Author, genealogist and award-winning educator Genie Milgrom will help the St. Augustine Jewish Historical Society understand the possible Jewish roots of the founder of Palm Valley, Florida, Don Diego Espinosa during a Zoom gathering Wednesday, March 31st at 7 pm. This program, titled

“Crypto-Jewish Genealogy: An Overview”

will also help Society members grasp the intricacies of tracing the Jewish roots of residents of the Colonial St. Augustine area.

The zoom link is available upon request through the “Contact” tab at or through All are welcome, there is no charge. For further information contact SAJHS at 804-914-4460.

Genie Milgrom was born in Havana, Cuba into a Roman Catholic Family of Spanish Ancestry. She was able to fully document her unbroken maternal lineage 22 generations going back as far as 1405 to Pre-Inquisition Spain and Portugal. Milgrom has traveled extensively into Fermoselle, the village of her ancestors in the Zamora region of Spain, while doing field research on the Jews of Fermoselle and the surrounding area. She is currently the past President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Miami, President of Tarbut Sefarad-Fermoselle in Spain and a Past President of the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies.

Milgrom is the author of the books My 15 Grandmothers, How I found My 15 Grandmothers, A Step by Step Guide and her latest book, Pyre to Fire. Her books have won the 2015 and 2018 Latino Author Book Awards. Milgrom also writes for several on line sites including and the Journal of Spanish, Portuguese and Italian Crypto Jewry.

She has spoken at the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament in Jerusalvem and lectures around the world bringing awareness to the topic of the Jews returning from the Inquisition.

Her work has been showcased in the Jerusalem Post, The Miami Herald and other publications around the world. She was awarded the State of Florida Genealogy award for her outstanding achievements and advances in the Pioneer work she has done in Genealogy. Most recently, Milgrom was awarded the coveted Medal of the Four Sephardic Synagogues from Jerusalem for her decades of work in recuperation of Sephardic Memory.

The St. Augustine Jewish Historical Society, through research done by Vice-President Dr. Larry Kanter, has discovered Don Diego Espinosa a founder of Palm Valley, Florida. By 1703, Don Diego Espinoza had settled in what is today the Palm Valley area. His vast ranch and the surrounding territory was known as Diego Plains. In the 1730s, the ranch was fortified to protect its inhabitants from Indian attack.

Dom Diego Espinosa--Jewish Descent?

Dom Diego Espinosa–Jewish Descent? A founder of Palm Valley, Florida

Another Florida Location named for a Jew?

Fort San Diego Marker, Palm Valley, Fl.
This marker is located on Palm Valley Rd (CR 210) in St Johns County, Florida.
The text on the marker reads as :
” In 1736 Diego de Espinosa owned a cattle ranch on Diego Plains, a flat, open area east of here. For protection against Indians, his house was surrounded by a 15-foot high palisade with two bastions at opposite corners. Manned later by Spanish soldiers, this post was known at Fort San Diego. On May 23, 1740, during the British expedition against St. Augustine, General James Oglethorpe´s 400 man army captured the fort and its 50 defenders. The British added a ditch and breastwork, and used the fort to protect the St. Johns River-St. Augustine supply line. They evacuated the fort on July 25. By 1743 it lay in ruins.”
Sponsored by St. Johns Historical Commission in cooperation with Department of State

Genie Milgrom’s credits include:

Genie Milgrom


·       Genealogist and Global Speaker

·       Developed a method to trace Jewish Lineages to the 1400s

·       Past President of the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies at Colorado State University

·       Past President of the Society of Jewish Genealogy of Greater Miami

·       President of Tarbut Sefarad Fermoselle in Barcelona

·       Author of My 15 GrandmothersHow I found my 15 GrandmothersPyre to Fire and The Recipes of my 15 Grandmothers all available on Amazon in English and Spanish

·       Speaker at the Knesset on the topic of anusim

·       Speaker at the Press Box at the EU Parliament in Brussels

·       Spoken Internationally in Spain, Portugal, Guatemala, Ecuador, Uruguay, Denmark, Argentina, Israel and many more countries

·       Winner of the 2015 and 2018 and 2020 Latin Author Book Award

·       Winner of the Literary Titan Silver award for the book, Pyre to Fire and Recipes of my 15 Grandmothers

·       Recipient of a Genealogy Award from the State of Florida as well as from the International Association of Jewish Genealogists for her extensive work on the topic

·       Hooded by Netanya Academic College for her work with anusim Awareness

·       Recipient of the High honor of the Medal of the Four Sephardic Synagogues from Jerusalem