Treasure Chest Thursday – Marriage Record of Pietro Ciardonei and Antonia Ciamporcero

Pietro Ciardonei and Antonia Ciamporcero are my paternal great-great-grandparents.  They lived their entire lives in Cossano Canavese, Piedmonte, Italy.  This is a small town outside of Turin in the foothills of the Alps.

Pietro was born about 1845.  Antonia was born 4 February 1859.  They married on 20 March 1872.  Their marriage produced at least 7 children.  Three of their first four children died before reaching the age of three.  My great grandfather was the first son to survive childhood.  I can only imagine what difficult times Pietro and Antonia faced losing so many children so young at the start of their marriage.

My favorite part of this record is the signature for my g-g-grandfather.  Although I am not very surprised, it still makes me a little sad that my g-g-grandmother could only mark her name with an “X.”

I have been able to research my Italian ancestors because Family Search has a microfilm that contains the church records from their small town.  Below is a digital copy of Pietro and Antonia’s marriage record.
With the help of the book Italian Genealogical Records: How to Use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical, and Other Records in the Family History Research by Trafford R. Cole and Google Translate, a very rough translation is:

Act of Marriage
Number 12
Ciardonei, Pietro – Ciamporcero, Antonia
The year one thousand eight hundred seventy two the 20thof March of publications made in the church of St. Stefano, dispenses ??? presented to the parish priests ??
Marrying according to the rite of S. ?? Ciardonei Pietro, twenty seven, native of Cossano, living in Cossano, son of the deceased Matteo,  son of the late Domenico and son of the living Avetta Lucia, daughter of the deceased Antonio.
And Ciamporcero Antonia, twenty three, native of Cossano, living in Cossano, daughter of the living Stefano, son of the deceased Domenico, and daughter of the living Ciardonei Maria, daughter of the deceased Stefano.
Present as witnesses: Ciardonei Antonio, son of deceased Stefano and Maglione Lorenzo, son of living Giovanni

(2Matteo + 2Lucia) – Pietro(Teresa/Antonia) = ?!?!

I have jumped deep into researching my Italian line the last couple of months.  I have been slowly combing my way through baptism, marriage, and death records to piece together my family line.  I am still working on these records but want to share an interesting story of analysis of a portion of my goldmine.  I warn you now that everyone has the same name.  Proceed with caution!

The story begins with my great-grandfather Matteo Ciardonei.  Baptism records show he was born to Pietro Ciardonei and Antonia Ciamporcero.  Additional baptism and death records show that Pietro and Antonia had at least six children as follows (records for this microfilm end at 1898 so there may be children born after that date):

