This week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is Nurture. I am picking my second great grandmother Elisabetta Rossi, a mother in a blended family, and mother of my great grandfather Cesidio Marcella.
Elisabetta Rossi was born in Vallecerosa, Arsita, Teramo, Italy in 1866 to Giuseppe Antonio Rossi and Anna Antonia Ricci. Prior to 1893, her parents and Elisabetta moved to Farindola. In late 1893 she married my second great grandfather Filippo Marcella in Farindola.
Filippo was a widower, as his first wife, Maria Antonia Lacchetta had passed away 6 months earlier. Filippo’s first wife had had 11 children to Filippo. However, only 5 were alive at the time of his second marriage. The other 6 never saw their first birthday. Those he brought to his union with Elisabetta were Maria Grazia, Raffaele, Pasqua, Filomena, and Serafina.
Filippo was 23 years older than Elisabetta. A little over a year after their marriage, with her husband’s other children probably all still at home, Elisabetta gave birth to my great grandfather Cesidio Marcella. Maria Domenica, Antonia Vincenza, and little Antonio Andrea followed. All 4 of Elisabetta’s children survived to adulthood and raised families of their own as did the 5 surviving children of Filippo’s first wife.
Elisabetta outlived her husband, who passed away in 1916, and was able to see the births of her grandchildren, her husband’s grandchildren, and some of her own great grandchildren.
Elisabetta Rossi’s father and his family were from nearby Penne in Pescara. Her mother’s family is a bit more of a mystery because they tended to move around Abruzzo more than any other branch I have researched there. I would love to find out why.
Grazie e pace Elisabetta!
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Farindola – On today’s date in 1840, my third great grandparents Massimo Nicola Marcella and Maria Carolina Colangeli were married in San Nicola di Bari, Farindola. They were the grandparents of my immigrant great grandfather Cesidio Marcella.
Maria Carolina Colangeli was born in Farindola in 1817 to Berardino Colangelo/i and Anna Giuseppa Antonacci. They were contadini. During this time period, her surname fluctuated between Colangeli and Colangelo in the Farindola records. Her mother Anna Giuseppa Antonacci was born in nearby Montebello di Bertona, Pescara in 1791.
The records of Pescara on Antenati suggest that the Colangelis were from nearby Penne, Pescara, although at the time of Maria Carolina’s birth, a branch of them were living in Farindola, for Maria Carolina’s father was born in Farindola, but his midwife mother was born in Penne. Also, the other Colangelis in my Abruzzese tree in a separate branch were from Penne and owned property there.
Maria Carolina’s tree was heavy with midwives, and though she was listed as a spinner on several civil records on Antenati, I suspect she too was a midwife. Her aunt, grandmother, great grandmother, and her own daughter Maria Giuseppa were all midwives. Maria Giuseppa was there for the delivery of Cesidio.
Massimo Nicola Marcella was born in 1814 in Farindola to Giuseppe Antonio Marcella* and Maria Domenica Sciarra. They too were contadini. Maria Domenica’s parents were born in Fara San Martino, Chieti and the occupations of her father and brothers were written as lanari (wool workers/merchants) in the civil records on Antenati.
Massimo Nicola’s paternal ancestors had been living in Farindola at least as far back as a man named Donato Marcella and a lady possibly named Domenica Cervo both alive in the early 1700s in the Farindola area. This is the farthest back I have been able to trace his surname using church death records in the marriage processetti on Antenati. Oh to have the church records in the Diocese of Penne available to research!
My third great grandparents had 10 children, 4 of which were two sets of female twins. They were:
Twins Maria Domenica and Maria Giustina (twins), born in 1841. Maria Giustina lived less than a month. Maria Domenica lived ten years. They were born 9 months after their parents married.
Maria Giustina, born in 1843 in Contrada da Valloni – died in 1912 in Contrada Casebruciate, married foundling Panfilo Zenone
Maria Giuseppa (midwife in Contrada Casebruciate), born in 1846 in Contrada Trosciano – died in 1918 in Contrada Casebruciate, married Giovanni Costantini
Antonio, born in Contrada Trosciano in 1847 and died in 1851
Domenico, born in 1849 in Contrada Trosciano – died in 1908 in Casebruciate, married Maria Carmina Basilavecchia
Nicolantonio, born in 1851 in Contrada Casebruciate, married Maria Giuseppa Della Valle. They had no children. However, a man with his name appears to have had a child in 1901 to an un-named woman who was not his wife. The child was named Vittoria Marcella.
