Infant given up for adoption in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilly in 1837

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BenedettoWhat
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Infant given up for adoption in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilly in 1837

Postby BenedettoWhat » 17 Oct 2015, 23:10

**Name**: Benedetto Di Giorgio (Aka: Oddo, Degeorge, DiGiorgio, Degeorgio, Proietto)
**Year of Birth** 1837
**Location of Birth** Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicily, Italy

**Backstory**:
The family story is that one of my family members, a Benedetto Di Giorgio^1, was the biological child of somebody with the last name Oddo in about 1837. Benedetto lived in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicily. Now the story is that Benedetto's birth father was a lawyer (or some sort of legal job) from that general area in Sicily (very likely the Agrigento region, though there's no absolutes on that). His mother was apparently a Contessa. She did something with money. Now I don't know if it was the mother or the father that was an Oddo, but he was apparently conceived out of wedlock and thus they gave him up. I'm not too sure about the details of this, I just know that he was either given anonymously to a convent/church or possibly that a private deal was worked out or something, but those are just guesses. Benedetto was adopted by the Di Giorgio's, and married an Angela/Angelica Ragusa^1 (sometimes in databases as rausa or another variant). It's possible that his mother (either his adoptive mother or his birth mother) was either named Maria or Margaret(Or Margarita or some other variation), as his first two children, which were twin girls were named that (I'm thinking that his mother was Margaret because the wife's mother was Maria, so with twin girls they took both the mothers' names.) Both the girls died within a day of being born though).

From what I've found, I believe that Benedetto was born Benedetto Proietto^2 . I came to this conclusion because I can find no record of a Benedetto DiGiorgio having been born around the time of his birth. However, I did find a Benedetto Proietto, who was either born and christened on March 21, 1837^3 ^4 or born April 10, 1837 and christened April 11, 1837^5 ^6 . It's likely he passed through a foundling wheel, or ruota^7 .

I have recently come to the conclusion, with about 80% certainty, that I have figured out who his adoptive parents were.
Francesco Di Giorgio and Margarita Puleo. They were both in Sciacca at the time, and they lost a child^8 in August 28, 1837. The child would have been 2 years old, and it's possible that the mother was still nursing when the child died.

Somebody on a message board once posted: "Margherta Di Giorgio was his listed as his "nutrice" or wet nurse. I had a genealogist research this in Agrigento and he said it was common for unwed mothers to raise the baby not recorded as the mother in records. I don't know." I have not been able to find these records he's refering to, nor have I been able to get in touch with the person who posted it.

I believe that Margarita adopted the child she had been the wet nurse for. Although I usually require absolute verification from vital records, I think this is likely accurate, and thus added them to the family tree.

As I said, I think Benedetto's birth mother was a Contessa. I don't know if she was nobility or not. It's possible either she was Oddo, or the biological father was Oddo (the lawyer/legal guy)^9 ^10 (I did find two potential people with the name Oddo who were in a legal type profession, and have included them. The first one, Antonino, there's more potential, as he died in 1844, though that doesn't leave much time for the story of Benedetto going to him for help all the time to make sense, as Benedetto was 1837. The second one, Domenico really doesn't make sense, as he died right after Benedetto was born but I wanted to include it anyway for thoroughness).

**Rumors**

Some stories my family members have told about him:

Benedetto used to get in trouble, he would do things others didn't do.
If he had money problems, he would go to the mother, she was supposedly a contessa, and was in charge of something to do with financial matters.
If he had legal problems, he would go to the father, who was supposedly a lawyer
Benedetto was also supposedly a lawyer or a moneylender in Sciacca.
He supposedly had the nickname Sciallo.


**Goals**:
Main Goal: Determine who the biological parents of Benedetto are, so that further research may be done on their ancestry.





