Concluding remarks by Julian Land

After 11 years since this website went live, it is time to reflect on where we have got to.

The earliest-known Baruch Lousadas were of modest wealth and social status, but were lucky enough to form marriage bonds with wealthy and influential Sephardic families in Portugal and Spain. They thereby supported the Henriques Faros and the Rodrigues Pereiras in their strategic moves away from Catholic influence and into the orbit of tolerant northern European Protestant countries. By this means, the Baruch Lousadas themselves were able to leave Iberia from 1640 and made a crucial move to Barbados, London and Amsterdam in the mid-1600s. From Barbados, where they assumed the de Mercado business following another key marriage, they were then able to move to Jamaica around 1705. There they assumed the Lamego business, with whom they ultimately had 5 marriages, and they were able to move to London in 1743 where they soon qualified as marriage partners to incoming wealthy families like the Lopes Pereiras in the 1770s. The Lopes Pereiras brought da Fonseca and Querido connections - old names in the Western Sephardic Diaspora.

The Baruch Lousadas became secure among the leading ranks of Anglo-Jewry. Perhaps some forgot to protect their wealth - eg neglecting to offload their plantations before abolition of slavery - and in the 1800s becoming diverted by the 'Lousada' Dukedom and Jewish social life at Sidmouth. There were however many branches of the family - some left Iberia later, and some lost their Lousada name. However, their DNA appears in such families as the English Barrows, Montefiores, Mocattas, Lopes, Pereiras, Ximenes and Aguilars. We have learnt to broaden our English focus - for relatives appeared in Den Haag, Surinam/Curacao, Livorno/Tunis and New England as well as Amsterdam, Barbados and Jamaica and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

I was fortunate in my genealogical endeavours. The Baruch Lousadas had a distinctive and uncommon name, so they were easy to spot in archival references. They also were present in a limited range of countries, making it somewhat easier to infer their movements. The Barrows claimed Baruch Lousada ancestry, and our work supports this as arising in Italy with an Empire connection in the shape of the Pressburgs followed by the first of two Montefiore marriages. The Pressburg connection recurred several generations later, but further Ashkenasi connections also arose, especially with the Goldsmids. Accordingly, the Barrow descendants of the Baruch Lousadas today find themselves in DNA matching more commonly associated with these prolific Ashkenasi families than to the present-day dispersed descendants of their Sephardic ancestors. Attachment to Judaism is today not common among these descendants despite the strongly unequivocal return to Judaism after centuries of enforced Iberian Christianity. After more than a century of assimilative pressure, some turned to a strong adherence to Christianity, but ultimately most of the family contributed to the secular drift typical of modern times.

The mini-diaspora of the Baruch Lousadas reflects the broader Western Sephardic diaspora. It is hard not to feel pride that these people overcome oppression in Catholic Iberia, and helped England and The Netherlands establish commercial and naval supremacy over Spain and Portugal. In the Francophone world, their influence is harder to assess, because there were so many regional differences in their crypto-Judaism with no central archive to show the overall pattern. Strangely, it is hard not to feel affection for Spain and Portugal, for expatriate links to those countries via language and literature persisted for hundreds of years. Only a few traces remain of the Jewish presence in Iberia, but now reconciliation efforts are being made in both Spain and Portugal.