Massimo Nicola Marcella died in 1884 in Contrada Casebruciate. His widow Maria Carolina Colangeli died a few months shy of the birth of her grandson Cesidio in October 1894, at #65 Contrada Casebruciate, Farindola.
*I do not know how or if Giuseppe Antonio was related to the briganti with the same surname that were active in the countryside near Farindola during the Napoleonic occupation of Italy. One of the main leaders was named Massimo. He was jailed before the civil records start on Antenati. (See Storia di Farindola, dalli origini ai giorni nostri by Antonio Procacci via http://www.gelsumino.it)
Rosa Antonia Pompili was born in 1825 in Farindola to Giuseppe Antonio Pompili and Anna Domenica Puccella. They were both contadini and were related to a local politician. When Rosa was born in 1825, her father’s uncle recorded her birth. Notably, he was the Sindaco (mayor) of the Comune di Farindola at the time.
Her 1825 Civil birth record
Or in a close up you can see:
My 5th great grand uncle was the Sindaco.
Rosa’s groom, Costantino Massei, was seven years younger than she was. He was born in 1832 in Farindola to Sabatino Massei and Francesca Paola Innocenza Carusi. They were both contadini. Costantino’s mother was the daughter of a local politician and wealthy landowner, for Francesca’s father was Nicola Carusi, Cancelliere di Comune di Farindola 1809-1817.*
In 1864, Rosa and Costantino welcomed twin sons into the world. The second twin son recorded in the civil records was named Antonio and he was my second great grandfather.
Costantino passed away in 1901 in Contrada Macchie, Farindola, where Rosa passed away in 1909.
*I have updated information on this branch of the Carusi family from Farindola. Feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
October is Italian Heritage Month in the United States and I am continuing concentrating on the Italians in my tree.
My great grandparents’ had brothers that came to the United States as farm laborers before the Immigration Quota Law of 1924. After the Immigration Quota Law of 1924 was passed, which limited immigration from non-northern European nations, a brother went to Canada through Nova Scotia, to Winnipeg, Manitoba, before eventually settling near St. Catharines, Ontario in Lincoln.
Vincenzo Merlenghi was Serafina Merlenghi’s second oldest brother. He was born in 1890 at Contrada Macchie in Farindola to Cesidio and Maria Michela Cirone. According to American censuses the year of his marriage to his wife, Maria Giuseppa Pompili, daughter of Antonio and Maria Vincenza Di Gregorio, was 23.
In 1914 he came to the United States through Ellis Island as a laborer on the S.S. Taormina. He was coming to live with his cousin Francesco Baccanale in Mason City, Iowa. I found him in 1920 on the S.S. Duca D’Aosta passenger list returning to the United States as an Italian military reservist, with an occupation of laborer, and having his passage paid for by the Italian government. Notes above his name said he was a returning United States resident and had been here previously from 1914-1917. It also stated he was going to Philadelphia and his closest living relative was his wife Maria (Maria Giuseppa) living in Farindola.
Additional information on this manifest was the information that he was going to stay with his friend Giuseppe Sciarra at 22 Street in Philadelphia. If he was a Sciarra from Farindola, he possibly is our relation. This is something to research in the future.
A physical description of Vincenzo gave his height of 5′ 5″, said that he was brown haired, brown eyed, possessed a natural colored complexion (tanned), and also stated he was born in Farindola. My great grandmother was brown-eyed as well.
The entire ship that day was filled with Italian military reservists, and a handful of their wives, all having their passage paid by the Italian government.
In 1921, Vincenzo sent for his wife, Maria Giuseppa Pompili, to come to the United States. She sailed to the Port of Philadelphia, with their baby daughter, Vincenza Elisabetta. The manifest reflected that her passage was paid by her husband and that she was going to meet him at 240 W. Green Street, Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania.
Antonio Merlenghi was my great grandmother Serafina’s oldest brother and was born in 1887 at Contrada Macchie, Farindola. In 1910 he married Antonia Lombardi, daughter of Raffaele and Massimina Ferri. He came to Ellis Island on the S.S. Taormina in 1914 with his brother Vincenzo with the intention of also going to Mason City, Iowa to meet their cousin Giuseppe Cirone. His nearest living relative was stated as Antonia, his wife, living in Italy.
The ship was half-full of men from Penne, Farindola, and Montebello with familiar surnames of Colantonio, Falconetti, Colangeli, Antonacci, Marcucci, Buccella, and so on…all coming as farm laborers.
