Cordeiro Migration

Last Edited: 18 Jul 2021

It would appear that our ancestors were indeed migratory, moving through a number of geographical locations over the centuries. Our records start with the Açores.

Açores

Sometime during the late-16th century, our direct ancestor Belchior Gonçalves Cordeiro came into play. Six generations of our Cordeiro ancestors have been identified in the parish of Biscoitos on the island of Terceira, Azores.


Ancestral Summary

Belchior (sometimes spelt Melchior in the records) Gonçalves Cordeiro was likely born between 1590 and 1600. We have not uncovered any birth record for him in the parish of Biscoitos but have a partial marriage record. From the study of records associated with the Cordeiro family and families linked to the Cordeiro family, we believe that Belchior was born in the neighbouring village of Quatro Ribeiras (meaning Four Rivers) to Balthazar Afonso and Brianda Cordeira (the seventh generation identified). The settlement of Biscoitos commenced around 1561 and we believe that Belchior likely arrived in Biscoitos as a young adult. His sister Violante Cordeira, also born in Quatro Ribeiras, moved to and was married in the village of Lajes.

From the birth and marriage records of Belchior's children, we know that he was married to Maria Gaspar. To the best of our knowledge, they had a daughter and five sons, one of whom was Manoel Gonçalves. Manoel married Maria Alverez and records show at least 3 daughters and 2 sons. The eldest son, also named Manoel Gonçalves, married Maria Antunes and they had at least two children, both sons - Róque and Manoel. At this point, it is worth noting the flexible tradition of naming the first son Manoel and the first daughter Maria, though this does not appear to be the case with Manoel and Maria Antunes. Roque married Isabel de Jezus at the rather late age of 32 (though not uncommon). We know of two sons and a daughter born to them. His son Manoel, born in 1723, married Theodora do Espírito Santo. Records show they had at least 7 children - 4 daughters and 3 sons. Their first son, António Gonçalves Cordeiro born in 1753, left the Açores for the Portuguese settlement of Macão (returned to mainland China on 20 Dec 1999).

[View Descendants Chart of the Cordeiros ]

While it is true that many young Açoreano men fled the islands for the United States or Brazil to avoid mandatory military service and to escape increasingly difficult living conditions, this occurred mostly from the late-1800s. Records show many individuals carrying the surname Gonçalves Cordeiro from the island of Terceira (and many recorded as being from the village, Biscoitos) landed on the east coast of the United States in the late-1800s to early-1900s [4]. Our ancestor António Gonçalves Cordeiro had settled in Mação prior to 1780, hence like many of his countrymen who landed in the former Portuguese colony of Mação, were likely to be traders seeking new opportunities. Family legend mentions an ancestor trading in wine. This may well have been true as Biscoitos, the parish that António Gonçalves Cordeiro was from, was and still continues to this day to be a wine producing region of the Azores. In addition, the parish of Biscoitos is within the municipality of Praia da Vitória, the location of the second major port on the island of Terceira. The circumstances do support the possibility of some truth in the family legend, however, we are unable to verify this due to the lack of historical documentation available to us and there could be any number of possible reasons for his move to Mação.

Piror to migration to international lands, the Cordeiro family members moved to neighbouring parishes to Biscoitos. Descendants are found in the parishes of Altares, Vila Nova, Lajes and with a small handful also found in slightly more distant parishes. Those bearing the Cordeiro name in the municipality of Angra do Heroísmo, were mostly related but through a separate ancestral branch that is not recorded here.


Igreja Matriz de São Pedro, Biscoitos, Terceira

The patronymic name Gonçalves appears in the majority of male individuals of the Cordeiro family in Biscoitos where we have found marriage and death records (baptism records only show a first name). The combination of the Gonçalves and Cordeiro name gives us confidence that the individuals were  related (see our section on the Cordeiro surname). The Soares surname was also introduced as a second surname in the early 1700s.

Macão

António Cordeiro's sons, Luís Manuel and Caetano, are registered as being born in 1782 and 1784 respectively, in Macão. Our search of the Açoreano records has not uncovered any record of António Cordeiro's marriage to his wife Eulália and it is assumed he met and married her in Macão. However, it is unclear if he might have had other children with her as no further names were available from the Macão data we have uncovered. During this time, birth and death records of the Portuguese were held in the Church of Santo Antonio in Macão. This church was extensively damaged by fire and prior to 1821, records no longer exist. Much of the information on the Cordeiro family members that are referenced as being baptised at the Church of Santo Antonio, were recorded in an old family notebook belonging to Natércia Maria Cordeiro, resident of Vancouver, Canada. Some other birth dates and place of birth information were gathered from the Santa Casa da Misericórdia, Book of Election Terms. This would explain the absence of complete data on the Cordeiro family's offspring. The gathered information had been compiled in the book, Familias macaenses by Jorge Forjaz[1] and was the source of our information on our Mecanese heritage.

We have been fortunate in finding our roots as records are available for Luís Manuel, unlike his brother Caetano. Luís Manuel married twice - first, to Francisca Antonia and later, Ana Agostinha. One of his children with Ana Agostinha was Miguel Francisco.

Miguel Francisco married three times. His first wife, Eugénia Maria Francisca Simões bore him 3 daughters and 2 sons. Miguel Francisco had no children with his second wife, Joana Francisca Vieira Ribeiro. His third wife Roberta Vicência dos Remédios is the mother of Miguel Clemente Cordeiro and Eugénio José Cordeiro, whose descendants we now have contact with and are represented on this site.

