Historic family tree (from ref 48) showing Montefiore ancestors Leonor de Andrada and Jorge de Almeida

This family tree was initially thought to be only of general interest - showing the history of an Iberian family from Fermoselle and Mogadouro (see note 7 below) in the Duoro River valley and caught between Spain and Portugal and between Christianity and Judaism - perhaps illustrative of what may have happened to the ancestral Baruh Lousadas. It became more relevant when it was observed that some Baruch Lousada ancestors, the Lopes Pereiras, also descend from nearby Mogaduoro in the Duoro River valley. But it became of great interest when read alongside ref 38, which suggests that the original Montefiore (ie Judah Leon Montefiore) was the son of Joseph Leon who was the son of the marriage of Jorge de Almeida and Leonor Nunes Leon de Carvajal (shown above as Leonor de Andrada). But Simon Barrow of Barbados married Bailah Montefiore who was of the same vintage as, and perhaps a sister of, Moses Vita Montefiore of Livorno, who started the English Montefiore line and who was a descendant of Judah/Leon Montefiore. That is, the above tree perhaps contains early ancestors of all the English Montefiores and Barrows, and all those Baruh Lousadas descending from Bella Barrow (see also note 6 below). However this conjunction of accounts probably cannot be accepted without modification (see note 8 below).

Ref 48 recounts that in response to the 1492 expulsion, the Carvajals moved from Fermoselle in Spain across the border to Mogaduoro in Portugal, then back to Spain as a New Christian family. It also suggests that the Carvajal name comes from the Spanish town Carbajales de Alba (see our map of northern Potugal) and if true this suggests it was the last Spanish town they visited before the 1492 expulsion (see also note 2 on their possible Cordoba origin) and 1497 baptism in Portugal. Some Carvajal family members were persuaded to move to Mexico by Luis de Carvajal de la Cueva who had become a regional governor of New Leon in the north after brutally pacifying it (ref 179). The uncle died in prison in 1590 or thereabouts, and Luis de Carvajal the nephew (see note 9 below) despite his being penanced in 1590 could not resist a strong religious fervour, which led to many of the family dying at the hands of the Mexican Inquisition. Thus sisters Catalina, Isabel, and Leonor, and mother Francisca died with him on 8 Dec 1596 and Mariana (see etching below) a little later (see note 2 below for some errors made on the death dates in the chart above and elsewhere). According to ref 38, Joseph Leon escaped Mexico with his uncles (see note 5 below for who these uncles were). This account suggests Joseph grew up in the village called Montefiore Conca and we note that Edgar Samuel knew the late John Montefiore-Vita who was an Italian Jewish descendant of the Livorno Montefiore family and who had settled in London before WW2. He had tracked the family to Urbino, and said that they came from a hill village near Urbino called Montefiore Conca. This work was cited in ref 50, and is probably the basis for the similar account in ref 38, but is not yet public (see note 11).

Dona Mariana de Carvajal being burned at the stake in Mexico City once she turned 19, five years after her relatives suffered a similar fate in 1596



1. Tony Harding spotted ref 134 describing a family history quest by a Doreen Carvajal which led her back to Segovia just north of Madrid and just south of our target region. However, the Carvajal name is said to be unrelated, and her family is said to descend from Diego Arias Davila.

