Establishing one's roots

by Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas

When it comes to genealogy, it is often difficult for Goans to trace their roots back more than four or five generations, due to the paucity of available or obtainable official documentation pertaining to the pre-Portuguese era with respect to Goan family tress and Goan genealogy. Sometimes however, unofficial documents can serve as a useful substitute to establish genealogy and family trees, even if inflexible historians might question their accuracy for establishing an authentic Goan family tree.

The Ribeiro family of Grande Morodd was thus able to trace its roots and draw a family tree, through an unofficial document in their possession, dated February 1920 and written in Portuguese. The forefather of the Ribeiro family was Mangapa Sinai, who hailed from a Hindu Aryan family (Saraswat) of a high social class and a much-learned man, who came from the north of India to Goa in the sixteenth century, along with his brother Panduranga Sinai and his paternal uncle Balcrisna Sinai alias Bahu Sinai.

All the three resided in Cortalim de Salcete around 1550. There is no documentary proof or genealogy records to affirm if all three were married or not, or if they arrived accompanied by their wives and children. However it is known that Mangapa was the mahajan of the temple of God Shri Manguesha from Cortalim. From this we can establish the genealogy and the family tree.

Mangapa was later appointed narcornim (clerk) of the municipality (Camara Geral) of the Province of Bardez and, around 1554, changed his residence from Cortalim to Pilerne de Bardez along with his uncle and brother.

Besides being narconim of the Camara Geral de Bardez, Mangapa was also the scribe of the comunidades in Saligao, Parra, Marna, Guirim, Pilerne and Marra.

Meanwhile, in the year 1555, the Franciscan missionaries commenced their missionary work in the Province of Bardez in Goa. They founded a Royal College at Reis Magos from where they set out to preach the Catholic faith in the Goan villages of Bardez. During their apostolic and evangelical mission, Mangapa learned catechism from the missionaries and embraced Christianity. In fact he was the first Hindu of Bardez in Goa to convert himself to Christianity and thus became the first Christian of Bardez (vide Book of Pilerne of 1588).

Giving attention to the petition made by the Franciscans and taking into consideration the circumstances of Mangapa being the first Goan Christian of Bardez, the then Governor General of the State of India, Francisco Barreto, sanctioned a perpetual donation to Mangapa (who in baptism took the name of Pero Ribeiro) and his descendants — the coconut grove called Patanbata with its annexes, situated in Pilerne. On this land there existed a horse-stable that belonged to Adil Shah. Pero Ribeiro demolished it, and, with its material, built a residential house.

Later, Balcrisna Sinai (Mangapa’s uncle) also converted to Catholicism, taking the surname da Cunha, from whom the Cunhas of Arpora de Bardez descend. Mangapa’s brother Panduranga Sinai remained a Hindu.

The successors of Pero Ribeiro lived in Pilerne around 1644 and one of his great grandsons, Diogo Antonio Ribeiro, who occupied the post of a clerk in Pilerne and Saligao de Bardez, established himself with his family in Nagoa de Bardez where he constructed a residential house, which at present belongs to the Silveira family.

In 1784 there was a division of movable and immovable goods of the Ribeiro family of Nagoa. It was between Antonio Nicolau Ribeiro and Filipe Caetano Ribeiro, sons of Sebastiao Ribeiro and Luis (Loio) Ribeiro respectively and grandsons of Joao Ribeiro and Monica Anes.

A coconut grove known as Tintagali, situated in Araisvaddo de Nagoa de Bardez was divided into two parts — that part of the property which was around the residential house went to Filipe Caetano, and that part which was to the east of the house went to Antonio Nicolau. With mutual accord the right of the house was reserved for Antonio Nicolau Riberio and his children.

In 1787, Antonio Nicolau Ribeiro constructed a residential house in ward Grande Morodo de Saligao and moved into it in 1789.

