Monday, April 7, 2014

Noble Seghieri family traced to 1600s, split from my line around 1500

Saturday, April 5
Thanks to Doctor Sergio Nelli, the question about where the noble branch of the Seghieri family splits off the family tree from us plain and simple Seghieris has been resolved—though questions about their family tree still remain. Elena and I met with Dott. Nelli one more time this afternoon to discuss this issue.
Dott. Nelli hands Elena my flash drive, which he has loaded
with historical references to Seghieris from his files--
some light reading to keep me busy in my spare time.

Robieri Seghieri, born around 1444, had three sons: Mariano, Leonardo and Simone. The former is the ancestor of all the Seghieris now living on Via Mattonaia, including me and my Gig Harbor cousins. Leonardo, nicknamed Narduccio, is the ancestor of the late Mario Seghieri, a well-known Montecarlo historian who was a colleague and friend of Dott. Nelli—not the same Mario who lives on Via Mattonaia. Simone, with the dubious nickname Molester, was the head of the noble and wealthy line, though it wasn’t until his great grandson that the noble title began to be used.

Molester’s son was Rubieri or Rubiero, and he had a son Simone, who apparently married a wealthy heiress of Pisa with the surname Bizzarri, because one of their sons took the name Robieri Seghieri Bizzarri. This Robieri, born around 1635, was the first of many in the family to become a Cavaliero di Santo Stefano, founded by Cosimo I de’ Medici in 1561 to protect ships against Saracen piracy in the Mediterranean. In order to become a knight, Robieri had to live in Pisa, but he also had to be a property owner, so he maintained his holdings in Altopascio, Montecarlo and San Salvatore. While Robieri is not in my family line, he must have maintained close contact with my ancestors, because I have found a contract between his heirs and Giuseppe Seghieri, the grandfather of Torello Seghieri, Anita’s father. The contract allows Giuseppe and his brother Giuliano to farm the Seghieri Bizzarri land and use and maintain their buildings, in return for cash and specified amounts of wine, oil and other items. Among other things, my ancestors had to provide the Seghieri Bizzarri family two hens at Carnevale and two capons at Christmas.

This wealthy branch of the family gathered many honors and produced numerous knights, lawyers, doctors, professors, mayors, priests, bishops, and nuns—including the descendants who financed construction of an altar that bears the family coat of arms in the Montecarlo church of San’Andrea. Leopoldo Seghieri, a doctor, volunteered his services in the army of King Vittorio Emmanuele in 1860 during the war to unite Italy. The order of Saint Stefano was abolished in 1859, and since the Seghieri Bizzarri heirs had been marrying commoners, they dropped the second part of their name.

I have tried to construct a Seghieri Bizzarri family tree from early information given me by Dott. Nelli, along with an online article about noble families of Italy and some state of the family documents from the late 1800s I received in Montecarlo. Every time I try, it becomes an exercise in frustration and futility, because so few of the names are tied to dates of birth, and the same names are repeated so many times. Imagine how confusing it would be if one’s brothers and every male cousin all gave their children the same names. Many of the early names that I have obtained came not from birth or baptism records but from legal contracts or acts. It is hard to judge when a person was born or what generation he was in from these records. I still maintain the hope that an accurate tree may be possible if I can find just a little more information or I discover some details I had previously overlooked or misunderstood.

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