Appearing was Cofano di Toro, an employee of the facility for abandoned children. He reported that at 6, this past night, a female infant was abandoned at the wheel of this facility. She was left with diapers and had no apparent signs on her body. She was between one and two days old. She was given to the nurse, Rosa Corticone, the wife of Nicola Palladino of Campobasso, and given the name, Giovanna Mercurio. The informant, and the two witnesses to this declaration and the presentation of the infant, were illiterate and signed the document with a sign of the cross. The infant was also baptized on Jan 29, 1817.
During this period of time, infants had to be breastfed, so the woman to whom an abandoned infant was assigned had to be a lactating woman who might have recently lost a child of her own. Wetnurses were paid stipends by their towns and, there were instances, where a natural mother would abandon her infant solely for the purpose of then coming forward to serve as its wetnurse and collect this stipend. But it's really impossible to say whether Rosa was actually the infant's natural mother. Possibly Rosa and her husband did ultimately adopt Giovanna though, especially if Giovanna carried his surname later in life and his name was given on records as being her father.
As to the first and last names she was given by the town official-these were normally just names invented by the official. You should look at the other records which preceded and followed this one to see if the surnames were just variations of each other, as that is often the case.
Thanks so much for the translation and info about the wet nurse stipend. Very interesting. I guess it's better knowing if I hit a dead end than not knowing. It gives me closure. There is a Strada San Mercurio in Campobasso. Maybe she was named after the street.
Rosa Coticone had lost her son Angelo Maria Palladino on 03 JAN 1817. He was 6 months old at the time. As was the custom in Campobasso, Rosa took in a proietta, in this case, your 2GGM Giovanna Mercurio. Over her lifetime, Rosa had done this two other times, once in 1815 and again in 1823, each time after she had lost a child. Both of those proietti died as children. Since Angelo Maria Palladino was born just 6 months prior to Giovanna Mercurio, Rosa Coticone was not Giovanna's mother, but only her wet nurse. However, the fact that she used the surname Palladino during her lifetime indicates that she remained with the Palladino/Coticone family and was treated like a member of the family (personally, I find this important). While not particularly unusual, this was not always the case. Sometimes proietti were turned back to the ruota di proietti after breastfeeding or remained with the family in a lesser role. Erudita is correct in saying that the surname of a proietto was normally just a name invented by the town official. During this period, the town officials of Campobasso often used the surname Esposito (from the Latin expositus, meaning "placed outside" or "exposed"). However, in this case they used an established surname, Mercurio, which is often found in some of the surrounding towns. In fact, the mother of the actor Robert Di Niro was Angelina Mercurio of Ferrazzano. Mercurio or di Mercurio was also found in Campobasso during the early-to-mid-1600s, although the surname had disappeared from Campobasso after 1671. Perhaps it was wiped out in the Plague of 1656. It's impossible to say whether the use of this surname had any significance. I doubt whether Giovanna was legally adopted by Nicola Palladino and Rosa Coticone. Adoptions were few and far between and, in most cases, were only used when inheritance was at issue. Adoption records were kept with the atti di diversi, which have been filmed by the LDS.
Mr Armellino, Thanks again for helping me with a Campobasso question. You helped me with a processetti question a few months back. To me it is amazing how you found such detailed information about Rosa Coticone so fast. I just wish my 3GGM, Giovanna's mother, wasn't such a loose woman. Because of her promiscuous behavior I will never know who she was. This is the 2nd line were this has happened in my family, one on my father's side and one on my mother's. I will check the atti di diversi like you suggested. Greg Romeo
Hi Greg, how are you doing? As to Giovanna Mercurio, keep in mind that her mother might not have been a loose woman. There were a number of reasons why children were abandoned. Illegitimacy, of course, was one. However, poverty may have been the primary reason. Many families were so poor that they couldn't even feed their children. Faced with another mouth to feed, some families would abandon the infant to the ruota di proietti. In fact, the Infant Abandonment System can into existence to prevent parents from abandoning infants in the hills to die of either starvation or predators. As to adoption, there were only 6 adoptions in Campobasso between 1821 and 1865. Adoptions were almost always for purposes of inheritance. Finally, there are the atti di ricognizione, also kept with the atti di diversi. These are the records whereby parents officially recognized children who had been abandoned. Once again, these records are not common, with only 65 such records in Campobasso between 1821 and 1865. There are two reasons why I suspect you will not find an atto di ricognizione in this case: Giovanna Mercurio was not left with a token or other sign (which would have been used to later claim the child) and no such record was included with her processetti (a pending marriage and the need for parental consent often precipitated an atto di ricognizione).
