This interesting and unusual surname, recorded in church registers of Portugal from the early 16th Century under the variant spellings DaSousa, DeSouza, Sousa etc., is of Portuguese locational origin from any of the various minor places named with the element "sausa" from the Latin "salsa", salty, or salt-marsh. These places include pacos de Sousa a town on the River Sousa, and Sousa in the Azores Islands Provinces. On January 15th 1582, Apolonia, daughter of Jeronima DeSousa and Maria Desa, was born in Canico-Maderia, Funchal, Portugal. An interesting namebearer was John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), the American composer, born in Washington D. C., who descended from a Portuguese regugee, an immigrant to America in the 1840's. A Coat of Arms granted to the Sousa family of Portugal is recorded heraldically in Rietstap's "Armorial General", and depicts an aftermath series of gold and red bends on a shield. The bend, symbolic of the warrior's shoulder belt, signifies Defense or Projection. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Branca Sousa, daughter of Jaco de Sousa-Falaco, (christening), which was dated 1512, The Azores Islands Provinces, during the reign of King Henry V111 of England, "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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