Adoption of Christian surnames

Conversion to Christianity, and the simultaneous adoption of a baptismal Christian surname, started occurring in Spain well before the 1492 Spanish expulsion of Jews. Some of the conversions were in response to the 1391 persecutions in Seville and elsewhere. The Spanish Inquisition which commenced around 1480 was intended to ensure the converted remained good Catholics; but on a worldly level, Inquisitional intentions became a lot less pure with confiscation becoming a strong motive. The 1492 expulsion of Jews from Spain was also mainly intended to remove a temptation for the conversos to relapse (see ref 63 especially Chapter 3) but it also led to more conversions. The uneven flow of conversions in Spain was not a precedent for what happened in Portugal. The Jews who in 1492 went from Spain went to Portugal to escape conversion had a nasty surprise when in 1497 they were compulsorily baptized en masse in Portugal with virtually no opportunity to escape as travel was strictly limited. The Portuguese Inquisition was initially more muted (by Papal control) because of the evils of the Spanish, but it too fell prey to the temptations of confiscation. Quite often, the baptismal name derived from a placename eg our Lamego ancestors for Lamego was the origin of at least two of them.   

Ultimately, in their adventurous lives as Atlantic traders, New Christians dominated Portuguese trade and took a sizeable piece of Spanish trade, used Portuguese for many purposes, and became known as Men of the (Sephardic Portuguese) Nation. When dealing with the Christian world they had to take care to disguise who they were so that Inquisitional suspicion did not fall upon them or their New Christian relatives in Catholic countries. They did this by being careful with their baptismal names using suitable aliases to good effect. However their situation could become quite complicated. Arbell (ref 21) gives the example of Abraham Senior, Jewish leader and financial adviser to the Catholic royal couple Ferdinand and Isabella, who converted to Catholicism several days before the expulsion, and received the name Duarte Saraiva Coronel. His descendants returned to Judaism, readopted the name Senior and added Coronel to it. So in the archives, a leading Jewish family called Senior Coronel in Dutch Brazil and Surinam used the name Duarte Saraiva when dealing in commercial affairs. And different family names could be used for brothers, so if one brother was persecuted, others might escape eg note the brothers David Senior and Philipe Henriquez (ref 40).The Carvajal family tree shows this practice most generously employed. Use of aliases to camouflage true identity was not without risk - legal tussles arose over liabilities associated with unclear ownership of ships and cargo! Overlain on this complexity was Iberian naming tradition - in Portugal the surname of both parents was reflected in the name of offspring, as in case of Manuel Pinto e Ribero. The same applies in Spain with 'e' replaced by 'y'. The father's surname precedes the mother's surname. An extended example can be found in the chart of Lousada Dukes - look at the chain of ancestral names of the 1969 claimant. But our English ancestors did peculiar things with this Iberian custom (see note 2 below) 

When crypto-Jews reached tolerant communities in which they were able to revert to open Judaism, what they called themselves was not fixed. If they had some real or imagined Jewish surname of historic significance they might use it, sometimes in conjunction with an acquired Iberian (maybe a baptismal) name - this perhaps happened with the Baruch Lousadas and other Lousadas (see note 14 below). The same thing happened with the Levi Montezinos family, linked to the Baruch Lousadas via Abraham Israel Pereira and the Lamegos. The Montezinos family appears in the literature as the Levi family of Villaflor, who used the Montezinos name publicly - so on return to Judaism in Amsterdam and Livorno they became the Levi Montezinos family. However, they appear in Inquisitional records as Lopez Telles and for trade reasons in the 17th century they also used the Serra and Arari surnames both reflecting the Montezinos name. Similarly Tomas Rodrigues Pereira became Abraham Israel Pereira (see note 3 below) but in Amsterdam he and his sons used names such as da Gurre and van Narden (p238 ref 123).

The Louzada/Lousada/Losada surname

The origin of the name is somewhat mysterious (see note 9 below). But the Portuguese surname of Louzada (equivalently Lousada) was one of many placenames (see note 10 below) adopted in the mass Portuguese baptisms of 1497 - being the name of a Portuguese border town and its 2 nearby villages. The fact that around 1500 about 90% of Portuguese Jews were from Spain makes it probable that our Lousada name derives from baptism of Spanish newcomers in one of the 3 Lousada villages in Portugal, as Edgar Samuel suggests. But not all those who adopted the Lousada name became Baruch Lousadas . Thus we are doubtful that Antonio Azeredo de Lousada (see note 12 below) was a Baruch Lousada ancestor (see note 14 below).

