Saturday, April 20, 2013

Connection found between Spadoni families of Tacoma and Gig Harbor

Friday, April 19, 2013
I have written almost nothing about my Spadoni family tree research this year, yet I have actually spent far more time in the church archives than any previous year. The reason for my silence is that the work has gone extremely slowly, though I finally have a breakthrough to report: I confirmed the last puzzle piece that shows how the Tacoma Spadoni family is related to the Gig Harbor and Seattle families.

Thus I have achieved two research goals, the other being to connect the two large Seghieri families who live side by side in San Salvatore, though I am still far short of what I had hoped to accomplish during this trip. I ran into a dead end in my research into the family of Narciso Spadoni of Chicago. I traced his line at Borgo a Buggiano back to a Francesco Spadoni, born in 1764. His father is listed as Simone and his grandfather as Francesco, but their births are not recorded at Borgo a Buggiano, Buggiano, Stignano or Ponte Buggianese, so I am going to give up for now. Maybe Narciso’s descendants will pay Andrea Mandroni to continue from where I left off.

I am still slowly pursuing a line that traces back from four interesting brothers—Guido, Italo, Gino and Bruno. Guido had a large family in San Francisco. Italo has the plaque in his honor in Ponte Buggianese, Bruno died in prison in Rome and Gino was accused of murder in Tacoma. Today I found the baptism record of one of their ancestors, Pavol’Antonio, born in 1762 in Ponte Buggianese. His father was listed as Pietro and his grandfather was Pasquale, who may have been born around 1700. However, the archives will only be open one day next week, so I may not make it back far enough to find a connection to the Spadoni family of Stignano, which would allow me to tie everything together. Next week is my last week here.

One reason the research is going so slowly is that I am recording every Spadoni birth I find instead of just skipping backwards to search for a single line. This will pay off in the future if I find any other Spadoni family members from Ponte Buggianese who are hoping to trace their ancestry. It is also going slowly because I am doing the work myself instead of watching Andrea do it for me. I am painstakingly advancing in the art of deciphering Old Italian script. It helps that I see the same names appear over and over again: Cortesi, Galligani, Menicuccini, Lorenzini, Giuntoli, Teglia, Orsi, Buonaguidi, Pellegrini and another 50-some that I see quite regularly. The first time I see a new name, I may have to ask Andrea for help, but now I can recognize many of the strange shapes that represent the letters of the alphabet.

I have a ton of information about the Tacoma family now, because I found birth certificates at the comune for all six of the brothers and sisters of Guido and Sabatino, the two who lived out their adult lives in Tacoma. One, Ottavina, married Luigi Armando Giuntoli and moved to Chicago. Another, Umiliana, died in France and has descendants in Argentina. The other four died in Ponte Buggianese.

It turns out that their father, Agostino, had the same great-great grandfather as did Michele Spadoni of Gig Harbor and Michele Spadoni of Seattle. This common ancestor, Lorenzo  Spadoni, was born in 1723, so my grandfather was the third cousin of the father of Guido and Sabatino. The Seattle family was a little closer, as Agostino and Seattle Michele also had the same great grandfather, Angelo. I am very happy to have made this connection, as last year I had a very pleasant meeting with Ida (Spadoni) Holt, the daughter of Guido, along with one of Ida’s daughters.

I had a number of other second-level goals that will not be accomplished this year. I have been contacted by Ray and Roy Spadoni from California, and I had hoped I might do some research for them as well. Their ancestor was not born in Ponte Buggianese, but somewhere very close by, so they are surely related. However, this would mean looking into an entirely different set of church archives, and it is not immediately clear which set, because his children were reportedly born in a variety of nearby places. I also had wanted to look into the history of great grandmother Ines Capocchi and to find out what became of the eight brothers and sisters of my great grandfather Pietro Spadoni.

I love coming here, so I don’t really need any additional reasons for wanting to come back next year, but the hope of solving these mysteries does add to the appeal. And I suppose if I solve these questions, I will just find even more for the following year.


  1. If you come across a Narciso/Narcisso Giuntoli (sometimes speller Guentoli/Geuntoli) who was born in Italy in 1853 and moved to New York, I would love to know. He's different than the Narciso Giuntoli who moved to Washington state. I keep running into dead ends trying to research this side of my family and would love to know about his Italian family. :-)

    1. Hey, Brigit, I take it you don't know the city but believe it to be near or in Ponte Buggianese, vero? Quite likely, because that area is packed with Giuntolis. I'll put this on my list of things to look for. Meanwhile, send me an email so we can communicate privately.

    2. Hey, Brigit, I take it you don't know the city but believe it to be near or in Ponte Buggianese, vero? Quite likely, because that area is packed with Giuntolis. I'll put this on my list of things to look for. Meanwhile, send me an email so we can communicate privately.


Comments welcome.