Joao Afonso das Grotas Fundas and the Counts of Benavente

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John Raposo

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Sep 2, 2015, 11:48:19 AM9/2/15
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João Afonso (de Pimentel) das Grotas Fundas
Died 2 Sept 1512
 
NB: this is the work of several people including Rodrigo Rodrigues, Andrew Rapoza, George Pacheco, Diana cestodio Silva, in addition to those cited.
 
NAME: He became known in St. Michael, Açores as "João Afonso das Grotas Fundas" [Frutuoso]. Frutuoso never gives him the family name Pimentel nor does he ever make reference to a relationship to the Spanish Counts of Benevente.  This claim is made by his grandson  João Afonso, o Moço, of Faial da Terra, where he died on 16.4.1577.  On the cover of his will, in an old script, it says that the said  João Afonso, o Moço descendes from the Condes de Benavente of Castile.  
 
 
BIOGRAPHY: "The Pimentels and the Resendes families of the island of São Miguel descended from João Afonso de Pimentel who came with these names in the last quarter of the 15th century" [Familias Antigas da Povoação]. (It was also suggested that he arrive in the middle of the 15th century [James Guill]. "He settled in the place of Grotas Fundas, on the island of São Miguel, where he had a large family and house, by which he became well-known on the island as João Afonso das Grotas Fundas [Frutuoso]." "The origin of this João Afonso is wrapped in some mystery; nevertheless, his 5th grandson [through a daughter of João Afonso], Padre Pedro Furtado Leite, outlined his ancestry in a letter in which he wrote that his mother was descended from João Afonso who, in turn, was the descendant of the Counts of Benavente, of Spain. In truth, there are some nobiliaries that refer to a son of the third Count of Benavente (there is a perfect coincidence of dates), of the name João Afonso, who left Spain, and disappears from history. The third Count of Benavente, Alonso de Pimentel, also known as the Count of Mayorga, was married to Dona Maria de Quinones y Toledo. The subsequent nobiliaries referred to their son João Afonso de Pimentel [Familias]." No further details are given in Genealogia de los Condes y Duques de Benavente (at the Madrid Library), however. [J. Guill] This son would have been 60 to 70 years old when João Afonso das Grotas Fundas made his will, His  great-grea-greatr grandson, Father Belchior Manuel de Resendes, in a letter, says that his 4th grandfather, João Afonso das Grotas Fundas was the son of a Count and exiled himself to S. Miguel for having committed a crime in Portugal.
 
 
"The Pimentels belong to one of the most illustrious families of the Iberian peninsula and originate in Benavente, where they had a castle at the juncture of a gigantic triangular territory formed by the lands of Leon, Asturias, and Galicia and bordered by the rivers Esla and Orbigo [Familias]."
 
One Count built a hospital by the name of Nossa Senhora do Piedade to benefit the pilgrims traveling the Silver Route on the way to Santiago de Compostela. The church in Ponta Garça that serves the Grotas Fundas area where João Afonso was the first settler, was also called Nossa Senhora do Piedade, thus further suggesting the connection between João Afonso das Grotas Fundas and the Counts of Benavente. [Familias.]
 
 
 
It may be this same João Afonso that is mentioned to have contributed 80 moios of wheat toward a program to direct fresh water from the land of Gaspar de Bettancurt to Ponta Delgada because before this time the residents of that town had to rely on well water (perhaps the town's population was growing too large to sustain itself on the number of wells then available) [Alverne].
 
João Afonso das Grotas Fundas was again credited as being the earliest settler of Grotas Fundas at the very beginning of Ponta Garça's settlement. (It was also suggested that, given the isolation and difficult access to Grotas Fundas, it could be assumed that João Afonso de Pimentel had a motive to flee to so remote a spot [J.Guill].) He made his will on 26 May 1511. In it he made his oldest son, João Afonso, and his son's wife, Catarina Manuel, the executors and ordered that a third of his lands be set aside to produce a benefit of 10,000 reis [system of money later replaced by cruzeiros] for the purpose of having three masses said one week a year in perpetuity; the first on Monday for his faith in God to be a blessing on his soul; the second on Saturday in honor of the Peace of Christ and the last one on Saturday in honor of "Nossa Senhora" with all her prayers [Vida].
 
