Sunday, October 4, 2015

Origins of the Nunes Vaz Family of Amsterdam

The Nunes Vaz family of Amsterdam traces it's documented roots back to Livorno, Italy in the late 17th century. Jacob Nunes Vaz is the patriarch of the Nunes Vaz family of Amsterdam and was born in 1697 in Livorno, Italy to Abraham Nunes Vaz. Jacob's father Abraham was born around 1670 but there have been no records found on Abraham. It is believed the family originally hailed from Portugal and there is even a family story that there were originally 4 Nunes Vaz brothers who left Portugal and all went to different parts of the World.
Marriage Record for Jacob Nunes Vaz (1697-1746)
and Judith Falcao (1703-????) - Dec 23rd, 1723

Back in Italy the name also was spelled as Nunes Vais and some records in Amsterdam even spell it as Nunes Vaes. It doesn't seem like anyone else from the Nunes Vaz family came with Jacob to Amsterdam, although there is a possible sister named Lea who is listed in the cemetery records at Beth Haim as Lea Nunes Vaes of Esther and died in 1748, 2 years after Jacob. I haven't found any records of an Esther but I suspect it's possible Esther is the wife of Abraham Nunes Vaz, which if so would make Lea the sister of Jacob and Esther his mother. The family left back in Italy became quite prominent with many Rabbis and famous artists including Italo Nunes Vais and Mario Nunes Vais. The patriarch of the branch that stayed in Livorno is Isaac Joseph Nunes Vais who died in 1768 and was most likely born around the same time as our Jacob Nunes Vaz. It is my belief that Isaac Nunes Vais and Jacob Nunes Vaz were 1st cousins who shared Nunes Vaz grandparents, making their fathers brothers (but this is all speculation). Even more interesting is the fact that both Isaac and Jacob were printers, making it possible that printing was a family trade.
Record for Raphael Nunes Vaz (1734-1802) at
Beth Haim of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel

Jacob Nunes Vaz married Judith Falcao on December 23rd, 1723 in Amsterdam and they had two known sons; Aaron (1733-1745) and Raphael Nunes Vaz (1734-1802). Jacob worked as a printer and it is believed his father also worked as printer, most likely gaining their skills in Livorno which was considered the center of Hebrew printing in Italy. Jacob died in 1746 at the age of 49. Jacob's son Raphael Married Simcha Querido on November 10th, 1758 and had a lot of children but because Jacob's other son Aaron died at the age of 12 all members of the Amsterdam Nunes Vaz family trace their roots back to Raphael.

Of Raphael's descendants all of them come from two of his son's; Jacob Nunes Vaz (1759-1813) or Abraham Nunes Vaz (1769-1832), both of whom marred women from the Senior Coronel family. Between these two brothers there are more than 3000 known direct descendants with about 1000 living descendants scattered all over the World. The number seems to constantly go up as more descendants are found but because of the horrors of the Holocaust, especially in Amsterdam, many branches in the Nunes Vaz tree end in the 1940s.

A portrait of Jaap Nunes Vaz
painted by his friend Meijer Bleekrode
One famous figure in the family is Jaap Nunes Vaz, a co-founder of the newspaper Het Parool and a member of the Dutch resistance. He was arrested by the Gestapo on October 25th, 1942 and deported via Westerbork to Sobibor where he was murdered on March 13th, 1943. He has a street named after him in Amsterdam. 


  1. Hi Jarrett - looking forward to the next instalment, though it'll get pretty complicated as you come closer by a generation or two, but don't let that put you off :-). Putting human faces onto the historic entries in the tree make it meaningful, and bring it to life (again). You're doing a great job! Cheers, Rick

  2. my sisterinlaw in chch nzsmaiden name was nunes vaz, we were simply tols it was Dutch although Id say Portuguese..there was poor material there-brother David deaf from birth ns cristina with webbed fingers-perhaps inbreeding? have no further contact anyway

    1. If you ever gain contact again please direct them here. There are many from the Nunes Vaz family who immigrated to NZ including many whom I've been in touch with for a few years.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Raphael Jacob Nunes Vaz was married to Simcha de Jacob Querido my third cousin 7 times removed. Thanks for your dedicated work!
      Shalom en hartelijke groeten! Bernard Fresco (Amsterdam/Israel)

    4. I AM A DESCENDANT OF JACOB NUNES VAZ AND JUDITH FALCAO. WOW!SO EXCITED!!! Before I was told of our family's Jewish roots I asked my Scots grandfather if we had any Italian in us. He said 'Oh no!' Ha ha. Then my aunt told me of our Jewish roots, and today I found out our family came from Italy! !!! Here's my email: Best regards, Rebecca

  3. Does anyone know about a Nunes Vaz emigrating to Surinam, South America??

    1. There was a branch of the Nunes Vaz family in Jamaica who also ended up in Curacao. I would imagine anyone in Surinam would most likely be from this branch. The Patriarch of that branch is Phineas Nunes Vaz (son of Esther) who married Leah Nunes Vaz (daughter of Aaron and Leah Nunes Vaz) whose descendants changed the name to Vaz Capriles after the marriage of Phineas' son Isaac and Ribca Capriles Ricardo.

