Women’s History Month: Rispetto per I molti italiano levatrici nella mia genealogia. There are many midwives in the Italian parts of my tree. They were farmers’ wives, tailors’ wives, shepherds’ wives, innkeepers’ mothers, blacksmiths’ daughters, and landowners’ daughters. One was even an unwed mother who was the Ricevitrice di Proietti (receiver at the foundling wheel). She was a landowner’s daughter.
The first one I found was Maria Giuseppa Marcella. She was there when my great grandfather was born. She was named in civil birth records because the fathers weren’t able to report the birth. She would have to go to the municipal hall to do this. I was also lucky to find many baptismal records where a mammana or ostetrice is mentioned.
My great grandfather’s father was sick, so his sister, Maria Giuseppa went to town hall. She delivered several of Filippo‘s children and the children of many others in Case Bruciate.
A levatrice not only assisted in birthings but provided medical help to women for all female ailments. She also provided different kinds of help when there was unwanted pregnancies, as it was her responsibility to leave the baby at the foundling wheel. If the baby’s health was in danger at birth, she would perform a baptism. She also was known to assist women in their desire to maintain their youth, etc.
When I found one of these levatrice in Pescara, I could usually trace who in their close relationships was also a levatrice. In Caserta and Napoli, I have not been able to do that yet. I am positive I will find more in Campania and Abruzzo.
A couple years ago I was informed by a cousin that my great grandmother was likely familiar with midwifery because she was familiar with traditional folk remedies.
In honor of Women’s History Month this week, the following are the italiano levatrici nella mia genealogia:
Serafina Merlenghi, my great grandmother
Maria Giuseppa Marcella and
her mother Maria Carolina Colangeli (direct ancestress) and
her mother Maria Carmina Crocetta (direct ancestress) and
her mother-in-law Maria Carmina Marcucci Collalto (direct ancestress)
Maria di Costanzo (direct ancestress)
Maria Chiarella (direct ancestress) and
her mother Laura Marzola (direct ancestress)
Tomassina Carusi, Receiver of the Foundlings
Cecilia di Falco (direct ancestress)
Teresa Trocciola (direct ancestress)
San Felice a Cancello:
How many did you find?