The Royal Josephs

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Pablo Edronkin

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Some people bearing the family name Joseph descend in fact from a Jewish family linked to the Portuguese royalty that survived the advent of the Inquisition during the the sixteenth century.

How do we know that? Because we are part of that family[1], but don't take our word for granted since evidence does exist to back what we say: Around 1913, Prof. Richard Gottheil, of Columbia University, wrote a book called “The Belmont – Belmonte Family History” in which he explains in detail some of the connections. These can, in turn be verified independently[24].

But before going deeper into this issue it is important to remark that in principle, similar surnames might be present in unrelated families. Having one name doesn't necessarily link you to other people bearing the same name. Example: Burt Lancaster was not related to the royal House of Lancaster, because for a number of reasons, unrelated people might bear the same name. So, someone bearing the Surname Joseph might or might not be related to the kings of Portugal belonging to the House of Avis[3], but some Josephs do.

Essentially, in order to be related to the Avis dynasty thorough surviving Jewish heritage, you have to be related to the families of Jewish bankers such as Rothschild[21], and major rabbis, such as Adler[1.11]; is within this context that the Joseph name can be associated with nobility. Then, you have to be directly related somehow to the Kohanim Schoenberg family. In other words, if you have a relative who was a Schoenberg HaCohen, then you are probably related to Christian royalty as well because these Schoenbergs are the direct descendants of the Sampayo - Belmontes that belonged to the Portuguese high nobility and married with members of the royal family (See Schoenberg.)

The reason is simple: These particular Schoenbergs are in fact descendants of the Belmonte – Sampayo family studied by Gottheil[24], which descends from Charlemagne[1.3]. He went as far as to suggest that Ana de Lancastre[1.6], married to Bartholomew van Schonenberg, son of Dom Iago de Sampayo y Belmonte[24][23][1.2], could have belonged to the House of Lancaster. However, he didn't take into account that Dom Iago's wife - María Mascarenhas[1.1] - was indeed related to the descendants of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster thorough other familiar links, plus, in the Mascarenhas genealogy appears the name of Ana de Lancastre.

Then, among the sons of Bartholomew and Ana Schoenbergs, three additional branches emerged, bearing different surnames: Joseph, Emanuel and Raphael.

Still in Portugal, the Sampayo – Belmonte family – which already belonged to the nobility, had some of its members marry the Mascarenhas and Lancastre families. The Mascarenhas family was another family that belonged to the Portuguese nobility – it still exists – while the Lancastre family in question was in reality, the House of Lancaster, married with the Avis dynasty.

Both the Mascarenhas and Sampayo families were in the spice trade business started when Vasco da Gama reached India; in fact, Dom Iago's father, Lopo Vaz de Sampayo had been da Gama's captain[2][18]; later, some of the Sampayo – Belmontes migrated to Amsterdam, where they changed their name into van Schoenenberg, which later evolved into von Schoenberg[24.4]. There, they entered the banking business at state level.

There are some names which are significant in relation to the Joseph family name of Jewish origin which is in fact, related to the Portuguese royal dynasty of Avis: Joseph, Schoenberg, Rothschild, Mocatta, Montefiore, Mascarenhas, Belmonte, Sampayo, Vaz, Texeira, Adler, Raphael, Emanuel, Oppenheim, Wertheim, Blatt, Rotenberg, Fürst, Schiff, Schnapper, Gans - Eger, Lorch, Worms, Hanau, Heine, Braun, Skowronek, Guggenheim, etc. are surnames that might be used around the world by people with no connection whatsoever between them but in a certain family of families, these are all related to one another that for a lack of any other description, I call the Kohanim Schoenbergs, or the Skowronek Bankers, for one of the characteristics of all these families is that they were either royals, rabbis or bankers thorough centuries.

So, if you know that are directly related to someone bearing the family name Joseph, and to anyone with one of the surnames I have just mentioned, then it is probable that you are, in fact, a descendant of the House of Avis and other dynasties, both Christian, Jewish and Muslim. The more names of the list that you can connect to your Joseph relatives, the more likely is that the connection is real. If you can connect to most of all these names, you can be sure of it.

The Skowronek family of Warsaw[1] is the one that links me to the Schoenbergs, Rothschilds, Lancasters and ultimately, to the Plantagenets on that particular Jewish-Christian side of the family. On the purely Jewish side, the family is of Kohanim – Levi[20][13][22][23] descend as well as allegedly Davidic[9][18][21] thorough several dynasties of Rebbes and Rabbis. Thorough centuries – and more – all these families bearing these names remarried to one another, keeping “business and blood” on a single descendancy chain[12].

The story is really, really long, but in essence, Dom Iago de Sampayo (or Sampaio, it's the same) received the town of Belmonte as a reward from the king of Portugal around 1520. There was only one Sampayo noble family at the time, and they were direct descendants of Charlemagne.

One of the sons of Iago and María Mascarenhas was named Bartholomew. He married Ana de Lancastre and was sent on an official mission to Amsterdam. They spent the rest of their lives there.

There were two Lancastre families in Portugal at the time. Lancastre is the Portuguese variation of Lancaster. One of those families was the original House of Lancaster, which was married into the reigning dynasty of Avis.

These Lancasters, descendants of Edward III of England were also married into the Mascarenhas family, the same family of the mother of Bartholomew de Sampayo y Belmonte, who married Ana de Lancastre, who also appears on the historical records of the Mascarenhas family.

The Sampayos that went to Amsterdam changed their name to van Schoenenberg. This name later evolved into von Schoenberg an then simply Schoenberg. Belmonte means literally the same as Schoenberg (Beautiful mountain.)

Some of the children of Bartholomew van Schonenberg retained the name. They used indistinctly Belmonte or Schonenberg / Schoenberg for centuries, mostly to hide their names due to their line of work: Most Schoenbergs, up to WWII, appear listed in guides, census records, tax records, etc. as "faktor"; a faktor is basically, a "court banker", and because of the Inquisition[24.4].

Other sons of Bartholomew adopted the family names Raphael, Emanuel and Joseph. Thorough centuries, the names Schoenberg, Joseph and Raphael, at least, appear related repeatedly to the Oppenheim and Wertheim banking families.

The Schoenberg family has been related to banking families since they reached Holland. This includes marriages with families such as Rothschild, Teixeira, Schiff, Oppenheim and Wertheim, as well as some rabbinical families, including Adler, Abendana, Abrabanel, Rotenberg, etc.

So, the Schoenbergs were related to the Rothschilds, and in turn, these were related to the Mocatta - Montefiore family. The names Joseph and Raphael appear on record related to the Montefiores.

The Schoenbergs from Alzey - the ones related to the Rothschilds -, those from Amsterdam and from Warsaw share Kohanim status, aside from links to several family names in common.

The Josephs were also related to the Adler rabbis. These in turn, were related to the Schoenberg family. There are other names common or linked to the various branches of the original Sampayo family that are well-known, rabbinical names, that help establish the connections, such as Gans - Eger and Katzenellenbogen.

These families have been together for centuries, forming one closed mega-family which is characterized by dynastic, non-morganatic marriages. That is, the Schoenbergs split into three more branches, but those branches didn't fade away or became completely detached; instead, members of each one of those branches married into other families that also remained together within a single clan.

The house of Baron Belmonte in Amsterdam
The house of Baron Belmonte - Schoenberg, descendant of Dom Iago de Sampayo y Belmonte, in Amsterdam.

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