we know today. They and other Sephardic Jews did well in “Iberia”. But the Catholic church began to persecute them as “non-Christians” and forced them to convert on pain of death (burning at the stake) or simply killed them outright.

Naturally, this forced them out of Iberia/Spain and into Portugal—the closest country that was still friendly to Jews. As you might guess though, the papacy soon controlled Portugal too, and forced all Jews out of there, too.

That left no place to go on the continent. Which meant there was no choice but to sail westward. That stage of the flight eventually put the Israels in Barbados and Jamaica definitely, and possibly other Caribbean islands too. Many Sephardim also went to the South American coast to places like present-day Brazil to ply their trades, create commerce, and build back some of the personal wealth the church had seen fit to steal from them.

Our part of the Israel family eventually wound up in Queens and Long Island City in New York in the early 1700’s (although there was some moving back and forth between America and Barbados).

From NYC, our line moved to the Virginia/North Carolina area of the country when the two states were still being formed and counties were in flux. From NC, they moved to Knox County, Kentucky and settled in the Barbourville/Gray area. You can cross-reference that with the same area in the Baker family tree. Which is, of course, how my great grandmother Malissa and my great grandfather John Harvey Baker wound up together.

If you want to read how some of my distant relatives changed the course of history during their centuries long escape from the Spanish Inquisition, read the book entitled “Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean“, a fascinating, highly researched and detailed account of principally the Sephardic Jews’ flight from Spain to Portugal to Barbados and Jamaica to South America and finally to North America as they are continually hunted down by the papacy when it was a powerful force of pure evil! You will run across the Israels in the book, especially when the narrative is in and near the Americas. “Official” school text books reveal little or none of this fascinating Jewish history of flight, war, piracy, espionage, intrigue, and the shifting dynamics of a world commerce that shaped the New World as well as the Old.

By the way, my Great Grandmother Malissa was certainly Christian as were her husband and children. And that tradition of faith has continued down through the family to my own children. So, as I’ve stated elsewhere, I don’t know where in this lineage the Israels converted from Judaism to Protestantism. I’ve tried to guess by looking at the names of spouses, but that can be misleading. I do suspect that the conversion came gradually (most likely skipping generations), beginning with the initial flight from Portugal and Spain. But with the “Conversos” and “Crypto Jews” of the Inquisition, it gets tricky to find such information buried in history. So, I’ve concluded that there is really no way of ever knowing. Still, having discovered such a lineage in my own family has been enough to cause me to read much and talk with many people I wouldn’t otherwise have done. I’m glad that I now know far more about The Bible, The Old Testament, The Torah (The Five Books of Moses), and the oldest monotheistic faith in the world.

So here is my Israel family tree:


William Albert Baker (1947 – living)
Parents, Oddis Jackson Baker (1926 – 2002) and Vivian Vernice Stanifer (1926 – 2013)
Married Virginia Elizabeth Sanders (1948 – living), Deborah Ann Keene (1953 – living), Gail Burch Amato (1948 – living)

  • Stephanie Anne Baker Rolen (1968 – living) married William Albert Rolen
  • William Clinton Baker (1970 – living) married Andrea Baker
  • Stuart Graham Baker (1981 – living)
  • Cooper Harrison Baker (1983 – living)

Oddis Jackson Baker (1926 – 2002)
Parents, Willie Josiah Baker (1907 – 1970) and Bessie Edith Sasser (1907 – 1994)
Married Vivian Vernice Stanifer (1926 – 2013)

  • William Albert Baker (1947 – living)
  • Allen Wayne Baker (1951 – living)
  • Phillip Lee Baker (1953 – living)

Willie Josiah Baker (1907 – 1970)
Parents, John Harvey Baker (1871 – 1951) and Ellen Malissa Israel (1876 – 1962)
Married Bessie Edith Sasser (1907 – 1994)

  • Oddis Jackson Baker (1926 – 2002)
  • Charles A. Baker (1928 – 1992)
  • Lois Darleen Baker (1945 – living)
  • James Michael Baker (1949 – living)

Ellen Malissa Israel (1876 – 1962)
Parents, Franklin R. Israel (1843 – 1921) and Rebecca Campbell (1843 – 1891)
Married John Harvey Baker (1871 – 1951)

