"Apparently Coelho actually referred to a specific type of hare which lived underground". Sorry, you have been given incorrect information. While the modern Portuguese pronunciation sounds similar to Cunha (rabbit in Portuguese) the Coelho name comes from Ladino (a Sephardic Jewish language) and is the same as the Hebrew name Kohanim. In English that would be most often translated as the common Jewish surname of Cohen. Also, it is important to note that Sephardic Jews and the Portuguese in general did not use surnames before 1900 or before emigration elsewhere. Their names were not even patronymic (aka, Johnson is John's son). Their names were descriptors. If Coelho appears in successive generations it is because they (the family) are identifying themselves as Kohanim descendants. Kohanim means priest in Hebrew and Kohanims (Cohens) are self described as descendants of the Biblical Aaron, brother of Moses and the first high priest of the Temple of Jerusalem. Interestingly, there is DNA evidence to support this claim as many Kohanim/Cohen (and Coelho) share similar DNA patterns regardless of where they are found in the world today. Also, the name Coelho has been publicly identified by the Holy Office of the Catholic Church of Spain as a Sephardic (Jewish) surname. So while it is often referred to as a Conversos name, it is in fact a Sephardic Jewish name and not a name adopted upon conversion, or forced conversion, to Catholicism.