2. An account of how Simon Sebag Montefiore discovered this story of his Carvajal ancestors can be found by clicking here. Above there is no mention of Cordoba yet it was in Cordoba that Julian Land saw the Carvajal family tree prominently displayed in June 2015 and as just noted Simon Sebag Montefiore learnt the story in Cordoba later in 2015. But his press report contains obvious errors - the Carvajals may well have left Cordoba but it was not immediately to Portugal for the above genealogy suggests that their travel from Cordoba was actually before 1486 and it was to Fermoselle and then to Carbajales de Alba before they reached Portugal as a result of the 1492 expulsion from Spain. Their move north from Cordoba was possibly in response to the formation of the Spanish Inquisition in 1478 (see also note 10). The press report asserts that the Mexican regional governor was the father of Luis (he was an uncle) thus further adding to the litany of errors made in the telling of the Carvajal story. Similar errors are pointed out by ref 48 p354 which notes that even the classic works on the Mexican Inquisition are guilty; one example is that Luis de Carvajal de la Cueva the uncle has been confused with Luis de Carvajal aka Joseph Lumbroso the nephew and another example is that the 1591 and 1596 trials of Francisca the sister of the governor have been confused. A full account of the life of the uncle is given in ref 179 up to his death in a an Inquisitional prison cell in 1590. It confirms the uncle/nephew relationship of the 2 Luis (see p156 for example), but neither is it free from errors! Its caption to an image of the death of Mariana (differing from the above image) mistakenly claims that she died at the same time as Isabel and Luis the nephew - but as indicated above she died 5 years later. Note that our chart gives a January date for the death of Leonor, Isabel and Catalina - but this is an (internal) error in ref 48 for chapter 13 shows they died on the same day (8 Dec 1596) as Luis the nephew and his mother Francisca. Some further clarifications to the above press account should be pointed out - a more refined estimate of the number of Jews leaving Spain in late 1492 or early 1492 can be found in ref 193 (about 65,000 compared with 50,000 - 200,000); the records show there was more than one family of Montefiores in the Pesaro/Urbino/Ancona area when Joseph Leon arrived, and there are doubts that Judah Leon Montefiore was the son of Joseph Leon (for a new interpretation see note 8 below).

3. James Greener has provided the following data: Balthasar - born around 1563 in Benavente; after leaving Mexico became known as David Lumbroso aka Francisco Ramirez; and Miguel - born around 1577 in Medina del Campo; after leaving Mexico became known as Abraham Lumbroso aka Diego Ximenez.

4.A cousin Thomas de Fonseca Castellanos.

5. These uncles could have been the husbands of Isabel and Catalina or their brothers Miguel and Balthasar, but not Gaspar who remained a Dominican friar. Helpfully, ref 123 p111 informs us that from Mexico Joseph's uncle Balthasar (Leonor's oldest brother) migrated to Italy and joined the Sephardic community at Pisa, whilst Miguel (her youngest brother) moved to Salonika where he studied and became a rabbi (we have some further data on these 2 people - see note 3). It also informs us that Jorge de Almeida had lived as a Jew in Ferrara in the 1570s. He then returned to Spain and in 1580 with his mother and two brothers went to Mexico where he acquired a mining enterprise and shop in Taxco. In 1588 he married Leonor de Carvajal (so we note Joseph Leon was probably born in 1589). In 1589, she was arrested by the Mexico City Inquisition with her mother, brother Luis, and two eldest sisters. Jorge de Almeida successfully went into hiding with his brother, and later returned to Madrid where his house became an important meeting place for travelling Portuguese New Christians. In 1590, the Inquisition sentenced Leonor's mother and brother to perpetual penitence in seclusion. The search for Jorge de Almeida was abandoned and eventually in 1609 he was burned - only in effigy. In Madrid, Jorge de Almeida met father and son Jacob Dias and Diego Dias Nieto - from a family that had migrated from Portugal to Flanders and then to Ferrara where they lived as Jews. He, having known Jacob Dias in Ferrara, assisted them get to Mexico which they reached in 1594. They provided letters to Luis one from his brother Balthasar, and Luis arranged for them to stay in the house of Antonio Dias de Caceres (see chart) - an early Portuguese New Christian merchant in Mexico City who had just returned from a long business journey to Manila in which Jorge de Almeida had an interest. Jacob and Diego then spent much time with Leonor's family and together their Judaism strengthened. As a result, Leonor, her brother, mother and 2 sisters were put to the Inquisitional flames on 8 Dec 1596; and Diego Dias Nieto under torture and the threat of a death sentence made a confession. Amongst other things this led to another relative (see note 4) of Jorge de Almeida being put to the flames in Mexico City in 1601, and also led to an Inquisition in Ferrara in 1602. Given that Balthasar was not in Mexico in 1594 (a letter from him to his brother Luis aka Joseph Lumbroso arrived with the Dias father and son in 1594), it seems likely that Balthasar and Miguel left Mexico with Jorge de Almeida around the time of the 1589 Inquisitional activity, when Joseph Leon was an infant or perhaps even unborn! Dias father and son were put up in the house of Antonio as arranged by Luis aka Joseph Lumbroso, so the uncles that Joseph Leon left Mexico with around 1596 (when Joseph was around 7) were much more likely to have been his aunts' husbands Antonio and Gabriel. However, by 1601 Antonio Dias de Caceres had returned to Mexico, as in that year he was penanced in person, but not put to the flames, as a result of the Dias Nieto testimony (ref 123 p115).

