The Skowronek Bankers
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Women of three generations of the family perished because of the plague: Isabel of Beaumont, Blanche of Lancaster and Philippa of Lancaster, queen consort of Portugal.
"Kings also sleep; but the clever ones, with one eye open, just like dolphins and whales." - Mehmet Murat Ildan.
We have already described how the Skowronek family descends directly from the Lancasters (see Dom Iago de Sampayo y Belmonte.) so this little story simply proves that we are here by chance because our ancestors are quite literally survivors of the black death. No matter who are your ancestors, be them rich or poor, famous or unknown, the existence of any of us today owes a lot to pure chance; had these deaths that we will describe happened a few years before, we might not be here and the Skowroneks might have existed in a very different way.
Philippa of Lancaster[1.135] was the daughter of Blanche[1.155], first wife of Johhn of Gaunt, First Duke of Lancaster[1.156]. She was also the daughter of Isabel de Beaumont[1.154], who was a daughter of Henry of Beaumont, Earl of Buchan[1.152], and Alice Comyn[1.153].
It is interesting that the name Beaumont means the same as Belmonte, which is the family name adopted by Dom Iago after receiving a lordship in Belmonte, a town which is today known for its crypto-Jews. The Sampayo family, to which Dom Iago belonged to the Sampayo family that lived in Belmonte.
They were related to the family of Pedro Álvares de Gouveia - Cabral[1.93], the discoverer of Brazil, who also had a lordship over the town of Belmonte before Dom Iago. In both cases, the lordships seem to have been given "ad eternum" by the king of Portugal but in both cases, it seems that something happened: Cabral fell in disgrace after poor returns from an expedition to India, and the Sampayos were Jews and had to leave Portugal after the Inquisition established itself there.
The members of the family Sampayo- Belmonte that went to Amsterdam "germanized" the surname and transformed it eventually into "Schoenberg." They were Dom Iago's son, Bartholomew de Sampayo y Belmonte[1.60], his wife, Ana de Lancastre[1.6] and their sons and daughters.
So, there seems to be no connection between the name Belmonte and Beaumont, despite that they also mean exactly the same, but the fact is that my ancestors where the Schoenbergs, their ancestors were the Belmontes, and in turn, the ancestors of these were the Beaumonts.
And if this wasn't enough of a coincidence, three of the most notable women of the family in direct and consecutive succession died because of the plague at completely different times.
Isabel de Beaumont died in 1361 at Leicester Castle, England.
Blanche of Lancaster died in September 12, 1369, at Tutbury Castle, England.
Philippa of Lancaster died in Jul 19, 1415, at Sacavém, Portugal (see Philippa of Lancaster).
Seems like a curse, but it only shows how the plague affected people regardless of their social standing. Some of the plague events wiped out a considerable percentage of the total population of entire countries. In some cases, entire towns were wiped out.
Just if Philippa of Lancaster had died some years before she did, she might have never married the king of Portugal, and then Ana de Lancaster might have never existed. The marriage with Bartholomew de Sampayo y Belmonte wouldn't have taken place and hence, the Schoenberg family would have never originated. Hence, my great great grandmother, Dinah Schoenberg might have never been born and we would have been just a thought in the mind of someone. So fragile is life, in some sense.
The "black death" of the XIV century exterminaded betwen 30 and 50% of the total population of the world, according to some accounts. The plague can be cured now with antibiotics, provided that symptoms are recognized on time - in the case of the septicemic variant, the patient might die even before there is any clue of the infection, even within twenty four hours after contracting the illness; however, the plague wasn't only a problem for those who got it; Jews had, generally speaking, better hygienic conditions than the rest of the population. For that reason they were often blamed for actually causing the plague by poisoning wells, water streams or even the air. So Jews were often arrested, tortured until a confession came up, and then burned alive. Naturally, that didn't cure anyone of the plague, but nobody seemed to notice; those who died out of it couldn't care less, and survivors wouldn't think much of it either.
The Triumph of Death, by Peter Bruegel, the Elder.
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