How the study of names helps us envisage the origin of the Barrows, the Fischls and the Dirsztays

What led to the above chart was the observation that 'Simon' occurs in the name of both the wealthy diamond merchant Baron Lyons de Symons and Simon Barrow of Barbados - perhaps they were cousins (see other clues in note 11 below). The chart poses the question as to how is Baruch (see note 12 below) to be inserted into Pressburg ancestry (see notes 1 to 7 below). We tackle this while resolving further questions with the help of names (see note 8 below). Despite remaining puzzles (see note 9 below) the above chart enriches our understanding of Barrow ancestry, and it permits the assimilation of the Dirsztay family tree (see note 14). DNA evidence (see note 10 below) provides us some comfort that the Fischls and the Dirsztays have a common origin with the Barrows with their acquired Baruch Lousada ancestry.

The Barrows showed by their names (see note 6 below) a great willingness to associate themselves with the Baruch Lousadas and we attribute this to a strong belief that the Baruch Lousadas figured in their ancestry. Accordingly an origin of the Barrows with the Livorno Baruch Lousadas is displayed, though their travel to Barbados and the links they developed to the Barbados Baruch Lousadas once they got there could have been quite independent. Once Jacob Barrow moved from Barbados to London by 1787, the link with the Baruch Lousadas was formalised in the Barrow & Lousada business accompanied by 2 Barrow/Baruh Lousada marriages. The Barrow assumption of Baruch Lousada ancestry and subsequent reconnection has a remarkable parallel in the case of the Fischls and de Dirsztays of Hungary.

One of the Hungarian descendants (or in-laws) of Gedalia bar Baruch was recognized to have 'de Losada' nobility. We suggest that this descendant successfully mimicked the Jamaican branch of the Baruch Lousadas who were lucky enough to have never been challenged when they assumed the title of Duque de Losada. From our perspective, all that was achieved in this Hungarian exercise was demonstration of a Dirsztay belief in their own Baruch Lousada origins. A Moritz Baruh appeared in Timisoara (see note 14 below), while Gedalia and Simon appeared in Prague in 1729 (see note 15 below). Simon Barrow and a married sister then made their way to Barbados. The Dirsztays made their own reconnection with the Baruch Lousadas by their 2 marriages around 1900 with twin daughters of the 5th and last Lousada Duke (see here).



1. Bratislava is known as Pressburg in German and Poesing in Hungarian. It was the capital of Hungary during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The suggested grandfather of the first Barrows was the 'Court Jew' Simon Michael Pressburg, who adopted the Pressburg name upon settling in or near Bratislava where he was active in business and in community affairs. In 1705 he moved to Vienna and as Court Jew became the key supplier to the Mint in Vienna. In 1710 he made a proposal to the Vienna Court for a bank in Bratislava, a proposal which resurfaced 12 years later (ref 56).  His son (ref 148) Samuel Michael Lazarus Pressburg was a wealthy Viennese banker and Government agent and a daughter Sarah Leah Pressburg married the son of the another 'Court Jew' Juspa of Geldern who died in Dusseldorf (ref 56). Court Jews were important in defence and other royal financing and of course in Jewish commercial life not least in diamond sales (ref 84). See also note 13.

2. Details of the children of Simon Michael Pressburg can be found in online genealogies but naming is extremely variable. A complete account of the children of Simon Michael Pressburg is perhaps yet to be written, and our suggestion of the step-children shown above has not been taken up elsewhere (as of 10 Mar 2024).

3. The death of Simon Michael Pressburg in Vienna is now (14 Dec 2015) given online as 10 Apr 1719, but this conflicts with ref 56 p157 which seems to imply he again in person proposed his Bratislava bank in 1722, 12 years after he first proposed it in Vienna. Some clarity on this may be found here. Perhaps as a key supplier to the Mint he needed a presence in Italy to secure silver supplies from Genoa (see ref 377). It is unlikely he sent his stepson Baruch - for Baruch appears in Prague in 1729 (see note 15 below) as a glazier together with Gedalia (also a glazier) and also Simon; if Baruch was in Italy around 1705, Venice seems a more likely place for Baruch to have visited. Perhaps another son was sent to Genoa via Milan or Livorno (but Livorno was losing its lustre during the 1700s (see note 13 below).

