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Conti832
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Question for board

Postby Conti832 » 27 Feb 2009, 18:45

I have found out alot in looking for my Grandparents roots in the last couple years even making a trip to Pofi ,Italy.But I have more imformation on my Grandfather and very little on my Grandmother.

I have found Her manifest found out who She listed as coming to see and that She married my Grandfather within two weeks of Coming here.

With all but my Father and Uncle gone now and they were very young when She died,I have no idea how to find out if the wedding was arranged
or if they knew each other from Pofi along with many other questions.

Do most people feel ok about getting letters from people they do not know asking questions about family like me wriiting to Recine's in Italy?

Any other ideas?So much I would love to know.Since our trip to Italy our children have become interested and are now asking as well.

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Italysearcher
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Re: Question for board

Postby Italysearcher » 27 Feb 2009, 22:33

Many marriages were arranged with the brides coming out from Italy specifically to get married. It was usually a win-win situation. The man in USA got a wife from hi own area who knew how to cook the foods he liked and follow the traditions he was used to. The woman gained by leaving the family home where she was often surplus to requirements. Food was scarce and if she hadn't found a husband locally who she could move in with life was difficult. Often they were the sisters or cousins of a friend or relative and they may well have known each other as children. American women were often too liberated for the traditional Italian men.
Ann Tatangelo
http://angelresearch.wordpress.com
ANNOYING THE SAINTS - Stories of my Life in Italy. http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-b ... ly/7731505

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Re: Question for board

Postby bonval » 27 Feb 2009, 22:39

Hi -- I know how you feel having so many questions. My husband is from Italy but I am not of Italian descent. Yet I started on the quest in order to help our four sons (now all young adults) learn about family - they have aunts and uncles and cousins by the dozens in Italy. We since have taken a few trips and they have all been at least once to Italy (the younger two more frequently) and a few cousins have come here to visit. The visits for the two older boys lasted a couple months each - so everyone now feels they know family better. Only my husband speaks Italian - although my youngest son and I are learning more and more. I say all this because you will find that research and a desire to know will prod you on to learn. At first everyone thought it funny :roll: I wanted to do the family tree - but they humored me and gave names and dates as they knew them. Then I worked with the FHL and microfilm to learn more. Soon the tree became impressive enough that family began to want more :wink: -- and that is when they began to remember and to talk more. Start gently with the questions you ask - as they feel more comfortable, they will respond. Sometimes talking about something that seems off topic will trigger more memories for them. Unfortunately you may find they don't know many of the answers such as if it was an arranged marriage. You might try looking at the street addresses in any of the documents and see if they lived relatively close by - or if they attended the same parish. Courtships were not always long or consist of dating - it was families who all knew one another or worked with one another or saw one another often in town. And yes, there were arranged marriages too. That is the bittersweet part of this puzzle we call genealogy - it makes more questions than we often get answers but we sometimes get more answers than we knew we wanted!!

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Re: Question for board

Postby Eleven » 28 Feb 2009, 16:06

I will bet you most marriages were arranged. If they werent, then the man chose the woman. He spoke to the father to ask for her hand. Many brides had little choice in the matter.

I know my own grandmother was selected like this, only, she had no father, he died, so my grandfather went to her mother. The mother "asked" my grandmother if she was willing to marry this man, which she was. I dont think many of the fathers consulted their daughters.

The grandmother of someone I know, came to this country as a young girl. She was matched up to a husband and as she took her vows, when the part came for her to say I do..she said NO. The family told the priest that she didnt understand english..but the grandmother told us, that she understood fine..she said NO because she didnt want to marry him. But, these people stayed married until death.

I am currently working with the FHL and Ancestry, indexing their Italian records. The FHL is working on trento baptisms, ancestry on deaths, publications and marriages from the Piemonte area. On all of these records you see the parents surnames (parents of the christened baby and on the marriages, bride and groom parents). Many, many times, surnames will match..meaning is a lot of these cases, that cousins married cousins. If the bride and groom surnames arent the same, then the brides might match one of the grooms parents or vice versa. This is very common. I know there are places where surnames are very common, but I do know that cousin marriages are not uncommon. I also notice that a lot of the men, dont even come from the town in which they are marrying..but the bride does. You get the feeling that they were "importing" men, for these girls.

