Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

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ms_mary58
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Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

Postby ms_mary58 » 11 Aug 2016, 03:50

On my grandfather's birth record it states, "de una donna che non consente di essere nominata." He and 5 siblings were all given different names at birth. Ultimately, many years later, my ggm acknowledged all 6 of them as her own and gave them her name. My question is, where did his birth name come from? And, is it likely that these children were all raised in some sort of foster system or orphanage, or could they have been raised by their mother?

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Re: Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

Postby PippoM » 11 Aug 2016, 09:03

The name was usually "invented" by the civil state officer; sometimes they followed some rules, sometimes they didn't. Or, in some places and some time, all the children were given the same names (for instance, "Esposito" or "Proietti"), but this is not you case. In birth records, it is possible to find who the child was given to for raising. Have you checked yours?
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Re: Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

Postby ms_mary58 » 11 Aug 2016, 15:15

PippoM,

I do not speak Italian, and have been trying to use a translating program to assist me. If it is there, that information is not immediately apparent to me. There is a note that was added when his mother acknowledged him, but much of that is not legible for me. I have attached his birth record.

The reason I asked whether they could have been raised by their mother is because most came to the US and lived close together, maintaining lifelong relationships. It seems they considered themselves a family. Interestingly, they all also used the same story about their parents (mother, filomena cassale, father, pasquale palmieri) which I now know is not factual, so they must have been in agreement to use that story.

Thank you for responding and for any assistance you can provide.

Mary
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Re: Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

Postby VotM » 11 Aug 2016, 17:23

PippoM wrote:In birth records, it is possible to find who the child was given to for raising.

This is not always the case. it will vary from town to town, and sometimes from year to year. For example, in Cefalu the "nutrice" is listed in the 1863 and 1864 death records but not in the births; in Termini Imerese the "nutrice" is listed in birth records for several years.
LDS Gioiosa Marea "road map" post at
http://italiangenealogy.com/forum/itali ... logy/33808

LDS Cefalù, Termini Imerese and Villaurea "road map" post at
http://www.italiangenealogy.com/forum/i ... 50#p239255

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Re: Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

Postby PippoM » 12 Aug 2016, 08:29

The note states that Francesco was recognized as a child by Filomena Palmieri, daughter of deceased Raffaele, unmarried, in 1907.
In the last lines of the record, it is written that the declarant midwife asked to be left the baby, with the commitment to raise him. Now, she was 62, and what I can imagine, is that she gave him back to his natural mother for raising, though not officially.
Do you have Francesco's siblings' birth records? Do they say the same?
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Re: Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

Postby Italysearcher » 12 Aug 2016, 18:29

Italian women do not change ther surname on marriage.
Since all the children ended up with the surname Palmieri it is logical to assume (in America at least) that the father's surname was Palmieri and Filomena was his wife. Cassale may be the surname of Filomena's mother, a Grandmother they may have known . Pasquale may well have been the name of the man they knew as their father. Filomena may have been married in the church but neot in the town (civil records) hence the wording on the children's birth records. Their father may have died before they were recognized by the mother. A search of the parish records may be helpful.
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Re: Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

Postby ms_mary58 » 13 Aug 2016, 01:31

PippoM, thank you! I do have 5 of the 6 birth records, and they all say the same.

Italysearcher, I appreciate your response, and it is interesting to know that it was possible to have been married in the church and not civilly, although I do not believe that this is true in this case. I do know that Filomena's birth name was Palmieri, and her mother's surname was Giamatteo. It is said that the father of the children was married to someone else and it is possible that his name was Cassale or Cassella. I also heard that he eventually actually used filomena's surname, unofficially, as his own. I believe that my mother knew the story, but she did not share it before she died, so I am trying to piece it together as best I can!

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Re: Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

Postby jennabet » 14 Aug 2016, 15:04

I must say this sounds like the story line in the Italian film called, "Marriage Italian Style", with Sophia Loren and Marcelo Mastroianni.

While she is working as a prostitute she gives birth anonymously to three sons who are given to be raised by different families out in the countryside. She visits them on her days off or when the families contact her because one of the children is sick.

Many years go by and when she is no longer working, she decides to bring her three sons, now grown young men, together to introduce them to one another and tell them that they are a family and that their father is Marcello Mastroianni.

Mastroianni is an unmarried Mamma's boy who started out as Loren's client but continued to have an on again, off again affair with her for many years, although he was never informed when any of these children were born and never knew they existed.

So, given her previous line of work, when she told him that he was the father of her three sons and she wanted them to be a family, of course he didn't believe her and she had a lot of convincing to do. In the end he did marry her and gave his name to the three boys but the viewer was definitely left wondering as would anyone who was aware of these fairly common situations that existed in Italy during that time, especially because there was no DNA to prove anything.

