Saturday, April 2, 2016

Back on the pleasant trail of distant Spadoni cousins in Tuscany

A sudden urge struck me yesterday to pick up a trail I had dropped a few years ago and then had almost forgotten. I had discovered that great grandfather Pietro Spadoni had two brothers, Francesco and Angelo. They had moved away from Pescia around the same time that Pietro had moved from Pescia to San Salvatore. The archives in Pescia recorded Francesco and Angelo as having moved to San Salvatore as well, but that is probably incorrect, as I could find no mention of them there. I found some traces of Angelo’s descendents in Chiesina Uzzanese and of Francesco’s in Spianate, a little community between Chiesina Uzzanese and Altopascio.

I had planned to call on some random Spadoni families around Altopascio three years ago, using Elena as an interpreter. However, I ran out of time that year, and then I got involved in other projects in the next two years. When I came across something in my notes that reminded me of this neglected trail, I realized that now I can speak Italian well enough to visit these families on my own. And so today I went on a mission to visit Bruna Spadoni, who according to the online Italian white pages ( lives just south of Chiesina Uzzanese.

One can’t always be sure of the accuracy of the white pages, because they’re not always the most up to date, but I was lucky this time. I found Bruna, age 92, who lives in the same home as her daughter Mara, son-in-law Mario and granddaughter Silvia. Once I explained who I was and told them of my interest in genealogy, they invited me in and offered me something to drink.

Bruna told me her dad had been named Plinio, and she had no problems remembering his date of birth and the names of both of her grandparents. With that information, I was able to find her dad’s name in my notebook, and since the name had a check mark beside it, I knew that I had it in the family tree. I told them that we were surely related, but not as closely as I had hoped, since they weren’t descended from either Francesco or Angelo.

We had a nice conversation about the history of the Spadoni family in the area, most of which they were unaware but happy to discover. We asked questions of each other, shared family information and complained about the politicians in both the United States and Italy. I promised to return in a few days with a complete line of Bruna’s Spadoni ancestors dating back to 1430. Back in my Montecarlo home, I found that Bruna and I are very distant relatives, with our nearest common ancestor having been born in 1455.

There are so many reasons I’m glad we picked Montecarlo as our place of residence in Italy. Surely one of them is that it gives me a perfect excuse to be welcomed into the homes of strangers, where I can experience their hospitality and get a chance to practice and improve my Italian. There are four more Spadonis listed in Altopascio and seven in Chiesina Uzzanese, so I guess I can do this pretty much any day I want to. Someone around here is bound to be a descendent of Francesco or Angelo, but even if not, they’ll be relatives of some degree, and we’ll have a good time getting acquainted.

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