52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #5: At the Library ~ Il Brigantaggio Farindolesi e Mia Famiglia/The Brigandage Farindolesi and My Family ~

This week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge is At the Library.  I have been lucky enough to find a treasure of a book on the history of one of my main Italian ancestral villages in Abruzzo online at the website:  www.gelsumino.it.  The book is called Storia di Farindola, Dalle Origini ai Giorni Nostri by Antonio Procacci.  Since my family has lived in Farindola for centuries and my immediate family left Farindola less than 100 years ago, I was ecstatic.

There is a chapter in the book called “Il Brigantaggio/The Brigandage”.  I found quite a few ancestors and relatives mentioned in this chapter, specifically in the time period the author referred to as being the most violent in Farindola – the years 1805 to 1810.  The author clearly pointed out that this is during the time of French dominion over Italy, under Giuseppe Napoleone and Gioacchino Marat, and that some of the brigands were veterans of the fight to keep the French out of Abruzzo.

Please note, my translations of what I read are to the best of my ability, and that I am mentioning which page I took the information from as I write this post, and that I hope to provide accurate information to you.

In 1799 when the French left Teramo, these 100 or so soldiers returned home.  It is believed that these returning soldiers became “political brigands,” who in turn, joined the  factions of the “common brigands” already active in the country-side of Farindola for over a century. (page 36) 


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Two of these veterans, I believe are either cousins or a degree of uncles to me: Massimantonio Marcella and Nicola Pompili. (page 35)

Massimantonio Marcella

Massimantonio Marcella was well-known friend to bandit leaders, his house was a meeting place for them, and he was believed by authorities to have been the go-between that engaged in bribes for protection from the Guardia Urbana di Farindola (Urban Guards of Farindola), of whom the Comandata (Commander) was my 6th great grandfather Paolo Carusi(page 40, page 42)

This previous post relates some data I have collected on Paolo: Paolo Carusi, Writer and Landowner, Brother to a Conte.  Because this current post is an update to that  previous post, there is a link in that post to this one.

Massimantonio was also presumed to be the man one would seek out to gain protection from authorities in Penne and the other small villages surrounding it.  The author noted, Massimantonio Marcella was said to be close to the infamous brigand leader from Penne named Mascierelle and the brigand leader from Farindola Giovanni Sergiacomo dei Colli.  Testimony referred their relationships as compare. (page 42-43) 

Based on the naming patterns in my tree, and because some shootouts between French authorities and the brigands in Farindola took place at Contrada Trosciano, where Massimantonio lived, and was also the home of my early 19th century ancestors, I am taking a wild guess that there is a possibility that Massimantonio Marcella was the uncle of my 3rd great grandfather Massimonicola Marcella.  This is just a guess, however, I am sure there is a blood connection.

Paolo Carusi, my 6th great grandfather and

Nicola Carusi, my 5th great grandfather

More on the Guardia Urbana ~  This force were formed in 1808 by French authorities because of il brigantaggio in the Farindola environs.  The French appointed my 6th great grandfather Paolo Carusi the commander of the Farindola forces.  According to the Storia di Farindola, and if my translation is correct, he commanded the other urban guards – 12 French soldiers.  (page 40)

The book tells me that on May 11, 1807, a group of brigands got into a firefight with the Guardia Urbana in Farindola.  Because the villagers feared looting, they gave up the brigands and under the order of the son of Paolo Carusi, the French soldiers followed the brigands to their hideouts.  In fear for his life and that of his family’s, the son of Paolo fled with them to nearby Penne, leaving behind his business and property.  Paolo Carusi wrote to the French General Chavardes who then sent his son 15 days of rations while they hid out. (page 41)

Based on my research in the Farindola civil records on Antenati, that son of Paolo, and the only son married with children in 1807, was my 5th great grandfather, the future Cancelliere of the Comune di Farindola, Nicola Carusi.  Interestingly, Nicola died young!  At age 40 in 1817.  The civil records do not give a cause of death.  1817 was a year of famine in Abruzzo but he was a wealthy man.  It was also the year of a typhoid epidemic.  Is that why he died?  

Candeloro Salvitti, my 5th great grand uncle

The chapter also mentioned that a man was murdered on June 30, 1807.  He was my 34 year old, 5th great grand uncle Candeloro Salvitti(page 42)

According to my tree, Candeloro was also the brother of the father of the future mayor of Farindola, Donato Salvitti. 

