When Portuguese conversos fled Portugal to settle in Amsterdam they were finally able to openly return to
Judaism. However, they often had relatives and family still trapped in Portugal. These family contacts along with the
Amsterdam Jews ability to speak both Portuguese and Dutch were great assets in their international trade ventures but also posed risks.
To avoid endangering their relatives and friends in Portugal, the Portuguese Jews used aliases in their transactions with
These alias names can be difficult to disentangle. Vibeke Sealtiël Olsen went through the records to determine the following:
- Two Sephardim of Amsterdam (father Isac and son Jacob) were known by three Portuguese aliases: Antonio Hidalgo o Velho (1657), Antonio Hidalgo Ouelho (1659) and Antonio Hidalgo
- Antonio Hidalgo o Velho was known as Antonio Cortissos (1657).
- Antonio Hidalgo Ouelho was known as Antonio da Costa Cortissos (1659).
- Antonie Hidalgo was known as Jacob Semah Cortissos (1665).
- Jacob Semach was known as Jacob Cortissos (1657), and Jacob Cortissos was known as Antonio Hidalgo (1659) and Antonio
Hidalgo Elmaz (1659).
- The Jewish name of Antonio da Costa Cortissos was Isac. Isac used the names Isac Semas (1647),
Isac Semach (1648), and Isac Semach Cortissos (1647).
- The aliases of these three names were: Antonio da Costa Cortissos (1647, 1648) and Antonio da Costa (Cortissos) (1647).
- Antonio da Costa (Cortissos) was also known by the Dutch name Teunis van den Coster (1657).
So these two persons (Isac and Jacob) both used the alias name Antonio and together they
were known by fourteen different names.
- From JewishGen's Family Tree of the Jewish People: Isaac was born about 1595, Segovia, Spain. He died in 1657 in Amsterdam.
His wife was Rebecca Leonora Da Costa (born: Abt 1599, married: Abt 1620, died: 1643).
They had a daughter Rachel and a son Jacob.
If these were the only two children, then we also know the given names of Isaac's parents.
- We also see that Isaac was married two times, as he married Abigael Gomes in 1648 according to Trouwen in Mokum. (Abigail
Gomes herself also used Clara Gomes as an alias).
In the first half of the 20th century Abraham de Mordechai Vaz Dias went through the notarial records kept at the Amsterdam
stadarchief and used these notarial records to identify many of the aliases used. He prepared an index consisting of
separate index cards (archive no. 5059, inventory nos. 267 and 268) giving the Jewish name and its corresponding aliase as
well as the specific notarial record in which he identified that alias.
Vibeke Sealtiël Olsen carefully transcribed the Vaz Dias card index collection into a database which she
graciously made available to SephardicGen. Many of the surnames are composite surnames (Da Costa, D'Aguire, etc.) which
creates problems in searching for a specific name. It is therefore recommended that one searches this database using the
"contains" search term.