The surname Desouza is a artificial name, which means that it has no connection with the origin or the characteristics of the people who bear the name. These names include names of colors, animals, plants, to name but a few common types.
There are many indicators that the name Desouza may be of Jewish origin, emanating from the Jewish communities of Spain and Portugal.
When the Romans conquered the Jewish nation in 70 CE, much of the Jewish population was sent into exile throughout the Roman Empire. Many were sent to the Iberian Peninsula. The approximately 750,000 Jews living in Spain in the year 1492 were banished from the country by royal decree of Ferdinand and Isabella. The Jews of Portugal, were banished several years later. Reprieve from the banishment decrees was promised to those Jews who converted to Catholicism. Though some converted by choice, most of these New-Christian converts were called CONVERSOS or MARRANOS (a derogatory term for converts meaning pigs in Spanish), ANUSIM (meaning "coerced ones" in Hebrew) and CRYPTO-JEWS, as they secretly continued to practice the tenets of the Jewish faith.Our research has found that the family name Desouza is cited with respect to Jews & Crypto-Jews in at least 21 bibliographical, documentary, or electronic references:
The product of many years of painstaking research by two late scholars, Richard D. Barnett and Philip Wright, this volume presents the texts or summaries of 1456 tombstone inscriptions of Jews who lived in Jamaica between 1663, when the British ousted the Spanish, and 1880, when systematic registration of deaths was introduced. Jewish families who had fled the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal settled in Jamaica in increasing numbers during that time. Ashkenazic Jews also settled there in the eighteenth century. The Jews played a significant part in developing the island's natural resources and its international trade. Featuring detailed indexes by name, date and language, The Jews of Jamaica is a valuable tool for the study of immigration to the Americas, the surnames, given names and genealogy of Sephardi Jews. The texts of the inscriptions, many of them in three languages (Hebrew, English and Portuguese or Spanish), are of cultural interest and sometimes refer to dramatic events in the lives of the Jewish residents of Jamaica during a turbulent period.
The Amsterdam Municipal Archives possess a complete set of registers of intended marriages from 1578 to 1811, the year when the present Civil Registry was started. Between 1598 and 1811, 15238 Jewish couples were entered in these books. Both the number of records and the volume of data that may be extracted from them are unprecedented.
Bevis Marks is the Sephardic synagogue in London. It is over 300 years old and is the oldest still in use in Britain.The Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation of London has published several volumes of its records: they can be found in libraries such as the Cambridge University Library or the London Metropolitan Archive
In this work Dan Rottenberg shows how to do a successful search for probing the memories of living relatives, by examining marriage licenses, gravestones, ship passenger lists, naturalization records, birth and death certificates, and other public documents, and by looking for clues in family traditions and customs. Supplementing the "how to" instructions is a guide to some 8,000 Jewish family names, giving the origins of the names, sources of information about each family, and the names of related families whose histories have been recorded. Other features included a country-by-country guide to tracing Jewish ancestors abroad, a list of Jewish family history books, and a guide to researching genealogy.
Pere Bonnin, a philosopher, journalist and writer from Sa Pobla (Mallorca), a descendant of converted Jews, settles with this work a debt "owed to his ancestors", in his own words. The book, written in a personal and accessible style and based on numerous sources, includes a review of basic Jewish concepts, Jewish history in Spain, and Christian Anti-Semitism. There is also a section that focuses on the reconciliation between the Church and Monarchy and the Jews, which took place in the 20th Century. In this study, Bonnin deals in depth with the issue of surnames of Jewish origin. In the prologue, the author explains the rules he followed in the phonetic transcription of surnames of Hebrew origin that are mentioned in the book. The researcher cites the Jewish origin, sometimes recognized and other times controversial, of historically prominent figures (like Cristobal Colon, Hernan Cortes, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and many others) and links between surnames of Jewish origin with some concepts in Judaism.. The book also includes an appendix with more than three thousands surnames "suspected" of being Jewish, because they appear in censuses of the Jewish communities and on the Inquisitorial lists of suspected practitioners of Judaism, as well as in other sources. In the chapter "Una historia de desencuentro", the author elaborates on surnames of Jewish origin of the royalty, nobility, artistocracy, clergy, and also of writers, educators and university teachers during the Inquisition. Special attention is given to the "Chuetas" of Mallorca, the birthplace of the author.
This book contains names of New Christians or Brazilians living in Brazil condemned by the Inquisition in the 17th and 18th centuries, as taken from the archives of Torre do Tombo in Lisbon. Many times details including date of birth, occupation, name of parents, age, and location of domicile are also included. The list also includes the names of the relatives of the victims. There are several cases in which many members of the same family were tortured and sentenced so some family lines may end here.
This publication contains a list of 517 Sephardic families punished by the inquisition in Portugal and Brazil.
This register is from the manuscript record preserved in the Archives of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation of London named "Sahar Asamaim" transcribed, translated and edited by the late R.D. Barnett, with the assistance of Alan Rose, I.D. Duque and others; There is also a supplement with a record of circumcisions 1679-1699, marriages 1679-1689 and some female births 1679-1699, compiled by Miriam Rodrigues-Pereira. The register includes surnames of those circumsized as well as the names of their Godfathers & Godmothers.