[Alverne]      Chronicas da Provincia de São João Evangelista das Ilhas dos Açores
[Familias]     Familias Anitgas de Povoação
[Frutuoso]     Doutor Gaspar Frutuoso, Livro Quatro: Saudades da Terra
[J. Guill]       Letter from Dr. James H. Guill, FEB 98
[Vida]         A Vida de Nossos Avós
 
See also Miguel Figueiredo Corte-Real: Os Descendentes dos Condes de Benavente Radicados in Açores Desde o Século XV.

John Miranda Raposo

Manita M

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Sep 2, 2015, 5:32:40 PM9/2/15
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This is VERY helpful and I appreciate that you have referenced the sources and combined them all together into one tidy document.

*** this will be my last POST on this topic ***

Somehow, I just can't let this go!  I am completely fascinated.  Am I on the only one?  I am sure we have we have many descendants from my 13th great grandfather in this google group alone.

Here are my thoughts and questions:

1.  Y DNA testing

Now that we have Y DNA testing AND have knowledge of the DIRECT paternal line of my/our mysterious 13th great grandfather ... could some of those gentlemen simply not get tested?  Then of course we need to compare those Y DNA results to the OFFICIAL direct paternal descendants of the Count of Benavente?  Sounds so simple, but I am sure it isn't.  Maybe I am off my rocker.  Is there any special studies out there on this ancestor?

I am thinking something like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHG_SBgQWAw

Yes, I realize that this is mtDNA and not Y DNA, but you get where I am going with this.


2.  What crime did he commit?


3.  Living in such a remote area (Grotas Fundas)
Yes, I totally had the thought it was a rather remote spot to want to live and reading the reference to it aligns to what I was thinking. Hmmmmmm.


4.  Which count built a hospital by the name of "Nossa Senhora do Piedade" along the Silver Route on the way to Santiago de Compostela?

This fascinates me, as I have personally done 2 pilgrimages to SdC.  In fact, I *might* be going back in November to lead a small group.


5.  going to Rome and asking the Pope for forgiveness?

I thought I had read that someone went to Rome to ask the Pope for forgiveness.  Has anyone else seen a reference to that?  It could just be me misunderstanding the Portuguese, but I'm curious if anyone recalls reading such a thing.


6.  Language spoken:
This may appear to be an odd and maybe even a stupid question.  If this count came from Spain, would he not be speaking Spanish or whatever the dialect of that area of Spain is?  Or would it be normal for people at that time to have spoken Portuguese and Spanish?  OR ... were there Spanish speaking people in Sao Miguel who had to then learn to speak Portuguese in the 15th century, BEFORE Spain invaded the Azores?  I know odd question, but I am curious.


7.  Miguel Figueiredo Corte-Real: Os Descendentes dos Condes de Benavente Radicados in Acores Desde o Seculo XV

Does anyone have a pdf of this book that they can share with me?


8.  Spanish Nobility Documents

There is reference in "Genealogia de los Condes y Duques de Benavente" that the Count of Mayorga had a son by the same name and the dates line up to my/our ancestor.  Is there no further mention of this man anywhere else in Spanish documents?


9.  Anyone have a pdf copy of "Genealogia de los Condes y Duques de Benavente"?










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brownat68

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Sep 3, 2015, 12:39:24 PM9/3/15
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This is fantastic thank you!

So many of my ancestors trace back to him.

Todd
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cathybourgeois1218

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Jul 28, 2016, 8:26:31 PM7/28/16
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There is a discrepancy as to where he was born.  Was he born in Portugal or Baesa, Galiza Spain?


On Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 11:48:19 AM UTC-4, John Raposo wrote:

John Raposo

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Jul 30, 2016, 12:14:17 PM7/30/16
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If Joao Afonso (de Pimentel) "das Grotas Fundas" is who genealogists say he is (son of the 3rd Count) then he would have been born in Spain, not in Portugal. It would be nice if DNA technology could be put to use here to determine if he does descend from the Counts.

Best regards,

John Miranda Raposo




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brownat68 .

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Jul 30, 2016, 9:52:02 PM7/30/16
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Are there any direct male descendants of João Afonso (de Pimentel) “das Grotas Fundas on this forum? 

Even if there is we wouldn't we need to find someone descended from the Counts to take a DNA test also to compare their DNA to?

Todd

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Cheri Mello

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Jul 30, 2016, 10:58:02 PM7/30/16
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Yes, we would need a strict line male descendant of Joao Afonso das Grotas Fundas (the male test taker must have the genealogy of his father's father's father's father back to Joao Afonso) AND we would need a man who was the son of the son of the son of the son of the Count of Benavente to compare to. They would both need a YDNA test.

There could be people on this list that could be it, but their records don't go back far enough in their freguesia or they aren't back that far yet in time.

Cheri Mello
Listowner, Azores-Gen
Researching: Vila Franca, Ponta Garca, Ribeira Quente, Ribeira das Tainhas, Achada

Maria Lima

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Jul 31, 2016, 12:13:44 AM7/31/16
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Theresa- I have not made a connection yet but you thought Paul MIGHT be related?  I know he is also related to CATHY Bourgeois who imitistes this thread.   They are related on two lines.  

 I admit ignorance,  but i do not know which DNA test he should  take.  So far all his paternal line  goes back to the AZORES AND Santa Maria (well, the maternal line too but I haven't gone as far back because one maternal grandmother was "pais incognito" so that was the end of the line   That was the maternal great grandmother

Maria Elena 

Cheri Mello

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Jul 31, 2016, 11:29:21 AM7/31/16
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I don't know who Paul is or why he is mentioned on this thread about Joao Afonso.

When getting into DNA and not knowing where to start, order Family Finder and then other tests can be ordered later.
Cheri

Shirley Allegre

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Jul 31, 2016, 9:38:38 PM7/31/16
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I have him born in Spain.
Shirley in CA
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Manita M

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Aug 3, 2016, 7:45:20 AM8/3/16
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This is exactly what we need in order to have scientific proof. Otherwise, we will never know for sure.  We NEED to figure this out.  It's an intriguing story that needs to be told and properly researched.

Is there anyway that we could identify a direct male descendant of Joao Afonso das GF? Then get the Y DNA done on that person?

Is there anyone in this group that is on the direct paternal line to Joao Afonso das GF? Please, please identify yourself and would you please do a Y DNA test? If too cost prohibitive, I am sure a bunch of us would sponsor that test for you, me included.


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Manita M

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Aug 3, 2016, 8:06:05 AM8/3/16
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Dear direct paternal line descendant of Joao Afonso das Grotas Fundas,

We need your Y DNA tested to confirm a mystery and be able to make a huge breakthrough with one of the original settlers of the Azores.

Of course we would then need to find a direct paternal descendant of his father, the Count of Benavente and do the exact same thing and determine if there is a Y DNA match, but even if that is years away, it would still be helpful.

A bunch of us, myself included descend from this man and I'm dying to know if it's true that he is who we think he is, then we connect to Rainha Santa Isabel and some other VERY interesting people in history.

http://www.vamosaic.com/2016/04/23/what-do-vietnam-coimbra-genealogy-dna-testing-azores-joao-afonso-das-grotas-fundas-rainha-santa-isabel-benavente-toledo-and-san-diego-have-in-common/

brownat68

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Aug 3, 2016, 9:27:07 AM8/3/16
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Those of us that are descendants of João Afonso can all pitch in for a Y-DNA test.

I remember someone posting information a year or so ago that a university was going to publish a paper about João Afonso (de Pimentel) das Grotas Fundas but nothing was brought forth.

