Today’s birthday is Angela Maria di Massimo, born in 1871 at 10 a.m. in Macchie, Farindola, Pescara. She was the mother of my great grandmother Maria Luigia Massei.
-Angela Maria di Massimo-
The year 1871, day 7 of the month of June at hour 12, at the town hall, announced to me Massimo Ferri, Secretary of this Comune di Farindola, Penne Circuit, Province of Teramo, delegated, the Civil State Official, with the act of the Mayor dated the 20th of July last year, from the Procuratore of the King, appeared Donato di Massimo, of the living Serafino and the deceased Angela Maria Colangeli (Angela Maria Cecilia Colangeli), of 26 years, occupation contadino, living as a resident in Farindola, who presents a baby of the feminine gender, that he says was born on the 7th of the current month at the 10th hour to his wife Anna Domenica Cacciatore, daughter of the living Sabatino and the deceased Antonia Uriani (Oriani/Auriano), of 25 years, with whom he resides in their house in this Comune di Farindola at contrada Macchie, to this daughter he says he has given the name Angela Maria.
The above was declared and was also presented to me by Vincenzo Colangeli of the living Mattia of 37 years of the profession contadino and living as a resident in Farindola and of Costantino Massei (my third great grandfather and future father-in-law of Angela Maria di Massimo), of the living Sabatino of 39 years of the profession of contadino also living as a resident in Farindola.
The rest of the document says something to the effect of “the above act is presented and read to all of those present because they are illiterate.”
Signed: Civil State Officer Delegate
Source: Antenati/Archivio di Stato di Pescara: Stato Civile Italiano, Farindola, Nati 1871 Numero 58
We know from other documents retrievable at Antenati that Angela Maria’s mother Anna Domenica Cacciatore was born in Penne. Her father Donato di Massimo was born at a place in Farindola area called the Colle della Castagna. I would love to figure out where that spot is on a map of Farindola. Donato’s mother Angela Maria Cecilia Colangeli, for whom my second great grandmother was named, was born in Montebello di Bertona, a neighboring village.
Farindola, Pescara ~ Today is the 126th anniversary of the marriage of Angela Maria Di Massimo and Antonio Massei. Who are they? They are the parents of Maria Luigia Massei, my great grandmother.
Angela Maria Di Massimo was born in 1871 in Macchie, Farindola and was the daughter of Donato Di Massimo and Anna Maria Domenica Cacciatore. Antonio Massei was born in 1864 in Farindola and was the twin of Nicola Massei. He and his twin were both born in the 23rd hour of February 18, 1864 to Costantino Massei and Rosa Antonia Pompili. There is no mention on their birth records who was born first, but Nicola’s birth was placed before Antonio’s in the birth register in Farindola.
Everyone on the marriage document, except Anna Domenica Cacciatore, was born in Farindola. She was born in Penne. Antonio Massei signed his name at the bottom of the marriage document. Because the transfer above is kind of on the weak-side, you can view their marriage online here at Antenati. You can view the rest of their marriage documents here on Antenati.
My great grandmother’s parents had at least 5 children. Their oldest, Francesca, married Raffaele Cirone and died in Farindola in 1977. Their oldest son Gennaro died in Penne in 1975. We already know Luigia Maria married Paolo Di Francesco. Another son was named Plinio.
Finally, one of their sons was named Paolo and he married Maria Nicoletta Iezzi, also from Farindola. Paolo came to the United States in 1920, first coming to Pennsylvania, and then making his permanent residence in New Jersey where some of Paolo’s and Maria Nicoletta Iezzi’s descendants live today.
Angela Maria Di Massimo died in 1927 in Farindola at age 55, while Antonio Massei lived until at least 1928 where the online records stop.
I would love to hear from other Massei descendants in America even if they descend from Clemente Massei and are living in New Jersey!
St. Catharines, Ontario – A few months ago my cousin shared some photos with me of my great grandparents Paolo Di Francesco and Luigia Maria Massei. The photos are from Italy. I may have met my great grandmother Luigia, although I do not remember her. Her husband pictured, Paolo Di Francesco, died before I was born.
