The Montefiore Fountain (ref 137) in the Montefiore Gardens in Bridgetown was built by John Montefiore in memory of his father John Castello Montefiore #869 1794-1854, a leading merchant whose great-great-great-grandson James Greener has contributed to this website. The old synagogue in the background (see image to right) reflects their Jewish ancestry .

The Nidhe Israel Synagogue in Bridgetown, visible in the background in the image to the left. The name means 'scattered of Israel' reflecting the variety of paths taken by the (mainly) Sephardic Jews of Barbados. This building was commenced around 1654, the year of expulsion of Jews with the Dutch from Brazil. It was destroyed in the hurricane of 1831, rebuilt but deconsecrated in 1929, and it now a museum (which was visited by Peter Lousada in 2016). The Baruch Lousadas arrived around 1659 and their name was continually present until 1831. But Errol Barrow, the first PM of independent Barbados stated that he was descended from the local Baruch Lousadas, whom we know left wealthy mulatto descendants. Most of the Jews who settled in Barbados had ties with the Dutch and, because of hostilities with the Dutch, Cromwell moved to control colonial trade with the Navigation Acts of the 1650s. For the Dutch Sephardim it then became important to establish an offshoot community in London so that Barbados ships docked in England with the cargo owned by Englishmen. Fortunately both Cromwell and (from 1660) Charles 2 favoured the inward flux of wealthy Sephardic merchants despite some contrary views, and the London offshoot community became an essential part of the Amsterdam/Barbados trade. The Baruch Lousadas fitted this pattern - thus David Baruch Louzada #44 1640-99 of Barbados and Amsterdam had a brother Aaron #376 in Barbados and a brother Moses #46 in London. David's house in Amsterdam was called 'Isle of Barbados'! The nearby colonies of Martinique and Guadeloupe were a source of Barbados Jews as a result of the French expulsion of Jews in 1683-5 and it seems likely that key Lousada ancestor Aaron Lamego came to Jamaica this way.


How the Baruch Lousadas made their way from Livorno in 1641 to Barbados in 1659

 There is much we do not know but the following historic strands guide our thinking:

How the Montefiores were drawn to Barbados

Again there is much we don't know but it seems that the Barrow family was involved in this. Some Baruch Lousadas had remained in Livorno after 1660 - see note 6 below - and from this the Barrows originated in the form of our key ancestor Simon Barrow of Barbados 1709-1801. His wife Bailah Montefiore was born in 1720 probably in Livorno which is the origin of those Montefiores who settled permanently in England. The Barrows may have contributed to the English Montefiore presence in Barbados along the following lines:


1. Judith Joseph Levi married Eliezer Montefiore #463 in Barbados and James Greener in his email of 3 Jan 2013 first gave us their marriage date as 5 July 1797 - from Townsend, Peter, ed ‘Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry’, 18th edition p506 and from ref 173 p454. He also pointed out that ref 110 p206 records Judith's tombstone at Mile End describing her as being a 'native of Barbadoes'. Later ref 132 not only confirmed the 5 July 1797 marriage date of Judith Joseph Levi but clarified her ancestry in that despite her name her father was Jacob Levi. Her Barbados birth was probably in 1776 and she died in London in 1836. (James Greener is thus not a Barrow descendant, as John Castello Montefiore who was born in 1794 obviously does not descend from the 1797 marriage of Eliezer and Judith). See note 3 for a further useful data resource. Judith Joseph Levi has sometimes (mistakenly) been referred to as Judith Barrow. It has then been suggested that Eliezer Montefiore married Judith Barrow before his 1797 marriage to Judith Joseph Levi and that this earlier (fictitious) marriage produced offspring. This theory is incorrect because no such Montefiore children appear in the Barrow wills - only the children of Judith Joseph Levi - and because the only available Judith Barrow was the aunt of Judith Joseph Levi and the aunt died unmarried in 1805 (see note 5 below). However it does seem that at least one pre-1797 child did otherwise emerge (see note 4 below).

2. Actually 13 Sivan 5548 - marriage #1256 in Bevis Marks Records 2

3. See ref 170 for a basic resource of Montefiore family data. In it there are several independent citations of the death of John Castello Montefiore aged 60 in 1854 - one of which is a newspaper report of his death of cholera. The other reference details his epitaph in Bridgetown. The claim in ref 38 that John Castello Montefiore became an Anglican in 1710 aged 20 is erroneous - he was 16 still of course rather late in life for baptism due no doubt to discrimination (see note 4 below).

