Saturday, February 27, 2010

Surname Saturday -Morabito 1895

Today I want to concentrate on the Morabito surname which happens to be the most common surname in Ardore, Reggio Calabria. Presently, there are about 141 persons living in Ardore with this surname, followed by the surname Zappavigna*. I still have not found proof that the surname originated there but so far I am leaning towards that very real possibility. My Paternal Grandfather, Bruno was born in Ardore and his Great Grandmother was Catarina Morabito born about 1784. I recently discovered that Nonno's oldest sister, Maria Rosa Carmina, also married a Morabito which makes things really interesting. Chances are they were not related and that if you were from this town, would also would have a Morabito in your family tree, since it's as common a name in Ardore as Smith is in the US -there were 13 births with this surname in 1895 alone which is lots considering it's not a very big town- but none the less I have started entering all those born with the surname into a database and connecting the families.
*Source information from Calabrian Surnames Search Engine results.
Here's a link to Maria Rosa and Saverio Antonio's Marriage Act.
Morabito's Born in 1895
Act #37 Rosa, daughter of Domenico and Teresina Codispoti
Act #38 Concetta, daughter of Saverio and Rosa Mariantonia Morabito
Act #72 Maria Teresa, daughter of Bruno and Teresa Romeo
Act #74 Maria Rosa, daughter of Nicola and Maria Ana Gelonese
Act #90 Maria Giuseppa, daughter of Leonardo and Elisabetta Morabito
Act #122 Carmela Maria, daughter of Vincenzo and Mariantonia Morabito
Act #132 Giuseppe, son of Francesco and Giuseppa Agostino
Act #166 Ferdinando Bruno, son of Giuseppe and Giovanna Scruci
Act #177 Domenico Antonio, son of Carmine and Teresa Pedavali
Act #193 Rosario Domencio, son of Carlo and Rosa Morabito
Act #226 Maria Rosa, daughter of Antonio and Mariantonia Morabito
Act #246 Natalina Maria Rosa, daughter of Domenico and Concetta Cristarella
You can view the actual images of these births on my website Calabria Exchange - Ardore . The quality is not that good since I uploaded them a while ago before I learned how to properly fix them in PSP or Photoshop but they are still legible and helpful to someone researching the name.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Giuseppe Macchione

I didn't have too much luck choosing a new template for my website but I have decided to stop stressing over it. Eventually, I will find the perfect template so for now, I need to walk away from it. I decided instead to play with a new site that lists many of the WW1 dead of Italy - Albo dei Caduti della Grande Guerra. I knew I had a great uncle on my Paternal side that died in WW1 but what I didn't know was that I also had one on my Maternal side. The site is split up by Region of Birth (ie: Calabria) and then by Surnames. You would use it much like you would a phone book.
Here is the entry for my Great Uncle, Giuseppe Macchione, son of Lorenzo.



Which basically says he was a Solider in the 19° Regiment, Military District of Cosenza, born on 9 Dec 1889 and died on 19 Jul 1915 on Monte Michele during combat. This now confirms both date of birth and death for Giuseppe. Since he died at 26 though, there is a good chance he was married - but I haven't determined that yet. Hopefully I can do that today.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekend Goals and Acts of Kindness

This morning's "Act of Kindness" involves my writing a letter to Italy requesting a gentleman's grandparents birth and marriage records and mailing the requests out. The man, a senior is a
member of our Gente di Mare Genealogy Forum which the Alpine Settler and I began a few years ago to help people with their Italian research.

While the research boards are busy, we also found translations of various documents to be a very popular subject so the forum has expanded to include a section for this sole purpose. The Alpine Settler is actually from England but she married an Italian man and has become a transplant in Italy. Now retired, she spends much of her days helping people obtain their Italian Citizenship by translating various documents and provides a bit of "English" humour to the forum. I will be writing about how we met later.

I have also spent the week *trying* to redesign the website at Gente and failing miserably. I have gone through two possible templates and neither seem to be working the way I want them too which is frustrating. I'm looking for a site that is able to display the information I have already extracted and organize it in such a way that it doesn't look so much like a salad.
The last two weeks have been about researching my maternal surnames and thanks to the Cosenza Archive site I have managed to trace my Macchione line back to the late 1600's. Today will be about trying to get it all online and finding a suitable template to host it on. This branch of my family is important to me because it is the first I began researching and oddly, is the branch I have the most information on. The older woman in the photograph is my Great Grandmother, Vincenza Macchione and the gentleman sitting in the lower left, drinking is her oldest son, Antonio. I'm not sure who the others are.