He was known for his looks. There are definitely some family resemblances today. Great grandfather Paolo served in the Italian Army after the first World War. His older brother Alfonso, also in the military, died at the Second Battle of the Isonzo in 1915.
My great grandparents were farmers. Paolo died in Penne, Pescara in 1974. Luigia died in the north of Italy where she had been living with my grandmother. She has been pictured before.
On this day in 1899 at 4:00 in the morning, Great Grandmother Maria Luigia (Luisetta) Massei was born in Macchie, Farindola.
I present to you the birth record of Maria Luigia Massei from the Archivio di Stato di Pescara:
Number 37 Massei Maria Luigia:
The year 1899, day 17, of March at the 8th hour, in the municipal house.
In front of me, Clemente de Berardinis, Secretary Delegate of the Mayor here since July 17, 1895, Civil State Official of the Commune of Farindola, there appears Antonio Massei, of 36 years, farmer, living in Farindola, that admits to me that on the 4th hour, in the (blank) minute, of the 17th day of the current month, in house address Macchie, number (blank), to Angela Maria Di Massimo, his wife, with whom he resides.
There was born a baby of the feminine sex that he presents to me and who has been named Maria Luigia.
To the above in this document were present the witnesses Antonio Cardone, of 48 years, farmer, and Donato Pompei, of 60 years, contadino, both residents of this commune.
The act that I have written has been read to the present attendees because they are illiterate.
Great great grandfather Antonio Massei was able to sign all of his children’s birth records and was likely educated. This is a guess accredited to the fact that he was the great grandson of Nicola Carusi, the former Cancelliere of Farindola.
Everyone that thinks they have experience doing Italian genealogy told me that I would get to a wall when I got a few generations back and discovered a foundling. Really. Going back to at least the mid 1700s in all lines in the Farindola genealogy and all our Italian genealogy on both sides of the family (and in the case of the Ferraros, to the 1600s) I can now safely say we do not descend from any foundlings. None. Zero. Nessuna. Nihil. Absolutely zero have been found going back to those centuries! I suppose it doesn’t mean I won’t find one. But, as I stated, to the mid 1700s and earlier in Abruzzo and one 8 x great grandfather named Candeloro Sacchitti, and because I recently traced to the mid 1600s on the Ferraro side to a few sets of 7 x great grandparents and one 8 x great grandfather born in the early 1600s named Matteo Gammella, there are NONE.
However, there was an interesting female in the tree that took in the newborns left at Farindola’s foundling wheel. I also discovered three foundlings that began the surnames of Zenone, Generosi, and Baccanale that married into the Farindola tree and begat our cousins.
The Three Foundlings That Became Part of Our Family Tree
All of the foundlings that married into our family tree were born outside of Farindola.
The first one I discovered was Panfilo Zenone. He was born in Penne and he married Maria Giustina Marcella, sister of great great grandfather Filippo Marcella. They had 8 children, one of which was Giuseppe. Four of their children were males and the name multiplied. It is such a prolific name in Pescara now that it has become to be cited on Cognomi Italiani and is believed to be derived from the Greek philosopher Xenon.
According to the incredibly hard to read attached birth record of Panfilo Zenone, #237 Nati Penne 1843, Panfilo was found by Antonia Nobilio, the Ricevitrice de Proietti, after he was esposito alla ruota at 6 of the previous night. He was found wrapped in swaddling clothes without marks or identifying clothing. He appeared to be newly born. The Deputato of the Casa de Proietti was Antonio Quartangeli. On September 5, 1843 the record of his birth was made and he was baptized the same day. Antonia likely found a balia or wet nurse for Panfilo. The balia she found would have received payment from the municipal office for helping Panfilo. I believe the Deputato, a well-read man, was choosing the last names in Penne. On February 4, 1869 Panfilo married Maria Giustina Marcella in Farindola and they raised their children in Case Bruciate.
The second one I found that become a part of the tree was Giuseppe Generosi, grandfather to a cousin and great grandfather to second cousins. He married Maria DiGregorio. His son was the Generosi that married the sister of nonno.