6. Perhaps of further interest is that ref 130 contains a Portuguese/Spanish family history also starting in Mogadouro/Fermoselle which not only connects with the Carvajal history shown here, but which also contains a 'Losado' - though it is possible many unrelated Losada families emanated from the Leon and Asturias region of Spain, and (with the Lousada name) the nearby Galicia and northern Portugal.

7. Alvaro de Leon was born in Mogadouro - see ref 179 p47

8. Judah Leon Montefiore married Rachel Olivetti in the 1620s (dates of 1620, 1629 and 1630 can be found in the literature) and it is most unlikely Joseph Leon was his father for Joseph himself was only in his thirties; his parents married in 1588 - see note 5. Further, the naming of Judah Leon Montefiore is odd - for Judah denotes 'lion' (Edgar Samuel explained this to us) as does Leon(e) - and thus contains redundancy. A possibility therefore worth considering is that Joseph Leon was renamed Judah Montefiore after he arrived in Italy - Judah being a reference to his past, and the surname a reference either to a Montefiore family - one of several known to have been in the Urbino/Pesaro/Ancona region - who presumably assisted Joseph grow to adulthood, or alternatively a village named Montefiore Conca. (As it has been put to us that the existing Italian Montefiores were not in Montefiore Conca but in other villages also named Montefiore, the alternatives may be incompatible). Given the Mexican Inquisition was capable of catalyzing Inquisitions in Italy (see note 5 above), such a change of name would not be surprising especially as his father Jorge de Almeida was still at large in 1609 (see note 5 above)! A date of 1605 can be found in the literature as Judah's birthdate with no source cited and we suggest that this date may be merely an unsupported estimation made by persons unknown to suit the wedding date. An unsupported estimation of 1585 has also been made of Joseph's birthdate (of course 1585 in almost certainly incorrect for the real date as shown above was not before 1588), and was doubtless chosen to (barely) suit the imagined 1605 date of fatherhood! Perhaps 1605 is the date of a late circumcision for Joseph. Of course it must have been convenient for persons unknown to propose a marriage between Joseph Leon and a Montefiore female as this would explain the Leon Montefiore surname combination (in Iberian and other naming customs both parents' surnames are used with the father's preceding the mothers'), but the unlikelihood of such a marriage, as we have shown, makes such rationalisation equally implausible.

9. Manuscripts in his own hand have recently been rediscovered in Mexico's National Archive and were loaned for a New York exhibition 'The First Jewish Americans' Oct 2016 - Mar 2017. There is a digital copy - see  http://pudl.princeton.edu/objects/s7526g29j.

10. It is somewhat curious, and probably significant, that the family should be known as Carvajals in Cordoba, when this name seems to have adopted after leaving Cordoba. Perhaps they retained trading and other links with Cordoba after their departure.

11. Until it is public, it may not be possible to completely settle debates as to which Montefiore village is the origin of the family, and where in Italy Joseph Leon was (probably) taken after his escape from Mexico with his uncles Antonio and Gabriel (see note 5). Ferrara of course figures prominently in the Carvajal story, and Joseph's uncle Balthasar went to Pisa. However, our new interpretation (see note 8 above) will make it easier to reconcile the known locations of the existing Italian Montefiore families on the one hand, with Montefiore Conca being the origin of the Livorno and English Montefiores on the other hand. In addition, the role of Cordoba (see notes 2 and 10) will also need to be accounted for in the ultimate historical account.