Double surnames / Doppio cognomi

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Double surnames / Doppio cognomi

Postby johnnyonthespot » 17 Oct 2010, 13:05

Question: An unmarried Italian woman (we'll call her "Smith") gives birth to one or more children out of wedlock, the birth records list the father as "Ignoto" (Unknown), and the children are given names Jane Smith and William Smith.

While the children are still minors, their mother marries John Jones (who may or may not be the children's true father). Are the children now known as Jane Smith Jones and William Smith Jones? Is this the way they would appear in future atti such as their own marriage and death records?

Is the answer dependent on whether the father legally adopts the children? Was that process (legal adoption by a step-parent) even likely in this time period?

This all relates to the 1800's in southern Italy (Cosenza, to be specific).
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Re: Double surnames / Doppio cognimi

Postby liviomoreno » 17 Oct 2010, 13:51

I believe that their surname would continue to be Smith, unless they are adopted by John Jones and in this case their surname would change in Jones.
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Re: Double surnames / Doppio cognimi

Postby johnnyonthespot » 17 Oct 2010, 14:16

Okay...

"Isabella Borrello Gallo" was my maternal great-great-grandmother according to an estratto I obtained from Stato Civile-Malvito.

I cannot find a birth record for her at the Archivio di Stato di Cosenza web site ( http://88.59.143.158/ascs_web/index.faces ) however I did find these children born to Michelena Borrello with no father's name:

Isabella Carolina Borrello 19 october 1836
Michele Borrello 3 march 1837
Maria Isabella Borrello 6 may 1839

Then, a marriage record for Luigi Gallo and Michelena Borrello 31 december 1839, followed by more children:

Giuseppa Maria Gallo 16 january 1842
Carolina Gallo 1 february 1843 (possibly dead 1 november 1844)
Filomena Gallo 15 may 1846
Carolina Gallo 28 january 1850 (possibly dead 21 august 1854)


I am trying to determine if "Isabella Borrello Gallo" is the same person as Isabella Carolina Borrello (19 october 1836) or possibly Maria Isabella Borrello (6 may 1839). The next person in the line was born in 1864, so either is a reasonable possibility.
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Re: Double surnames / Doppio cognimi

Postby liviomoreno » 17 Oct 2010, 14:39

With the info that you're showing any conclusion could be true or false with the same probability.
I assume that you already have a copy of the marriage act between Maria Isabella Borrello Gallo and Filippantonio Cipolla (26/02/1857 MALVITO)
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Re: Double surnames / Doppio cognimi

Postby johnnyonthespot » 17 Oct 2010, 14:56

liviomoreno wrote:With the info that you're showing any conclusion could be true or false with the same probability.
I assume that you already have a copy of the marriage act between Maria Isabella Borrello Gallo and Filippantonio Cipolla (26/02/1857 MALVITO)


No. Only what is on the archivio website. I have an FHL film on order (nati, matrimoni, morti 1856-1865) which should arrive this week, I hope.

The relevant official documnet I have is an estratto of the birth act of Carolina Cipolla (21 may 1858) which gives her parent's names as "Cipolla Filippo" and "Borrello Gallo Isabella".

I realize I cannot be certain of anything until I can go through the microfilms. I will be ordering 1846-1856 film this week.
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Re: Double surnames / Doppio cognomi

Postby JohnArmellino » 18 Oct 2010, 14:44

In my experience (area: Molise), a child born to an unmarried woman would officially carry his mother's surname throughout his life, with several exceptions. Sometimes, when the mother and father later married, their marriage record would contain language whereby they would recognize children born to them prior to the marriage. From that point forward the children would use their father's surname. Other times, a father might recognize his child through an atto di recognizione; these records were usually kept with the atti di diversi. Again, from that point forward the child would use his father's surname. Adoptions would also fall within this category; however, I have seen very few official adoptions and then only among the well-to-do for inheritance purposes. When available, they are usually kept with the atti di diversi. If you haven't done so already, you might want to check the Borello-Gallo marriage document carefully for additional information and the atti di diversi for an atto di recognizione. You might want to also check the atti di morte for a possible death record for Isabella Carolina prior to the birth of Maria Isabella.
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Re: Double surnames / Doppio cognomi

Postby johnnyonthespot » 18 Oct 2010, 15:19

Well, I do have to wait for more films, however at this point the only sense I can make of the sudden appearance (and later disappearance) of the "Borrello Gallo" surname is as I outlined in the first post.

I will post back after I have seen films.
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Re: Double surnames / Doppio cognomi

Postby JohnArmellino » 18 Oct 2010, 15:34

I suspect that your theory is correct. I would place my money on Maria Isabella. But then, I'm not a gambling man. LOL
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Re: Double surnames / Doppio cognomi

Postby donnawright » 18 Oct 2010, 21:43

1. My grandfather is Tommaso Tomaino.

2. When I received his birth record circa 1873 and stato di famiglia of his father, he was listed as Tommaso Tomaino Nanci, and all of his sisters and brothers were Tomaino Nanci as well.

3. In going back one more generation, his father was Paolo Tomaino Nanci. 1834

4. The LDS image of Paolo's birth record shows Paolo's mother was Mariangela Tomaino (1808), an unmarried woman and father incerto

5. The comune sent Paolo's birth extract that names Mariangela Tomaino as the mother and Nicola Nanci as the father, but no mention either way of marriage. I am looking for that marriage document (or not) now.

6. I never heard the Nanci name from my mother; seeing it in this research was new information.
Looking for Biagianti, Modesti & Vincenti in Tuscany and Tomaino, Curcio, Mazza, & Rizzo in Calabria
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Re: Double surnames / Doppio cognomi

Postby johnnyonthespot » 18 Oct 2010, 23:25

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Donna.

I have one FHL two films already on order which will go a long way towards resolving this question and will order the third film - which will settle it for sure - tomorrow.

In the meantime, I broke down today and mailed off a letter to my favorite Stato Civile officer in Malvito. He has been absolutely fantastic, never taking more than a week to send me documents, however I always worry about going back to the well one time too many. Perhaps the fact that his name is De Iacovo has something to do with it (my maternal grandfather's family name bounced between Iacovo and Di Iacovo) .

It will be interesting to see what he comes up with for birth/marriage/death atti for Filippo Cipolla and Isabella Borrello Gallo.
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Re: Double surnames / Doppio cognomi

Postby elecar » 09 Mar 2011, 14:17

I had posted a message on Italian Genealogy and you referred to me this link.
Have you found the answer to Isabella Borello Gallo? ( I have the same situation with more than 1 name and will really have to doing some research on mine)
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Re: Double surnames / Doppio cognomi

Postby johnnyonthespot » 12 Mar 2011, 15:56

I was never able to prove that Luigi Gallo was actually Isabella Carolina Borrello's father. I sought out a baptism certificate from the

However, he did marry Isabella's mother, Michelena Borrello three years after Isabella's birth and henceforth Isabella used the double surname "Borrello Gallo".
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