Thanks for your e-mail. You are right. My relatives emigrated to Brazil (specifically to the Amazon region) in the beginning of the century. My grandfather's name was Nassar Khoury Gabriel (born 1885), from Beit Chebab, son of Father Youssef Gabriel (born 1847) and Barbara Haddad Gabriel. He (Nassar) was also the grandson of a Maronite priest (Father Elias Gabriel). Nassar arrived in Belém, Pará, in 1905. We know he came with his brothers Nicola, Adam, and his sister Haifa. Adam ventured farther to the Brazilian-Bolivian border, namely the Brazilian city of Brasileia (near the Bolivian city of Cobija) and thence to Rio de Janeiro. Nassar had also another brother, Jirjis (born 1882, died c. 1939), who was a Maronite priest, called Father Mikhail.
I'm a diplomat and spent four years in the Near East, in Syria, where I worked in the Brazilian Embassy, as Consul of Brazil. I met many of the relatives and visited hundreds of times Lebanon, Beit Chebab and the Church of Sayydet el-Bizzaz, the church of the Gabriel family. There I knew Father Daniel Naffah (also from the Gabriel family) who helped me to trace back our origins, and who unfortunately passed away in 1999. I also benefited from those four years there to develop a research on emigration, in order to write a book on this subject. The book, which is being written in Portuguese, does not deal with people or families specifically, but with Lebanese and Syrian immigrants in general.
Please, tell me more about you and your research. I am interested to know something about your relatives in Brazil. When I was in Damascus, I knew a Brazilian lady whosefamily name was Gabriel, from the city of Hasbaya. There is another Gabriel family in Brazil, from the north of Lebanon (Tripoli? or Akkar?).
I am working now in our Embassy in Madrid, and I'm the Consul here. I will stay with my family (Lebanese wife Mona and my children Hadi and Lorena) for two more years, before coming back to Brazil once again.