Friday, March 20, 2015

Random observations while doing genealogical & historical research

In the previous four years, I accomplished most of my major genealogical goals, but I continue to go to the parish archives to seek out connections between stray branches of the Spadoni family that most certainly have their origins in Stignano but still lack a few generations of linkage needed for final proof.

For the past two weeks, I have been searching the baptismal records of Borgo a Buggiano, where I have found several Spadoni families who showed up in the late 1600s and early 1700s. Unfortunately, the first two books of baptismal records have been destroyed by humidity, so I may never be able to connect the lines from Borgo to those from Stignano. The third book, which covers from 1713 to 1744 is also in very poor condition, and I had to handle it with extreme care.

I feel great compassion for the people who lived in these centuries. When a child was born and either died in childbirth or very shortly after, a symbol of a cross is placed beside the baptismal record. During the five months from October 1779 to February of 1780, 25 children were baptized in the parish. Fifteen have the sign of the cross, indicating death, including Maria Annuciata Spadoni and Antonio Giuseppe Capocchi, my very distant relatives. In the short period during the spring of 1810, nine of 12 children died. These figures don’t include those children who survived childbirth but still died during their infancy or childhood.

Maria Rosa Orsucci, the wife of Francesco Spadoni, who is an ancestor of Wendy Manganiello of Florida, gave birth to 13 children in 21 years. At least five did not survive childbirth or early infancy. One daugher was born March 17, 1793, and another March 15, 1794. Maria Rosa must have been one tough farm woman.

We also made a couple of interesting discoveries while reading a book on the history of Montecarlo. It has a diagram showing who owned each house in the middle of 18th century on via Roma, the main street. The house we are in the process of buying was of the family Neri, and just across the street and two houses to the north was the house of Cavalliere and Priore Rubieri Seghieri, the son of Simone Seghieri Bizzarri. This was a noble branch of the family to which I am very distantly related. Maybe we should have made an offer on this house instead.

I also found a chapter in which 71 surnames are listed and labeled “strictly Montecarlese,” indicating that these were among the area’s earliest inhabitants. Included are the names of Seghieri and Capocchi. My great grandfather Torello Seghieri was married to Ines Capocchi, so I am definitely putting down roots in the community of my ancestors. The Spadoni family is not listed because its ancient roots are in Stignano, about three miles away.

We found the photo (below) of Montecarlo, taken in the first years of the 1900s. It shows via Grande, now called via Roma, taken just outside Porta Nuova, and it looks pretty much exactly the same as it does today. Our house (to be) is the third one on the left (top story only).

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