Todd


On Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 11:48:19 AM UTC-4, John Raposo wrote:

Cheri Mello

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Aug 3, 2016, 2:27:57 PM8/3/16
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You know how ideas are really good in theory but sometimes when we put them to practice, well, we run into obstacles?

Joao Afonso Grotas Fundas...born mid to late 1400s, d. 1512. Work tracing ALL his sons forward for the past 550 years to wherever his descendants went: America, Canada, Brasil, Bermuda, Australia, etc. AND find a living son. That's a half a century of work! And do the same thing for the Count.

Who are the sons of Joao Afonso of Grotas Fundas? Who are sons of the Count?

Is someone on this list a strict line male descendant of those two men? Maybe. Are they sitting on the other side of the computer hiding out? I doubt it. If they are a strict line male descendant, they probably don't know it. Maybe it's Rick Pimentel. He's done a bunch of research, but he ran out of records way before the mid to late 1400s. Many people don't have their genealogy back to the 1400s because of the lack of records. And then we have this group of people - they either don't have an island or a freguesia yet and have not been able to search. Or maybe they have their island & freguesia but find reading the records intimidating and really haven't begun their research in the Azores. Maybe it's Peter Pimentel who lives in Omaha, Nebraska and is 1/16th Portuguese and doesn't do genealogy. (He's fictional, by-the-way). Maybe it's Mike Miller (also fictional) who lives in New England and whose family has been there forever, since Mayflower times. Or so he thinks. His surname is Miller and he assumes it is English and he assumes he goes back to the American colonial families. He doesn't know that Miller is an anglicization of Mello and that he's really Portuguese. His sister does all the genealogy by following the little green leaves on Ancestry and she thinks they are Mayflower descendants too.

It would take a lot of work to trace the strict male lines forward. Not only for Joao Afonso, but William van der Haagen, Jose d'Utra, etc, etc. It would be wonderful to have the Y DNA of those prominent men of the Azores. And Gaspar Frutuoso too. But he was a priest and as far as we know, celibate. Did he have any brothers? So many good sample to get. Everyone should DNA test even if they are just beginning in genealogy. They may be that person that we are after and they just don't know it yet.

Cathy Bourgeois

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Aug 3, 2016, 3:40:16 PM8/3/16
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Thanks for your response....and yes, it would be wonderful if we could get that answer.

On Sat, Jul 30, 2016 at 12:14 PM, 'John Raposo' via Azores Genealogy <azo...@googlegroups.com> wrote:

EResendes

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Aug 4, 2016, 11:17:17 AM8/4/16
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I've looked at all the descendants that I have for this line and the latest I can go to a direct male descendant is in mid 1800's.  I have direct 6th generation Capt. Antonio Ignacio de Medeiros who died in Feb. 5th 1849 in Faial da Terra but only had a daughter.  All the other lines I checked ended in females or I had no descendants listed.

Cheri Mello

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Aug 4, 2016, 12:02:45 PM8/4/16
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The problem is where no descendants were listed. Those may be the lines that need work.

Pam Santos

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Aug 5, 2016, 11:52:11 PM8/5/16
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all my lines from here are female decendants.

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Cheri Mello

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Aug 5, 2016, 11:53:33 PM8/5/16
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Sooner or later a male descendant will show up!

Júlio César Coelho

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Sep 17, 2022, 11:08:28 PMSep 17
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A simple way to find out Joao Afonso's male descendants is crawling through Genealogy sites and do it up to current male descendants. Then, we could try contacting them in order to make a Y DNA. Again, we should to proceed alike with Alonso de Pimentel y Enriquez direct descendants.

I'm interested in knowing whether Joao Afonso was Alonso's son, or not, because I want to validate my personal connections to earlier families. Joao Afonso Pimentel (of Grotas Fundas) seems to have a higher role on HIstory than people could imagine. I mean spiritual role if we consider jewish roots of Afonso IX of Castille y Leon, his ancestor, and Diaspora that was beginning again in Spain and Portugal.
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