Maria Carolina Colangeli and Daughter Maria Giuseppa Marcella ~~ Grandpop’s Nonna and Zia


The Marcella Filatori and One of the Midwives~ Maria Carolina Colangeli and daughter Maria Giuseppa Marcella~ Several generations of Farindola and Montebello di Bertona women helped support their families in the profession of spinning. They were filatori – women who spin fibers into thread. Being a filatrice was a recognized female profession in Italy. They may have sold it to support their families, wove it, or knitted it to keep their families warm. The women in the mountains were most likely spinning wool for clothing and weaving, meaning that their husbands owned sheep and this was a means of supporting their livelihoods. They could also have spun cotton for lace. The women in Farindola had to weave their own sheets for bedding (according to a great aunt.)


 Maria Carolina Colangeli and the Filatori

The mother of Filippo Marcella (from this post) Maria Carolina Colangeli*, was a filatrice, who learned the skill from her mother and grandmother, also filatori. *So, if you are descended from Maria Giustina Marcella, Domenico Marcella, or Filippo Marcella, Maria Carolina Colangeli is their mother. The easiest explanation of Maria Carolina Colangeli is that she is the 3 x great grandmother of the writer.


Filatrice Maria Carolina Colangeli, was born on June 18, 1817, in Farindola, Pescara, Italy, to Berardino Colangeli and Anna Giuseppa Antonacci, from Montebello di Bertona, Pescara. Montebello is a smaller neighboring village. In what was probably an arranged marriage, Anna Giuseppa Antonacci was listed as a filatrice on record for her marriage to Berardino Colangeli. Data on the record also said Maria Carolina’s grandmother on her father’s side, Maria Carmina Crocetta (Bernardo Colangeli’s mother) was also a filatrice. Colangeli or Colangelo are the same surname – as they spell it varyingly in the 1810s and the 1820s in Montebello and Farindola. The record also reflected that Anna Giuseppa Antonacci’s mother was deceased. There was a lot of data received from that marriage document.

On November 21, 1840, Maria Carolina Colangeli married Massimo Nicola Marcella, son of Giuseppantonio Marcella and Maria Domenica Sciarra, in San Nicola di Bari, Farindola. They had 10 children, including two sets of twin girls. The first set of twin girls did not survive to adulthood. 8 of their 10 children were born in Trosciano, Farindola. As for the other remaining two, one was born in Casebruciate, Farindola (in the home of an in-law) and the other in the village. Probably for land reasons, at some point after the birth of all of their children, and in the years between 1857 and 1869, Maria Carolina and Massimo Nicola moved their farm from Trosciano to Casebruciate, Massimo Nicola’s birth place.

Maria Carolina and her daughters continued spinning in Casebruciate. According to the wedding records of Maria Carolina’s daughters, all were professional filatori by the time of their marriages and would have continued to spin like their mother, grandmother, and great grandmother to support their families.   Maria Carolina died on October 8, 1894, in house #65, Casebruciate, Farindola, at the age of 77.

The Children of Massimo Nicola Marcella and Maria Carolina Colangeli, 7 of which survived to adulthood:

Children 1 and 2 (Twins) born August 13, 1841 in Trosciano:

-Maria Domenica – death August 13, 1852

-Maria Giustina – death September 6, 1842

Child 3:

Maria Giustina Marcella, filatrice – born April 14, 1843 in the village – died January 10, 1912

Married Panfilo Zenone, foundling, parents of at least 6 including Giuseppe Zenone.

Child 4:

Filippo Marcella, contadino – born September 19, 1884 in Trosciano – died April 20, 1916 – married Mariantonia Lacchetta and Elisabetta Rossi. Father of at least 15 including Cesidio Marcella. 

Child 5:

Maria Giuseppa Marcella, levatrice and filatrice – born January 29, 1846 in Trosciano – died November 1, 1918 in Casebruciate. Married Giovanni Costantini, son of Domenico and Annantonia Falconetti, and had at least one child.

Child 6:

Antonio Marcella – born August 11, 1847 in Trosciano – died September 7, 1851

Child 7:

Domenico Marcella, contadino – born October 28, 1849 in Trosciano – died May 7, 1908 in Casebruciate. Married Maria Carmina Basilavecchia, daughter of Nicola Basilavecchia and Elisabetta Falconetti, and had at least 7 children including Gaetano Marcella.

Child 8:

Nicolantonio Marcella, contadino – born November 21, 1851 in Casebruciate – died ?

Married Maria Giuseppa Della Valle, daughter of Giacomo Della Valle and Angela Dea Falcucci, children?