This is a picture of my Great Grandfather, Giovanni Polito who left Malito in 1905 to work in the mines in Las Animas, Trinidad Colorado and never returned to Italy. While John really didn't know his own children, he did spend a lot of time with his brother Carmine's children and when he passed away in 1954 his niece, Marie, inherited all his personal belongings. When I made contact with Marie a few years ago, we hit it off and she was kind enough to unselfishly send be a box of all John's personal papers and pictures. I felt like I had won the lottery - there was even my Great Grandmother Vincenza's 1909 passport included.
Read more about Giovanni "John" Polito.

A Snapshot of the Macchione's

Giovanni & Angela Carpino
Belsito, Cosenza

* Giacomo 1744-1830
* *Lorenzo 1766 - 1823
* Rosaria ?-1853

Lorenzo & Petranilla Spina
Belsito, Cosenza

* Carmela 1807-1834
* Nicola 1812-1832
* Francesco Domenico 1813-?
* Caterina Domenica 1816-?
* *Domenico 1817 - 1855
* Giovanni Pietro Antonio 1821-1851
* Anna 1822-?

Domenico & Maria De Luca
Belsito, Cosenza

* *Lorenzo 1844 - ?
* Francesco 1846 - 1847
* Giovanni 1846 - ?
* Fortunato 1849 - ?
* Rosa Anna 1850 - 1853
* Giuseppe 1852 - 1854
* Rosa 1855 - ?

Lorenzo & Rosa Nucci
Malito, Cosenza

* Francesa ? - ?
* Maria 1870 - ?
* Pietro 1871 - ?
* Antonio 1876 - ?
* Giuseppa 1879 - ?
* *Vincenza 1883 - 1959
* Teresa 1885 - ?
* Francesco 1887 - ?
* Giuseppe 1889- 1915

Vincenza & Giovanni Polito
Malito, Cosenza

Monday, February 15, 2010

Calabria Comunes and Helpful Links

I have put together a list of some of my favourite links that I use when researching. Keep in mind that most are targeted toward Calabrese research or reading. Hope you find it useful.

Links: Calabria

Coversation with Mom - Sometime in 2008

"Hi Ma..Che fa?"
"Nothing..I just watching a bit of TV with your father. Nothing good..just the news. "
"Oh, that's nice. Ma..listen. I gotta ask you something. Your parents got married on Feb 16, 1930, right?"
"Yea - why?"
"Oh nothing, I was just wondering." I pause thinking there's no easy way to ask this so I blurt out "Your brother was born in October that same year, right?"
"Yea, so?" - Mom's defensive tone kicks in here. She knows what's coming- I can tell.
"Well ma, it's not quite nine months, you know?"
"So what? He was born a couple of weeks early."
"Yea, that must be it", not quite convinced but it is possible.
My father yells in the background, "Tell her to go cook something for her kids and lasa perdere the 'research' ".
Of course I hear him . Everyone can hear him since he's not the quietest man in the world, but by mom feels the need to tell me what he says anyways.
"Your father says you should go cook and forget this nonsense.".
"Yea..tell him maybe I'll make Hamburger Helper tonight". Ok, so I knew that would set them off but I couldn't resist.
"EEWWW..porcheria", mom says. Goal achieved! hehe....
"Looka, I gotta go now. Your brother just got home and brought me a Biga Mac. Don't tell anyone about that, ok?"
"Of course not, ma. Who am I gonna tell?" I say and she hangs up before I have a chance to say anything else.

Big Mac??? And she was calling Hamburger Helper porcheria?

