Show ContentsSousa History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

This place-name is derived from the Latin word 'salsa,' which means 'salty,' and indicates that the location so named was once known for a salt deposit.

Alternatively, the name could have been derived from the Latin word Saxa, later Sausa, meaning 'rocks'.

Early Origins of the Sousa family

The surname Sousa was first found in northern Portugal, where many take their name from the Sousa River, a tributary of the Douro.

Don Egal Gomes de Sousa (1035-?) was an 11th century Lord and the first known bearer of the name. He was Lord of Sousa, Novelas and Felgueiras, and took his name from his estates in the first Lordship. Don Egal was the grandson of King Fernando of Castille and married dona Falmula Gomes, great, great grand-daughter of King Ramiro I. He was governor of the entire region of Entre Douro e MinhoIt and is thought that the line of the Sousa family descends from their noble roots.

Early History of the Sousa family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sousa research. The years 1386, 1500, 1503, 1512, 1555, 1557, 1564, 1579, 1583, 1590, 1594, 1624, 1631, 1632, 1649, 1663, 1666, 1714 and 1722 are included under the topic Early Sousa History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sousa Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: De Sousa, De Souza, De Sosa, De Soza, Sousa, Souza, Sosa and many more.

Early Notables of the Sousa family

Prominent members of the family include

  • Tomé de Souza (1503-1579), the first governor of Brazil and founded Salvador, Bahia; and João de Sousa, 3rd Marquis of Minas (1666-1722), the 6th Count of Prado, Portuguese nobleman and member of the...
  • Cristóvão Falcão (c. 1512 - c. 1557), sometimes Cristóvão Falcão de Sousa or Cristóvão de Sousa Falcão, was a Portuguese poet, that came of a noble family settled at Portalegre in the Alentejo, which...
  • Frei Luís de Sousa (born Manoel or Manuel de Sousa Coutinho; 1555-1632) was a Portuguese monk and prose-writer, born at Santarém, a member of the noble family of Sousa Coutinho
  • Manuel de Faria e Sousa (1590-1649) was a Portuguese historian and poet. He frequently wrote in Spanish. He was probably born at Pombeiro, studied in Braga for some years
  • Nzinga Ana de Sousa Mbande (c. 1583-1663) was a southwest African ruler who ruled as queen of the Ambundu Kingdoms of Ndongo (1624-1663) and Matamba (1631-1663), located in present-day northern Angola
  • Martim Afonso de Sousa (c. 1500-1564) was a Portuguese fidalgo, explorer and colonial administrator. He was born in Vila Viçosa, and had been raised in the Duke of Braganza household and was a persona...
  • Pedro Lopes de Sousa, was the 1st Governor of Portuguese Ceylon in 1594

Sousa Ranking

In the United States, the name Sousa is the 2,156th most popular surname with an estimated 14,922 people with that name. [1] However, in France, the name Sousa is ranked the 3,445th most popular surname with an estimated 2,000 - 2,500 people with that name. [2]


United States Sousa migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Sousa Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Mathias Sousa, (Tousa), who left England and arrived in Maryland in 1634 aboard the ship "Ark and Dove" [3]
  • Abraham Sousa, who arrived in America in 1679 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Sousa (post 1700) +

  • Melissa De Sousa (b. 1967), American actress
  • Lisa Sousa (b. 1962), American academic historian
  • John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), American composer and conductor best known for his military and patriotic marches
  • G. Gary Sousa, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1952 [4]
  • João Crisostomo de Abreu e Sousa (1811-1895), army general who became the Prime Minister of Portugal 1890–1892
  • Tomas Bernardo Rodrigues Sousa (b. 1987), Portuguese rally driver
  • Osmel Ricardo Sousa (b. 1946), Venezuelan-Cuban impresario
  • Tomé de Sousa (1503-1579), first governor-general of Brazil from 1549 to 1553
  • Martim Afonso de Sousa (1500-1571), Portuguese fidalgo and explorer
  • Frederico Sousa (b. 1978), Portuguese rugby union footballer
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?". NameCensus.com, https://namecensus.com/last-names/
  2. http://www.journaldesfemmes.com/nom-de-famille/nom/
  3. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 25) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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