I've been able to trace my ancestry several generations but seemed to have reached a wall. Here's the [long] story behind my question below:
Between records and family lore, I understand my 3rd great-grandfather emigrated to Brazil sometime before 1827. Records show that he was baptized in a Catholic church there as an adult that year, and married the following year (same church). His baptism record (in Portuguese) gives his name as Luiz Levino, born in "Ballenstads" (I'm assuming this is Ballenstedt, Anhalt). His father was Ludwig Levino (born in Hildesheim), his mother Bella Benedicto (born in Ballenstedt). Paternal grandparents were Adolfo Levino (likely Adolf Levin, from Hildesheim) and Sophia Lazar (also from Hildesheim). Maternal grandparents were Benedicto Herz (Benedikt?) and Ladda Jose (Josef?). These were born in "Höyme" (likely Hoym, which is near Ballenstedt).
From these names and what living ancestors have told me, Ludwig "fled persecution on Jews" in Germany, and upon arriving in Brazil changed names to make it harder to identify as Jewish, hence the Portuguese "Luiz Levino." We know from history that the Jewish weren't the most well-treated people in Germany around that time and that governments were starting to require them to register German-language surnames. To me it makes sense that "Levino" came from Levin, but some in the family insist the surname was Loew (or Löw). We also know that Brazil made a huge effort to bring Germans to the specific state where I was born starting in 1824. Since I don't have Luiz's German birth record/date, it is also possible they were part of those first trips (between 1824 and his baptism in 1827). However, I haven't been able to find emigration information on any of these names.
Any ideas, links, contact information on how I could confirm Jewish heritage in Germany around that time?