On this day in 1896, at 4:30 in the morning, Great Grandmother Serafina Merlenghi was born in Macchie, Farindola…
Today, is the birthdate of the sweet lady that is the reason I put red pepper in my red sauce. I present to you the birth record of great grandmother Serafina Merlenghi from the Archivio di Stato di Pescara:
Number 78 Merlenghi Serafina:
The year 1896, first day of June at the hour 8, 40th minute, in the municipal house.
In front of me, Clemente de Berardinis, Secretary Delegate of the Mayor here since July 17, Civil State Official of the Commune of Farindola, is appearing Cesidio Merlenghi, of 40 years, farmer, living in Farindola, that admits to me that on the 4th hour, in the 30th minute, of the first day of the current month, in house address Macchie number (blank), to Maria Michela Cirone, his wife, with whom he is residing.
A baby of the feminine sex was born that he presents to me and who has been named Serafina.
To the above in this document were present the witnesses Quirico Cirone, of 46 years, farmer, and Cesidio Cirone, of 50 years, contadino, both residents of this commune.
The act that I have written has been read to the present attendees because they are illiterate. Signed –
Great great grandfather Cesidio Merlenghi was literate and signed his own name.
Quirico Cirone was also a witness of the birth of great grandfather Cesidio. Even though his last name is Cirone, he is not an uncle or cousin to Granmom.
Serafina Merlenghi’s Family and Genealogy
Granmom married Cesidio after his return from WWI. Obviously they had four children. Two daughters stayed in Farindola and raised families. One is still alive. Two sons were soldiers. The oldest son was lost in WWII in Russia. The youngest was in the United States Army. After Grandpop passed, she went home to Italy, collected social security, and passed away there.
Granmom had at least four siblings. The online birth records stop before I can check to see how many were born after her. Her oldest brother Antonio Merlenghi (1887-1918) was a Corporal in the Italian Army in WWI. Some details of the battle, where he fought and lost his life, and war medal have been related HERE-CLICK ME-. He married in 1910 to an Antonia Lombardi. Shortly before World War I, a man with his name came to the United States from Farindola. He was not allowed to stay and was deported. I cannot find another Antonio Merlenghi born in Farindola about the same time as Granmom’s brother. I wonder if they are the same man.
Her next oldest brother Vincenzo (1890-1968) married Maria Pompili. They had a daughter in Farindola before they came to Pennsylvania and had four more children. They sometimes went by the surname Morengo in the United States but, I assure you that according to their headstones, Vincenzo and at least one of his sons were still Merlenghi. (Placing the “o” at the end of their name may not have been an accident, as I found later.) Her next oldest brother was Paolo Merlenghi, born in 1893. The last sibling I can find is her younger sister Giovina born in 1899.
Granmom is my other great grandmother from Farindola with interesting individuals in her ancestry similar to those in the ancestry of Luigia Massei. Take a short look at Serafina’s ancestry (which is too huge to fit on one Ancestry screen):
The Surname Cirone
Oh my gosh! Look at that! Serafina’s father was the son of a Cirone lady and he married a Cirone. They are not related though. Cirone is probably the most common surname in Farindola period. It shows up numerous times in her father’s and mother’s ancestry. In fact, there is a small street in Farindola in the village itself called Vicolo Cirone (Cirone Alley). Mayors, landowners and town officials bore the surname. Tradesmen too. I was elated to see Berardino Cirone, the Mayor, on civil documents. But we are not related to that Cirone.
According to Cognomi Italiani, the name Cirone is derived from the Latin for the Persian Saint Cyrus…. Saint Ciro. Cirone is Abruzzese. Not Cirini, nor Cerone. It is CIRONE. Anyone with a surname not spelled the way it is spelled in Farindola is from another part of Italy and is not related.* Also, according to Cognomix, the largest contingent of Cirone in the Italian phonebook is in Farindola with 23 entries.
Because Cirone appears in numerous places in Serafina’s ancestry, I researched to 3 degrees and some to 4 degrees of consanguinity. None of the Cirones in her tree end up intermarrying kin. Perhaps, further back in records not yet accessible, a relationship could be established. Quite interestingly, she is the only Farindola great grandparent that I have that seems to carry the most Farindolesi blood back to the 1700s and she still does not show intermarrying of bloodlines. However, I cannot say positively that is true, because of two her ancestors, Anna Paola Lucerini and Donata Colangeli make small holes in Serafina’s tree. Until I locate the parents of Donata Colangeli could this absolutely be confirmed. Anna Paola Lucerini’s father will remain a mystery though as you will see.
Coincidentally, I was recently contacted on Ancestry regarding my Cirone people. I helped someone read his ancestor’s Cirone birth record. He then wanted to know if we were related. Back to at least 8 generations in Farindola, I could find no Cirone relation with this individual. We tried to determine if any of the Antonio Cirones in my tree were his ancestor beforehand. None of them were.
To the best of my knowledge, those with the surname Cirone in Serafina’s tree, as far back as I am able to go with the online records, were village dwellers, whereas my Marcella ancestors were cultivators, shepherds, spinners, woolworkers, and midwives in the country outside the village in the frazioni of the commune. The Marcellas married other farmers, shepherds, and wool workers, and it repeated…generation after generation.
