The ascendants of artist F N Souza

by Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas

From the cursory reading of the marriage certificate of the parents of the world-renowned artist Francis Newton Souza it appears that his father José Victor Aniceto de Souza alias Newton de Souza was from Assolna, as he was born is Assolna, but was later resident in Saligao. Married to Lilia Maria Cecilia Antunes (born and baptised in Saligao) and consequently the future artist was their offspring born and baptised in Saligao. From this it might be concluded that from his father’s side F N Souza was from Assolna and from his mother’s side he was from Saligao. But is it a true conclusion?

Let us go over some documents and from them let us verify the truth about the ascendants of artist F N Souza, where they are from, and where they settled.

F N Souza states that his paternal grandfather António Francisco de Souza was the headmaster of a school in Assolna and that he founded that school. Let us read what Professor José Julião do Sacramento Almeida from Assolna teels us about the schools in the village of Assolna in his book A Aldeia de Assolna, Esboço Histórico-Arqueológico e Biográfico, 1958 Tip. Singbal, Goa, pp 76-77.

F N Souza. Photo by Srimati Lal, 1995.

F N Souza. Photo by Srimati Lal, 1995.

“There was a private Portuguese school as well as an English school maintained by Sociedade de Beneficência e Instrução de Assolna, Velim and Cuncolim founded in 1893 and both elementary and complementary subjects were taught there. The schools functioned in the old residence of Joãosinho Pereira de Andrade. It lasted just three years. The private school of the Society in English was the first in that language at Assolna in the year (1893) and it lasted also three years. The teachers of this English school was António Francisco de Souza, director from Siolim, Bardez. He is the paternal grandfather of artist F N Souza. The other teacher was Augusto de Piedade e Costa from Velim (S. Roque) and… This school had just four standards but was frequented by many students.

“In the third academic year (1895-1896) the management of the Society resolved to exonerate the teacher director Souza and nominated Fr Damasceno da Costa, brother of Piedade. At the time of his taking over the directorship of the school, the students went on strike and Fr Damasceno da Costa was not allowed to take charge of the school. The school was extinct because the society was dissolved. In 1902 St Mary’s School of Assolna was founded by the above mentioned Souza.”

It is of this school that F N Souza spoke about, when mentioning that his grandfather had established a school, but does not say from where his grandfather (António Francisco de Souza) was originally from. Professor Almeida says he was from Siolim, Bardez. The professor also adds that students from all the three parishes of Assolna, Cuncolim and Velim, besides Carmona and Cavellosim, attended this school. After his death, the school was run by his son Jose Newton (father of F N Souza).

During 1912-1914 the same school was directed by Sócrates da Cruz from Cavorim (Chandor?) in the absence of Souza, who went to Africa. For many years the school functioned in the residences of Rosario Lourenco Noronha, today belonging to Jozinho Vaz, in ward Bainaque. It functioned on the second floor above the shops belonging to Amancio Almeida from Baga de Ambelim. Then passed on to function in the house of Piedade Rodrigues, which was in the place where later on Carlos Almeida built his house(1).

Thus, we can conclude that Goan artist F N Souza’s paternal grandfather, Antonio Francisco de Souza was originally from Siolim, Bardez, and settled in Assolna, Salcete.

Going through a document of the village of Salvador do Mundo under the title “Familias ganvcariais par caput e estirpe da aldeia de Sirula” it says that Antunes from Donvaddo of the parish of Salvador do Mundo settled in Saligao. There are no Antunes mentioned in the Comunidade records of Saligao. So this Antunes is originally from Donvaddo de Salvador do Mundo  Though António João Antunes was born in Saligao and his daughter Lilia Maria Cecilia Antunes was also born in Saligao and baptised there and even had a residential house in Sonarbhatt, Saligao, the ancestors of the Antunes family are from Donvaddo de Salvador do Mundo and not from Saligao. However, F N Souza spoke much about his maternal grandmother, Leopoldina Filomena Saldanha. Now Leopoldina’s parents were both ganvkars of Saligao. So the grandmother of artist Francis Newton Souza, Leopoldina Saldanha, is in fact from Saligao.

In conclusion then, the paternal ascendency of Goan artist F N Souza is from Siolim de Bardez and maternal ascendency is from Donvaddo de Salvador do Mundo.

The house where F N Souza spent his childhood in Saligao, Goa

F N Souza's childhood house in Saligao, Goa. Pic by Frederick Noronha


(1). ALMEIDA, José Julião do Sacramento, A Aldeia de Assolna, Esboço Histórico-Arqueológico e Biográfico, 1958, Tip. Singbal, Goa, pp 76-77

2 comments on The ascendants of artist F N Souza

  • Joaquim Mascarenhas

    Well researched report. What is even more pleasing is a picture of my house. If you need a better shot, frontal view or pictures of the house inside, please let me know – I might be able to find a few. We bought the place a few years ago and have spent a lot of time putting it together. Did not know the relevance and rich history associated with this house, when we bought it! I am told that FN Souza was actually born in this house.

  • Victor Rangel-Ribeiro

    Dear Mr. Mascarenhas,

    I have just completed a biography of F.N. Souza and would be most interested in seeing and using any photographs you have of the house in Saligao, preferably in the state in which you bought it. Of course I will credit you for the photographs, and also acknowledge the fact that you are the new owner and responsible for having saved it and restored it fore posterity.

    Warmest regards,
    Victor Rangel-Ribeiro

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