Children 9 and 10 (Twins) Born April 17, 1854 in Trosciano:

-Serafina Marcella, filatrice, married Antonio Di Francesco, son of Luigi Di Francesco and Anna Emidia Lucerini. Antonio Di Francesco is the brother of Biagio Di Francesco who is the father of Paolo Di Francesco. Serafina and Antonio have a least one child.

A brief synopsis of Paolo Di Francesco’s ancestry:


Child 10: Maria Domenica Marcella, filatrice, married Vincenzo DiSilvestri, son of Domenicantonio DiSilvestri and Annantonia Viola. Children ?

The Marcella Levatrice

The fifth child of Carolina and Massimo Nicola was not only a filatrice, but also a levatrice. A midwife is the woman there to assist other women in any part of the birth process with what were learned folk medical traditions. A levatrice earned a small fee from the family she assisted as well as a small stipend from the local city hall. Being a levatrice was also a recognized female occupation in Italy. There is a possibility this profession was also learned from her mother, for when Maria Carolina passed away in 1894, Maria Giuseppa Marcella’s name began to appear on many more birth records than it did before her mother’s death.

On June 4, 1894, Maria Giuseppa Marcella was with Maria Basilavecchia, the wife of her brother Domenico Marcella, for the birth of her niece Maria Giuseppa Marcella. The day after the delivery she went to Farindola Town Hall to make record to Paolo Colaiezzi, Assessiore that in the 17th hour and 5 minutes on the 4th of the current month of June that the wife of Domenico Marcella, Maria Basilavecchia, gave birth to a female baby named Maria Giuseppa. Pietro Di Zillio, a 70 year old farmer, and 66 year old Vincenzo Marano, a farmer, were with her to provide testimony that it was correct and true and the child was born to who Maria Giuseppa had told Signore Colaiezzi. Only male relations or midwives couId appear to make the record. I don’t imagine Maria paid her sister-in-law a fee.

In 1895, Maria Giuseppa Marcella was with Elisabetta Rossi for the birth of her nephew, Cesidio Marcella (Grandpop). Two days after Cesidio was delivered in 1895, on February 13th, Maria Giuseppa Marcella, levatrice, appeared at the Farindola Town Hall to make the record to the Assessiore Paolo Colaiezzi that Filippo Marcella and his wife Elisabetta Rossi had a male baby named Cesidio in the 15th minute, of the 15th hour, on the 11 day of the current month of February in Casebruciate, and that Angelo Ferramossa, a 37 year old tailor, and Quirico Cirone, a 52 year old farmer were with her to provide testimony that it was correct and true. The clerk likely gave Maria Giuseppa Marcella and the two witnesses a small fee for the testimony. In 1896, she again was the midwife when Elisabetta gave birth to Cesidio’s little sister Maria Domenica.

Maria Giuseppa practiced midwifery until she passed away in 1918.

Their surnames:

According to Cognomi Italiani, Antonacci is a diminutive of Antonio and is specific to Abruzzo. Colangeli/Colangelo is the shortened version of the male name Nicolangelo. Crocetta comes from the medieval Croce which is said to have come from the Greek equivalent Stavros!

Backtracking for the younger generation-

There are four main Farindola ancestral lines-Merlenghi, Marcella, Massei, and Di Francesco:

Cesidio Marcella married Serafina Merlenghi and had Nonno.   Paolo Di Francesco married Luigia Maria Massei and had Nonna.

The ladies in this post were the Farindola filatori. At this point in the research, they were the only women in Farindola spinning in their lifetimes. There are a couple more in the Pennesi Mincarelli line of the main Massei line – direct ancestors of Luigia Massei.

There are at least four other midwives in the Farindola part of the ancestry, which includes:

1 DIRECT ancestor in the Massei lines;

1 DIRECT ancestor in the Merlenghi lines; and

1 of the levatrice in the Massei ancestry was the Ricevitrice di Proietti (Receiver of the Foundlings) di San Nicola di Bari during the time her nephew was Sindaco (mayor) of Farindola.

The will have stories in future posts. Women in Italy never change their names making them easy for researchers to track…

The records linked into this post from Antenati are:

Montebello Matrimoni 1815, #5 Colangelo – Antonacci

Penne Nati 1843, #238, Panfilo Zenone

Farindola Nati 1894, #70, Maria Giuseppa Marcella

Farindola Nati 1895, #20, Cesidio Marcella


One thought on “Maria Carolina Colangeli and Daughter Maria Giuseppa Marcella ~~ Grandpop’s Nonna and Zia

  1. Gabriel Marcella October 2, 2015 / 3:46 pm


    Very interesting. Thanks for the nice work.


    Liked by 1 person

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