  1. Matteo Stefano Pietro Ciardonei born  27 July 1883, died 14 August 1883
  2. Lucia Vittoria Maria Ciardonei born 30 June 1886, died 21 April 1888
  3. Matteo Ciardonei born 11 February 1889, died 14 March 1921
  4. Lucia Maria Antonia Ciardonei born 28 December 1891, 22 June 1894
  5. Silvinia Maria Ciardonei born 2 October 1894
  6. Stefano Sarino Ciardonei born 16 September 1898, died 21 June 1934
There was also a baptism record for a Matteo Claudio Ciardonei born 8 November 1875 to Pietro Ciardonei and Teresa Salarano.  My first inclination was to think that this was a first marriage for Pietro.
I next went on to find the marriage records for Pietro & Antonia and Pietro & Teresa.  A quick glance had me thinking that these were the same person.  When I arrived home and analyzed the documents a few days later, I was not so sure.  The only thing that was for sure – I was immediately thankful that almost all of the church records listed a person’s father, his father, and sometimes the person’s mother and her father.  In addition each name indicated if the person was alive or deceased.
Pietro Ciardonei married Teresa Salarano on 20 February 1875.  Pietro is listed as the son of living Matteo (who is the son of deceased Pietro) and deceased Lucia Avetta (daughter of living Sebastiano).  Teresa parents are listed as deceased Stefano and living Maria Bonello.
Pietro Ciardonei married Antonia Ciamporcero on 20 March 1882.  I was surprised to see that Pietro’s parents were slightly different than the prior marriage record to Teresea.  This Pietro’s parents are deceased Matteo (son of deceased Domenico) and living Lucia Avetta (daughter of deceased Antonio).
Are these the same Pietro Ciardonei?  It was time to go back another generation to try to find out.
I found the marriage certificate for Matteo Ciardonei and Lucia Avetta on my next trip to the library.  Again, I was finding and scanning as many documents as possible and doing the analysis at home.  Once at home, I looked carefully at the marriage certificate.  This Matteo Ciardonei married Lucia Avetta on 25 July 1846.  This seemed to fit Pietro for a possible estimated birthdate.  Matteo’s father is listed as living Pietro, deceased Matteo, deceased Domenico.  Matteo’s mother is listed as Maria Burghesio, daughter of deceased Domenico.  I paused here thinking, “wait, did the Priest confuse Pietro as the dad?  But wait he wasn’t born yet – these are his parents. O no, I have a problem. Are there two Pietro’s?!?”
I went on to note that Lucia Avetta’s parents were listed as living Sebastiano Avetta (son of deceased Matteo) and living Maria Franesio (daughter of deceased Michele).  I needed another trip back to the library.
On my next trip I quickly made my way back to the marriage records and started searching before 1846.  To my surprise, I found another marriage certificate for Matteo Ciardonei.  This time he was marrying Lucia Avetta in 1835.  Okay, now I was totally confused.  This town was Catholic to their last breath.  How is it that Matteo Ciardonei married Lucia Avetta twice?!
The 1835 marriage of Matteo Ciardonei to Lucia Avetta is a handwritten marriage record.  Although I have been unable to translate the whole thing yet due to a change of language from Italian to Latin, I can definitely see the names written in the paragraph.  Matteo’s parents are listed as Domenico Ciardonei and Maria Giandefio.  Lucia Avetta’s parents are listed as Antonio Avetta and Magdelena Giacometto (daughter of Ignatio).
I also came upon a death record for Lucia Ciardonei ne Avetta.  She died 17 July 1888.  The death record states that she was 74 at the time of her death.  This would give an estimated birthdate about 1813-1815.  Her parents are listed as Antonio and Magdelena.  The spouse is listed as Matteo Ciardonei.
It was time to compile an excel sheet to figure out just what I had here.  My excel sheet included columns for date, record type, name, name of father, father’s father, mother, mother’s fathers, spouse, and estimated birthdate.  After entering all baptism records, marriage records, and death records the families started to shake out.
Once on paper it became clear that Lucia Avetta in the 1835 and 1846 marriage licenses was the key to unraveling this mystery.  Each marriage definitely had a different Lucia (different parents).
I had two different Matteo Ciardonei’s marrying two different Lucia Avetta’s only 11 years apart.  Both of these couples had at least one son named Pietro.  Both Pietro’s had sons named Matteo (about eight years apart).
 
The death record for Lucia Ciardonei ne Avetta helped to solidify my argument for which Matteo and Lucia marriage was mine.  If you look back to the marriage certificates for Pietro & Teresa and Pietro & Antonia, you will notice that one Lucia is living while the other is already deceased.  “My” Lucia (daughter of Antonio and Magdelena) is listed as living.  This jives with Lucia’s death in 1888. The “other” Lucia passed away before 1875.
Here is a sketch of each family:
  1. Matteo Ciardonei (1889-1921)
    1. Pietro Ciardonei
      1. Matteo Ciardonei
        1. Domenico Ciardonei
        2. Maria Giandefio
      2. Lucia Avetta
        1. Antonio Avetta
        2. Magdelena Giacometto
    2. Antonia Ciamporcero
  1. Matteo Ciardonei (1875-1878)
    1. Pietro Ciardonei
      1. Matteo Ciardonei
        1. Pietro Ciardonei
        2. Maria Burghesio
      2. Lucia Avetta
        1. Sebastiano Avetta
        2. Maria Franesio
    2. Teresa Salarano

An Italian Baptism

Adele Siletto is my paternal grandfather’s mother.  She was born in Cossano Canavese, Piedmont, Italy on January 10, 1893. This image was scanned from the FHL microfilm I have been researching ( Registri Ecclesiastici di Cossano Canavese (Torino), 1651-1899).

