During this Covid-19 lockdown, one of my very individual choices for continuing education is taking part in a series of weekly Zoom seminars or webinars on Sephardic history, organised by the Bevis Marks Synagogue and the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Community in London.
Earlier this week (23 June 2020), for example, Rabbi Shalom Morris was in conversation with Dr Aviva Ben-Ur of the University of Massachusetts on ‘Jewish autonomy in a slave society: Suriname in the Atlantic, 1651-1825.’ Last month (19 May 2020), Rabbi Morris was in conversation with Laura Arnold Leibman about ‘Giving Sephardic Women a Voice.’
In both those conversations, the Lousada and Baruch Lousada family was found in interesting roles in Sephardic communities in the Atlantic, from Portugal, Amsterdam and Livorno to Jamaica, Barbados and Surname.
The Baruch Lousadas were part of the Sephardic diaspora, dating from by the 1492 Spanish expulsion of Jews in 1492, and given impetus by the Portuguese and Spanish Inquisitions.
The family name brought me back to earlier research on the Wolseley family, and the marriage in London in 1834 of Marianne Wolseley of Wolseley and Count Francis Baruch Lousada, a member of a rich family of sugar planters in Jamaica.
Marianne’s father, Sir Charles Wolseley (1769-1838), who succeeded his father as the seventh baronet in 1817, was a radical politician who took part in the storming of the Bastille in 1789, became a strong advocate of parliamentary reform, and was surety for the families of some of the victims of the Peterloo Massacre in 1819. He was arrested in 1819 and jailed 200 years ago, in 1820, for sedition and conspiracy.
His political activism threatened the financial stability of his family, but his daughter Marianne managed to avoid her own possible financial and social ruin in 1834 when she married Count Francis Baruch Lousada (1813-1870), a member of a rich family of sugar planters in Jamaica.
Marianne Wolseley’s father-in-law, brother-in-law and two of her three sons claimed the title of Duque de Losada y Lousada. But, with my interest in the sometimes preposterous claims made to titles in the 19th century, I wondered who was this count? Was he really descended from Spanish aristocracy, as he claimed? And where did this title come from?
Were his claims similar to the bogus or fictitious as the claims I had uncovered of Sir James Fitzgerald (1791-1839), who was living at Wolseley Hall in 1830s, at the time of Marianne’s marriage, when he convinced everyone that he was an Irish baronet, with a title dating back to Clenglish or Springfield Castle in Co Limerick in 1644?
The Jewish exiles forced to leave Spain in 1492 sought to avoid baptism, and half of them crossed into Portugal, where they soon outnumbered the local Jews. The origins of the Lousada name are shrouded in mystery. But the Portuguese surname Louzada or Lousada was one of many placenames adopted in the mass Portuguese baptisms of 1497, being the name of a Portuguese border town and its two nearby villages about 45 km east of Porto.
By 1500, about 90% of Portuguese Jews were from Spain, and Edgar Samuel suggests that the Lousada name derives from baptism of Spanish newcomers in one of the three Lousada villages in Portugal, although not all who adopted the Lousada name became Baruch Lousadas.
The Losada and Lousada placenames in Spain were probably used in baptisms in Spain in or before 1492, but these names seem to relate only to small settlements and farms.
Amador de Lousada, who was jailed by the Inquisition in Coimbra in 1590-1591, has been identified by genealogists as the probable ancestor of the widespread Baruch Lousada families.
Amador de Lousada was born in 1540 and he was a shoemaker in the Portuguese town of Vinhais when he was arrested. His parents were Pedro de Lousada and Briatis Alvares, probably the children of Spanish Jews displaced to Portugal in 1492. He was found guilty of Judaising and sentenced to perpetual penitence.
The research published on the site devoted to The Baruch Lousadas and the Barrows suggests that by 1606 his married first daughter was living in the nearby Portuguese town of Villaflor, and that by 1610 some of his Villaflor relatives had moved to Madrid presumably to avoid the flourishing Portuguese Inquisition.
But the Spanish Inquisition returned with intensity in 1643, and Amador’s wealthy grandson, Tomas Rodrigues Pereira, left Madrid, and then from 1645 lived an active Jewish life in Amsterdam as Abraham Israel Pereira.
Meanwhile, by 1640 Amador’s son, Isaac Baruch Lousada, was living in the port of Livorno, and there he voted in synagogue elections in 1641-1642. By 1649, Isaac’s son, Moses Baruh Lousada, was a regular visitor to Amsterdam, probably from France.
This was a tumultuous time. By 1654, Portugal recaptured Dutch Brazil and expelled the Jews living there. The push by the Dutch to establish new sugar-producing colonies was eagerly supported by the Jewish communities in Amsterdam and Livorno.
Despite Anglo-Dutch tensions, the Baruch Lousadas lived as merchants in the English sugar island of Barbados from 1659. From Barbados, they reached Curacao ca 1685 and Jamaica ca 1705.
From Curacao, the Baruch Lousadas re-established themselves in Surinam, and in 1743 from Jamaica they moved to England. Families with the Baruch Lousada name, or its many equivalents, were continuously present in Amsterdam until 1739, Jamaica until 1808, Curacao until 1816, Barbados until 1831, and Surinam until 1912.
Researchers on the website for the Baruch Lousada and Barrow families have mapped this mini-diaspora, with extensive family trees. The Lousada part of the family name is still borne by descendants in England, the US and Australia, although in the Netherlands it appears as Louzada.