The Losada and Lousada placenames of Spain were probably used in baptisms in Spain in or before 1492 even though these names seem to relate only to small settlements and farms. An example may be the Benavente Losados of Genie Milgrom (ref 130). However, being baptised in Spain suggests a different trajectory and no close relationship. 

Barrow and Lousada naming

Being an ancient Jewish name, Baruch was a common Iberian Jewish surname. Its use follows the Old Testament Baruch who was secretary and friend of Jeremiah the Prophet. Thus a vast number of Sephardim with a Baruch surname plus an Iberian surname can be found in the records eg Baruch Roza, Baruch Pardo, Baruch Norsa, Baruch Alvares, Baruch Henriques, Baruch Carvaglio (presumably the Italian equivalent of the Portuguese Carvalho or the Spanish Carbajales). Clearly not all Iberian Baruchs were Baruch Lousadas. Our Lousada ancestors emerged as Baruch Lousadas in Livorno in the early 1600s, and the parallel persistent use of the combined surname Baruh Lousada (English) and Baruch Louzada (Dutch) led us to considering the 2 families as branches of the same family emanating from Livorno around 1660 (see note 8 below).

Similarly in the Ashkenasi world, 'Baruch' was very common.  It was used as a Jewish name eg the father of Simon Barrow of Barbados was a man called Baruch (see note 11 below). Perhaps because Barrow was a common surname in Barbados (ref 33), the most natural anglicization of the name Shimon bar Baruch (Simon son of Baruch) was to 'Simon Barrow' (see note 7 below).  Simon Barrow had a son Baruch Barrow - presumably the eldest son named after his paternal grandfather Baruch (see note 4 on this Jewish naming custom). As Haim Barrow of Barbados (see note 6 below on his forename) was presumably a son of Simon and Bella and he was born in 1744, this then puts the birth of Baruch Barrow no later than around 1742 and the marriage of Simon and Bella perhaps around 1740.

Use of the Baruch/Baruh first surname by the Baruch Lousadas was, for us, a key element in sorting out the Lousadas in the records. Thus, we were able to develop a coherent picture of the Baruch Lousadas across 7 countries and 250 years, emanating from Livorno. But some Baruch Lousadas dropped the Baruch name (Aaron #1174 and his sisters), while the Den Haag Louzadas rarely used it at all, but this rare usage is enough to convince us that they were Baruch Lousadas especially as they had strong marriage links (with the key relatives the Mercados and the Israel Pereiras) in common. This branch may have separated without going to Livorno ie they left Portugal by a different route and perhaps at a different time. A Lousada family branch which did not use the Baruch name at all is that of the NY chocolate merchant Jacob Lousada and his father Abraham de Lousada who at Cree Church in 1698 married a Rachel de Almeida #52. Perhaps this branch represented a third (and last) departure from Portugal in the 1690s and like the Den Haag Louzadas may have descended from Fernando, 1st son of Amador de Lousada.

Our ancestors went on to develop their own ideosyncratic naming traditions. One of these is the persistent use of 'Lousada' as a forename by the Barrows suggesting that there was an early Lousada connection. They also used Montefiore in this way, and it is clear that Montefiore ancestry did exist (in the person of Bailah Montefiore). With nice symmetry, the Lousadas - especially Edward Charles Lousada - used Barrow as a forename in the case of his sons Benjamin Barrow Lousada and Barrow Helbert Ellis Lousada (though in the latter case there is a further explanation). The mother and maternal grandmother of Edward Charles Lousada was named Tryphena, and so was his eldest daughter - and a sister of General Sir George de Symons Barrow. The name Tryphena was brought into the family by Tryphena Esther Lyon de Symons #58, 4th daughter of Baron Lyon de Symons, and wife of Simon Barrow of Bath.


1. Perhaps it is better to describe as Galician-Portuguese the language covering both Galicia and Portugal.

2. The English name for the Dukedom was Losada y Lousada but this mixed the Spanish and Portuguese-Galician forms. At first we thought that it may have stemmed from the period of Spanish/Portuguese Union 1580-1640 but this was in sorry ignorance of whether such a name generally fitted the custom of naming of titles conferred in that period of unity (it appears not to have). Also in our ignorance we thought it perhaps reflected Losada/Lousada placenames on both sides of the border around Galicia. But the Spanish/Portuguese parting of ways in 1640 was acrimonious, and the Duque de Losada title was created in Naples 1741. So the 'Losada y Lousada' name was a post-1848 confection by the English Dukes - oddly adapting Iberian naming practice to suit their own purposes! And the Barrow Family Tree attempts to explain that the Baruch Lousada name arose in effect as Baruch y Lousada via a (fictional) marriage of around 1700 when in fact the Baruch Lousada name arose in Livorno around 1640.