With the help of the book Italian Genealogical Records: How to Use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical, and Other Records in the Family History Research by Trafford R. Cole, a rough translation is:
Certificate No. 1
Siletto Adele
The year of the lord one thousand eight hundred ninety two the twelfth of January was presented to the Church an infant born ten of January at ten pm, daughter of Siletto Guiseppe, son of living Stefano, native of Cossano, and daughter of Maglione Ana Stasia, daughter of deceased Giacinto, native of Cossano, of the family Siletto live in Cossano to whom the baptism was administered by ??? the delegated priest, and to whom was giving the name of Adele, the godfather being Avetta Pietro, son of deceased Stefano and the godmother Siletto Margarita, daughter of living Stefano. Represented by ? Pietro ??
The indication of the birth, with the request for baptism, was made by the underwritten father of the infant.
Signature of the person who requested baptism – Guiseppe Siletto
Signature of the parish priest – A. Banedetto
Written in the left column:
Joined in matrimony to Ciardonei Matteo 22 -12-13 (22 Dec 1913)
Last rites given 18-1x-1919 (18 January 1919)

 

Another Self Addressed Envelope

That tingle of excitement is back!  There was a self addressed envelope in the mail today.  I want to repeat just how much I love these envelopes.

I now have a death certificate for Salvatore Siletto.  To refresh your memory, Sal Siletto is my grandfather’s, Celio “Jay” Capelli’s, uncle.  His wife, Anne, was a witness in my grandpa’s naturalization paperwork.  Since Siletto is the maiden name of my great-grandmother, I asked family if there was a connection.  My grandmother confirmed that Sal was the younger brother of grandpa’s mother, Adele.  I now know that Sal immigrated to the United States in March 1921, he became a naturalized citizen, and was a baker in Pittsburgh.  Sal’s passenger manifest listed his mother as Dominica Brunero.  I also found a 1938 passenger manifest entry for a Lucia Siletto Brunero who was going to visit her son, Salvatore Siletto in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Sal’s death certificate confirms most of the information I have already found.  His wife was Anne Bordone.  He was born 17 December 1900 in Italy.  He worked as a baker and lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The death certificate also lists some new information.  Sal died 27 July 1967 of carcinoma of the lung.  He is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The best part is that Sal’s parents are listed as Joseph Siletto and Lucia Brunnero.

I now have indirect evidence that proves Salvatore Siletto is my grandfather’s uncle.  I am so excited that I have made so much headway in researching my grandfather’s family.  I have another piece of the puzzle since Sal was not listed in the baptism records from Cossano Canavese, Italy.  The church records only went through 1899.

New Documents Add to the Story of my Grandfather

I have written a couple of times about my grandfather, Celio “Jay” Capelli.  He was born Celio Ciardonei in Cossano Canavesse, Turino, Italy on December 31, 1914.  His parents were Matteo Ciardonei and Adele Siletto.

On March 22, 1920, Celio (5 years old) and his father, Matteo Ciardonei, arrived in the United States on the SS Dante Alighieri.  According to the ship’s manifest, Matteo was deported March 31st because he had been diagnosed with tuberculosis.  This information came from the passenger manifest found on Ellisisland.org almost 10 years ago.  I got a printed copy for my Grandfather for Christmas about 8 years ago.

Yesterday, with the free access to immigration records at Ancestry.com, I found another piece to the story.  Since I do not have a digital copy of the passenger manifest, I did a search for the last name “Ciardonei.”  I was surprised to see several entries for both Celio and Matteo.  When I opened each digital image, I realized that they had been included on additional lists in the ship’s paperwork.  Specifically, the Record of Aliens Held for Special Inquiry and the Record of Detained Aliens.

The Record of Aliens Held for Special Inquiry states that 31 year old Matteo was hospitalized upon arrival and given a “tuberculosis cert” designation.  He was deported on April 12th at 1:45 pm on the SS Guiseppe Ver??an.  Celio was admitted to the U.S. on March 31st at 10:55am.

The Record of Detained Aliens lists my grandfather being held with other passengers from the Dante Alighieri.  He was fed 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 8 dinners during his detainment.  He was released on March 31st.  The Disposition column for the other passengers lists the addresses of where they were going.  My grandfather’s entry is blank.  It is interesting to note that almost everyone else on the list had a Cause for Detention listed as lack of funds.  My grandfather’s Cause for Detention is “father in hosp.”

These documents made me very sad last night.  I had known that Matteo was brave and left his son with his sister-in-law when he was deported.  I had never considered what had occurred between the time Matteo and Celio arrived and when Matteo was deported.  It must have been so scary for a 5 year old to be separated from his sick father and be detained for a week.  He did not know any English at the time so communication must have been difficult.