Halifax Jun 1961 - On a train bound for Toronto

Mom arrives in Halifax and boards a train bound for Toronto. A stranger in this new country, alone and lacking any real skills of communicating in the English language but somehow manages. A man approaches her and asks her if this is the train to Toronto (smooth, Dad! You couldn't come up with something better?) and she looks at him as if he's lost his mind. She knows exactly who he is and so they proceed with the introductions and shake hands - keep in mind they are married at this time so perhaps a small kiss would not have been out of line? -He asks her if she wants a piece of gum (Come on Dad - not even flowers? Run Mom, run!) and she politely refuses. They make small talk throughout the journey and once in Toronto he drops her off at her aunts house.
So, how did they get married? Well they actually married twice. Since Mom lived in Italy, and Dad in Toronto, one of my father's brother's went to Malito and stood proxy for him as they married in the Comune in a Civil Ceremony on 11 Dec 1960. My father then sponsored my mother to come to Canada with a letter promising to marry her in the Church here in Toronto. And so two weeks later, on the 1 Jul 1961, with a borrowed Wedding Dress and hardly any family, my Parents officially married in Saint Mary of Angel's Church. The reception was held in the basement of my Aunt's home and unfortunately there were no pictures taken - only a 12" album of them saying their vows in the Church which some 15 years later was mis placed during a move.
Again, while I know this sounds all like a very strange way to find a spouse, it apparently worked because this year they will be celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary. Maybe they had it right after all?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Today- In My Kitchen

Fast forward to today...
"Hey Mom - Whatcha cooking? It smells so good!"
"Hey Son - Just frying some eggplant for the parmigiana."
"Ewww..looks nasty!"
"So have a beef pattie instead - that's so much better", I say as I roll my eyes.
"Good idea - thanks!"

Wonder what he would have said if he grew up watching my mother make pig's feet for dad....

From the Beginning - or should I say the end?

So the first rule of Genealogy is to start with yourself and work backwards - and so to understand how this began I need to rewind a bit to the late 1950's, early 1960's.

My father was born in the Comune of Locri, (then known as Gerace Marina) located in Reggio Calabria Italy in the 1930's.. He arrived to the US aboard the SS Constitution in late Mar of 1957. He continued on to Toronto to live with his older brother and family.
My mother, also born in the 1930's, was born in the Comune of Malito, in the Province of Cosenza, Italy She arrived aboard the Saturnia at Pier 21 at Halifax in June of 1961. My dad met her there and accompanied her to her Aunt's house in Toronto.
The two towns in Italy are approximately 156 kms away from each other or a two and a half hour drive. So how did the two of them end up together?

They did not know one another but they were already married, and yet they were living in separate households with their respective families... Bizarre, no?




Their story, by today's standards, would in fact be considered strange but for the time I suppose one would consider it almost -normal. Dad lived in Toronto and worked for my mother's family. My mother wrote to my Aunt one day and my father saw her picture and fell in love. He asked permission to write to my mother and when she received his letter, and picture, she also fell in love. The two corresponded for a while and eventually Mom set out to spend a few months in Locri with Dad's family. Neither of my parents were kids - they were in their late 20's when this happened so I would like to think they knew what they were getting into here. I mean, here is this woman, from a town in the mountains traveling across Calabria to meet some guy's, who she's never met, family and who were living about a hundred yards from the Ionian Sea! They didn't seem to have much in common. Even the food they ate, and the dialect they spoke were different from one another.

more to come....

And this is how it all started.....

It's 3 am Toronto time on Sunday morning and as usual on the weekends I can't sleep. This is the time I seem to get the most inspired and have the most quiet. No house to clean, no dishes to wash and no laundry to do. Okay - so there is all of that stuff to do but who wants to do that at this hour?

When I was younger, I often dreamed about the future - who I would marry, what my kids would look like, where I would live - you know - all that fairy tale stuff that never really is what you expect it to be.

I did marry and had three wonderful kids who I was totally devoted to -until I began working full time. Somehow though, they seemed to just grow up and didn't quite need me as much. While they were growing up, I was getting older which although I knew would eventually happen, I never figured it into the equation quite as much as I should have. Now I found myself thinking about the past and my youth, and then about my parents past and their youth....

Let's face it - I needed a hobby.

Computers came along and in 2001 we bought our first really good one. My oldest son spent most of his time on it though since no one else knew quite how to use it. I started fooling around with it in the afternoons when the kids were in school and slowly became comfortable with it. When I decided to go back to school at 42, I used it primarily for homework but I found I really enjoyed sitting on it and "surfing" the web.

And then one day my daughter came home from school in late 2004 and told me she needed help with a school project. They were studying their roots and she needed help creating a Family Tree. And that's when it hit me - armed with only the names of my maternal Great Grandparents, a computer-complete with internet, and a love for researching I had found my hobby- Genealogy!