For reasons I cannot discover on the passenger manifest, nor in the batch of documents detailing the dispositions of the detained passengers held at Ellis Island that week in 1914, Antonio was deported back to Italy on the ship he arrived on, and also made to pay for the meals he ate while he was detained at Ellis Island.
Antonio Merlenghi became a Corporal in the 281st Reggimento Fanteria and died on October 27, 1918 from the wounds he received in Grave di Papadopoli at the Battle of Vittorio-Veneto in the Great War.
He was awarded the Medaglia D’Argento posthumously. So imagine had Antonio not been deported, what would have happened? How sad.
I did not include him in my count of immigrants. Should I?
Paolo Massei was born in 1896 to Antonio and Angela Maria Di Massimo at Contrada Macchie in Farindola. He was my great grandmother Luigia’s second oldest brother. Paolo came to the United States for the first time in 1920, sailing to Ellis Island from Bordeaux, France on the S.S. Caroline. His occupation was listed as laborer, said he was able to write, and that he was going to meet family at the home of Domenico Avellos in White Haven, Pennsylvania. I have never heard of Domenico and his surname is intriguing. Was Domenico Avellos his family?
According to a later census, Paolo said he married his wife Maria Nicoletta Iezzi, daughter of Domenico Iezzi and Giuseppa Carusi, in 1924. If my Farindola research is correct, Paolo and Maria were third cousins. Giuseppa Carusi was a landowner’s daughter.* In 1927, Maria came to the United States with their 1 year old son Antonio aboard the S.S. Guilio which had sailed from Naples to Ellis Island. The passenger manifest does not reflect that Antonio is a citizen of the United States, so Paolo had not yet naturalized. They were going to meet Paolo at 32 Arbury Street in Trenton, New Jersey.
In 1930, Paolo was working at the city sewer works in Trenton. He and Maria had a daughter already and a 6 month old son named Anthony. I traced Anthony and all American records point to a birth date in 1929 in New Jersey. I can find no record of the child named Antonio that sailed to America with Maria in 1927. Paolo and Maria’s son Paul later founded his own construction company named MGM Construction. He also was a building inspector and zoning officer in New Jersey.
Paolo passed away in 1909 while Maria passed away in 1984. Paolo came to the United States when Lady Liberty’s beacon shined brightly.
Zopito Di Francesco
Zopito Di Francesco was born at #84 Contrada Trosciano, Farindola in 1904 to Biagio and Marianna Di Pendima. He was a younger brother to my great grandfather Paolo.
Due to the Immigration Quota Act of 1924, in 1927, Zopito sailed from Bourdeaux, France on the ship La Bourdonnais to Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was the only traveler from Farindola on the ship and for all research I am able to present at this moment, he was the first of the Di Francesco surname from Farindola to come to North America.
His intended destination, from what I can make out on the manifest was a place called Perth (sp?) Italy Farmers Colony in Winnipeg, Manitoba to a man with the surname Mangietti. I learned that there was a Little Italy in Winnipeg at that time. The manifest stated that his nearest living relative was his mother in Farindola, Marianna Di Pendima.
Eventually, Zopito settled near St. Catharines, Ontario and bought his own farmland. It is my understanding that some of that land is still in the family today.
My great grandmother Serafina Merlenghi was born in 1896 at Contrada Macchie, Farindola in 1896. In 1948, she arrived at Ellis Island with her youngest child, Alberino, who was a citizen of the United States. They were going to meet my great grandfather, Cesidio Marcella in Philadelphia.
Serafina had a daughter named Maria in 1916 with my great grandfather. In 1919, they married and had two more children: Zia L. and Biagio Filippo.
In 1930, their son Alberino was born.
After decades of living apart while my great grandfather worked in the United States and sent money home, she came to the United States in 1948 with their 18 year old son Alberino. Because my great grandfather was a United States citizen when Alberino was born, Alberino was automatically a citizen. Her daughters Maria (m. Iezzi) and Zia L. (m. Generosi) had families of their own in Italy when she left.
Serafina arrived while Lady Liberty’s beacon still shined brightly.
My great grandmother returned to Italy to visit several times before she returned for good after my great grandfather passed in 1980. She resided in the village of her birth the rest of her life and is buried there.
I loved her name so much, it was my confirmation name. A cousin shared a story of her in which she described her as knowledgeable in the ways of medicinal plants. I thank you for the stories.
Penne – July 19, 1862 – On today’s date in 1862, my third great grandparents Nicola Antonia Giansante and Carlo Di Pentima were married in Penne, Italy.