I know in my own family tree, my husbands mothers side has a few second cousin marriages. A lot of the records I am working on for the fhl and ancestry, look like they might actually be first cousins.

As work on these records, I find myself pondering as I type out some of these beautiful Italian names. I find myself thinking..did this woman really want to marry him?

One record sticks out in my mind. Groom 29 years old. Bride 15 years old. They brides parents were listed as "unknown". Who did this girl live with that gave her to this man at such a young age? It certainly looks like they might have wanted to be rid of her.

Unless it comes to you by word of mouth, there is no real way to find out the circumstances of the marriage. My grandparents on the other side of my family, a brother and sister married a brother and sister. My great grandfather came here first, followed by his son in law, then his son (my grandfather). A year later, my grandfathers daughter came (wife of the son in law) with their child and the son in laws sister (my grandmother). She must have lived with her brother, wife and child and my grandfather, with his father.

Three years later, the couple with their baby moved back to italy (I am not sure about my greatgrandfather, but I am betting he went too). That was when my grandparents married. Both were too young..both lied about their ages. (I have their marriage record). I would bet dollars to donuts, that this marriage was arranged. I cant imagine that these two just happened to fall in love. She was sent here to eventually marry him...I believe.

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Re: Question for board

Postby Conti832 » 28 Feb 2009, 16:45

My Grandparents came from the same town and were the same age but he came here 3 years before Her with a family member of a person She listed on the manifest as Her cousin.I have been told by somwone in that town that Conti's may be related to Her cousin's family as well because they are very close to this day over there.

My Grandparents were married within 12 days after She came here which had me thinking arranged marriage.

Sad thing is the family that She listed as Her Cousin is still very much here in my town but knows nothing at all.

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Re: Question for board

Postby uantiti » 28 Feb 2009, 17:09

Eleven wrote:
I also notice that a lot of the men, dont even come from the town in which they are marrying..but the bride does. You get the feeling that they were "importing" men, for these girls.



In Italy when the bride and the groom are not from the same town, the marriage is celebrated in the bride's town. This was and is (very often) the rule.

On what concerns having the same surname it depended on the fact that the name was very common and they could have been distant relatives or in several cases first cousins, this wasn't unusual.

Marriages were usually arranged, forget the romanticism. If a man liked a girl, he would go to his family and ask to marry her. If her parents would ask her opinion that depended on what kind of people they were. In any case when people were getting married they needed their parents consent (for women under 21 and for men under 25). In case parents weren't in accordance, the father consent was enough. This is to say that women's opinion ........
I realize that for people who are not used to what was our history, rules and traditions, not just in the South but also in the North of Italy,
many things might sound and look very strange but genealogy also involves history.

Ada

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Re: Question for board

Postby PeterTimber » 28 Feb 2009, 19:28

When I was a student I spent the summer months in Italy living with relatives and went thru the entire meeting courting and marrying ritual that was to die out shortly after my witnessing such a fascinating sociological sequence of events..
The girls walk the passegiata on weekends or shopping with mothers and sisters. She walks with her eyes slightly looking above the heads of the crowd so as not to lock eyes with anyone lest they think she is "loose'. He likes walks with his friends, asks about her and his interest gets back to the family who then asks him to parade in front of the house on Sunday so the whole family can look him over which he does with a friend. She cannot let more than 3 guys down or she runs the risk of guys not asking for her hand since she may have a reputation of rejecting guys and no one want s to suffer the anguish of being termed a Reject when asking for someone hand in marriage.

He walks by and he looks OK but he is the first and if he has some physical or financial impediment she waits for a second perhaps better guy to come by. He does come and we all go thru the process. She likes him and the fathers meet to discuss dowry and what he brings to the marriage. Once the parents are satisfied with the financials he gets to come to the house for "visits" with everyone present after dinner.