Footnotes:
1. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XKS1-F12
2. From what I have found, in Italy, I believe the name Proietto was given to those given up for adoption. The word Proietti is defined on FamilySearch.org as foundling

3. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XVY2-G4H
4. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XKCL-RFH
5. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XVY2-GF7
6. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XKCL-RP8
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_hatch
8. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XRLQ-LBG
9. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XR1Q-3QW
10. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XRLQ-7B3




Bendetto's likely adoptive parents:
Margarita Puleo
Francesco Di Giorgio

Angelica's parents:
Damiano Ragusa
Maria Barbierra


__________
Benedetto Di Giorgio's & Angelica Ragusa's children

(In approximate order)
Margarita (twin) 1861
Maria (twin) 1861
Francesco 1862
Damiano 1865
Vincenzo 1876
Rosa 1880
Leonardo 1881
Antonino 1883
Alida (DOB Unknown)
Angela (DOB Unknown)

They were likely all born in Sciacca, though it's possible some of them were born elsewhere. I believe one of them, Leonardo, was born in Castellammare Del Golfo

Note1: Benedetto often doesn't have his last name listed on things, such as his marriage record^1 .
Note2: Benedetto's story about his parents is sort of similar to Antonino DiGiorgio: (it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonino_Di_Giorgio), one of Mussolini's deputies. I did some searching and as far as I can tell, there's no connection beyond the name.


TL;DR If anybody has any information in regards to a lawyer (or legal type), or a young Contessa who would have been in Sciacca or more broadly in Agrigento or Sicily, either of which possibly with the name Oddo, I would really appreciate it. I'm looking to find the biological parents of Benedetto (Oddo) Di Giorgio.

Thanks!

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Re: Infant given up for adoption in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilly in 1837

Postby Joannsalvo » 18 Oct 2015, 14:57


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Re: Infant given up for adoption in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilly in 1837

Postby BenedettoWhat » 18 Oct 2015, 21:27

Joannsalvo wrote:Have you checked the films:
https://familysearch.org/search/catalog ... %20Library

I've looked through all the indexed stuff, and some of the non indexed stuff. Unfortunately, that archive is only 1861 and beyond.

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Re: Infant given up for adoption in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilly in 1837

Postby carubia » 19 Oct 2015, 07:39

As you have learned, a proietto was a (male) foundling, that is, a child abandoned at birth, of unknown parentage. Literally the word means projectile. The feminine form is proietta and the plural is proietti. Such a child may have no surname at birth, or his birth record may say, "proietto," which then is some cases became a surname. Esposito was also a common surname for proietti (in particular in Sciacca, but not in some other nearby towns such as Ribera). Later on in Agrigento province it became standard practice for the child to be given both a given name and a surname at birth, often the surname being a strange name not otherwise found in the town.

Since he had no surname at birth, his marriage record, which used his birth cert as a source, also had no surname for him. This was common for proietti. At some point he started using the surname Di Giorgi(o), but even if he was using it before his marriage, it still might not have been added to his marriage record since it wasn't in his birth record.

The possible name of his mother and also his daughter was Margarita in the older Sicilian spelling, which later became the standard Italian form Margherita.

It sounds a bit odd that a contessa would be having a child out-of-wedlock with an unmarried lawyer (who himself would have had high standing). Maybe her surname was Contessa or she was from Contessa Entellina. :mrgreen:

You quote something from another member about a wet nurse. That sort of information would generally only appear on a birth record or a death record (if the person died as a child). Maybe you could order the microfilm from FS for Sicacca for the mid 1830's and look at those 2 birth records for proietti Benedetto yourself. You may find more info in them than what FS has indexed.

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Re: Infant given up for adoption in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilly in 1837

Postby BenedettoWhat » 19 Oct 2015, 09:42

carubia wrote:As you have learned, a proietto was a (male) foundling, that is, a child abandoned at birth, of unknown parentage. Literally the word means projectile. The feminine form is proietta and the plural is proietti. Such a child may have no surname at birth, or his birth record may say, "proietto," which then is some cases became a surname. Esposito was also a common surname for proietti (in particular in Sciacca, but not in some other nearby towns such as Ribera). Later on in Agrigento province it became standard practice for the child to be given both a given name and a surname at birth, often the surname being a strange name not otherwise found in the town.