Cesidio Merlenghi’s Ancestry (Serafina’s Father)
I am breaking down Serafina’s direct ancestry by father and mother. First, Cesidio Merlenghi’s ancestry went further back than the “lovely” pedigree view on Ancestry.com would allow me to capture here to show you.
The Merlenghis themselves were easy to research and followed the tradition of naming their oldest children after grandparents and went directly back to the early 1700s easily where the oldest Merlenghi ancestor I could find, up to this point, would have been born. The oldest RECORD I could find, up to this point, with Serafina’s surname was dated 1789 in Farindola. It was attached to the marriage documents in an 1821 marriage to the nephew of Serafina’s ancestor Antonio Nicodemo Merlenghi. His nephew was named Erminegildo Frattarola. In that document, which is Erminegildo’s baptismal record from 1789, Antonio Merlenghi’s sister’s name was transcribed down by Archpriest Antonio Salvitti (who is a relation and part of our tree) as Domenica (daughter of Nicodemo) MERLENGO. See for yourself….
BUT! In 1793, our ancestor, Domenica’s brother, Antonio Nicodemo Merlenghi, was baptized as MERLENGHI. The Merlenghi are traced back, for now, to my 6 x great grandfather Nicodemo Merlenghi, likely born in the 1720s or 1730s, as I previously mentioned. I think he was from Farindola because I haven’t found the surname in any neighboring towns. Those with the surname Merlenghi going directly back, for as far back as I can currently trace, were all farmers.
Poor Anna Paola Lucerini
Previously mentioned Antonio Merlenghi married Anna Paola Lucerini in 1821. She was illegitimate. Her mother was Maria Domenica Romaolda Lucerini. Her father was never named anywhere on records. He is simply IGNOTA/Unknown. She was baptized by Archpriest Antonio Salvitti at San Nicola di Bari. Her godmother was Lucia, widow of Filippo Frattarola, and the midwife there at her birth was Anna Rosa, widow of Domenico Di Francesco. Her mother passed when she was 16 years old. This is not the end of the line for Anna Paola’s ancestry because her grandparents on her mother’s side are known! This branch of the Lucerini lived inside the village too.
My 6 x great grandfather was a fabricatore (builder) as were his brothers and at least one of his sons was referred to as Mastro (Master) Fabricatore on Farindola civil records. They too lived in the village. Master Builder. Sounds familiar in one of Nicolantonio Cirone’s descendants doesn’t it?
Maria Donata di Costanzo and her parents
Maria Donata di Costanzo bears a special mention for two reasons. 1. She and her parents are the only people I could find in Cesidio Merlenghi’s ancestry that weren’t from Farindola. They were from Penne. Maria Donata was born there; and 2. Maria Donata di Costanzo was a midwife. Not only did she deliver her grandchildren, she appears in many Latin records as the obtestrix (levatrice/ostetrice/midwife) delivering babies in Farindola.
Giuseppe Marzola and His Wife Rosina Pompili
Giuseppe Marzola and Rosina Pompili are the parents of the wife of the Cancelliere of Farindola, Nicola Carusi. Her name is Giovanna Marzola. (Giovanna Marzola and Nicola Carusi are important parts of Luigia Massei’s ancestry.) She would be sister to Domenico Marzola in Cesidio Merlenghi’s tree. Surely these parents and family were well-to-do citizens of Farindola.
Maria Michela Cirone’s Ancestry (Serafina’s Mother)
Maria Michela Cirone’s ancestry also goes back further than the “pedigree view” on Ancestry allows me to capture for you. Everyone in her tree, with the exception of one of Maria Michela’s great great great grandfathers, was born in Farindola.
Serafina’s great great great grandfather Felice Cirone was a carpenter.
Donato Fragassi and son Domenico Fragassi
This father and son duo in her ancestry were archery bow makers/arcari. No doubt this would be a specialized profession in a place the size of Farindola.
The Salvittis are a regular Farindola surname now. But, they originally came from Fara San Martino, Chieti. Serafina’s great great great grandfather Domenico Lorenzo Salvitti was born there in the town famous for its pasta company in the neighboring province of Chieti. He married another Cirone – Cecilia Saveria. Domenico Lorenzo Salvitti’s nephew was mayor of Farindola for a while. His uncle was priest at San Nicola di Bari.
From what I can tell, at this point, the first Salvitti to have been born in Farindola after Domenico Lorenzo brought the surname there was Saverio Salvitti in 1789. He was the oldest son of Domenico Lorenzo and brother to Serafina’s ancestor.
Deomanda, wife of Donato Fragassi. What a first name she has! Pretty isn’t it? She is mentioned because of her unique first name.
Now who taught my great grandmother to put the red pepper in the red sauce? Maybe Maria Michela Cirone…
*It is a real shame that Ancestry.com encourages customers to copy other trees that are on their site. I sincerely hope that I stop seeing my Cirone ancestry used as a source in trees of people from the farthest reaches of Italy that think my Cirone are possibly their ancestors while their surname isn’t even spelled the same as Cirone! The tree is there to help others.