De Oliveira Name Study

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Surnames/tags: De Oliveira Oliveira D'Oliveira
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Space:De Oliveira's of Paribia, Brazil

... ... ... has Jewish Roots.


How to Participate

Please contact the Study's coordinator Lawrence Bailey or post a comment at the foot of the page. If you have any questions, just ask. Thanks!


This is a One Name Study to collect together in one place everything about one surname and the variants of that name. The hope is that other De Oliveira researchers like you will join our study to help make it a valuable reference point for people studying lines that cross or intersect.

Surname Origin

The Oliveira linage was began by Dom Pedro de Oliveira (Oliveira is the Portuguese word for Olive Tree) The Oliveira family estate is in Arcos of the Valderez Region of Portugal. From there branched the family during very early Brazilian history.

Surname Meaning

Oliveira is the Portuguese name for the olive tree. It is a common surname of toponymic (A name derived from a place or region) origin in regions with strong Portuguese influence, mainly Portugal itself, Brazil, and Galicia. Like the surnames Oliver and Olivier it may have developed the Latin 'oliva', which was originally a word associated with a maker or merchant of olive oil. There are many indicators that the name Oliveira may be of Jewish origin, emanating from the Jewish communities of Spain and Portugal. When the Romans conquered the Jewish nation in 70 CE, much of the Jewish population was sent into exile throughout the Roman Empire. Many were sent to the Iberian Peninsula. The surname Oliveira was used when the start of the Portuguese inquisition as a way for Jews to avoid prosecution and under torture to become new Christians. Many of the targeted people adopted names with inspiration from plants, trees, fruits, animals, etc. Since those people were targeted, to run away and, since Portugal had just recently discovered Brazil (1500), many of those people fled to Brazil and other ex-colonies from Portugal. Many spelling forms including Oliva, Olivares, Olives, Oliveras, Olivera, Oliveres, and the locational D'Olivera and De Olivera Read more: Read more:

The surname ‘De Oliveira’ was used prior to the start of the Portuguese inquisition as a way for Jews to avoid prosecution and under torture to become new Christians. De Oliveira' became internally among Judeans of the Diaspora the family name to be used exclusively by Judeans who could still trace and prove their genealogy to the tribe of Levy and to Judeans could trace and prove they were direct offspring of hebronites so both the priesthood and royal lineage took 'De Oliveira' so they could be later traced. They were also allowed to marry only among Levites and Hebronites themselves following biblical paternal lineage. It is noteworthy to mention that the offspring of the tribe of Levy and Hebron intentionally settled between Spain Galicia and Portugal for two reasons, first because it is inland and far from the great centers of Spain, where the first killings of Judeans or pogrons began, promoted by fanatical Catholic priests of the Dominican and Carmelite orders, which urged the ignorant old Christian population to kill the New Christian Jews and the unconverted Judeans and also gave them freedom to cross the borders among the different countries accordingly to the laws of each State.

' === Sephardi Jews Settlement and Expulsion From Spain and Portugal' === In the narrower ethnic definition, a Sephardi Jew is a Jew descended from the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula in the late 15th century. Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews or Sephardim, originally from Sepharad, Spain, or the Iberian peninsula, are a Jewish ethnic division. They established communities throughout areas of modern Spain and Portugal, where they traditionally resided, evolving what would become their distinctive characteristics and diasporic identity, which they took with them in their exile from Iberia beginning in the late 15th century to North Africa, Anatolia, the Levant, Southeastern and Southern Europe. Among the larger Jewish populations in actual numbers were the Jewish communities in cities like Lisbon, Toledo, Córdoba, Seville, Málaga and Granada. Their millennial residence as an open and organized Jewish community in Iberia began to decline with the Reconquista and was brought to an end starting with the Alhambra Decree by Spain's Catholic Monarchs in 1492, and then by the edict of expulsion of Jews and Muslims by Portuguese king Manuel I in 1496 which resulted in a combination of internal and external migrations, mass conversions and executions. The largest part, likely a majority, of Spaniard Jews expelled in 1492 fled to Portugal, where they eluded persecution for a few years. The divisions among Sephardim and their descendants today are largely a result of the consequences of the Royal edicts of expulsion. Both the Spanish and Portuguese edicts ordered their respective Jewish residents to choose one of only three options: 1. to convert to Catholicism and therefore to be allowed to remain within the kingdom, 2. to remain Jewish and to be expelled by the stipulated deadline, or 3. to be summarily executed.

=== === History of the Jews in Brazil === here have been Jews in what is now Brazil since the first Portuguese arrived in the country in 1500, notably Mestre João and Gaspar da Gama who arrived in the first ships. A number of Sephardic Jews immigrated to Brazil during its early settlements. They were known as "New Christians" (Conversos or Marranos — Jews obliged to convert to Roman Catholicism by the Portuguese crown). The history of the Jews in Brazil is a rather long and complex one, as it stretches from the very beginning of the European settlement in the new continent. Although only baptized Christians were subject to the Inquisition, Jews started settling in Brazil when the Inquisition reached Portugal, in the 16th century. They arrived in Brazil during the period of Dutch rule, setting up in Recife the first synagogue in the Americas, the Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue, as early as 1636. Most of those Jews were Sephardic Jews who had fled the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal to the religious freedom of the Netherlands. In his The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith attributed much of the development of Brazil's sugar industry and cultivation to the arrival of Portuguese Jews who were forced out of Portugal during the Inquisition The Portuguese Inquisition expanded its scope of operations from Portugal to Portugal's colonial possessions, including Brazil, Cape Verde, and Goa, where it continued investigating and trying cases based on supposed breaches of orthodox Roman Catholicism until 1821. As a colony of Portugal, Brazil was affected by the 300 years of repression of the Portuguese Inquisition, which began in 1536.

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A. Thomas Oliveira 6/02/08

Hello, distant cousin My name is Jônatas Ricardo de Oliveira, from Araçatuba, São Paulo state, Brazil. I'm descendant of the Oliveira family on my father's and my mother's part. Information about our family can be found in a very interesting book: "Dicionário Sefaradi de Sobrenomes" (written in Portuguese) at More information about Oliveira family is found at According to the family's tradition, the Oliveiras are a Levite family that first settled down in Girona, Catalunia, prior to the 70 C.E. destruction of Jerusalem. They were originally from Ramatayim Tzofim (today Rantis, West Bank), about 20 miles north of Jerusalem. It is said that we belong to the clan of Samuel, the prophet, that is, the Izharite family, levites. At first, the family's identification was Levy. Then it changed into BENVENISTE. From Girona they moved to Oliva Cavia, Spain, and then to north of Portugal. There, according to genealogical data, they changed their surname to OLIVEIRA, because it is quite an acronym, that is, oLiVeYra (Oliveira) for Levy. Oliveira means "Olive tree" in Portuguese, and Izhar (Yitzhar), the family's patriarch, son of Qehat, son of Levy, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, Izhar in Hebrew means "pure olive oil". The surname Oliveira was really appropriate to remind them of their roots. This is explained in the section "articles" at and literature demonstrating the data are shown there. Here in Brazil we are not Jews, we are Christians. There are several stories related to Inquisition and Oliveiras being forced to convert themselves to Christendom. Although most Brazilian Oliveiras are Christians, many have been preserving Jewish habits unaware, learned from grandparents. At least in Brazil, we are sure about our Jewish roots. I hope you enjoy investigating your origins! Best Regards, Jônatas Ricardo de Oliveira

posted by Lawrence Bailey