The only glimmer of hope that I see in these documents is that my grandfather was detained for only 8 days (as indicated by the number of meals).  His ship arrived 10 days prior to his release leaving us with a 2 day difference.  I am hoping that he got to spend the time with his father in the hospital during those 2 days.  It would have been the last times they would see each other.  Matteo died in his hometown in Italy just under a year later on Mar 14, 1921.

I will end on a positive note.  I also found a Lucia Siletto Brunero on a passenger manifest in 1938 last night.  She listed that she would be visiting her son, Salvatore Siletto.  I have previously documented that “Sal” is my grandfather’s uncle.  So it seems that my grandfather got to visit with his grandmother when she came to visit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  It would have been the first time he saw his grandmother in at least 18 years.

Those Places – Cossano Canavese, Piedmont, Italy

I have written a couple of posts about my paternal grandfather, Celio “Jay” Capelli.  He was born Celio Giuseppe Ciardonei on December 31, 1914.  His parents were Matteo Ciardonei and Adele Siletto.  They lived in Cossano Canavese.  It is a small town northeast of Torino in the Piedmont region.

In May 2006, I got the chance to drive through the town that my grandfather was born in.  Unfortunately, the visit was not a research trip.  We drove through on a Sunday and everything was closed including the local cemetery.  I hope to spend some time in Cossano Canavese one day.  Here are a few pictures from that trip.

Entering the town from the North.

 

Outside the town hall
The main street through town is very narrow.

A plaque honoring those who died in WWI.  I have several
Ciardonei’s listed.

The church is the tallest building in town.
View of town from the South.
These stones lined the road leading to the cemetery.  All of the stones match the names listed on the plaque in town.  I believe that this stone is a memorial for my great grandfather, Matteo Ciardonei.

 

An American Dream

Today is the 4th of July.  The day to celebrate the independence of this great country.  The most common ways to celebrate are barbecues, fireworks, and parades with lots of American flags.  I would also like to celebrate by telling you a little about my paternal grandfather.  Celio “Jay” Gordon Capelli lived the American Dream.

 

Jay Capelli, March 1942

Jay was born in Cassano Canavesse, Turino, Italy on December 31, 1914.  His parents were Matteo Ciardonei and Adele Siletto.  On March 22, 1920, Celio (5 years old) and his father, Matteo Ciardonei, arrived in the United States on the SS Dante Aligheri.  According to the ship’s manifest, Matteo was deported March 31st because he had been diagnosed with tuberculosis.  Matteo was a strong man because he left his young son in the United States with his sister-in-law, Mary (Siletto) Capelli.

Jay grew up in the Capelli household in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his 3 cousins, Mabel, Bruno, and Elsie and his aunt and uncle, Mary and Alfredo (Fred) Capelli.  Jay became a citizen of the United States on February 25, 1937 when he was 22 years old.  He also changed his name at this time to Capelli.  My grandfather attended Duquesne University, majoring in accounting.  He also served as a Quartermaster in the Army during World War II.

My grandfather met my grandmother, Mary Dempsey in Pittsburgh and they married February 15th, 1947.  Later that year,  they migrated out west to California with my grandmother’s brother.  They settled in Los Angeles and had three children.  The oldest boy being my dad.   The kids grew up in Anaheim and my grandparents moved to Mission Viejo during the 1970’s.

 

Jay & Mary Capelli, 40th Wedding Anniversary, February 1987

Jay was ninety four when he passed away just over 2 years ago.  He was a hard working man who loved his family deeply.  I remember being in high school when he finally retired from being a CPA at 80.  He loved to go bowling and did so until his late 80’s.  There are many family photos of Jay camping with his family.

He was hard of hearing in his later years.  I will never forget the first time I visited him after he got his hearing aids.  There was a look of astonishment on his face when I spoke to him.  I realized that my voice had been out of his hearing range for years and he was excited to hear what I sounded like.

One of my most favorite memories of my grandfather is from Christmas about 7 or 8 years ago.  I had found the passenger manifest for his arrival in the U.S. on EllisIsland.org and ordered a copy of the manifest and a photo of the ship to give to him for Christmas.  He was so amazed by the gift!  It made me so happy to be able to bring a piece of his past to him.

It is amazing to think that my grandfather did it all in this country.  He immigrated here as a young boy, learned a new language, grew up in a loving family, attended university, became a U.S. citizen, served his country in war, found the love of his life, followed his dreams out west, and raised a family.  He really did live the American Dream.