Since he had no surname at birth, his marriage record, which used his birth cert as a source, also had no surname for him. This was common for proietti. At some point he started using the surname Di Giorgi(o), but even if he was using it before his marriage, it still might not have been added to his marriage record since it wasn't in his birth record.

The possible name of his mother and also his daughter was Margarita in the older Sicilian spelling, which later became the standard Italian form Margherita.

It sounds a bit odd that a contessa would be having a child out-of-wedlock with an unmarried lawyer (who himself would have had high standing). Maybe her surname was Contessa or she was from Contessa Entellina. :mrgreen:

You quote something from another member about a wet nurse. That sort of information would generally only appear on a birth record or a death record (if the person died as a child). Maybe you could order the microfilm from FS for Sicacca for the mid 1830's and look at those 2 birth records for proietti Benedetto yourself. You may find more info in them than what FS has indexed.


You know, I definitely considered that she might be from Contessa Entellina :D . I am inclined to believe that she was some sort of influential person, based on the stories from multiple family members from different lines all having said she was some form of nobility.

I'm planning on ordering a few films that cover the period he was born, and eventually I plan on either hiring a professional, or going out there myself. I had started my research years ago, and had relied on the indexed info as sacrosanct, but I've come to the realization that it can be both inaccurate and incomplete, and some of the information on it that's not indexed can be more valuable than what is.

As for them both being unmarried, a scenario that I have considered is that one or maybe both of them was married, and this was an affair. I've actually done searches for Oddo's who gave birth but the child didn't make it, to see if it was possible that she gave up the child and told everybody it died.



One thing I've never been able to find was what church he would have been abandoned at. Is there a repository of known founding wheels in Sicily?

Thanks again for your help!

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Re: Infant given up for adoption in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilly in 1837

Postby carubia » 19 Oct 2015, 12:05

As I mentioned, Contessa (also spelled Contissa) was a surname found in Agrigento, too. (Conte, or Conti, which means "Count," was much more common as a surname.) I've seen a number of barons and even a marquis in that area, though no counts or countesses yet, but then she wasn't necessarily from Agrigento.

The Antonino Oddo that you mentioned as a possibility was single, according to his death record, at least according to familysearch indexers. Domenico Oddo's wife had died a few years earlier.

I doubt there was more than 1 wheel per town. Sciacca would've had one. It's unlikely that you'd find anything at a church other than his baptismal record. Maybe you could see his godparents names from that.

The indexes online are indeed filled with errors and omissions, but still the indexers do manage to get most of the info correct. I've looked through numerous birth records of proietti in the nearby towns of Ribera and Santa Margherita and I haven't found any parents from them. Usually the only person who is mentioned is the women who handles the wheel or otherwise found the child. I find death records for proietti to be much more informative, but that wouldn't be relevant here. I suppose it's worth looking at his marriage record, too - there's an off chance you could see an adoptive parent's name in there.

Have you found his actual death record? Sometimes on death records for adults with unknown parents, parents' names appear, but it can be difficult to tell whether they reflect true information or are just mistakes.

I know of a few genealogists who operate in that area, but at this point it's not even clear what exactly you'd be looking for. The records that you do know of can be found on microfilm, so it's easier to search by yourself.

I've tried, unsuccessfully so far, searching online for a list of counts or countesses in Agrigento. I can ask someone more knowledgeable if he knows of such a source.

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Re: Infant given up for adoption in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilly in 1837

Postby Joannsalvo » 20 Oct 2015, 00:45

The films you would need to order are for earlier years.

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Re: Infant given up for adoption in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilly in 1837

Postby BenedettoWhat » 05 Nov 2015, 00:16

carubia wrote:Have you found his actual death record? Sometimes on death records for adults with unknown parents, parents' names appear, but it can be difficult to tell whether they reflect true information or are just mistakes.

I know of a few genealogists who operate in that area, but at this point it's not even clear what exactly you'd be looking for. The records that you do know of can be found on microfilm, so it's easier to search by yourself.