According to 1905 Allegati #23 above, Giuseppe Generosi was left at a civil hospital in Teramo, Teramo, Abruzzo, called Sant’ Antonio Abate, 15 Via Larga dei Melatini in 1882. He was left at a special place the foundlings were left in diapers. Sant’ Antonio Abate received over 100 foundlings in 1881. Giuseppe was given a beautiful last name. Unfortunately, the original birth allegati for 1882 in Sant’ Antonio Abate is not online. What was found was the extract attached to his marriage documents in Farindola when he married Maria Di Gregorio on September 21, 1905. She was the daughter of Nicola and Angeladea Mergiotti. Their wedding record is below. Sant’ Antonio Abate, where Giuseppe was found, is still a hospital today and is so large it has a Wikipedia entry.
The last I found was Leandro Baccanale. Leandro Baccanale was born in Penne and married Rosa Merlenghi, sister of our ancestor Angelo Merlenghi, our 3 x great grandfather. Bacca means berry and baccanale was a festival held in Rome each year I am sure you have all heard about. They had male children and the name multiplied. Baccanale from Farindola have emigrated to Pennsylvania and settled in the western part of the state. Click here for his birth extract on the Italian archival site Antenati.
*Mention – Giuseppe Belgrado was placed on the foundling wheel in Penne on December 12, 1853. He is the ancestor to some of the Zenone cousins.
Ancestress Tomassina Carusi, Unwed Mother, Receiver of the Foundlings
Tomassina Carusi was the oldest daughter of the Cancelliere of Farindola and sister to our ancestor Francesca Carusi. Unlike her sisters and land owning brothers, she never married. She became a midwife and had two children to an un-named man in her late 30s. While her nephew was Deputato della Casa de Proietti (Deputy of the House of Foundlings) she was the Ricevitrice at the Casa de Proietti at the village church, San Nicola di Bari. When you picture a kind woman wishing to help abandoned babies, one may picture a pious type. Was she this type of woman do you think?
As the town’s Ricevitrice she may have lived near the church. A bell was usually rung when a baby was placed on the foundling wheel. She took in 4 foundlings in a three year period. All three were “involto con panni laceri, e senza alcun segno visibile” or “wrapped in swaddling clothes, without any visible marks.” Usually the midwife that found the baby named them. If they had a mark or were left with a specific piece of cloth or jewelry a mother could change her mind and claim her baby if she showed identifying proof left with the baby.
The first baby Tomassina found she named Vitale. She may have also given him his last name which was Longo. He was placed on the wheel at 4 in the morning on September 6, 1852. Tomassina took him to her brother’s son Nicola Carusi, the Deputato at the time, and he arranged for Vitale to be baptized the same day.
The second male baby she named Fortunato Bisanti. Either she or the Deputato named him Bisanti. He was placed on the wheel at the Casa de Proietti at 3 in the morning on September 20, 1852. She showed him to her nephew. He was baptized the same day at San Nicola di Bari.
The third baby she named was Placida Rubiconda left on the foundling wheel at 4 in the morning on October 7, 1852. Rubiconda means ruddy or reddish. It is possible that Placida had reddish hair or skin. Tomassina took him to her brother’s son again and her name was recorded. She was baptized the same day at San Nicola di Bari.
The last baby Tomassina took in she named Elena. Either Tomassina or the Deputato gave her the beautiful surname Fenice. Fenice means phoenix. She was left at the wheel at 5 in the morning on January 15, 1854. Tomassina showed him to her brother’s son and she was also baptized the same day at San Nicola di Bari.