Hey John, I'm good, how bout you? Thanks again for the helpful info. You know all things Italian. While researching the "wheel" I found out that some places in Italy today are using the same idea at hospitals. There must be some legal problems with this in modern times, but it's better than abortion or abandonment. Digressing, could you check your database for the birth record of Gioacchino di Soccio, my 4GGF, born 12 Feb 1753 in Campobasso to Michele and Elisabetta Romano, married to Mariangela Mancini and/or Mariangela Vallillo? I only have his death record. A copy of it would be greatly appreciated. Greg
Greg - I sent you the requested baptismal record. I included a few more that you might find interesting. I have come across three different "wives" for Gioacchino di Soccio but I believe he was only married twice. His first wife was Maria aka Anna Maria di Nonno. They were married in 1774 (Source: Chiesa di Sant'Antonio Abate (Campobasso), Registri della Chiesa, La Chiesa di Sant'Antonio Abate, Via Sant'Antonio Abate, 86100 Campobasso (CB), Italia, Matrinoni Libro, Page 86, No. 2, 1774). To my knowledge, they had 4 children between 1775 and 1782. Gioacchino di Soccio and Mariangela Mancino were married in 1786 (Source: Chiesa di Sant'Antonio Abate (Campobasso), Registri della Chiesa, Matrinoni Libro, Page 110, No. 5, 1786). To my knowledge, they had 7 children between 1786 and 1799. Mariangela Mancino died 29 AUG 1829 (Source: Campobasso (Campobasso), Ufficio dello Stato Civile, Registri dello Stato Civile, 1809-1910 (Salt Lake City : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1983-1990), FHL INTL Film 1424490/Morti 1829/No. d'ordine 169, 30 AUG 1829). I believe that Mariangela Mancino and Mariangela Vallillo are the same person and that the surname Vallillo was used in error. It's unlikely that he would have remarried at age 66. His son Michelangelo was married to Angelantonia Vallillo and perhaps this is where the confusion arose.
John Thanks again for records and the explanations. Waiting for Campobasso 1810-1811 marriage/processetti film to arrive so I can have a definite link from my 3GGM, Maria Giuseppa di Soccio to Gioacchino. I came to the same conclusion that the surname Vallillo could have been used in error on Gioacchino's death record. I thought maybe he remarried or it was a different Gioacchino. Hearing it from you gives me the confidence that it is my Gioacchino di Soccio. Even as a newbie I have learned that death records are the least accurate, false or missing information rising in proportion with the deceased's age. Greg
Maria Giuseppa di Soccio, daughter of Gioacchino and Mariangela Mancino, was born 05 FEB 1791 in Campobasso, Campobasso, Molise, Regno di Napoli. Source: Parrocchia di S. Maria Maggiore - Cattedrale (SS.ma Trinità), Registri della Parrocchia, Battesimi Libro X/Folio 112/No. 1, 05 FEB 1791, Parrocchia di S. Maria Maggiore, La Cattedrale della Santissima Trinità, Piazza Prefettura, 86100 CAMPOBASSO (CB), Italia.
Sindaco Armellino, Is there anybody from Campobasso you don't know? You could be mayor. Thanks for giving me the proof for the Maria Giuseppa/Gioacchino link. No more questions from me unless I really get stuck. You are making it too easy for me. I bow down to the maestro. Have a happy 4th! Greg