I've tried, unsuccessfully so far, searching online for a list of counts or countesses in Agrigento. I can ask someone more knowledgeable if he knows of such a source.

My apologies for taking so long to reply, I've been away.

I have unfortunately not found his death records yet. I'm looking for it now though. Also, I've ordered the microfilms for the year he was born, as well as the year he was married. I'm hoping to get some good information from that.

As for the nobility thing, I guess a list of the who's who in Sicily at the time would probably be what I'm eventually looking for.

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Re: Infant given up for adoption in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilly in 1837

Postby BenedettoWhat » 12 Nov 2015, 16:24

A quick update, I managed to find a copy of the birth and marriage record of his son, the only problem is that it's in Latin and handwritten. Would anybody know where I'd be able to get these translated?

The first record: http://i.imgur.com/IVpNvga.jpg. I believe the relevant record is the second box from the top on the right page. I believe it's a birth record.

In addition, I also have a second document, this time a marriage record. I think it's the left page, here: http://i.imgur.com/jgCK4zF.jpg.


Thanks!

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Re: Infant given up for adoption in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilly in 1837

Postby adelfio » 12 Nov 2015, 17:12

There is more info on the civil marriage record of Damiano Di Giorgio and Rosa Cucchiara
INDEX#135
1890 Nov 1st civil marriage married in the church the 2nd in the town of Sciacca church of St Michael appeared Damiano Di Giorgio age 25 farmer born in Sciacca son of Bendetto Di Giorgio and Angelica Ragusa married Rosa Cucchiara age 20 born in Sciacca daughter of Leonardo Ragusa and Accurzio La Bella

PG LINK
https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1 ... cc=2043548

Marty
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Re: Infant given up for adoption in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilly in 1837

Postby adelfio » 12 Nov 2015, 17:18

Baptism of Damiano Di Giorgio
1865 June 22 baptism of Damiano Francesco Di Giorgio son of Bendetto Di Giorgio and Angelica Ragusa godfather Vincenzo Taormina


Civil birth record of Damiano Di Giorgio
Index#323
1865 June 21 in the town of Sciacca birth of Damiano Di Giorgio son of Bendetto Di Giorgio age 28 farmer and Angelica Ragusa age 26

PG LINK TO RECORD
https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1 ... cc=2043548

Marty
Researching Trabia, Palermo surnames Adelfio, Bondi, Butera, Scardino,Rinella, Scardamaglia

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Re: Infant given up for adoption in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilly in 1837

Postby BenedettoWhat » 16 Nov 2015, 17:05

adelfio wrote:There is more info on the civil marriage record of Damiano Di Giorgio and Rosa Cucchiara
INDEX#135
1890 Nov 1st civil marriage married in the church the 2nd in the town of Sciacca church of St Michael appeared Damiano Di Giorgio age 25 farmer born in Sciacca son of Bendetto Di Giorgio and Angelica Ragusa married Rosa Cucchiara age 20 born in Sciacca daughter of Leonardo Ragusa and Accurzio La Bella

PG LINK
https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1 ... cc=2043548

Marty

Wow, that's great! I really wish that database went back to 1837. Would make things so much easier to find information on his father, heck even 1860, so I could get more in depth information on his marriage.

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Re: Infant given up for adoption in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilly in 1837

Postby adelfio » 16 Nov 2015, 17:40

Did you ever search for Benedetto and Angela marriage record from the FHL film rentals of Sciacca 1820-1929?

PG LINK SCROLL DOWN TO BOTTOM OF PAGE
https://familysearch.org/search/catalog ... %20Library

Marty
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Re: Infant given up for adoption in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilly in 1837

Postby BenedettoWhat » 16 Nov 2015, 17:55

adelfio wrote:Did you ever search for Benedetto and Angela marriage record from the FHL film rentals of Sciacca 1820-1929?

PG LINK SCROLL DOWN TO BOTTOM OF PAGE
https://familysearch.org/search/catalog ... %20Library

Marty

I actually have, and I've ordered the microfilms. Just waiting on them to arrive.


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