4. Simon Michael Pressburg is also well known as online he is named as an ancestor of the poet Heinrich Heine and also Karl Marx! His son the rabbi Michael Lazarus Pressburg 1687-1756 is the ancestor of the 2nd wife of the composer Arnold Schoenberg. Their grandson E Randol Schoenberg has assisted us in this area. Simon Michael Pressburg is also an ancestor of the well-known Australian philosopher Peter Singer.

5. Was Simon Barrow of Barbados named after Simon Michael Pressbug? If so, Ashkenasi naming rules (ref 35 p20) come into play as the latter was alive in 1709 when the former was born. This would not have been a breach of Sephardic naming rules and if why we first suggested he had a Sephardic (Baruch Lousada) mother. We note that the naming of the second Simon Barrow raised a similar issue - but presumably the family thought of itself as well and truly Sephardic by then since his father Jacob Barrow would have had 3 Sephardic grandparents and in addition he married a Sephardic wife.

6. The Barrow Family Tree exhibits a belief that the mother of Simon Barrow of Barbados was a Lousada (see note 7 on the question of whether she was a Baruch Lousada or one of the other Lousadas). Certainly there was much subsequent use made of 'Lousada' as a forename in the Barrow family; we know of Major-General Lousada Barrow #225 b1816, Charles Lousada Thesiger Barrow #325 his son b1852, Reginald Lousada Barrow #360 b1889, Captain Hugh Lousada Barrow #301 b1861 and Nina Lousada Barrow #1125 b1891. Cheesman (ref 33) suggests that a brother of Simon Barrow of Barbados was named Lousada but he offered no evidence for this. Analogously, 'Montefiore' appeared as a forename for Cecil Montefiore Barrow #333 b1843, no doubt reflecting the fact that the wife of Simon Barrow of Barbados was Bailah Montefiore 1720-73. Because this marriage occurred decades before the Montefiores appeared in England from Livorno, we look to Livorno and perhaps Tunis for the origin of the Barrows. But an element of creative thinking occurred when some of the Barrows contemplated their ancestry! For Simon Barrow of Barbados was born about a century later than the emergence of the Baruch Lousadas in Livorno, and on this basis those who have sought to represent his parents' marriage as the origin of the Baruch Lousadas are mistaken. Iberian naming tradition certainly forms double surnames by putting the father's surname ahead of the mother's, but there is no plausible way to invoke that tradition here since 'Baruch' was not used as a surname by the Barrows until around 1750 when 'Simon son of Baruch' became 'Simon Barrow' in Barbados. Before then 'Baruch' for the Barrows was simply a Jewish patronymic as used before surnames became obligatory elsewhere in Europe. Admittedly some confusion has arisen on this point because the Baruch Lousadas in London and Barbados, almost 100 years before Simon bar Baruch became Simon Barrow in Barbados, did use Baruch or Barrow as a single surname for some purposes. But the Barrow Family Tree seems to have been written in ignorance of the fact that Moses Barrow of London was Moses Baruh Lousada and therefore it did not need to invoke a mysterious wife Senorita Lousada to introduce Baruch Lousada ancestry into Barrow genealogy - her husband already had this ancestry! In any event we now consider that Moses married a Henriques Faro (twice).

7. We can not demonstrate with complete certainty that of the 5 families we know bore the 'Lousada' name in the 100 year period around 1700 it was the Baruch Lousadas that provided the Barrows with a Lousada ancestor in Livorno or Tunis. Certainly we can rule out 3 of them. The NY Lousadas do not appear to have come from Livorno for in London circumcision was required whereas Livorno had a fully functioning Jewish community. The Den Haag Louzadas do not appear to have been in Livorno - they had a Venice connection (but were probably Baruch Lousadas). The Lumbroso Lousadas do not appear in Livorno records after 1652. It is much more difficult to assess the not very numerous Levi Lousadas. They remained in Livorno (with one appearing in Amsterdam and others in Tunis) throughout the 18th century. Of course they too appear to be closely related to the Baruch Lousadas. They seemed to have had Mendes ancestry in common and furthermore Abraham Levi Lousada was an uncle of Isaac #42 with the newly-arrived (from Madrid) Isaac living in his house in 1641 and 1642.