It was common, perhaps fashionable, for Sephardic families to claim kinship with the nobility of the Iberian Peninsula. For example, the Curiel family claimed links with the last Visigothic Kings and to the Portuguese ruling family.
When the Spanish Inquisition ended in 1834, the pursuit of noble descent in Spain was no longer threatening for relatives with ‘New Christian’ ancestry. The vacant title of the Duque de Losada was a suitable choice for the Lousada family and its desire for nobility status. The name Losada in Spanish sounded like the Portuguese Lousada or Louzada, and it was indeed very grand.
The English name for the Dukedom is Losada y Lousada, but this mixes the Spanish and Portuguese-Galician forms. The title of Duque de Losada was created in Naples in 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.
Another family tree tries claims that the Baruch Lousada name arose in effect as Baruch y Lousada through a fictional marriage ca 1700 when, in fact, as the Lousada and Barrow genealogical site points out, the Baruch Lousada name arose in Livorno ca 1640.
Lousada Baruch and Barrow genealogical site)
It is not known who made this suggestion to the Baruch Lousada family in Jamaica. But they commissioned a Spanish herald and genealogist to produce a set of lurid, expensive-looking but specious documents enabling them to claim they were the successors to the Duque de Losada.
Isaac Lousada (1783-1857), the first so-called successor, may have been passive about asserting these claims when they were first made in the 1840s, although others say that that was with evident panache that he assumed the title of Duque de Losada in 1848.
After Isaac died in 1857, his eldest son, Emanuel de Lousada, lost little time making himself known as the Duke de Losada y Lousada, which amounts to a very curious change of name.
In his papers, Emanuel de Lousada left a handwritten draft for an entry in Burke’s Peerage, and there is evidence of the fee Emanuel paid to Burke, who may have been the prime mover in the whole exercise.
But it is a difficult genealogical exercise to plaining his claimed link to the Spanish Duque, and there is no logical way to explain how the Dukes inherited – in Spain – a moribund Italian title that had been held by someone they were not related to.
The creative, but nonetheless fictitious, explanations are found in work of the Spanish herald and genealogist, the gullibility of the genealogical authorities in Spain and London, and the audacity of Emanuel.
Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1867)
The reward for the whole escapade and the social and political compensation for the expenses and difficulties encountered in pursuing this genealogical deception were many: Emanuel received a British passport in 1862; his brother Francis married into the minor ranks of the British nobility, wangled another title in the court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and became a British diplomat in the US; and three more further members of the Lousada family were unchallenged in their use of the title of Duke.
In polite Victorian society, most people never queried the standing of the soi-disant dukes, overlooking the peculiar change of name, the hybrid coat of arms and the lack of official authentication.
In England, members of the Lousada family married into leading Sephardic families, including the Montefiore and Mocatta families.
Marianne Wolseley had managed to avoid her own possible financial and social ruin in 1834 when she married Count Francis Baruch Lousada (1813-1870), a member of a rich family of sugar planters in Jamaica.
Francis was born on 11 November 1813, and was baptised on 11 June 1831 in Saint Marylebone Church. Francis and Marianne were married on 25 November 1834 in Saint George’s Church, Hanover Square, London.
Marianne’s father-in-law, Isaac de Lousada, claimed the title of Duke of Lousada in 1848, and this was recognised by King Carlos of Spain. Marianne’s husband, Francis Baruch Lousada (1813-1870), was given the title of Marchese de San Miniato by the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1846. It was said at the time that Lousada paid for the title while his wife Marianne was a lady-in-waiting in London to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany.
Francis Lousada was the British Consul in Rhode Island and Massachusetts when he died in Boston in 1870. Marianne (Wolseley) died on 1 November 1884 in Tarvis in Carinthia, Austria, now Tarvisio in Italy.
Francis and Marianne were the parents of three children, whose names continued those of some of the leading Staffordshire Catholic families, including Wolseley and Clifford:
1, Count Horace Francis de Lousada, Marchese de San Miniato (1837-1905). He was born on 29 September 1837, was a colonel in the Indian army, and died on 26 December 1905.
2, Count Ernest Wolseley de Lousada (1841-1872). He was born on 24 June 1841 in Mitford, Norfolk, and died on 24 September 1872.
3, Count Francis Clifford de Lousada (1853-1916), was born in Belgium on 16 February, was brought back to live in England, and became a captain in the Royal Navy and later managing director of Glasgow Tramway & Omnibus Company Ltd. He married Emily Florence Magee in Saint James’s Church, Piccadilly, in 1879. He became the fourth duke in 1905. Francis died in Paddington in 1916, Emily died in Wiesbaden in 1924, and they are buried in Paddington.
The eldest son, Horace Francis Lousada (1837-1905), succeeded his father as the second marchese and his uncle as the third duke, and the title then passed to his younger brother, Francis.
The fifth and last duke was Edward Eugene Lousada (1853-1941), who returned to Jamaica. But by then, as Albert M Hyamson notes in his The Sephardim of England, this branch of the family had ‘a number of years previously withdrawn from the Jewish community.’
Marianne Wolseley’s marriage to this soi-disant marchese, and the titles used by her children is a story that has many parallels with the story of the marriage almost 30 years later in 1883 of her nephew, Sir Charles Wolseley (1846-1931), to Anita Murphy, the daughter of an Irish-American magnate, Daniel T Murphy, who bought the title of marchese from the Pope.
But that’s another story for tomorrow.