Thursday, March 29, 2012
A day of new discoveries in Spadoni family genealogical research
Wednesday, March 28
Around this time last year I discovered the names of ancestors on Nonna’s side of the family back to the 1500s and on Nonno’s side to the 1700s. I thought then that maybe this is all that I can do, since the records don’t seem to go any farther beyond that, but today I ride off to Pescia to see if I can find any information about the brothers and sisters of my great grandfather Pietro Spadoni, mio bisnonno.
Pietro gave birth to my grandfather, Michele, and also to Enrico, who was the grandfather of the Italian relatives with whom we currently keep in touch. We have asked these relatives if great grandfather Pietro had any brothers, but no one knows. We have been told by some Montecarlo locals that a Spadoni was once mayor of Montecarlo, but we don’t think he was part of our line, because otherwise our local Spadoni relatives would be aware of this.
In going through the church archives last year, I did discover four names of people who were likely Pietro’s brothers and sisters, but Pietro and his brothers were all born in Pescia, in the province of Pistoia. Pietro moved his family to San Salvatore, a neighborhood just outside of Montecarlo and in the province of Lucca, in May of 1893. I make the assumption that his brothers and sisters stayed in Pescia, which is about two miles away, because that would explain why none of the relatives here even knew that Pietro had brothers and sisters. Two miles is not far now, but without cars and on crude roads, it would take at least a half hour to walk, so one didn’t just pop on over to Great Uncle Francesco’s house.
Today my mission is to see if I can find out more about these siblings. Did they survive to adulthood? Did they marry and have children, and are any of their descendants living around here? I have already been to the church archives and the town hall in Pescia. Today I go to the state archives, where I am told that official state records of family units are kept, beginning from the year 1866 up to the present (although records less than 75 years old are not open to the public). If Pietro’s father, Pellegrino, died prior to 1866, I might have trouble finding the files, but fortunately, he survived until 1868, long enough that the state should have recorded information about him and his family.
I walk into the state archives in Pescia and manage to make my request clear, and soon a clerk brings me a massive book, opening it to the two pages that make reference to my ancestors. One is for Pellegrino and his family, and another is for Pietro after he married and moved out. What a treasure trove of information these pages are!
The two oldest sisters, Abigaille and Carolina, are not found, so either they didn’t survive childhood or they have moved out. The latter is a distinct possibility, as they were born in 1828 and 1830, so they would have been 38 and 36 by 1866 and could hardly be expected to still be living at home. Without knowing who they married, my hope of finding out more about them is slim. But on the other siblings, I have much better luck. Eldest brother Francesco married, and his wife moved into the Spadoni family home, so I have her name and the name of their children. The same is true for younger brother Angelo, plus I find a little sister, Gioconda, that I previously didn’t know existed.
Francesco married Carlotta Lucchesi and had four children, Attilio, Eugenio, Maria and Pellegrino, although Maria died before she reached two months. And now I see something that really excites me! Francesco moved his family to the comune of Montecarlo in 1880, when Attilio would have been 19, Eugenio 13 and Pellegrino only 9. I remember probing my cousin Enrico about additional relatives, and he did bring up the name Attilio once, although he couldn’t remember if this was a relative on his mom’s side or his dad’s side. This gives me three male relatives who moved to Montecarlo and may have descendants living around here, including one who might have been the mayor. I will have to go to the Montecarlo archives another day and do more digging.
Now how about brother Angelo? He married Elvira Silvestri and they had, I think, six children, although two died when very young. But it looks like four could have made it to adulthood: Pietro, Emilio, Arturo and Attilia. And Angelo himself is listed as moving to Montecarlo in 1900. His male children would have been 29 and older by that time, so they may not have moved with him. Still, it’s very possible that some of them did, given the nature of Italian families at that time. Youngest child Attilia was only 22 and also may still have been in the house. This will be another topic to explore in the Montecarlo archives. It also raises the possibilities of more possible ancestors for that Spadoni mayor.
I find one more nugget before I leave. Pietro’s little sister Gioconda married a man from Pescia named Cesare Celli. They had four children, and one of them, Luigi, took a wife from Montecarlo.
I need to give some history before I explain why this may be significant. Other than the Seghieris I know here, there are only three other people I have met whose last names I know. I know Luigi Bianchi and his family because they own the butcher shop and grocery store. I know Marco del Ministro because he tutored me in Italian last year. About a month ago, when Lucy’s bike tire went flat, everybody told me to find Leino (pronounced Layino, with the accent on the first syllable), a retired motorcycle and bicycle mechanic who still does some work on the side. With some effort, I managed to track him down and get the bike fixed, so now we at least recognize each other when we pass in San Salvatore. While trying to find Leino, I discovered that this was his nickname. His real name is Silvano Celli.
Now I think it is likely that Leino’s grandfather may be Luigi Celli, one of the four children of Cesare Celli and Gioconda Spadoni. That would mean that Leino and I have the same trisavolo, or great great grandfather, making us third cousins—another research project for a future day.
I ride home well satisfied with my day’s discoveries, and after previously thinking I was nearly out of possible leads, once again I am filled with anticipation of what I may discover in the weeks ahead.