Domenico Damiani, my 5th great grandfather

I was nearing the end of this very informative chapter when the author was mentioning that the Brigantaggio was winding down towards 1809 and 1810 and how the old leaders in hiding were still carrying out vendettas against those in Farindola that had betrayed them, and that such happened the night of January 9, 1810 when three men of the same family were murdered.  They were Domenico, Nicola, and Donato Damiani.   (page 44-45)

This rang a bell with me because I remembered seeing three death records in a row for three men of the same last name and I had figured it was an illness!  HA!  The name Domenico Damiani also rang a bell.  So I went to my tree and sure enough, I had an ancestor with that name and oh boy, yes, he died January 9, 1810 and by the way, Domenico Damiani, was my 5th great grandfather.

Donato and Nicola Damiani were brothers and were Domenico’s uncles.  My 5th great grandfather Domenico was married to Laura Rosa.  Besides leaving behind my 5th great grandmother, he also left behind three young children, and a teenager.  (More on Laura Rosa and Domenico Damiani at a later date!)  According to the death records I found in the civil records Antenati, all three men lived in the countryside at Contrada Della Valchiera.  Does that translate to Valkyrie?

I want to mention that my 5th great grandfather’s signature, Nicola Carusi (the same man mentioned above), is at the bottom of those three records as the Cancelliere, and that the same two men, Domenico Rosa and Tommaso Basile were informants on all three death records.

Other Potential Relations

Finally, these are some other names in this chapter that are likely some form of relation to me:

  • Tommaso Iannascoli, Cesidio Colella, and Giovanni Frattarola were among 20 accused brigands in the Penne area in December 1806 and were from Farindola.  Tommaso Iannascoli was hung at contrada della Piano della Fonte on January 15, 1808. (page 40)
  • 4 murdered on the night of June 4, 1807 were brothers Antonio and Nicola Pompili, and Francesco Di Francesco and his wife Anna Saveria (Basilicati) (page 41)
  • 4 were murdered during the month of July, 1807, including Jacopantonio De Rizio. (page 42)
  • Murdered on September 20, 1807 was Giovanni Battista Pompili, brother of the men killed on June 4, 1807. (page 42)
  • Vincenzantonio Lepore was hung at contrada della Piano della Fonte on January 15, 1808. (page 42)
  • On February 27, 1808 Domenicantonio Frattarola sopranome Cipranne and Orazio Cervo were shot and killed. (page 42)
  • On March 23, 1808, brigand Ambrosio Frattarola was arrested. (page 43)
  • In April 1808, a small band of brigands got into a firefight with French soldiers in Trosciano (an area where my ancestors lived.)  Killed were Filippo di Simone and Giovanni Colangeli. (page 43)
  • In May 1809, Giuseppe Frattarola was arrested for murder. (page 43)
  • On August 1, 1809, an award was launched for the information and capture of famous robbers Sabatino Marcella, Saverio Marcucci, and brothers Sabatino and Gesualdo De Juliis.  (page 44)
  • I also read that in 1809, the local occupying French Major Cochet was murdered at age 40 as an act of revenge, and buried without sacraments, according to Storia di Farindola. It is believed the murder was carried out by those avenging the arrest and hanging of the leader of the Dell’Orso family from Farindola. I have several known Dell’Orso ancestors. How does the hung man connect to me? I don’t know right now and they are only referenced as a family in this chapter and not by their first names like in my tree.  (page 40-41)
  • Lastly, on March 5, 1815, the L’Intendente della Provincia di Teramo sent a message to the mayor of Farindola that only one brigand was still on the run.  He was, the aforementioned, Sabatino Marcella. (page 45)  Note – 1815 was the last year of the French occupation.



Storia di Farindola, Dalle Origini ai Giorni Nostri by Antonio Procacci ,via http://www.gelsumino.it.  This blog post mentions data contained in pages 33-50.  