    2. Hi Mr Ross,
      My name is Rafael Nuñez,66, I am from Caracas, Venezuela.
      I am very glad hearing for my suppose Sephardic Family, and I think they got in here,thru Curazao and Coro city, that.s the closest place in the South American Continent, please if you give me more information, i.ll be very grateful, I am looking forward in order to get an Spanish pardon law and obteining information for the rest of the Family, where are we coming FROM, THANK YOU

  4. My great grandmother was born Sara Nunes Vaz and she was living in Amsterdam until WW11 when she was taken to Sobibor as a prisoner of war and soon after died there in 1942. She married into the Ossensdruver family of Amsterdam and had a daughter named Clara.
    I know my great grandmother Sara was of Portuguese decent

  5. mijn partner evelien hackmannn is ook een nazaat van Jacob Nunez Vaz, nl Isaac Nunes Vaz van 1793,kleinzoon van Raphael Nunes Vaz trouwde met Debora Henriques de la Fuente, die kreeg een dochter Hanna Isaac Nunes Vaz en die had een relatie met een zekere Hendrik waarmee ze 2 kinderen kregen nl Samson en Esther, in 1867 trouwde ze met Jacob Samson Cohen die de beide kinderen echte, zodoende heetten ze Cohen, Samson was de opa van Evelien, want haar oma anna cohen trouwde met jan louis hackmann wn anna cohen was geboren uit de relatie van haar opa Samson en Janna van der sluis uit Harlingen, kunt u het nog volgen ?, wel leuk

  6. Correctie..samson was de overgrootvader en niet de opa,
    H.v.d.Sluis en S.Cohen waren gescheiden in 1911.

    1. You are right, I did not found Hendriks, the father of Samson and Esther, may be he is dead, lol

  7. Hi, I'm from the Italian part of the family.
    Thanks to you now I made a complete genealogical tree of the family of 6 generations.
    I'm a descent from Teofilo, Abraham Nunes Vais's son, and we changed our name to Anastagi during the 2 WW.
    Unfortunately the only part of the family that I couldn't find and write were Moise's descendents.
    I can't even understand how many brothers did they have.
    I only now they were 3 brothers; Deborah, Abraham and Moise.
    Could you please help me to understand better?
    Thank you in advance,Flaminia.

    1. Hello Flaminia! It is absolutely wonderful to hear from you! Could you email me directly at

    2. Flaminia, please email me at so we can speak about the family. I hope to hear from you!

    3. Hi Flaminia, I am a descendant from the Amsterdam branch, living in London. My brother has located where some of our family are buried in Mile End (how long have they not been visited?!) in the Nuevo Cemetery. I would love to connect up to the family in Italy:

  8. Ciao!non sapevo parlassi italiano!
    Comunque io provengo da Teofilo e da tempo ho cercato di scoprire familiari scoparsi, soprattutto discendenti da Abramo.
    Già so che ha avuto 4 figli,Giacomo,che è morto molto presto,Teofilo,Clelia,i cui discendenti sono stati sterminati ad Auschwitz, e Italo.
    Quello che rimane è quindi Italo ma mi piacerebbe scoprire se ho veramente un legame di parentela anche con Mario Nunes Vais e se veramente la villa apparteneva alla nostra famiglia.
    Ho anche un'altra domanda,come hai fatto a scoprire così tanto sulla nostra famiglia e ad avere tutti quei documenti?

    1. Yes, you are related to Mario Nunes Vais.

    2. Fabio Minerbi - nipote di Cielia Ravenna (Nunes Vais)

      Dall’esame delle carte in possesso dell’Archivio di Stato, sappiamo che Fabio Minerbi era avvocato e che risiedeva in
      Via Garibaldi. Era nato a Ferrara il 26 luglio 1901 e si era convertito alla religione cattolica. Per motivi che non siamo
      riusciti a individuare, nei suoi confronti era stata disposta sorveglianza da parte delle autorità il 7 settembre del ’39.
      Fabio Minerbi fece richiesta per ottenere la discriminazione, in altre parole, far sì che i provvedimenti delle cosiddette
      ‘leggi razziali’ fossero applicati in maniera attenuata nei suoi confronti. Questo attestato gli venne concesso,
      probabilmente per via della nomina a Cavaliere che aveva ricevuto e della sua conversione al cattolicesimo, dunque del
      suo conseguente abbandono della Comunità Israelitica, il 10 dello stesso mese.
      Forse grazie a questa discriminazione, forse grazie alla latitanza, Fabio Minerbi non verrà mai deportato e riuscirà
      dunque a salvarsi, superando la guerra per poi morire nel 1985 all'età di 84 anni.
      Questa potrebbe sembrare una storia che non ha molto a che fare con le vicende assai più note e assai più tragiche che
      hanno interessato la popolazione ebraica italiana in quegli anni. Ma durante lo studio del fascicolo di Fabio Minerbi
      abbiamo trovato una miriade di carte nelle quali ora lui faceva richiesta di potersi recare in una data località, ora la
      Questura gli dava il nulla osta, ma veniva comunque informata da agenti sul campo dei suoi spostamenti e dei suoi
      comportamenti. Minerbi compì diversi viaggi, tra cui persino uno a Tripoli. Per ogni richiesta di potersi recare in una
      data località, seguiva il permesso della Questura, accompagnato da almeno due telegrammi, uno che attestava il suo
      effettivo arrivo in quel dato luogo e uno riferito alla sua condotta. Questo controllo totale che il regime imponeva ai
      suoi cittadini ebrei (quindi cittadini di seconda classe) ci è sembrato un aspetto poco conosciuto delle discriminazion di quegli anni, e, pertanto, tanto più degno di essere portato all’attenzione del lettore.

    3. The previous post comes from the following link;

  9. Hello, I've posted a number of postal history items from the Nunes-Vais family (mostly Italian, Libyan branches)at: . Images can be downloaded.

    1. Wow, they were in Libya too. Will check your link.