Almeida Coelho Family
Previously, we talked about an important branch of the Coelho family (to learn more about the origin of the surname Coelho, click on here) what especially the states of São Paulo and Paraná, descendant of the Sephardic Jew Francisco Vaz Coelho, the Proença Coelho.
In the mentioned text, it is mentioned that the surname Coelho goes back to the reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula by Christians in the war against the Moors. However, the surname Coelho has been used by several families over the centuries, including Sephardi, who according to some scholars, adopted him to escape persecution from the Inquisition.
Many Sephardim ended up migrating to the Azores and later went to Brazil. This is the case of Almeida Coelho, whose members spread especially in the south of Brazil, more specifically in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina.
Last name of toponymic origin, that is, linked to a certain place, Almeida appeared in the current parish of the same name, located in the northeast of Portugal. The place was baptized by Muslims as Talmeyda, which means “table” in Arabic. There, they built a castle during the Iberian occupation, Castelo de Almeida, an important local tourist spot. The site was also the scene of battles in the Portuguese War of Restoration of Independence, when the country was taken over by Napoleonic forces in the early 19th century. Portuguese point of resistance to the French invasion, in combat that occurred in 1810 the castle had largely destroyed after the explosion of a powder magazine during the siege, when 500 people died.
But the fact is that the fact that Dom Payo Guterres Amado was responsible for the defeat of the Moors and for the taking of the Castle of Almeida de Riba Coa (Ribacôa) entered into history. Almeidão, as it became known after the deed. For this reason, Dom Payo received the title of lord of that castle from King Dom Sancho I, passing the title to his descendants, who adopted the surname Almeida (or Almeyda, in archaic Portuguese), with Pedro Paes de Almeida the first to sign such nickname.
The Almeida Coelho family in Brazil
The Almeida family is quite large in Brazil. Several members of this family can be found in the most different regions of the country, but the branch in question joined the Coelho from the Azores in the 18th century, when the Santa Catarina Manoel Coelho Rodrigues, son of the Azorean Francisco Coelho and Maria Úrsula do Canto, he married Laureana Joaquina d'Almeida, daughter of the Portuguese Antonio Correia Lisboa and Maria Leonarda dos Santos de Almeida.
However, the Sephardic bond only occurred when the couple's second son, Ambrósio de Almeida Coelho, married Maria Augusta do Sacramento, a descendant of the Azorean Antonio Fernandes, which at the beginning of the 17th century appears on the list of payers of the feint, a tax levied on the properties of "people of the nation", that is, new Christians. Many descendants of Antonio Fernandes can now be found in Florianópolis and other cities in Santa Catarina, such as Águas Mornas, Anitápolis and Santo Amaro da Imperatriz.
Important to remember: Last names are indications, but they do not determine whether or not you are descendants of Sephardic Jews. To prove this link, a genealogical study is really necessary.
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