translating and help with possible orphanage birth record

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translating and help with possible orphanage birth record

Postby jfedina » 08 Jun 2013, 23:26

Hello,

I am wondering if someone could help me with my grandfathers birth record. It was registered after the normal birth records and seems to be of children born or given to orphanages...I think. The way the record looks is that the people that informed the town was the Congrega di Carita or Congregation of Charity. The way the prior records and records after his almost makes it seem as though the surnames were "made up" cause they follow almost the same names just a few letters changed and are sequential in dates as well. COuld he be the first Fedino ever in the world? Has anyone run across this before or have any knowledge of this?
Any help in this and also translating the record would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Jim Fedina

here is the record. look at the ones before and after as well and you will see what I mean about the surnames
https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-31951-11888-39?cc=2043630&wc=M9QR-RHC:356400685
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Re: translating and help with possible orphanage birth recor

Postby erudita74 » 09 Jun 2013, 14:34

jfedina wrote:Hello,

I am wondering if someone could help me with my grandfathers birth record. It was registered after the normal birth records and seems to be of children born or given to orphanages...I think. The way the record looks is that the people that informed the town was the Congrega di Carita or Congregation of Charity. The way the prior records and records after his almost makes it seem as though the surnames were "made up" cause they follow almost the same names just a few letters changed and are sequential in dates as well. COuld he be the first Fedino ever in the world? Has anyone run across this before or have any knowledge of this?
Any help in this and also translating the record would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Jim Fedina

here is the record. look at the ones before and after as well and you will see what I mean about the surnames
https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-31951-11888-39?cc=2043630&wc=M9QR-RHC:356400685



Abandonment of infants, and even older children, was very common in Italy throughout the centuries, which was why foundling homes and other facilities were eventually established which would receive these children. Prior to their establishment, abandonment took place along a road or in a field, leaving the infant to die from inclement weather or from being attacked by wild animals. Once established, these institutions protected the identity of the natural parents-to encourage them to abandon the child at an facility rather than in the streets or fields. The number of such abandoned children was very high, particularly in southern Italy, where you had a large peasant class. With the lack of birth control methods, and it being easy for males to impregnate innocent girls out in the fields where they worked side by side, there were many unwanted pregnancies. Some priests and wealthy landlords who owned the large estates where many peasants worked were responsible for these pregnancies. Also families were huge-I have seen in the records families which have had as many as 16 children, and they were poor peasants who really couldn't afford to feed and clothe that many children. Older children, if abandoned, might be taken in by another family, as they would make good farmhands, but an infant was just another mouth to feed and therefore really unwanted, if abandoned.

Anyway, as to the record itself-
Dated March 21st 1885 at 11:05 A.M. in the Town Hall. The town official of the civil state of Caserta received a statement from the superior of the Congrega di Carita concerning the birth of a young boy who was abandoned at the facility for abandoned children. This infant was not physically presented at the town hall, as was the normal procedure. Instead the superior sent a statement to the town stating that, at 1 P.M. on the 20th of the current month, a male infant had been received at this facility. There were no countersigns (which I explain below). The town official gave the infant his first and last names-Antonio Fedino. The record was recorded in the volume of the allegati as record #27.

Yes, the town official was arbitrarily assigning made-up names to these abandoned infants, which is why you may find a variation in the spelling of the surnames as you go record by record.

As to there being no countersigns-sometimes when a child was abandoned, there would be something left with the child so that if the natural parent changed its mind, he/she could come back and reclaim the child at a later date. This could be a picture of a saint, a colored ribbon, a medal, a colored blanket, etc. Some of these types of records describe all articles left with the child and also state whether or not there were any special marks-like beauty marks or moles-on the child's body-something to help with later identifying the child. During that time period, there was no DNA analysis to to help determine paternity or maternity. Then all of this info would be recorded by the town official and become part of the official town record. If the parent then wanted to reclaim the child-only a very small percentage actually did-then he/she would normally go to a town notary and bring witnesses who knew him/her who could attest to his/her identity. The parent would then have to describe all items that he/she had left with the child to prove it was his/her child. There is nothing in this record, however, about any of those types of items. Also many of these facilities had a mechanism called a wheel which allowed the infant to be placed on it, without anyone seeing who was leaving the child. The parent or person abandoning the child would place the infant on the wheel type mechanism, ring a bell, and leave. Then an individual inside the facility-such as a nun-would turn the wheel and bring the infant safely inside.

I hope this helps you in understanding the record. Yes, your grandfather should be the only one up until then with the surname he was given. There were, however, some towns where certain surnames were consistently given to abandoned infants-surnames like Trovati or Trovatelli, or Esposito which meant found or exposed. The problem was that these types of surnames proved to be stigmas for the child. So many towns instead just used different made-up surnames for each abandoned infant.

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Re: translating and help with possible orphanage birth recor

Postby Italysearcher » 09 Jun 2013, 16:33

Even a made-up name was a stigma since the child was the only one in town with that surname and every document recorded him as being of 'unknown parents'.
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Re: translating and help with possible orphanage birth recor

Postby jfedina » 09 Jun 2013, 18:00

Thank you Erudita for the translation and the very informative explanation of what happened to abandoned children back then. It solves a mystery and tells us more about our grandfather. Unfortunately it seems as if that is it for my reserach into going further back for his parents but saves the trouble of more searching that line, which didn't exist before him.

Also thank you Ann for your reply to my post. More confirmation is best.

Jim Fedina
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