This is a historical romance about the first Jews who settled in the USA. The group was comprised of Jews that were born in Portugal, who came through the Netherlands, the Caribbean and England before settling in the USA. The author focuses on the fact that they married between themselves, thereby adhering to their Jewish faith.
Intriguing work listing Dutch Jews from Brazil, by the ground-breaking and influential scholars of Brazilian Jewry.
José Luis León de Bivar Sousa Pimentel Guerra (1904-1979), was a Portuguese genealogist who researched the role of new Christians in Portuguese society and thus in Brazil. This "A Notebook of New Christians in Barcelos" by an anonymous author is a list of converted Jews in that city in 1497, and some of their descendants. It reports the prominent families in Barcelos (Portugal) with Jewish ancestry.
On March 23, 1536, Pope Paul III authorized the establishment of the Inquisition, and in 1540, the first Portuguese auto-da-fé took place. Fearing the worst, Crypto Jews began their immigration into neighboring France. Nantes in Brittany became both a temporary and permanent refuge. The newcomers contributed to the growth of this early colony. Among them, were immigrants who practiced Catholicism and others who practiced Judaism. Those who openly declared allegiance to Judaism did not stay long in Nantes. Conservative Catholic values prevailed among the city’s population, and when stirred up by the members of the league, a confederation of French Catholics, dedicated to the defense of their faith, made the situation of the Jews similar to what they had suffered in Portugal
Neveh Shalom - Dwelling Place of Peace - was one of the first synagogues built in Spanish Town, Jamaica during the 17th century. The Neveh Shalom Institute is chartered to promote projects to preserve the history, culture, and artifacts of the Jewish existence in, and contribution to Jamaica, from the 17th century.
The Portuguese Jewish Community in Amsterdam was formed by Marranos who returned to Judaism after they had been converted to Catholicism in 1492 (Spain) and 1497 (Portugal). Families who lived in Toledo before 1492 reappear in Amsterdam in the 17th century, showing that for five generations (120 years) they succeeded in maintaining some form of Judaism behind the Catholic image. In the Amsterdam Municipality between 1598 and 1811 about 15,000 marriage certificates of Jews were registered. This Index mainly pertains to the richer and influential Sephardic community of Amsterdam. The great merchants, ship owners, rabbis and philosophers (Spinoza, Menasse ben Israel, Isaac Aboab da Fonseca) all appear on it. There are also families from other Sephardic communities from Livorno and Tunis. Many times weddings represented the creation and maintenance of commercial alliances.
The Portuguese Inquisition formally started in Portugal in 1536 at the request of the King of Portugal, João III although in many places in Portugal it actually started in 1497 when the authorities expelled many Jews and forcefully converted many others to Catholicism. The Portuguese Inquisition held its first "auto da fé" in Portugal in 1540. It concentrated its efforts on rooting out converts from other faiths (overwhelmingly Judaism) who did not adhere to the strictures of Catholic orthodoxy; the Portuguese inquisitors mostly targeted the Jewish "New Christians," or "Marranos". The 17th Century brought with it a new wave of anti-semitism in Portugal. Between 1612 and 1630 the Inquisition in Lisbon, Coimbra and Evora held no less than 47 large autos-da-fe.
Contains a list of Brazilian and Portuguese New-Christians in Brazil (1819 names - 721 women and 1098 men) who were prosecuted or persecuted by the courts of the Inquisition, during the eighteenth century, as located by the author in deposits from the National Archives of Torre do Tombo in Lisbon. This book is a most important source of New-Christians names (Marrano names), mainly of those who remained in Portugal or throughout the Portuguese empire.
A family tree of this family as well as many other Spanish and Portuguese Jewish families in Jamaica, British West Indies, from 1664 to the present century. Includes some interesting family legends.
In 1925, Samuel Schwarz, published a work entitled "The New Christians in Portugal in the twentieth century", telling the experiences of the crypto-Jewish community in Belmonte in northern Portugal. This work, along with the work of Captain Barros Bastos, attracted much attention from the Jewish World to Portugal.
When it first appeared in 1960, Malcolm Stern's Americans of Jewish Descent marked a milestone in the study of American Jewish genealogy. Researchers now have access to the complete text of Rabbi Stern's monumental volume that was published in 1991 as the updated and revised 3rd edition entitled: First American Jewish Families: 600 Genealogies, 1654-1988.
Around the 12th century, surnames started to become common in Iberia. In Spain, where Arab-Jewish influence was significant, these new names retained their old original structure, so that many of the Jewish surnames were of Hebrew derivation. Others were directly related to geographical locations and were acquired due to the forced wanderings caused by exile and persecution. Other family names were a result of conversion, when the family accepted the name of their Christian sponsor. In many cases, the Portuguese Jews bear surnames of pure Iberian/Christian origin. Many names have been changed in the course of migration from country to country. In yet other cases "aliases", or totally new names, were adopted due to fear of persecution by the Inquisition.Here are some locations where registries of Sephardic or Christianized Jewish families with this surname have been traced:
Amsterdam, Netherlands Bordeaux, France Braga, Portugal Brazil, Caria, Portugal Covilha, Portugal Dutch Brazil, Brasil Espirito Santa, Brasil Falmouth, USA Fundao, Portugal Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica Lisbon, Portugal Montemor-o-Vello, Portugal Nantes, France New York, USA Ouro Preto, Brasil Portugal, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Spanishtown, Jamaica