Nicola Antonia Giansante was born in 1828 in Rione San Giovanni in Penne, Pescara to Giosaffatte Giansante and Maria Trignani.
Carlo Di Pentima was born in 1814 at Via Piana, Pianella, Pescara to Felice Di Pentima and Palma D’Agostino.
Nicola Antonia and Carlo were both widowed. My third great grandmother’s first husband was Nicola Delle Monache. He died in 1855. They had one child. Stefano.
My third great grandfather’s first wife was Anna Rosaria Marcella. They lived at contrada Cupoli, Farindola. She passed away on May 12, 1862. She was the daughter of Nicolangelo Marcella and Anna Di Luca.* They had four children. Vincenzo, Filomena, Serafina, and Anna. Only Filomena survived until adulthood.
A little more than two months after the death of Anna Rosaria, Carlo married my third great grandmother. They had at least three children: Anna, Vincenzo, and Marianna (m. Biagio Di Francesco.) At least two of their grandchildren perished in World War II: Giovanni Di Pendima died at Monte Santo at the 11th battle of the Isonzo in 1917, and Alfonso Di Francesco died in 1915 at Monte Cappuccio at the 2nd Battle of the Isonzo. The surname was spelled Di Pendima in Farindola.
Farindola – On today’s date in 1853, my third great grandparents Angelo Merlenghi and Maria Carmina Cirone were married in San Nicola di Bari in Farindola, Italy. They were both contadini and were the grandparents of my great grandmother Serafina Merlenghi.
Maria Carmina Cirone was born in 1828 in Farindola to Bernardo Cirone and Maria Crocefissa Marzola. Maria Carmina’s mother and grandmother Maria Donata Di Costanzo were both levatrici = midwives. Bernardo Cirone’s Cirone ancestors were builders.
Angelo Merlenghi was born in 1820 in Farindola to Antonio Nicodemo Merlenghi and the fatherless Anna Paola Lucerini. They were contadini. Angelo Merlenghi’s great grandfather on his mother’s side was Artista Romoaldo Lucerini. I still do not know what kind of artist Romoaldo was!
Maria Carmina Cirone and Angelo Merlenghi had four children:
Giuseppe Merlenghi m. Carmela Dell’Orso (parents of Soldato Domenico Quirico Merlenghi, disperso alla Zagora, Slovenia 12 Agosto 1915)
Cesidio Merlenghi m. Maria Michela Cirone (parents of Serafina Merlenghi)
Maria Carmina Cirone had no more children and died in 1861 at the age of 33.
Angelo Merlenghi remarried in 1865 to Alba Maria Mergiotti. She was the daughter of Donato Mergiotti and Maria Di Gregorio.
Angelo had two children with Alba Maria:
Antonio Merlenghi, died at age 17 in Contrada Macchie
Maria Loreta Merlenghi m. Alessandro Lombardi
Angelo passed away in 1876, at the age of 55 in Contrada Macchie. Below is the 2012 view of Farindola from Macchie.
On today’s date 150 years ago in Farindola, my third great grandparents Donato Di Massimo and Anna Maria Domenica Cacciatore were married in Farindola, Abruzzo. They were both contadini and were the grandparents of Luigia Massei.
Donato was born in 1845 at Colle della Castagne near Farindola to Serafino Vincenzo Di Massimo and Anna Maria Cecelia Colangeli. Serafino’s mother Maria Chiarella and grandmother Laura Marzola were levatrici or midwives..
Anna Maria Cecelia Colangeli was born in Montebello di Bertona. However, her father Francesco Colangeli was from Penne.
Antonia Oriani’s grandfather had his name spelled “Auriano” in the Penne records before 1820. I found a baptismal record in marriage processetti reflecting the name as “D’Auriano.” The oldest I found was written for my 7th great grandfather Massimo as “Di Auriano” which just looks wrong. In Farindola, her surname was recorded as Uriani.
My third great grandparents had three daughters and three sons.
Lucia Di Massimo
Angela Maria Di Massimo m. twin Antonio Massei
Maria Carmina Di Massimo
Quirico Di Massimo
Stefano Di Massimo
Serafino Di Massimo
These Di Massimos are the only part of my Farindolesi family I have ever seen living in and having children at a place called Colle della Castagne near Farindola. By the 1880s, these Di Massimos were living in Contrada Macchie.
Anna Maria Domenica Cacciatore died at #57 Contrada Macchie in 1907.
Donato Di Massimo died at #19 Contrada Macchie in 1921.