Greetings From a Cousin in Florida

brenjan98's picture

If you are reading this post, then it’s highly likely we are cousins to some degree. After discussing Ishaq family history with Isam for quite some time, he asked me to be a guest blogger on the site. I thought I would begin by introducing myself.

I am the granddaughter of John Salomon (born Hanna Khalil Rishmawi) and Widad Isaac (Ishaq). My grandmother, Widad, is the daughter of Elias Ishaq & Wadia Ishaq. Elias is the son of Jirius Ishaq & Hilweh Abu-Aitah. Wadia is the daughter of Nicola Issa Ishaq & Miriam Al-Sakka. My grandfather, John Salomon, is a Rishmawi (later changed to Salomon), the son of Hanna Khalil Rishmawi & Miladeh Habbas. I have attached my favorite picture of my grandparents from 1976 below.

My grandparents lived in Beit Sahour until they moved to Honduras in 1947, shortly before my father was born. Ten years later they immigrated to the US, where they raised their five children. My grandparents now have 12 grandchildren, and currently 8 great-grandchildren. They split their time between Michigan, where most of the family still lives, and Florida where my parents are, as well as my family (husband and 5 children).

I grew up hearing stories about life in the "old country" from my grandparents and have always enjoyed genealogy and history. About 15 years ago, I started working on my family tree. I realized how difficult it was to gather information about families in Palestine. And for those of us who have adopted new countries as our home, as well as languages other than Arabic, research is all the more complicated. I am grateful for Isam’s work on this website, as well as others sites like and As more Americans are incorporated into the family, our sense of our cultural heritage in Palestine can easily get displaced. Sharing family anecdotes and history passed down from our elders becomes increasingly important. Even my grandparents feel they do not know as much about their ancestors as they wish they did. They left their homeland young, and did not have the opportunity to ask questions of the older generation.

In upcoming posts, I will share how I have used DNA testing to learn more about my ancient ancestry, as well as find cousins near and far all over the world. I will also write about our immigration stories and post my family tree, as well as the oldest family pictures I have. If you have suggestions for topics or anything at all to share with us, please do! We hope to have an online community of Ishaq family descendants from all over the world.

Until next time,
Janis (Salomon) McKellar

John & Widad (Isaac) Salomon, 197654.58 KB


isam's picture

Welcome to the site.

Thank you for sharing this valuable information with us. Welcome to the site. I hope other family members will also share their stories and experiences with us.

Isam Ishaq