Note that the use of the surname Gonçalves was lost in the generations after Antonio Gonçalves Cordeiro settled in Mação.

Thailand

The Portuguese not only established colonies in South East Asia but were also present in several other Asian countries as missionaries. Where economic opportunities were present, they would move there if they saw a possibility of entering and succeeding in the new market. Miguel Francisco Cordeiro was one such person from Mação. He moved to  Bangkok, Thailand (prior to 1861) with his wife, as did his brothers Simão Vincente and Zeferino Demétrio. A fourth Cordeiro, Miguel C. Cordeiro was also recorded living in Bangkok at the time. However, we have been unable to determine how he fits in with the families we have on record and if he is actually related, though it would be highly likely. M C Cordeiro has been identified as both a Trader and a Clerk working in the company Pickenpack, Theis & Co from 1861 to at least 1869 before being identified as working for the American Steam Rice Mill in 1872.

Miguel Francisco was the owner of one of the first, if not the first Soda Water manufacturing companies in Thailand. The factory was located behind the Church of the Immaculate Conception, which still stands today in the Bangrak district of Bangkok. His brother brother Zeferino worked in a beverage company in the Bang-Seang district.

Records show that Miguel Francisco married his first wife Eugénia in Macão, but their four oldest children were born and baptised in Bangkok, Thailand. Their eldest son, Ludovico Miguel Cordeiro, was born in 1855 and is the direct ancestor of the Cordeiros in Singapore for whom this site had been initially created.

Miguel's youngest brother, Simão Vincente was also recorded as living in Bangkok and worked as an interpreter with the Royal Court of Siam from at least 1869 to 1875. This was the period of rule by Chulalongkorn who reigned as Rama V (Oct 1868 to 1910). Rama V was the first Siamese king to have a full western education, having been taught by a British governess (from 1862 to 1867), Anna Leonowens - whose place in Siamese history has been fictionalised in the musical, The King and I.

Miguel Francisco and Eugénia resided in Bangkok until the late 1870s when they returned to Mação where Eugénia was recorded to have died. Judging from records, Miguel never returned to Thailand after the death of his first wife as his subsequent marriages and birth of children, took place in Macão and Miguel was recorded as having died there in 1905. Based on the information gathered on the time Miguel spent in Thailand, we surmise that their eldest son Ludovico Miguel, likely grew up and was educated in Bangkok, Thailand.

Singapore

Whilst records show that Ludovico Miguel Cordeiro arrived in Singapore on 21 April 1876 on a ship that set sail from Hong Kong, it is unclear if he spent time in Hong Kong or merely boarded the ship in Hong Kong. The latter seems most likely as Ludovico was recorded as working in Mação in the same year he departed for Singapore, presumably in search of work.

During this time, it was common for Europeans living in the British colonies to anglicise themselves as this ensured better jobs and education for them under the British Empire [2]. They also indulged in British pastimes and sports such as music lessons, bridge, hockey and cricket. Ludovico Miguel changed his name to Ludovic Michael, took on British citizenship, started speaking English and took part in recreation activities favoured by the British.  He obtained work as a clerk at the law firm, Rodyk & Davidson, moving up the ladder to become chief accountant until he retired when he was in his 70's. Sometime during his life (likely whilst he lived with his parents in Bangkok), records show that he also worked as an assistant in Windsor, Redlich & Co. (estb. 1871), agents for the Chinese Insurance Company in Thailand.

Descendants of Ludovico Miguel Cordeiro
Cordeiros in Singapore

Ludovico married Julia Cecelia Xavier and had 9 children - 7 sons (Joseph, Frederick, Michael, Cecil, Henry, Robert, Lionel) and 2 daughters (Maria, Eugenie). The family lived in Owen Road.

Australia and the UK

When Australia abolished its White Australia policy in 1973, the door opened for Singapore Eurasians to migrate there. Unsure of political developments in Singapore and their place in the nation, many moved to Australia to start anew [3] and also to 'save' their sons from compulsory military service. Some of Ludovic's children and grand-children left with their families for Australia, mainly to Sydney and Perth.

Similarly, those who went to the UK initially for work or study, remained on a more permanent basis.

Canada

While Ludovico sought out a better life in Singapore, most of his siblings remained in Macão. After Macão was handed back to China in 1999, unsure of what the future might hold for them under full Chinese rule, there was an exodus of Macanese of Portuguese heritage to Brazil, Portugal and Canada. Some of Ludovico's nephews and nieces moved to Vancouver, Canada where they still live today.

Today, after more than 500 years, Belchior Gonçalves Cordeiro's descendants have spread across the globe. The map below shows the dispersion of the Cordeiros of our genetic line from the Açores to where they are found today.

 

[1] Jorge Forjaz (2017). Famílias Macaenses II Edition.

[2] John Byrne (2011). The Luso-Asians and Other Eurasians: Their Domestic and Diasporic Identities. In Portuguese and Luso-Asian Legacies in Southeast Asia, 1511-2011, vol. 1

[3] Eurasians: A Resource Guide - Eurasians in Pre- and Post-Independence Singapore, National Library Singapore

[4] Paulo Teodoro de Matos, Paulo Silveira e Sousa (2015) Settlers for the empire: the demography of the Azores Islands (1766–1835). Anais de História de Além‑Mar XVI: 19–49