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Occupation - 1820s Puglia

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Occupation - 1820s Puglia

Postby TomFromNJ » 10 Nov 2008, 01:44

Hello All:

I am trying to determine what the occupation of a ggg-grandfather is...It is listed on a number of birth records from the 1820s in Gravina in Puglia. The occupation is listed as:

"Salvitraro"

Does anyone recognize this?

Thanks,
Tom
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Re: Occupation - 1820s Puglia

Postby PeterTimber » 10 Nov 2008, 05:34

While I am not entirely certain it appears that he would harvest sage plants. =Peter=
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Re: Occupation - 1820s Puglia

Postby uantiti » 10 Nov 2008, 09:44

Hi,
Are you sure the word is Salvitraro and not Salnitraro?

Ada
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Re: Occupation - 1820s Puglia

Postby PeterTimber » 10 Nov 2008, 13:27

Ada that word would read Salnitraio as "maker" of saltpeter.=Peter=
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Re: Occupation - 1820s Puglia

Postby uantiti » 10 Nov 2008, 14:15

Salnitraro or Salnitraio: different spelling but same meaning.

Ada
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Re: Occupation - 1820s Puglia

Postby TomFromNJ » 11 Nov 2008, 00:44

Hi Peter and Ada:

Thanks! I think you got it. The handwritting was hard to read - but I think Salnitraro or Salnitraio makes sense now that I re-look at the records. Furthermore, I was looking at some other records and found another relative with the same occupation!

I never heard of someone who "makes" saltpeter. I looked it up on web. Doesn't sound like a very nice job. But I guess it was a way to make a living......

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_nitrate

The following is from Wiki:

Historically, nitre-beds were prepared by mixing manure with either mortar or wood ashes, common earth and organic materials such as straw to give porosity to a compost pile typically 1.5 meters high by 2 meters wide by 5 metres long.[3] The heap was usually under a cover from the rain, kept moist with urine, turned often to accelerate the decomposition and leached with water after approximately one year. The liquid containing various nitrates was then converted with wood ashes to potassium nitrates, crystallized and refined for use in gunpowder.

In more rural times, urine was collected and used in the manufacture of gunpowder.[citation needed] Stale urine was filtered through a barrel full of straw and allowed to continue to sour for a year or more.[citation needed] After this period of time, water was used to wash the resulting chemical salts from the straw. This slurry was filtered through wood ashes and allowed to dry in the sun. Saltpeter crystals were then collected and added to brimstone and charcoal to create black powder.

Potassium nitrate could also be harvested from accumulations of bat guano in caves.
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Re: Occupation - 1820s Puglia

Postby uantiti » 11 Nov 2008, 10:44

Indeed not a nice job but now superseded by chemical industries.

Ada
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Re: Occupation - 1820s Puglia

Postby meticulousmobile » 11 Nov 2008, 23:48

Are the birth records you found of relatives? I only ask because one of my ancestors kept popping up as a witness to births and deaths of non-relatives in the same era as yours, and his occupation was hard to read, as old records can be, and it ended up being "sacerdote", which means priest. This was in the province of Potenza, so some of the language would be similar to that of Puglia.
Researching Pennella, Liuzzi, Bottini, Casella, LaPosta, Defeudis, Gaudet, Gallant and Parant.
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Re: Occupation - 1820s Puglia

Postby TomFromNJ » 13 Nov 2008, 02:07

Hi Meticulous:

Yes, the records are from relatives. But, I'm pretty sure the occupation in question is Salnitraro or Salnitraio rather than Sacerdote. I couldn't find anything similar to Salnitraro in any of the lists of occupations that I found in books or on line.

Tom
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Re: Occupation - 1820s Puglia

Postby uantiti » 13 Nov 2008, 09:32

Here is a link to an old dictionary
http://books.google.it/books?id=8BVMAAAAMAAJ&q=salnitraio&dq=salnitraio&ei=zeAbSdPkLYGCywSj1Pz_CA&pgis=1

if you can read Italian there are several books mentioning that occupation
http://books.google.it/books?ct=result&q=salnitraio&btnG=Cerca+nei+libri

and this says who is a "salnitraro" (fourth sheet) page 14, first line

http://www.armigeridelpiave.it/SELEZIONI/Salnitro.pdf

Hope this is enough...

Ciao Ada
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Re: Occupation - 1820s Puglia

Postby PeterTimber » 13 Nov 2008, 16:58

Dear Ada your my hero! =Peter=
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Re: Occupation - 1820s Puglia

Postby TomFromNJ » 14 Nov 2008, 04:27

My hero too. Who knew that you can access an Italian - English dictionary online from the 1890s. Amazing.

Thanks!
:D
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Re: Occupation - 1820s Puglia

Postby PeterTimber » 14 Nov 2008, 04:55

No not accessing Italian -English dictionary but having the capacity for refined research is the reason for calling her my hero but I decided to call her my shero since she is a woman. =Peter=
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Re: Occupation - 1820s Puglia

Postby uantiti » 14 Nov 2008, 09:42

Thanks for the compliments! I like reading and searching whenever I have time for.

Ada

P.S.. Do you know if heroes/sheroes deserve medals?
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Re: Occupation - 1820s Puglia

Postby PeterTimber » 14 Nov 2008, 14:55

My wife would not let me have them because she would have to clean them or the box they came in!! =Peter=
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