on May 8, 2020

Leme Family

on May 8, 2020

Família Leme

There are many branches of the Leme family in Southeast of Brazil. What many do not know is that the family originated in the city of Bruges, currently the capital of the province of West Flanders, Belgium. The port city is known as the “Venice of the North” because of its numerous canals and centuries-old architecture. The name Bruges, probably of Viking origin, people who dominated the place since the 9th century, means anchorage.

Commercial development soon enriched some local families, such as the Lem, whose contact with Portuguese merchants, who brought spices, wood and sugar to Bruges, over time, also brought them influence. Because they had their own caravels, the Lem got the monopoly of the cork trade from the king of Portugal for ten years, a franchise granted to Maerten Lem (Martin Lem), leading some members of the clan to settle in Lisbon and on Wood Island.


At that time the surname was brought to Rudder and family members headed for Brazil, in the middle of the 16th century, where they became important mill owners in the captaincy of São Vicente. The first to arrive in Brazil was Antão Leme, from Madeira Island, to exercise the position of ordinary judge and, years later, his son, Pedro Leme. Pedro's daughter, Leonor Leme, and your husband, Braz Teves (corrupted name in Brazil for Esteves), are considered the couple from the São Paulo people, because in addition to their direct descendants, practically all families of Vincentian origin were intertwined with the Leme by marriage.

Rudders and Sephardic bonds

But if the origin of the Leme family is Nordic, whose oldest known member is Willem Lem, also cited as Guillaume Lem, in the French form, who lived around 1350, how does the Sephardic bond take place? It turns out that of the many Brazilian branches of Leme, two in particular are descended from two known Sephardic Jews, Sebastião de Freitas and Antonio Bicudo Carneiro, due to ancestor marriages.

This is the case of Leme da Silva in Atibaia, inner Sao Paulo, which around the beginning of the century. XVIII settled in the region. One of the daughters of the couple Brás Esteves Leme and Teodora da Silva Padilha, Maria, adopted the surname composed Leme da Silva. From the wedding of Maria Leme da Silva with Antonio Leite Cardoso vast descendants emerged that still inhabit Atibaia and neighboring cities.

The fact is that although Brás Esteves Leme has no known ties to any Sephardic Jew, his wife, Teodora, is Antonio Bicudo Carneiro and Izabel Rodrigues. From Teodora, branches emerged that carry surnames as Brito, Camargo, Cardoso, Cunha, Oliveira, Padilha, Prado, Black, Rock and Siqueira.

The other branch, more numerous, descends from the daughter of Sebastião de Freitas and Maria Pedroso de Alvarenga, Izabel de Freitas, who married Braz Leme. In cities like Cotia, Guaratinguetá, Itu, Santana de Parnaíba, Santo Amaro and Sorocaba descendants of this branch can be found by signing various surnames, such as Correa, Costa, Lima, Freire, Garcia, Machado, Pedroso, Reis, Ribeiro and Tenório, among others.


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.