This interesting surname is of Portuguese origin, and is of locational derivation from any of the many minor places called Sousa or Souza in Portugal. The placename itself is of uncertain origin, but was probably applied originally to a salt marsh, from a variant of "sausa", salty (from the Latin "salsa"), with the word "agua", water (Latin "aqua") understood. The surname is also found as Sousa, Souza and D'Souza in the modern idiom, and is well recorded in Portuguese Church Registers, where it first appears in the early 15th Century (see below). Other early examples include: the birth of Leonor Homem de Sousa at Funchal, in 1446, and the birth of her son, Joao Homem de Sousa, also at Funchal in 1476; Branca Sousa, who was born in the Azores Island Provinces, in 1512; Apolonia, daughter of Jeronimo and Maria de Sousa, christened at Canico Madeira, Funchal, on January 15th 1582; and the marriage of Andre de Souza to Mario Do Espirito-Sto at Santa Beatriz, Aqua de Pena, Funchal, on October 21st 1647. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family depicts on a gold shield three red bends. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Garcia Homem de Sousa, which was dated 1420, christened at Funchal, Portugal, during the reign of King John 1 of Portugal, 1385 - 1433. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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