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Re: Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

Postby adellagreca » 14 Aug 2016, 20:06

ms_mary58, hi!
Just wondering whether you have seen the certificate where Filomena recognized all six children as her own. The certificate is the first in part B of the Alife birth certificates for 1907 and indicates that she was never married and that she was "possidente" (having possessions) implying that she was well to do financially. Since all children carry different last names, I am just wondering whether she invented the name or she purposely gave them the father's last name. A search of the last names in the town may clarify this point.
Neil

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Re: Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

Postby Italysearcher » 15 Aug 2016, 10:10

When a woman gives birth who is not married she does not give a name to the child unless she presents the child for registration. In these cases the name may be provided by the midwife or person presenting the child, but the surname is always invented by the town clerk or chosen from a list of suitable (meaning not currently used in the town) surnames. When she recognized these children as hers the children assume her surname unless the father has since married her and also recognises them. If they had married at some point, the children wuld have been named and recognised on the marriage certificate and given the father's surname (which didn't happen in this case).
Neil, you might find some blog posts of mine interesting!
Ann Tatangelo
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ANNOYING THE SAINTS - Stories of my Life in Italy. http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-b ... ly/7731505

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Re: Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

Postby ms_mary58 » 15 Aug 2016, 15:45

Jennabet, it does sound similar! I will have to check it out.

Adellagreca, I do have that document. I noted that she was a property owner, which actually led me to wonder where that came from. From my research so far, I only found one other sibling, who went to Southington Connecticut (also where some of filomena's children went, at least initially), so I suppose the property could have been inherited. All of Filomena's children came to America except one, I believe, and on the ship manifests several indicate that their mother paid their fare, so she must have had some means of providing this. I do not know what happened to Filomena after they left, but I am going to continue searching records. As I said, my mother and all her full siblings have died, so that limits the information available. She does have some half-siblings left (who are also related; after my grandfather died, my grandmother married his nephew), so I am hoping to get more info from them if they have it.

I believe that you are correct, Italysearcher, the names are most likely invented. The same midwife presented several of the children, so most likely she did hand them over to the mother. All very interesting and this really has increased my desire to visit this area someday.

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Re: Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

Postby jennabet » 15 Aug 2016, 19:19

ms_mary58 wrote:Jennabet, it does sound similar! I will have to check it out.



ms_mary58, you said that your mother knew the truth but never revealed it and that she is now deceased. The only scenario that would never come out -- even on someone's death bed -- is the scenario I related above due to it's scandalous nature. There are even cases in Italy where women have been involved in affairs with Catholic clergy but in many cases, this eventually is revealed. In fact, I have a neighbor who upon reaching the age of 85 has let everyone know she is the daughter of a priest, a fact that was kept secret for many years. And it's still a running joke in provincial areas of Italy that, "half the children in this village were fathered by the priests". But I don't think that's the case in your story because it's unlikely that a known member of the clergy would use Filomena's sur name informally.

Also, it would benefit you to understand the Italian culture back in those days. Women married men 15 or even 20 years older than themselves. The husband's died and left widows who were then cared for by their sons. The sons were mamma's boys and they didn't go on dates with girls because if they did, the girls father would come after him and insist that he marry his daughter. So the unmarried mamma's boys went to prostitutes instead and there was at least one in every town and believe it or not they were respected because they did a valuable service. And yes, they did have possessions and were usually well compensated and somebody always fell in love with them and you have these kids born that nobody really knows who they belong to.

In the film, "The Rose Tattoo", Anna Magnani tells her American neighbors in Florida that her daughter is not allowed to date because, "We are Sicilian and we don't let the girls go with the boys". And if you remember in the film, "The Godfather", Al Pacino had to ask the father of the girl he was attracted to in Corleone for her hand in marriage before he was even allowed to know her name".

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Re: Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

Postby ms_mary58 » 16 Aug 2016, 14:22

Thank you for the information!

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Re: Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

Postby elmosgirl » 17 Aug 2016, 03:14

Hello Ms. Mary,
We have an illegitimate birth in our tree, late 1800s in Italy, where a lot of digging in records finally linked the child to the bloodline mother/ancestor. The illegitimate child was given a strange 'name' that wasn't one in the family (and as we later learned was not the name of our eventually 'discovered' birth-father). Interestingly, the illegitimate child grew up in and among the family members and the 'name' given exists today in descendants!
So, it was a contrived name/word that essentially referred to nothing at all that gained legitimacy through generations! Can you imagine the years and searches it took to unscramble that puzzle?! So, stay with it and if the records are there to find, you'll eventually uncover them!
Can't make these stories up!

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Re: Naming illegitimate children late 1800's

Postby ms_mary58 » 17 Aug 2016, 15:15

Elmosgirl,
As I page through civil records, I am finding quite a few children with unknown parents, so it apparently was more common than one would have thought! Glad you finally solved your mystery. With the assistance of those experienced researchers on this site, I too have learned quite a bit, and that knowledge has raised even more questions! I am looking forward to searching LDS records at my Family History Center beginnng tomorrow, in the hope that I will find the answers to more of the questions that have come to light.

Mary
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