3. There is a naming practice, as recently suggested to us, of New Christians living for generations with Spanish or Portuguese names, upon leaving Iberia of the family head being named Abraham and his first-born being named Isaac. How general this practice was we do not know but perhaps we may find it useful in tracing ancestors from country to country. It may have been the situation with the first post-Iberian Levi Lousada in Livorno and appears to have been the case with the first Israel Pereira in Amsterdam. It appears to have been the case with the Den Haag Louzadas.

4. Note that the Ashkenasi custom varies from the Sephardi in that Ashkenasi children were never named after living relatives. Hence when Simon Barrow of Bath 1787-1862 was named after Simon Barrow of Barbados 1709-1801 this followed Sephardic practice not Ashekanasi. We suggest that the same applied when Baruch named his son Simon. In Surinam ref 125 points out there was a naming custom which elaborated the usual Sephardic practice of naming the first male and female grandchild after the paternal grandparents and the 2nd male and female grandchild after the maternal grandparents. In the Surinam case some of the early grandchildren were given the full name of the relevant grandparent - forename and surnames! Hence Samuel Robles Medina 1786-1813 was the second son of Moses Baruch Louzada 1760-1802 named after his maternal grandfather.

5. From we see that about 26,000 Spanish people have at least one Losada surname and they comprise only about 0.06% of the population. The Lousada name was always absent to the east of the Galician/Castilian language frontier but has now virtually disappeared to the west of it. However the Losada surname is relatively most common in Lugo and Ourense ie it is held by about 1% of the population - perhaps indicating that Castilian Spanish has overrun Galician-Portuguese in these towns in combination with rural depopulation.

6. 'Haim' meaning 'life' was used when there is doubt about the health of the baby - and since Haim lived until 1789 perhaps the tradition had its uses.

7. Indeed 'Baruch' whether of Sephardic or Ashkenasi origin was very commonly anglicized to Barrow or the almost-phonetic Barrew.

8. One of the many people named Moses Baruch used the trading alias Antonio Louzada. He achieved eminence, and the affection of all those interested in Anglo-Jewry, by being an important founding member of the London Jewish community. He was also known as Moses Baruh Lousada who we have numbered #46. Another Moses Baruch of Curacao used the alias Juan Hernandez Lossada - as we learned from Mordechai Arbell (ref 21) - and we now identify him as Moses Baruch Lousada #1585 a cousin of Moses #46.

9. 'Losada' is an old Spanish name. Its geographic origin appears to be northwest Spain from where the old Spanish 'de Losada' nobility also appears to originate. One of its Portuguese equivalents 'Lousada' applies in Galicia (the northwestern province of Spain abutting the northern border of Portugal) which is not too surprising since Galician is a dialect of Portuguese (ref 104 but see note 1). In Portugal 'Lousada' and 'Louzada' are interchangeable as can be seen from the 2 versions of the town coat of arms we saw in 2003 situated 5 meters apart! There possibly is no completely definitive account of how the name arose, but a common version is that the name refers to someone who lived in an area paved with flagstones, the Spanish for 'to pave' being 'losar' a derivative of 'losa' said to be a word of pre-Roman origin meaning a flat stone slab. Note the appearance of a stone slab in de Losada heraldry. Sometimes, this version is augmented by reference to two other possible original meanings - 'deaf man' from the old French 'sourd', and sword-maker from the old French 'sweord'. Nowadays the Losada name is uncommon in Spain (see note 5).

10. Further understanding of this placename effect can be gained from an article on Marrano names found by Tony Harding.

11. As Edgar Samuel detected on the 1773 headstone of  Simon's wife Bella (Bailah), Simon Barrow was Shimon bar Baruch, an Ashkenasi name. We go on to suggest that his father Baruch was the son of an earlier Simon.

12. He was born in 1638 in Sao Lourenco do Duoro which is on our Portugal map - see the (Carmen) Reis family tree on

13. Amador de Lousada (shoemaker of Vinhais) appeared before the Coimbra Inquisition in 1591 (see ref 180). We believe that he was a direct ancestor of the Baruch Lousadas and those we now consider to be closely-related but more sparing in their use of the Baruch name. Amador was baptized in Vinhais. His father may have spent time in a Lousada town of village, and perhaps his grandfather was baptized there.

14. In Livorno there arose other similar combinations - Lumbroso Lousada and Levi Lousada, so clearly not all Lousadas were Baruch Lousadas! However Abraham Levi Lousada of Livorno was an uncle of Isaac Baruch Lousada our first post-Iberian ancestor. Perhaps it was the presence of these other Lousadas in Livorno which prompted the adoption of a distinguishing 1st surname (but why Baruch was chosen is not known).