Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sicilian Names & Rules or Those Crazy Italians!

I've been trying to fill out Hubs family tree using information someone on Ancestry posted to their tree.  I don't have access to International records but they have posted photos of birth/marriage/death records from Sicily that I am trying to get copied down.

If you have Italian ancestry you'll often find that there are very strict "rules" within a family for naming your children.  This can make for ease in building your tree but it can also lead to confusion.
Let me explain by using Hubs family as an example.

Hub's grandmother was named Paola Di Giorgi.  Once she came to America she went by Pauline or Paulina.....these being an anglicized version of Paola.
Paola's father's name was Saverio Di Giorgi.
Saverio's mother was named Carmela.
Saverio and his wife, Dominica, named their first daughter Carmela, after the father's mother.
When the second daughter came she was named Paola after Saverio's mother's sister, Paola.

So first son's are named after father's father, first daughter's named after father's mother, next son is named after mother's father, next daughter named after mother's mother.
If one generation is prolific in reproducing this can lead to many boy and girl grandchildren with the same names among the children below that one generation.
This has led to a LOT of Anthony Arcure's in Hubs family over the years. lolz

Now let's look in depth at Saverio's parents, Stefano Di Giorgi and Carmela Coniglio and what they named their children.

They named their first son, born in 1835, Saverio Di Giorgi after Stefano's father. I will refer to this Saverio as Saverio #1 henceforth.

Then they had their first daughter, born in 1837, and named her Paula after Stefano's mother(also the name of his wife, Carmela's sister, Paola Coniglio).  I will refer to this Paola as Paola #1 henceforth.

In 1838 Paola #1 dies at the age of 1 year and they are down to 1 living child, Saverio #1-age 3.

In 1839 they have another son, whom they name Giovanni.  Three months later in 1839, Saverio #1 dies at age 4.  They end 1839 with 1 living child(Giovanni-infant under 1).

In 1842 they have another son, whom they also name Saverio.  I will refer to him as Saverio #2 henceforth.  They end 1842 with 2 living children(Giovanni-3 yrs., Saverio #2-infant).

In 1844 they have another son, whom they name Salvadore.  They end 1844 with 3 living children(Giovanni-5 yrs., Saverio #2-2 yrs., Savadore-infant).

In 1845 Saverio #2 dies at the age of 3.  They end 1845 with 2 living children(Giovanni-6 yrs., Salvadore-1 yr.).

In 1846 they have another son, whom they name Guiseppe.  One month later he also dies.
They end 1846 with 2 living children(Giovanni-7 yrs., Salvadore-2 yr.).

In 1847 they have another daughter, whom they name Guiseppa.  They end 1847 with 3 living children(Giovanni-8 yrs., Salvadore-3 yrs., Guiseppa-infant).

In 1849 they have another daughter, whom they name Paola whom I refer to as Paola #2.
They end 1849 with 4 living children(Giovanni-10 yrs., Salvadore-5 yrs., Guiseppa-1 yr., Paola #2-infant).

In 1852 they have another son, whom they also name Saverio whom I refer to as Saverio #3.
This Saverio lives a good long time, fathering 2 daughters and dying sometime before 1900.
Stefano's father, however, dies soon after Saverio is born, in 1852.
They end 1852 with 5 living children(Giovanni-13 yrs., Salvadore-8 yrs., Guiseppa-5 yrs., Paola #2-3 yrs., Saverio #3-infant)but Carmela is now a widow so there are no additional children.

In 1854 Paola #2 dies at 4 & 1/2 years, 2 years after her mother, Carmela Coniglio Di Giorgi becomes a widow.
Carmela ends 1854 with  4 living children(Giovanni-15 yrs., Salvadore-10 yrs., Guiseppa-7 yrs., Saverio #3-2 yrs.)

In 1858 Carmela remarries to Guiseppe Schifani Giglio but there are no children from this union.

I have found this habit of giving a dead child's name to a subsequent sibling in my own tree a couple of times, but it's always been in the 18th century not the 19th century among my ancestors.  And none of them sent so far as to name 3 children the exact same name.  I wonder if the boxer George Foreman has any Italian ancestry as he has 5 sons all named George Foreman.  Of course he didn't wait for one George to die in childhood before naming another one George too.  That's a whole other level of creepy, isn't it? lolz

Since the Sicilians have a creepy habit of reusing names of children that have died I am assuming that the 3 children besides Saverio #3(who is Hubs direct ancestor)-Giovanni, Salvadore and Guiseppa all lived to adulthood since they didn't reuse those first names.
Guiseppa lived at least long enough to get married in 1863(at the age of 16+ years)to Gioacchino Vincenza Di Giorgi. (I assume from his surname that they are cousins of some sort.)  I don't know how long she lived past that year and/or if any children were born from this couple.

But imagine giving birth to 9 children and outliving 5 or 6 of them.  Infant mortality was quite high in Sicily due to poverty, sanitation, lack of medical care and let's not forget all the civil unrest in the mid 1800's there.

I have to give them kudos for continuing to live life and producing more babies.  Well of course I do because if they had stopped at Saverio #1 or Saverio #2, Hubs wouldn't be here.  8-)


1 comment:

  1. I would almost give up trying to sort through the "same" names


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