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 were a lot less pure. The 1492 expulsion of Jews from Spain was 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. Place naming amongst occurred with our Lamego ancestors with Lamego the origin of at least two of them.   

Ultimately, in their adventurous lives as Atlantic traders, New Christians dominated Portuguese 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 their relatives. 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, if they had a Jewish surname they tended to adopt it in conjunction with an acquired Iberian (maybe a baptismal) name - this happened with the Baruch Lousadas and other Lousadas (see below). The same thing happened with the Levi Montezinos family, linked to the Baruch Lousadas via Abraham Israel Pereira and the Lamegos. They were 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 80% of Portuguese Jews were from Spain makes it probable that our Lousada name derives from one of the 3 Lousada villages in Portugal, as Edgar Samuel suggests. But not all those who adopted the Lousada name were Baruch Lousadas (see note 14 below). Thus we are doubtful that Antonio Azeredo de Lousada (see note 12 below) was a Baruch Lousada; and even if we knew where in Portugal he came from, we likewise doubt that either Abraham de Lousada who at Cree Church in 1698 married a Rachel de Almeida #52 or his son-in-law were Baruch Lousadas; but see note 13 below. We have found a family of Louzadas who only rarely used the Baruch first surname - the Den Haag Louzadas - but this rare usage is enough to convince us that they were Baruch Lousadas especially as they had marriage links in common. This branch may have separated without going to Livorno.

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 just as Levi was. 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. Its use follows the Old Testament Baruch who was secretary and friend of Jeremiah the Prophet. 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.

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.


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 would have ie 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.

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 Sepharidc 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). This is a case where we are actively considering his Baruch Lousada ancestry .

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.