The families then meet for the first time formally and he brings 18 carat gold necklace and bracelet and hankies and stuff for the bride. we all party and then the couple are allowed to stroll together with the sisters or brothers behind at a distance so they can exchange pleasantries and he canbuy her ice cream and flirt with each other. We all come home and he hangs out with the bride at the door front while the family "retires" for the night leaving the couple alone. More and more the chaperone duties devolve to the girls in the family and the brothers are relieved of this arduous duty. Finally the day come when the dowry becomes a public display and all relatives and friends come to vieew the brides dowry...sheets, blankers, custiom made shirts and suits for the husband which the family has been sewing furiously, hand made towels and pillow cases cutlery, utensils, anbd whatever was agreed to. His engagement ring goes onher finger and the wedding reception is held and we all eat and drink for the wedding and then privately for a few more days with selected relatives onboth sides so they can meet and become family.....

This pracitce died out very rapidlyinthe late 50's and became a part of history soon as the 60's rolled around. Just thought you who never experienced this would know what it was like first hand. =Peter=
~Peter~

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Re: Question for board

Postby Essgee » 28 Feb 2009, 20:21

Wonderful story Peter.....


A couple of things on the general thread...
Cousin marriages were common...but first cousins needed papel dispensation in order to marry. Should be with the records of marriage.

Also, there is a difference in "close" cousin marriage...marriages only from the patrilineal line...and marriages out of the matrilineal line. Constant patrilineal cousin marriage reinforces "tribal and clan" lines and this is what we see in Pakistani marriages today. They also tend to carry the recessive genes that eventually become dominate as they are constantly re-inforced resulting in some medical maladies indicative with close marriage.

The matrilineal cousin marriage usually infused new blood, even if the lines overlapped generations prior, reducing the medical problems we associate with "cousin" marriages. So where you see a lot of people with the same names getting married, you will find that the actual direct overlap of those lines might have occurred some generations prior.
Of course, there are exceptions.

At that period of history, most women were part of arranged marriages...Italy was not the exception. Throughout history, women were considered property in many places. Even in the US there were arranged marriage. Our notion of love and romance would be laughed at by many of prior centuries....people married to preserve the culture, procreate, and provide social security to the parents. Besides, it took a lot of kids to farm. Unless you were independently wealthy, you needed to be married in order to survive. And if you were independently wealthy, you were married for political and economic considerations...just the way it was.

Very few of the records I have searched have very young women in them. Most were of age, though there were exceptions. If you look throught the world in that same period, many women were a lot younger. In the French Canadian records, it isn't strange to see females at 13 or 14 married to some older man. But longevity in such harsh environs could leave a life expectancy in the 50's or 60's for long lives and much less for others. Hard to take what we think now and apply it to people 150 years ago.

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Re: Question for board

Postby Eleven » 01 Mar 2009, 04:42

Thanks for that cousin info. I also wondered about the childen of first cousin marriages.

Of course, when you are typing records, that arent your family, you have no idea if these same named people are related. When I began with the trento baptisms, the first few towns that I came upon, only had a handful of surnames. This made my job much easier, because once you got a good clear copy and learned the name, you didnt have to worry about mistakes, anymore.

On the marriages, most are in their 20s, next would be the 18-19 year olds. I just found that one 15 year old and a few 16 year olds.

I am glad I was born when I was, and where I was, because I sure wouldnt want to marry someone selected for me. Lord knows, we have enough trouble, in this country, sticking with the person we selected..lol

I found working on my family history very interesting and believe it or not, I find these people, whose records that I am indexing, just as interesting. I have been working on those trento baptisms since august, daily. I feel like I am related to these people, I see their names so much.

I just recently started to index for ancestry, too. I know that most volunteers at both places, wont select Italian records, just the way I wouldnt choose german or french. I feel very strongly about getting our Italian records out there...even tho, they are nowhere near my towns. My hopes are..that someday, all of our towns are accessable, online. So..I am helping.....on record at a time..lol


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