As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
johnnyonthespot wrote:Let me add concerning Ann's comment, that many of my lines seem to reach a partial dead-end in the 1810's / 1820's with an atti di nascita which lists the father as ignoto and gives the child his/her mother's surname.
So, perhaps morals were a bit looser in that time and place, or, as Ann suggested, the marriages weren't officially recognized by the state. When did civil records become mandatory in Cosenza?
Where has Peter Timber been hiding? I would expect him to jump in with the answer to this last question.
Maybe the moral costumes has suffered from the various wars, with the French invasion and so on. 3 year of almost civil war in Campania and Calabria from 1806 to 1809. And you know what wars bring...
During the mass exodus from Italy between 1900 and 1912 the priests moved in on the women left alone in the villages after their husbands had gone to America. As a result, many families were never reunited in the New Land. This happened in my own family and I found out about it after I had obtained my Italian passport and gone back to live amongst my cousins. In addition, one of my neighbors in Italy is the daughter of a priest. She's now in her eighties and says she is no longer willing to deny who she is and talks openly about her family.