  • Rhoda Idella Baker (1895 – 1957)
  • Green Edward Baker (1896 – 1975)
  • Chester Baker (1898 – 1970)
  • Walter Sherman Baker (1903 – 1969)
  • Iva Jane Baker (1905 – 1956)
  • Willie Josiah Baker (1907 – 1970)
  • Johnnie Benjamin Baker (1910 – 1965)
  • Roscoe Daniel Baker (1912 – 1975)

Franklin R. Israel (1843 – 1921) occupation: farmer (I assume the “R” stands for Robert.)
Parents, Isom Israel (1812 Buncombe Co, NC – ? died in Knox Co, KY) and Elizabeth Higgins (1810 – 1880)
Married Laura Ellen Trosper (1864 – 1958), Amanda Simpson (1875 – 1902), Rebecca Campbell (1843 – 1891)
I have a copy of the death certificate for Franklin. It shows him to have been 78 years old and widowed at the time of his death. Occupation: farmer. It shows his father was Isom Israel and his mother Bettie Higgins. Place of burial was Farris, KY in Campbell County.

Eliza-Catherine-Israel-800x976Eliza Catherine Israel, sister of Ellen Malissa Israel
  • Robert E. (1906 – ?)
  • Fannie Mae (? – ?)
  • Nannie E (1893 – 1967)
  • Sarah (1895 – 1971)
  • Bradley (1898 – 1955)
  • Lucy (1901 – 1978)
  • Mary Jane (1864 – 1958)
  • James Isom (1866 – 1896)
  • Rebecca F. (1869 – ?)
  • Eliza Catherine (1871 – 1962)
  • William J. (1873 – 1913)
  • Ellen Malissa (1876 – 1962)
  • George W. (1879 – 1953) and Laura Jones (1883 – ?)
  • Richard (1911 – ?)
  • Oscar (1913 – ?)
  • David A. (1884 – ?)
  • John D. (1887 – 1918)

Malissa-portrait-BB2

My Great Grandmother Ellen Malissa Israel (1876-1962)


Isom Israel (1812 Buncombe Co, NC – ? died in Knox Co, KY) occupation: farmer or blacksmith?
Parents, Solomon Wood Israel (1774 Albemarle Co, VA – died in Cherokee, NC) and Nancy Alloway Strange (1779-1843)
Married Elizabeth “Bettie” Higgins (1810 – 1880)
I have a copy of the 1850 US Census for Knox County, Kentucky showing Isom (from NC) as a 38 year old blacksmith, and Elizabeth (from NC?) as 40 years old. It shows 6 children living with them at that time—all of the below, except Robert M.
I have another, earlier US Census (unknown year and location) showing Isom (from NC) and Elizabeth Israel (from KY) as married, with no children (at that time).

  • Rachel A. (1838 – 1880)
  • Nancy A. (1841 – ?)
  • Franklin R. (Robert?) (1843 – 1921)
  • Sarah C. or H.? (1845 – 1880)
  • John H. (1847 – ?)
  • Elisa C. (1849 – ?)
  • Robert M. (probably Robert Michael Israel) (1852 – 1854)

Solomon Wood Israel (1774 Albemarle Co, VA – died in Cherokee, NC)
Parents, Michael Israel (1736 – 1819 NC, age 83) and Sarah Graves (1738 Albemarle Co, VA – 1824 Sept 11, Buncombe Co, NC, age 86)
Married Nancy Alloway Strange (1779-1843) in 1797 in Wilkes Co, NC.
They had 10? children before he died at age 76.

  • Twin Israel (*1800 – ?; Is this a person’s name or does it indicate that twins were born?)
  • Rebecca (*1800 – 1800; She died either at birth or within her first year; one of the twins? Who is the other?)
  • Abraham (1803 – ?) born in Wilkes Co, NC?
  • Michael (*1811-1875) born in Cherokee Co, NC, died in Lawrence, Arkansas (right one?)
  • Eleanor (1809 – ?)
  • Felix Walker (*1811 – ?) born in NC
  • Michael (*1811 – ?) born in Wilkes Co, NC (doubt there were two Michaels this close together)
  • Isom (1812 – ?) born in Buncombe Co, NC, died in Knox Co, KY
    Franklin’s father and nephew of the older Isom (1780 – 1850)
    Married Elizabeth Higgins (1810 – 1880) younger sister of Nancy Alloway Strange.
  • Pleasant Daniel (1816 – 1901) born in Buncombe Co, NC
    Pleasant-Daniel-Israel
    Married Sarah E. Wolfe (1819 – 1884) I suspect this was the last Jewish marriage in the line; suggesting that they might have been the last to hold to the family’s traditional faith. My belief is that the prolonged Inquisition and flight from relentless persecution from the pope and the Spanish Catholic church, along with the anti-Semitism caused by the provincialism and the lack of education that was common in the remote, isolated Appalachian mountain culture (and regrettably, still is today, to some extent), in addition to the natural desire to “blend in” with one’s neighbors and avoid strife—all eventually turned the Israels away from Judaism to Protestantism. While this kind of family change is understandable, I feel a sadness about it.
  • George Nelson (1819 – 1890) born in Buncombe Co, NC, died in Pecos, Reeves, TX at age 71