Below is the growing list of foundlings that I have found in Farindola in my research:
Bisonti, Fortunato 19 September 1852
Rubiconda, Placida 8 Ottobre 1852
Longo, Vitale 5 Settembre 1852
Baccanale, Leandro born in Penne
Zenone, Panfilo born in Penne
Gentile, Racchele born in Penne, died at 5 months on July 4, 1854, Farindola
Fenice, Elena born January 15, 1854, Farindola
Generosi, Giuseppe born in Teramo
Frontino, Emidio born in Penne, married January 1856
Incogniti Proietti, Anna Paolo, born in Farindola, married May 1856
Bruschetto, Antonio born in Penne, died June 16, 1856
Garofalo, Filippo born in Penne, died Sept 13, 1856
Bellone, Francesco born in Penne, died Sept 24, 1856
Bellicoso, Giacinto born in Penne, died April 30, 1856
Lepore, Girolamo born in Penne, died November 26, 1856
Fiera, Maria Giovanna born in Penne, died May 18, 1856
Bologna, Silvestre born in Penne, died November 14, 1856
Aprile, Serafina born in Penne, died December 25, 1856
Fornara, Francesco born in Penne, died Jan 17, 1857
Regina, Michela born in Loreto, died Oct 2, 1857
Vulcano, Pietro born in Penne, died Jan 31, 1857
Pesce, Elia born 3:30 am May 19, 1858, ricevitrice Elisabetta Lepore
Placido, Massimo married Dec 2, 1858, born in Penne
Nobile, Sofia born April 25, 1858 in Farindola
Pesce, Elia born May 19, 1858 in Farindola, Elisabetta Lepore found
Cardinale, Santa died Jan 31, 1835 in Farindola
Novella, Colombo died Jan 17, 1858 b. Penne
Fratarolla, Carmine Antonio died Jan 28, 1858 b. Penne
Belmonte, Ciriaca died June 27, 1858 b Penne
Sciarra, Candida died Aug 19, 1858 b. Farindola
Molignani, Serafina married Giovanni Antonio Cirone March 1, 1859, born in Penne
Serena, Geltrude married Massimonicola Tauro on June 18, 1859, born in Penne
Fiorita, Celeste married Domenico Massei on November 24, 1859, born in Penne
Croce, Filippo died February 2, 1859, born in Cellino
Fallto, Massimo died Oct 24, 1859, born in Penne
Filardo, Agostino died Nov 12, 1859, born in Penne
Macchia, Filomena died Dec 22, 1859, born in Farindola
Frigida, Anatolia died August 22, 1860, born in Farindola
Moretti, Antonio died November 22, 1860, born in Loreto
Grillante, Gabriele died January 19, 1861, born in Teramo
Bavaro, Vincenzo died May 15, 1861, born in Penne
Rosaria, 10 died Sept 4, 1861, born in Penne
Serpentina, Serafina died October 4, 1863, born in Penne
Fuine, Oreste died May 21, 1864, b. Farindola
Scorpione, Fortunato died August 12, 1864, b. Farindola
Di Scotto, Maria Giovanna died August 24, 1864, b. Penne, moglie di Matteo Federico
Aquaria, Aurelia died November 20, 1865, b. Penne, balia Annantonia Dinosante
Alabianca, Teodoro died November 29, 1865, b. Castiglione Messer Raimondo, age 23, single
Projetto, Francescantonio married March 24, 1819 to Paratta Di Martino in Farindola, #29 Matrimoni 1819 – he was possibly born on March 15, 1777 in Teramo and was given to Girolamo D’Amico on September 1, 1777 and then to Pasquale Di Salvatore in Castiglione Messer Raimondo
Beltrante, Giuliana 19, born in Farindola, died January 14, 1872, filatrice, nubile, balia Annantonia Andreoli moglie di Vincenzo Nostriani
Alliana, Amalia 14 months, born in Penne, died March 30, 1872, balia Maria Domenica Ammazalorsco moglie di Teodoro Marcelli
Farnese, Felicita 2 months 11 days, died April 12, 1872, born in Teramo, balia Maria Carmina di Giaccobe moglie di Giovanni Di Massimo
Nicola Carusi, Cancelliere di Comune di Farindola 1809-1817
Comune di Farindola, PE
5 x great grandfather Nicola Carusi, Cancelliere, was born in Farindola around 1777 to Signor Paolo Carusi and Anna Balsamo. He is an ancestor through Nonna’s mother’s line. Nicola Carusi’s bore titles of Cancelliere and Segretario.
