The marriage of Simon Barrow's sister to Isaac Levi - how did the Barrow & Levi link come about? 

Simon Barrow of Barbados had a brother-in-law Isaac Levi who appears in Barrow wills of the period as does his son Abraham (see notes 2-4 below). The Barrow family tree makes the suggestion that the Jacob Levi the first husband of Eve Barrow was a son of an Isaac Levi (of Barbados). The above chart shows the connections we know (note 5 below explains them). We have considered many possible sources of the Levi name (eg see note 1 below). 

Our current thinking revolves around the Levy Sonsino family which intermarried with the early Montefiores of Livorno. An Isaac Levy Sonsino married a cousin in Livorno in 1734, and if he lost this wife early (not known) he would be a candidate to have been Simon Barrow's brother-in-law, and he may have brought step-children to the marriage. If Isaac Levi was indeed Isaac Levy Sonsino, then this provides a clue as to where Bailah Montefiore fits into the genealogy of the Montefiores. Under these circumstances we would expect her to fit within a Montefiore branch closely linked to the Levy Sonsinos. The most likely position then appears appears to be the 1708 marriage, and thus a daughter of Esther and Isaac Montefiore, for Bailah was born in 1720. Preceding her - being born in 1710 - would have been Joseph (named after the paternal grandfather) and probably - being married in 1749 - Judah (named after the maternal grandfather); both are shown here and there may have been other (unknown) siblings.

This hypothesis is shown above. It should be noted that the 2 branches of the Levy Sonsinos were linked 3 generations earlier as shown in Vol 1 ref 319 pp184-93, for Isaac Levy Sonsino was a 2nd cousin of Naphtali Levy Sonsino of Livorno and London.  



1. The Levi Lousadas are a possible source of the Levi name but only one Levi Lousada appears in the Amsterdam records - David Levy Louzada who died (or was buried) 30 Aug 1744. The Levi Gomes family was present in the late 1600s but we see no trace of them later. Another possible clue to the Levi ancestry of Judith Joseph Levi lies in the fact that Antonio de Luis Montezinos - the person who in 1639 'discovered' a lost tribe of Israel in the region of present day Colombia - was Aaron Levi of Villaflor (ref 8 pp195-211). This town was also the origin of the family of the Baruch Lousada descendant Tomas Rodrigues Pereira aka Abraham Israel Pereira - our Madrid page records something of the lives of Pereira and Fernando Montezinos who were Portuguese New Christians in Madrid in the 1620s. Accordingly, drawing upon the Montezinos presence in Livorno revealed in ref 107, we deduce that the 1st wife of David Baruch Louzada #44 was a Montezinos. That is, the Montezinos link may be relevant to the exit of the Baruch Lousadas from Iberia, but perhaps unconnected with the exit of the Barrows and Montefiores from Livorno (we unsuccessfully tried to find a Barrow connection - see note 2 below).

2. Sarah Barrow according to her will summary in key documents had a cousin Isaac Levi of Amsterdam who is of the same generation as Abraham and the two husbands (Jacob and Joseph Levi) of Eve Barrow. However inspection of her actual will shows that this cousin was Abraham Isaac Levi ie the name Abraham had been omitted in the will summary. Before this transcription error - a red herring - was discovered we searched for Isaac son of Isaac. We found 118 such male name-pairs (see note 6 below) in the Amsterdam Portuguese marriage records. In these 118 cases there are only 4 Levi cases of which there is only one case of Isaac son of Isaac - with the Levi Montezinos surnames (see below right). This amazing coincidence sadly allows no further conclusion.

3. Joseph Barrow's will refers to a son Abraham of his uncle Isaac Levi. Joseph's father Simon Barrow of Barbados in his will makes a bequest to his brother-in-law Isaac Levi of Amsterdam. We note the Barrow in-law Isaac Levi could have been even longer- lived than Simon Barrow 1709-1801.

4. Rebecca Barrow's will lists Mrs Levi widow of Abraham Isaac Levi of Amsterdam, which means that Abraham son of Isaac her uncle thus died probably in Amsterdam and certainly before 1829. She also nominates Isaac Levi as an executor but this was no doubt the Isaac Levi who married Esther Barrow Montefiore.

5. Our work on the ancestry of Judith Joseph Levi suggests that Joseph was Jacob's brother and as was the custom stepped into his brother's shoes when he died. In Barbados (ref 61) is a burial record for 31 Aug 1804 for an Isaac Levi (aged 14) son of Moses and a Moses Levi appears in the will of Sarah Barrow (discussed in note 2 above) with a list of children whose names do not include Isaac so perhaps this Moses Levi was a sibling of Abraham, Jacob and Joseph. We are not certain of his relationship, but Moses may have been a son of a further marriage of Isaac Levi, but went to London from Barbados after 1804. The Cohen link was provided by ref 157.

6. The Amsterdam data (below left) shows an unnamed child of Isaac Levi Montezinos died on 16 Feb 1766 and was buried at Oudekerk the burial ground of the Amsterdam Sephardic Jews; and the father Isaac who was the son of Joseph died in 1796. Joseph could be the step-father of Judith Joseph Levi but is perhaps only a namesake. However the will of Simon Barrow 1709-1801 gives a bequest to his brother-in-law Isaac Levi who also receives a bequest from Simon's son Joseph Barrow in 1808. Thus Isaac Levi seems to have been alive after 1796 and therefore is not Isaac Levi Montezinos d1796 and accordingly, a more complex scenario is afoot. An unusual case of a son having the father's name was considered here for the reason set out in note 2 (as noted there however it was a mistranscription of a will made it seem as if the brother-in-law Isaac Levi had a son Isaac). Such a case was in Amsterdam records - see below right - and was found amongst 16 cases of Isaac son of Isaac (1 Levi Montezinos case); and for comparison other names were searched - Abraham 18 (1 Levi Montagnes case), Jacob 23 (0), Joseph 4 (0), David 20 (0), Mordechai 2 (0), Salomon 8 (0), Raphael 2 (0), Haim 6 (0), Micheal 2 (0), Mozes 6 (2 Levi Lobo cases), Judah 1 (0), Samuel 2 (0), Emanuel 3 (0), Aaron 5 (0), and no cases for Jeremiah, Daniel, Simon, Jessurun, Eliezer/Elias/Elihu, Ezekial, Israel, Isaiah, Baruch, Benjamin, Menasseh or Jona. There are 6389 Amsterdam Portuguese marriages and using the above 27 common bridegroom forenames we capture 5899 of these or 92.3%. Of these, 118 involved name-pairs and thus the probability of a groom having his father's forename is 2.0%; of these grooms the probability of him being a Levi is 3.4%, and the probability of him being Isaac is 13.6%. The parallel Traditional Sephardic Marriages database shows no Isaac son of Isaac in 4241 marriages. To give an idea of what the statistics mean, suppose that there were 1000 marriage records somehow missing from these 2 databases, surely a gross overestimate. The probable number of name-pairs included in this 1000 would be 20 but of these 3.4% would be a Levi and of these 7.9% would be an Isaac so that the probable number of relevant missing cases of Isaac Levi with any second surname would be 0.05 cases. This means that it is extremely unlikely that any Isaac Levi is missing from the samples chosen - less than a 1 in 20000 chance of an Isaac Levi non-Montezinos! All this is hypothetical at present since our Isaac-Isaac father-son pair turned out to be erroneous.