(Obviously, three sons born in 1811 and 2 kids in 1800 is not possible! Untangling these birth dates in this generation is one big task left to do. I suspect that there were twins born in 1800, and one died at birth, but if so, who is who?)


michael-israel-headstoneMichael Israel (1736 – 1819 NC, age 83)
Parents, Solomon Israel (1717 Queens, NY – 1795 Cherokee, NC) and Mary Johnston (1720 Long Island City, NY – 1792 Wilkes Co, NC)
Married Sarah Graves (1738 Albemarle Co, VA – Sept 11 1824, Buncombe Co, NC)

  • Michael (1778 – 1866) born in Albemarle Co, VA
  • Isom (1780 – 1850) born in Albemarle Co, VA. died Johnson Co, Indiana
    Married Judy Alloway Strange; younger sister of Nancy Alloway Strange (1779 – ? Cherokee, NC).
    This and more from another Israel source on the web who wrote a “likely” narration by Sarah Graves—using information from Kenneth Israel’s book, “The Children of Israel”. Obviously, there were two Isom Israels in the family, one generation apart.
    “Isom Israel, the youngest of our children, was born just after we reached North Carolina in 1780.  I did not want to move at that time for Michael Jr. was only two, but Michael wanted to get away from the war and to take advantage of cheaper and better land, so I agreed with him.  It is always hard for a woman to move. I always had to leave people and things behind.  I always felt like I was leaving part of myself behind. Isom married Judy Alloway Strange. She was a neighbor and a sister to Nancy who married our son Solomon. They came to Buncombe County some time after they married and lived near us. In 1815 they moved to Kentucky. Judy died about 1815 and Isom came back to Buncombe County. Right now, he is thinking about marrying again and moving to Indiana near his brother John.” Read the entire narrative here. It is well worth your time. It also neatly ties our Israel line into the well-known “Solomon Israel” family line.
  • Jesse (1769 – 1806) died in Buncombe Co, NC
  • John (1765 – 1837) died in Buncombe Co, NC
  • Sarah Ann (1763 – 1840) died in Clay Co, Missouri
  • Solomon Wood (1774 – ?) born Albemarle Co, VA

Solomon Israel (1717 Queens, NY – 1795 Cherokee, NC)
Parents, Solomon Israel Sr (1660 – 1734 NY) and Catherine Shakerley (1670 Nevis Barbados – 1725 NY)
Married Mary Johnston (1720 Long Island City, NY – 1792 Wilkes Co, NC)

  • Michael (1736 Hempstead, NY – 1819)
  • Shakerley (? – ?)

Solomon Israel Sr (1660 Port Royal, Kingston, Jamaica – 1734 Queens, NY)
Parents, David Israel (1620 – 1689 St. Michael’s Parrish, Barbados) and Sarah (?-?)
Married Catherine Shakerley (1670 – 1725 NY)

  • Shakerley (1691 Barbados – 1770) or (1691 NYC, NY Colony – 1770 Colony, Kansas)
  • Solomon (1717 Queens, NY – 1795)

(This Solomon Israel is actually listed in the records as “Solomon Israel de Pisa”, indicating an Italian origin somewhere further back in history. As in this case, ‘place’ identifiers such as “de Pisa” were commonly dropped from names upon reaching America. It must be remembered that surnames were non-existent among Jews until some time around the 17th century.)


David Israel (1620 Farroeira, Santarem, Portugal – 1689 St. Michael’s Parrish, Barbados)
Parents, unknown
Married Sarah (?-?)

  • Solomon (1660 Port Royal, Kingston, Jamaica – 1734 Queens, NY)

(This David Israel is actually listed in the records as “David Israel de Pisa”, indicating an Italian origin somewhere further back in history. As in this case, ‘place’ identifiers such as “de Pisa” were commonly dropped from names upon reaching America. It must be remembered that surnames were non-existent among Jews until some time around the 17th century.)