All this information on the Goan family genealogy was provided to the author by Tom Ribeiro, in the form of a document written in Portuguese by his grandfather Tomas Antonio Ribeiro and dated February 1920. A free translation of this  document into English was done by the author, to depict the genealogy and Goan family tree.

Thus, those interested in genealogy in Goa and tracing the Goan family tree may need to take recourse to unofficial documents that they may manage to find, in order to ascertain their roots.

22 comments on Establishing one’s roots

  • Bernardo Elvino de Sousa

    Good afternoon! This is not a comment on the excellent article above but rather a request to send me if possible Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas’ email address. I am originally from Aldona, living in Switzerland, and greatly interested in tracing my genealogy. I have read Fr. Mascarenhas’ superb article on the Ferrao family from Santerxette whom I know personally and I would be grateful for any help he could offer.
    Many thanks and kind regards

  • Richard Savio de Sousa

    Thank you Fr. Nascimento for this well-written and interesting article.
    All that you write on genealogy I have read and found very interesting. Your work too on the Communidade de Saligao was very invaluable and I wish someone had done that for Moira, the village I come from.
    I have traced my roots in Moira back 8 generations in some places and back 6 generations in Sangolda. Also, your work on the Ferrao family proved useful as the Archbishop’s maternal family is related closely to my paternal family. I have lots of names, but no background to my ancestors. If you could get in touch, it’d be interesting to see if you could help explain some things to me.
    Kindest regards, Richard

  • Roque Ferrao

    my name is Roque Ferrao and I reside in Melbourne , I am interested in tracing my genealogy and could you help me please.
    As far as I am aware my grandfather lived in Arpora near the salt pans and his name was Benjamin Ferrao , he then went on live in karachi where he workes as a chef and my father was born there.
    My grandmothers name was Leopoldina and she was from candolim
    any ways I can have this done as there are no websites with information
    Roque Ferrao

  • Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas

    Dear Roque,
    I am sorry I will not be able to find the information you are seeking regarding your geneology. It is quite taxing due to my sickness and age. I am “On the staff” at Holy Spirit Church and work in this vast parish of Margao is also much. I pray for you. Bye for now. fr. nascimento mascarenhas.

  • Cip Fernandes

    Hi Roque Ferrao,

    If you forward me further details, I may able to help. My contact email is


    Cip Fernandes

  • I have found to be quite a help in keeping current with relatives spread across the globe. There are a few people, Jules Fausto Mendonca de Sa for one, who are actively uploading Goan profiles to the site (he has recently attained the designation of Curator for his work).

  • Dominic fernandes


    I also hoping to trace some family members . My mothers side are the mesquita’s . my grandmother was Pia leonora Misquita-fernandes. she had a siste faustina, Maria agusta who was maried to a general in goa. If anyone has any info about Rosario Fernandes from Aldona, he played the violin. he moved to karachi and died there in 1965. any info would be helpfull

  • Jules Fausto M de Sa

    Dear Dominic,
    I have just noticed your email and would be glad to help you whereever I can. I have various family tree information at my disposal and could try and trace the information you seek. I lived in Karachi and have knowledge and contacts there.
    Could you let me know where your Mesquita ancestry comes from? I know there are families with the similar surname in Aldona, Benaulim and Sangolda. I have not come across other villages having Mesquitas. My email address is

  • Zelia

    Fr. Nazcimento nice to know that you are in Holy Spirit Church, Margao. I am seeking the parents of Zita Azavedo e Quadros Living in Loutolim but originally from Saligao. What was the names of her parents. Her Husband iis Dr. Kevin Quadros s/o Manuel and Anna Quadros from Bombay. Will appreciate your reply

    Best wishes

    Zelia Monte da Silva Miranda

  • Maria Oom

    I need information concerning
    1.José Vicente Godinho,brâmane, n.22.01.1824Goa, Bardez,Silurá, Socorro
    son of
    2.Felipe Salvador Godinho, n. Goa
    3. D.Joaquina de Menezes,n. Goa

