FARINDOLA, PESCARA – How do you find out who the father is of a child that was born to an unwed mother in 1794 Italy? This little question is resulting in a small, permanent pedigree collapse in Farindola without his name. It could be worse. It could be a foundling or, in the worst case scenario, a research wall encountered when records are destroyed by natural distasters or war.
My 4th great grandmother Anna Paola Lucerini’s baptismal record, dated May 21, 1794, states she was born to Maria Domenica Romaulda Lucerini and “incerto patre” (unknown father). Anna Paola’s record on Antenati. The matrina or godmother present for her baptism was Lucia, widow of Filippo Frattarola. The obstetrix or midwife present at her birth was Anna Rosa, widow of Domenico Di Francesco. There is nothing else on Anna Paola’s baptismal record regarding parents or godparents. Since babies were traditionally baptized a day or two after birth in this time period, she would have been born approximately 9 months after what is good timing for a harvest festival.
Anna Paola Lucerini’s mother passed away in 1810 when she was 14. Her mother’s father, Romaoldo Lucerini, passed away in 1809, while he was living on Strada Porta del Fonte. Where did Anna Paola go to live when her mother died? Her grandmother was not yet dead. When her mother passed in 1810, she was living inside the village like Anna Paola’s grandfather Romaoldo because her death record stated that the witnesses lived on Strada Porta del Fonte, in the neighborhood of the deceased. Therefore, she was probably living with her mother and so was Anna Paola.
In 1819, Anna Paola Lucerini married Antonio Nicodemo Merlenghi. Both of his parents had already died. The witnesses to their wedding were as follows:
Vincenzo Carusi, baker, age 48
Saverio Cotellucci, surveyor, age 50
Nicola Romagno, farmer, age 30
Gennaro Barbarossa, farmer, age 21
Hmmmppphhh. None were named Paolo. At death, like at her marriage, Anna Paola’s father is listed as “padre incerto.”
Coincidentally, there is a naming pattern I have noticed in this time period in Farindola. Female babies were baptized with two first names. The second first name was their father’s name. So I will always wonder if she was the daughter of a Paolo…