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« on: May 25, 2010, 05:56:06 AM »

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about references to Jewish persons who bear the surname LEAL (my original article can be found on this website). I have now done further research which I will share with you in this article.

The information in this article is based on information which I found in various databases and websites as collected by Sephardic researcher Jeff MALKA and made available by him through the JewishGen Sephardic Special Interest Group (SIG) website (

My research extended to 43 databases and websites. On six of these databases and websites I found references to Jewish LEALs. I will describe these references below.

Paragraph I. “Sephardic surnames of Northern European Communities (a database maintained by Mathilde Tagger)”.
This database contains one entry for a person named LEAL. The entry only refers to the following book which contains more information:

“Dave VERDOONER and Harmen SNEL. Jewish Marriage in Amsterdam 1598-1811.”

I have not been able to find a copy of the actual book, but the contents of the book is searchable on the following website:

The entry in the database is for a marriage that took place in one of the three Portuguese Sephardic congregations in Amsterdam in the Netherlands in 1629. The Netherlands were a well known safe harbour for Sephardic Jews at the time. The name of the groom is David LEAL who was born in Miranda in 1593. The name of the bride is Ester LEAL who was also born in 1593 in a place called Trancoso. The website does not mention in which country Miranda and Trancoso are situated, but I have found several places named Miranda and Trancoso in both Portugal and Spain. David and Ester may be related to one another. They were probably descendants of conversos (Jews converted to Christianity) as Jews were not allowed to live in Iberia after 1492 (Spain) / 1497 (Portugal). They probably reverted to their ancestral religion when they settled in Amsterdam. The names of the witnesses to the marriage are not mentioned in the database.

The database also contains marriages for seven persons with the surname LEALTAD and LEALTAR. These were all people who married in the Portuguese Sephardic congregation of Talmud Torah (a merger of the former three congregations that took place in 1639) in Amsterdam in the Netherlands in the 17th and 18th century.

Paragraph II. “Jewish cemetery Beth Haim in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel (the Netherlands)”.
Beth Haim is the cemetery of the Portuguese Sephardic community in the Netherlands. The cemetery is located in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, about 15 kilometres South of Amsterdam. The burial register of the cemetery for the period 1639 – 1648 has been transcribed and published in the following book:

“Lydia HAGOORT in cooperation with Wilhelmina Chr. PIETERSE. Burial Register Portuguese-Israelite Community 1639-1648.”

The book can be downloaded as a pdf document on the following website: The book is in Dutch, but the actual entries are in Portuguese as this is the language in which the register was maintained.

The book contains three entries for persons named LEAL:

David LEAL offers fl 0.30 at the burial of a daughter of Josseph MENDES in 1642. The relation between David and the deceased and her parents is unclear. David may be the same person as the one who married Ester LEAL in 1629 (see paragraph I).

O. LEAL offers fl. 0.60 at the burial of Solamão GABAI, daughter of Mrs Sara GABAI, in 1643. The relation between O. LEAL and the deceased or her parents is unclear.

Davi LEAL makes an offer at the burial of Sara DE SARA DE VALEMSI in 1644. The relation between Davi and the deceased is unclear. Davi may be the same person as the one who married Ester LEAL in 1629 (see paragraph I).

Paragraph III. “Jewish surnames of Northern Africa (a database maintained by Mathilde Tagger)”.
This database contains one entry for a person named LEAL and three for persons named LEALTAD. The entry for the person named LEAL only refers to the following book which should contain more information:

“Abraham LAREDO. Les noms des Juifs du Maroc; essai d'onomasique judéo-marocaine. Madrid, Institut Arias Montano, 1978.”

I have not been able to find a copy of this book. The database also mentions that the surname is alternatively spelled as LOAL. The database contains no further information.

Paragraph IV. “Jewish surnames from the Balkans (a database maintained by Mathilde Tagger)”.
This database contains two entries for persons named LEAL. The entries refer to two books which should contain more information:

“Baruh PINTO. Sephardic onomasticon. Istanbul, Gözlem, 2004. (English and Turkish).”; and

“Shelomo ROSANES. Divrei Yemei Togarma”

I have not been able to find copies of these books. The database also mentions that the two entries refer to persons who lived in Turkey. The database contains no further information.

Paragraph V. “Les Fleurs de L’Orient (”.
This is a website dedicated to the genealogy of Sephardim in the former Ottoman Empire in particular. The website contains a database with genealogical information. A search of the database revealed a family of six individuals of whom the mother bears the surname LEAL. The family lives today. For reasons of privacy, I will not mention their names in this article.

Paragraph VI. “Jewish Surnames in Articles Published in the Bi-Annual Periodical Sefarad (index prepared by Mathilde Taggert)”.
This database contains Jewish surnames found in a scientific periodical called “Sefarad”. It is published by the Arias B. Montano Institute which is part of Spain's Superior Council of Scientific Research (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas). The Institute studies the history and culture of the Jews in Spain among others. For further information, I refer to their website:

The database contains one entry for a person named LEAL. The name is found in the following article:

“Juderia y Moreria en Medina de Pomar” written by Inocencio CADIÑANOS BARDECI and published in Sefarad (1985, vol. 45, no2, pp. 237-280).

I do not have a copy of the actual article. I understand from the abstract of the article that it deals with the history of the Jewish quarter of Medina de Pomar in the period 1289 to 1492, among others. The article mentions a person named Yuce LEAL who lived round about 1475 in Medina de Pomar, a town in the province of Burgos (region Castile León) in Northern Spain.

What is interesting about the finds mentioned in paragraph I and II above is that Sephardic LEALs did live in the Netherlands at some point in time. I had researched this earlier and come to the conclusion that no Sephardic LEALs had lived in the Netherlands as I could not find any clues to prove otherwise. My previous conclusion has now appeared to be incorrect.

Oscar Leal
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