4. Esther Montefiore - sister of Eliezer and Rachel - perhaps also married a Nunes Castello (Jacob who became known as James or John Nunn) but they cannot be found in Jewish records and probably converted quite early so their offspring probably carried the Nunn surname. However, neither this marriage nor that of Rachel Montefiore and Moses Nunes Castello seems to have been that which produced John Castello Montefiore. For as ref 181 points out, John Castello Montefiore was a well-known and wealthy free mulatto, as was his son John. It seems likely that the mother was a slave or a descendant of a slave of the Castello family, and that the father was Eliezer Montefiore before his 1797 marriage. Such a liaison probably arose because of contact with the Nunes Castellos via the previous Montefiore/Castello marriage(s), but then family pressure was brought to bear on Eliezer to marry within the family which he did in 1797 some 3 years after John Castello Montefiore was born! James Greener has seen a description of John Castello Montefiore in a codicil of the will of Eliezer Montefiore as a 'good friend', a description which undoubtedly obscures their true relationship for the sake of the family's feelings.

5. See burial record #4390 of Bevis Marks Records 6.

6. We are inclined to accept that there was an early Barrow link to the Baruch Lousadas and we conclude that it must have occurred in Livorno where the Baruch Lousadas first went after leaving Iberia. That is, we think it likely that Simon Barrow's father Baruch married a Baruch Lousada in Livorno around 1708. Simon Barrow #64, the original Barrow of our family was born in 1709, and as just suggested this must have been in Livorno.

7. Joseph Barrow Montefiore and Jacob Barrow Montefiore who went on to play an important role in the early development of Australia were sons of Judith Joseph Levi of Barbados who was a first cousin of Simon Barrow of Bath; thus Joseph and Jacob were great-grandchildren of Simon Barrow of Barbados. Their sister, Esther Hannah Montefiore, then produced in Barbados two sons Eliezer 1820-94 and Jacob Levi Montefiore 1819-85 who also both entered Australian history a generation later than their uncles. Jacob became a squatter then a senior figure in mining and a distinguished member of the community (and also wrote the lyrics of Australia's first opera 'Don John of Austria' whose score was written by Isaac Nathan), while Eliezer, as an adjunct to a career in business, became senior in the arts world - a founder of the Art Gallery of NSW and other galleries. Jacob and Eliezer both appear in the Australian Dictionary of Biography (ref 53). In Australia Eliezer married Esther Hannah Barrow Montefiore, a daughter of Joseph Barrow Montefiore. Jacob gave up an Australian political career and returned to England but Eliezer stayed in Australia. All these people appear in our chart of early Australian Barrows and Lousadas.

8. Drax bought a triple-roller sugar mill and copper cauldrons during his visit to Pernambuco, according to ref 172 p38.

9. There were 4 later Lousada/Mercado marriages at least 2 of which involve Baruch Lousadas (all 4 if as appears likely the Den Haag Louzadas are Baruch Lousadas). Of particular interest was the Daniel Mercado/Sarah Baruch Louzada marriage of 1683 in Amsterdam where the groom was born in Genoa in 1659. Perhaps after the expulsion from Dutch Brazil some Mercados went to Genoa where they made contact with the Baruch Louzadas in nearby Livorno.

10. In ref 5 can be found a comment by Aaron Baruch Lousada #376 in connection with some unsigned family accounts for the year 1685 to the effect that he had then served 26 years of slavery for the family! The will extract from which this comment is taken can also be found here.

11. For 6 or 7 years, and perhaps even acquired a plantation - ref 5.

12. Clearly Aaron died between his will of 9 May 1693 and its proving on 3 Oct 1695. A conversion error obviously afflicted ref 61 #17 when converting the gravestone death date of 17 Tisri 5456 for it somehow comes up with a death date after the proving date! It is easy to calculate Aaron's date of death to have been 16 Sep 1695 taking care to apply the deduction of 10 days when converting a Gregorian date to a Julian date (the English date change occurred in 1752). Another transcription error afflicted ref 61 #17 in giving age at death of 25 - and because a very easy gravestone transcription error to make is to read a 7 as a 2 it seems that the most likely age at death was 75 meaning a birth probably in Madrid in 1620. Perhaps Aaron was the oldest son of his father David, and perhaps Amador (the father of David and Isaac) was also Aaron a name for which Amador may have been a convenient equivalent in 1540!

13. For the last trip he obtained a pass on 17 Apr 1696 (ref 182) for him and son (Jacob) and daughter-in-law Rebecca (as reported by ref 5). The date of this pass is consistent with the date of his brother Aaron's death being in late 1695.

14. From ref 190 (last page) it is clear Joseph Barrow witnessed with Isaac Lindo the will of Judith Castello on 22 Aug 1759. Thus Joseph Barrow must have been in Barbados for at least a few years and must have known Isaac Lindo, who was part of a link between the Barrows and the Baruh Lousadas of Barbados.

15. The Barbados travel pass issued by Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector, on 27 April 1655 to David Raphael de Mercado and his father makes no mention of his wife Gracia (ref 5). Later passes (as shown in ref 182) do generally include all members of a party. This leaves unclear how Gracia got to Barbados and when her marriage took place. Perhaps she and her brothers got to Barbados unofficially, a situation that was rectified retrospectively with her marriage and the endenization of David #44 in 1664, Aaron #376 in 1676, and Abraham #45 in 1672 (ref 5).