8. The identity of the father of Baron Lyons de Symons has benefited from the recognition of the name of Samuel Lyon de Symons in that of his paternal grandfather Samuel Michael Lazarus Pressburg. Samuel Lyon de Symons married Bella Barrow in 1828 - she was widowed on the death of Moses Baruh Lousada in 1826. The name of Samuel's brother Aaron echoes the name of the maternal grandfather Aaron Goldsmid. Also, the name of their nephew Sir Barrow Helbert Ellis echoes that of Baruch the father of Simon Barrow of Barbados.

9. Principal among these puzzles is that the circa-1735 marriage of Simon Barrow of Barbados and Bailah Montefiore did not occur in Livorno. Baruch, Simon's father, married a Baruch Lousada but again not in Livorno. This failure to locate these 2 marriages is a hurdle we face. Nevertheless, we maintain the view that Baruch was the channel by which the Barrows have their first direct link to Vienna, to be followed by the de Symons link possessed by all the descendants of Simon Barrow of Bath. Those Barrows not descending from Simon Barrow of Bath would not have this extra link (see note 10).

10. Our exploration of autosomal DNA matches supports our thinking without providing absolute proof. This DNA evidence raises a question as it does not show the expected elevated level of Pressburg ancestry possessed by Julian Land (triple Pressburg descendant) and his 4th cousin Ed Barrow (double Pressburg descendant) over that of John Griffiths (single Pressburg descendant and descendant of the Joseph Barrow shown in the chart). This suggests that Tryphena Esther Lyon de Symons may have had a biological father other than Baron Lyon de Symons! The Y-DNA evidence from Ed Barrow is more powerful as it points to Baruch having Wertheimer, Myers or other possible ancestry. For Hannah's father is given in the literature as Mair Menzels, and the grandmother of Baron Lyon de Symons - after her first husband Isaac Liepmann died in 1711 - married Samson Wertheimer d1724.

11. They both had an Ashkenasi background, their families came together in England via the 1808 marriage of Tryphena Esther Lyon de Symons and Simon Barrow of Bath, and Simon Barrow of Bath showed himself to have had exceptional access to the Viennese court.

12. The oldest son of Simon Barrow of Barbados was named Baruch Barrow, after the paternal grandfather (see also note 5), for the name of Simon's father (and Gedalia's father) is known to have been Baruch from the Ashkenasi form Simon bar Baruch.

13. Perhaps diamonds figured among the financial agenda of the Italian sojourn of the representatives of Simon Michael Pressburg, though they diminished as a factor for once sea routes to India were established, few Indian diamonds made their way through Livorno. As ref 84 p125 points out, in the mid-18th century the London Ashkenasi Jews had few contacts with Livorno and thus did not use Mediterranean coral to trade for Indian diamonds (see note 9). In any event, the Sephardic Livorno merchants in the 1700s progressively concentrated on cross-Mediterranean trade rather than Atlantic trade (ref 64). Of the Italian Jewish families in the diamond trade who moved to London in first half of the 1700s were the Francos (with whom there were 2 Lousada marriages) and the Levy Sonsinos (with Montefiore and possibly Barrow marriages).

14. This remarkable tree was mysteriously volunteered to Peter Lousada some time after he made a business trip to Budapest, and was among the first items of Lousada memorabilia he made available to Julian Land when they first met. A person named Moritz Baruh is the vehicle by which Baruch Lousada ancestry is introduced into the Dirsztay family tree, but we think erroneously. The name does of course resonate - for Moritz Baruh surely equates to Moses bar Baruch! A better hypothesis as to the origins of the Fischls and Dirsztays is given here, and this hypothesis not only involves Moritz Baruh indirectly, but a further brother Gedalia bar Baruch of Prague and also a sister.

15. On 30 Oct 2023 Randy Schoenberg found in the 1729 Prague census the brothers Gedalia and Simon, sons of Baruch. In turn Baruch was son of Moses Lichtenstadt. Baruch and Gedalia were glaziers. This 1729 data appears in ref 379.