My Pescara, Teramo, and Chieti Surnames and Places Lists

gransassoditalia Gran Sasso D’Italia, overlook near Farindola

Pescara, Abruzzo, Italia

  • FarindolaMarcella, Di Francesco, Merlenghi/Merlengo, Massei, Rossi, Cirone, Di Pend/tima, Di Massimo, Colangeli, Iannascoli, Lucerini, Giansante, Pompili/Pompilio, Cacciatore, Damiani/Damiano, Lizza, Puccella, Ferri, Marzola, Cervo, Chiarella, Colella, Carusi, Frattarola/Frattaroli, Rosa, De Nino, Lepore, Paolucci, Lacchetta, Ciarma, Dell’Orso, D’Angelo, Bucci, Di Simone, Tinacci, Del Priore, Salvitti, Sciarra, Di Risio/D’Orizio, Iannascoli, Di Luca, Fragassi/Fracasso, Di Costanzo, Di Julio, De Angelis, Cottelluci, D’Agostino, Fusaro, Trizii/Trizio, Costantini, Ricci, Di Vico, Marcelli, Collalto, Sciambellone, Marcucci  
  • Major Farindola Collateral lines:  Zenone, Belgrado, Generosi, Iezzi, Romagna
  • Penne: Colangeli, Crocetta, Rossi, Barbacone, Cotraccia, Labricciosa/Della Bricciosa, Marrone, Gambacorta, Ricci, Delle Monache, Di Costanzo, Di Falone, Andreoli, Di Donato, Triozzi, D’Angelo, D’Angelo alias Zagliocco, D’Angelo alias “Il Nibbio”, Giansante/Di Giansante, Trignani, Di Belisario, Facciolini, Massei, Imbastaro, Scaramuzzo, Cacciatore, Desiati/Desiati alias Cacciatore, Sacchetti, Sacchetti Sopranome Muffitti, Oriani/Auriano/Di Auriano, Di Norscia, Mincarelli, Di Federico, Ferramosca, Di Carlo, Chiarella
  • Loreto Aprutino: Carusi, Balsamo
  • Carpineto della Nora: Di Giansante, Di Giardini
  • Pianella: D’Agostino, Di Pentima, Di Leonardo
  • Montebello di Bertona: Antonacci, Di Silvestre, Di Vico

Teramo, Abruzzo, Italia

  • Arsita/Baccucco: Rossi
  • Castelli: Sacchetti Sopranome Muffitti/Sacchetti, Menei
  • Castaglione Messer Raimondo: Ricci

Chieti, Abruzzo, Italia

  • Fara San Martino: Salvitti, Sciarra, D’Ippolito



For research in Farindola, Elio Fragassi’s website has been invaluable: External Link.

For Penne and Farindola research, Gelsumino.it has been a goldmine!  The link to it’s resources is here: Link.

Pescara and Chieti records are all available on Antenati.

My Abruzzese tree: Ancestry


Thank you for visiting.



Today’s 165th Wedding Anniversary ~ Angelo Merlenghi and Maria Carmina Cirone ~



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)

Francesca Merlenghi

Cesidio Merlenghi m. Maria Michela Cirone (parents of Serafina Merlenghi)

Maria 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.

Contrada Macchie




Albo dei Caduti Della Grande Guerra


Today’s Anniversary ~ Serafina Iannascoli and Antonio Cirone


Farindola – On today’s date in 1845, my third great grandparents Serafina Iannascoli and Antonio Cirone, contadini, were married in San Nicola di Bari Church in the presence of Domenico Falconetti and Giuseppe Marzola.  Two days prior, they were married in the Farindola town hall in the presence of the mayor Nicola Valentini and the following:

Nicodemo Giancola, 31, landowner;

Vincenzo Giancola, 39, landowner;

Domenico Frattarola, 56, landowner; and

Vincenzo Carusi, 67, fornaio.

This is the link to their marriage record- #1 Matrimoni Farindola 1845.

Serafina Iannascoli was born in 1822 to Natale Iannascoli and Maria Giuseppa Salvitti.  They too were contadini.  Maria Giuseppa’s father Domenico Lorenzo Salvitti was born in Fara San Martino, Chieti.  Domenico Lorenzo Salvitti had a brother named Giuseppe who married Maria Rosa Cirone.*  Their son was named Donato Salvitti and he became the mayor of Farindola in the mid 1800s.

Antonio Cirone was born in 1820 to Domenico Cirone and Maria Fragassi.  Maria Fragassi’s father was Domenico Fragassi and his occupation was sometimes recorded as artista and other times as tarcaro in the Farindola records I located on Antenati.  I found a 1784 baptismal record in the Farindola marriage processetti on Antenati where the priest had transcribed the Fragassi surname as Fracasso.  Perhaps Fracasso was the spelling at one point.  This is a link to that record.  The furthest I could go in the ancestry of Antonio Cirone on Antenati found all of his ancestry in Farindola.


Antonio Cirone died in 1879 at Contrada Piazzetta in Farindola, while Serafina Iannascoli died in 1901 in Macchie, the birthplace of my great grandmother Serafina Merlenghi.

They were grandparents of Serafina Merlenghi.  In all likelihood, her grandmother is her namesake.

*Maria Rosa Cirone is the sister of my 5th great grandfather Pasquale Nicola Cirone, another ancestor of Serafina Merlenghi.  Cirone is an extremely common surname in the town.  

Source: http://antenati.san.beniculturali.it/home