COSTI Family - History & Genealogy
The name COSTI - sometimes spelled by members of the family, because of its Godo roots or Spanish pronunciation, as Coshti - has its origins in the small village of Cos (Costi means "from Cos") in the Spanish province of Santander. Early on and regularly, members of the family used to serve in the King's army, or brought their own armed men to the King's service. It is a matter of historic proof that a good portion of Jews were dedicated to military careers. Some examples are:
* Onofre de Costi took part in the battle, known as “Batalla de las Navas de Tolosa”, against the Moors.
* Jacques Costi Barnuevo served under King Ramiro I in the battle of Clavijo, also against the Moors.
* Lucio Costi Mendar was “Halconero Mayor” of King Fernando II of Castille.
* Alfredo Costi was “Guarda Sellos” (guardian of the seal) of Alfonso V.
* Nuno Costi fought under and for King Pedro I of Aragon.
* Gozalvo Costi Beras served King Jaime I of Aragon, and received land concessions with the right to pass them on to his heirs.
* Gerardo Costi Menjibar was loyal to King Pedro I of Castille, fighting against the King’s brother – Don Enrique.
* It is not known if Saturio Costi, who fought in the battle of the liberation of Grenada against Boabdil, in 1492, in the service of the “Reyes Catolicos”, was still a Jew, a Marranoor a sincere “converse”.
* Other members of the family were scholars, farmers, merchants or artisans – like the majority of the Jewish inhabitants of Spain, however, unfortunately, they cannot be traced by name.
- There are strong indications that the family was established, for a long time, in Cordoba, Andalusia.
- According to the legend, our branch of the family left Spain at the time of the Expulsion, moving first to Bordeaux, France and later to Italy. It is said that they were maritime merchants, leasing ships to import and export merchandise. Like many Sephardim they also established in Turkey.
- Before the turn of the 19th century a few Costi brothers immigrated to Cairo, Egypt. The brothers married and raised families in Cairo but an uncle left for Sudan, where in the middle of nowhere, he established a trading post which became the town of Costi (or Kosti - depending on the spelling used to translate from Arabic) which can be located on any map of Sudan. He married a black Sudanese woman, who apparently converted to Judaism as his two sons are black Jews.
- The descendants of the Costi brothers from Cairo have emigrated from Egypt to Israel, France, South Africa, Italy, Australia, Venezuela, Mexico, England, Alaska and various other cities in the US.
The Spanish description of the Costi Coat of Arms is as follows:
Partido en Palo Verticalmente:
- Primera de Sinoples con dos Torres y Castillo en medio de ambas, de color natural. Ante el Castillo arbol de Sinoples y atado a su tronco, con Cadenade Plata, Leon de color natural Andante, ante el que pasa un rio que parte el Terrasado de Sinople con ondas de Azul y Plata.
- Segunda de Gules, con cinco Lises de Oro en sotuer, y en Sable, el lema "Pon la vida por la Honra y la Honra por el Alma".