One of his many official John Hancocks
The Cancelliere was the official town archivist/president of the civil court. Taken from a name used in Roman times, his duties are that of the town’s chief scribe. The Segretario was a delegate of the mayor and could perform certain duties in his absence. One must have been educated to hold these duties, i.e. read, speak, and write the Italian language in a town where most citizens spoke the local dialect. He would have been appointed by the town’s council, not elected. As Cancelliere he was charged with verifying single civil record in the town after the parties, witnesses, and mayor signed them and as such, signed every single document in all of the town record books for the Comune di Farindola from at least 1809 to his death in 1817. Only he had the power to correct and change records. The year before his death he signed the birth record of his son Sabatino Carlo and later verified it as official.
Why is it important that he was verifying every single civil record in the early 1800s in Farindola? Before 1809 the Catholic Church was the official record keeper. Napoleon set up the new system of record – keeping it assigned to the towns, villages, and cities. So an officer of the court or mayor wrote down the names and surnames how they sounded and while most townsfolk at that time were illiterate, the officer of the mayor or his delegate determined how the names would be spelled. The Cancelliere, after that fact, signed it for verification for record keeping purposes and for future reference. Every single genealogical record of the Farindola ancestors from the time period 1809 to February 12, 1817 was signed for verification purposes by Nicola Carusi our ancestor. Open up any document you would like right here on Antenati and see for yourself.
The birth record of Massimo Nicola Marcella – 3 x Great Grandfather – signed by Nicola, 1814
I am not happy he left Marcella as Marcelli but Nonna his descendant married Nonno making him our direct ancestor.
The death record of Nicolantonio Cirone – 6 x Great Grandfather – signed by Nicola, 1810
Nicola Carusi married another Farindola born lady Giovanna Marzola.* It is through their second eldest child, Francesca Innocenza Paola Carusi, that we descend direct from the Cancelliere.
Francesca was widowed twice when she met Sabatino Massei and was ten years his senior. When she was 20 she married a carpenter named Desiderio Gabriele Riccitelli. He died less than a year later. They had no children. When she was 26 she married Nicola Romagna, another carpenter. He died 5 years later and they had no children.
Finally when she was 33 she married 23 year old farmer Sabatino Massei, son of Massimantonio Massei and Maria Giuseppa of the 3 last names Imbastaro/Scaramuzza/D’Angelo. Even though she was the daughter and granddaughter of rich men the arrangement may not have appeared a good one to Sabatino because she and her two previous husbands had failed to produce children. One calendar year after their marriage on February 9, 1832, Costantino Massei, our 3 x great grandfather was born. Francesca Carusi and Sabatino Massei went on to have four children total – 3 boys and 1 girl – and lived a long life together in Macchie, Farindola.
Most of the other children of Nicola Carusi and Giovanna Marzola had interesting jobs for the Comune di Farindola and were also landowners. They are as follows:
Tomassina Carusi – Levatrice/Ostetrice – midwife, Ricevitrice di Proietti, Receiver of the Foundlings, never married
Camillo Carusi – Proprietario-landowner, Usciere – bailiff, married Antonia Magnanimi
Giovan Luigi Carusi – L’Assessiore per Sindaco – Delegate of the Mayor, ferraro – blacksmith, Fattore – land steward, Proprietario – landowner. Married Angeladea Marcella (she is not in any of our Marcella lines.)
Maria Michele Carusi – married Nicola Giambattoni
Mario Giuseppe Carusi – Segretario – mayor’s delegate, Proprietario – landowner. Married Maria Di Francesco. (She is not in any of our Di Francesco lines.)
Sabatino Carlo – Ferraro – blacksmith, Mugnaio – miller. Married Antonia Riccitelli.
Now when he died in an epidemic that swept through the Province of Pescara in 1817, the mayor’s delegate or mayor wrote his profession as “civile” meaning he was a non-noble landowner who left the supervision of his estate to others. He also was the son of a landowner that had very interesting siblings. The last record Nicola Carusi signed was a death record on February 12, 1817. He died a few weeks later leaving land to his sons.
Stay tuned on the Carusi…
*Giovanna Marzola’s parents are also direct ancestors of Great Grandmother Serafina Merlenghi.
Sources: 1809-1817 Stato Civile, Provincia di Pescara, Antenati