    Baptisms document and marriage document
    Thank you
    Maria Oom

    • Jules Fausto de Sa

      Dear Maria,
      I cannot help you with regards to obtaining the documents you seek as I am based in London. But do know of a prominent Godinho family from Socorro, Communidade de Serula. Would you have some sort of family tree to enable me to investigate if this is the same one. I have information on this family from the Nineteenth Century. If indeed right then I could put you in contact with the relevant people. My email address is You can write to me on this one. I have an avid interest in Goan genealogy and have access to many genealogical records.
      Regards and best hunting.

  • Rajiv Verdes


    I would like to know some information about the surname : Verdes. As far as I know, nobody in India except for my uncles n cousins have the surname Verdes.

    Any information would greatly help me set up the family tree.

    Thanks! :)

  • I need information concerning the Godinho Family, from Goa, Bardez, Silurá, N.Sra do Socorro. They are a Braman Family sec.XI, and one of the son, was coming to Portugal, and he is Army Portuguese General, your name is José Vicente Godinho,b.22.01.1824, fathre’s name Filipe Salvador Godinho, and mother’s name Joaquina de Menezes.
    Thank you
    Maria Oom

  • I need information concerning the Godinho Family, from Goa, Bardez, Silurá, N.Sra do Socorro. They are a Braman Family sec.XI, and one of the son, was coming to Portugal, and he is Army Portuguese General, your name is José Vicente Godinho,b.22.01.1824, father’s name Filipe Salvador Godinho, and mother’s name Joaquina de Menezes.
    Thank you
    Maria Oom

  • Claude Coutinho

    Hi my name is Claude Coutinho based in Perth western AustraIia and am trying to trace my ancestors. My grandfather was from Thivim Goa and moved to Malawi Africa early in his married life. The family home in Thivim I’m is now in ruins but I would appreciate any help in trying to trace my past or find a genealogist in go a that my be interested in helping. Thanks Claude

  • Ivy De Souza

    Please help. For years I have been trying to find my father’s family. Thome Reginaldo Souza born 21.12.1899 in Grande Morod, Saligao. Baptism 16.2.1900. Parents Caetano Francisco Souza & Maria Eliza Lobo (known as Moetweguer because she was very short).
    Godparents Caetano Francis Pinto and Angelica Farasao. Known Children: Sebastian Anthony (Bachelor, Violinist)now dead. Jose, George, Bella married Santan (Lawyer) and Annamaria. Also an adopted girl who became a Nurse named Carmeline. Any information or help to trace any of the named people (or their children) will be much appreciated.

  • Lorna James

    I am looking for…
    Stella Agnes Rebeiro?
    Birth abt 1873/4
    Place: India
    Can you help with her birth please?

  • My brother suggested I may like this website. He used to be entirely right.
    This post actually made my day. You can not believe simply how so much time I had spent for this info!

  • Gerald

    Highly informational article. Wish we all could trace our family trees and understand how we connect. I started with my family tree a few years ago and reached a point where I am unable to get more information from those alive. I know this is a long shot but can you recommend specific sites that I can use to search? Whether in Goa or in India? I’m at my wits end and would appreciate some info. to add to the tree.

    Thank you,


  • The Esteves family of Chembur(Mumbai)/ Raia(Goa) has released a memorial website in memory of the laste author and freelance journalist.
    Please check out the website , light a candle and share it with others.
    Thank you.


    Please help. Have been struggling to find our roots. My father Inas Mascarenhas died in the year 2000. My grandfather Bautis Mascarenhas who had a brother Mariano/Marian/Mariyaan Mascarenhas they were from Mapusa in bardez but settled in kolhapur. MY Mother Archanj Mascarenhas now living in kolhapur has a brother Xavier Cruz. THEY belonged to Aldona in bardez. In search for our family tree prior to Bautis.

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