Help understanding profession

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Anizio
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Help understanding profession

Postby Anizio » 28 Mar 2015, 21:25

Hi, both parents of my ancestor seem to be listed as the same thing under profession.

They were from a very small frazione.

Any idea what it says and means? O
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erudita74
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Re: Help understanding profession

Postby erudita74 » 28 Mar 2015, 21:41

villico (male); villica (female)

Here's some info about the occupation:

The villici were landless, poor peasants, who lived in crude dwellings with their families, outside of the village center, in far off communi, near the fields they tended. Once a year they would present themselves in the village piazza to seek a contract for the next growing season. Sometimes they would be granted the same plot of land to farm; at other times, a different one kilometers away, or even no plot at all. In the absence of supervision, the villici did nothing to improve the land. Their drive for sustenance forced these temporary laborers to exploit the land, sow on nearby plots which had been designated to remain fallow, and to emphasize quantity over quality (Bell, pp.19-20).

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Re: Help understanding profession

Postby Anizio » 28 Mar 2015, 21:45

Interesting. 3 years earlier, for the birth of their other daughter, this is what it says:

"Colono possidente" and "colono" - essentially landowning farmers.

So thats a big difference. Would it be indicative of a change in status? Something like they lost their land? Or does it call into question that Bell explanation.
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Anizio
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Re: Help understanding profession

Postby Anizio » 28 Mar 2015, 21:52

I've checked a few Italian dictionaries and I'm getting:

- Nell'età comunale, capo di una borgata
- Contadino, oggi usato perlopiù in senso
- Abitante della campagna
- abitante di villaggio; contadino

Does anyone who speaks Italian fluently have an understanding of the word just from usage? This word is very confusing :/
TIP: When asking for records from Italy, do NOT ask for an "estratto." ALWAYS ask for a "copia integrale." A photocopy of the original Act will contain more information

erudita74
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Re: Help understanding profession

Postby erudita74 » 28 Mar 2015, 22:04

Here's some info I have on the colono or tenant farmer. I've never seen this term used in conjunction with the term possidente.

The term colono was originally used by the Romans to simply denote a farmer or cultivator of the soil. In times of the Roman era, coloni only had to surrender one-tenth of their produce, or only had to pay a small amount of money as rent to their landlords. But, even under Roman rule, tenant farmers were bound to the land until all their debt had been paid off. The problem was that it was never paid off, making for a never-ending vicious cycle for these farmers who then became serfs under feudalism.

When feudalism was abolished in Italy in 1806, the use of the term colono was used in the state civil records in its original meaning of “small farmer.” But the fate of these farmers was the same as that of their ancestors. They became tenant farmers but now had to pay half, and not one tenth, of what they produced to the wealthy landlords from whom they leased their small plots of land to farm. As a rule, the landlord would supply the tenant farmer with seed and then the farmer’s family would cultivate the land and deliver up to a certain portion of the crops as rent to the landlord. These landlords would then sell what their tenants produced at market, and make good money from the crops, which had been produced for them. What was left over, or the share that went to the tenant farmers, would have to sustain them and their families for a year.

The tenant farmer had to furnish his own farm tools and work animals and had to pay a tax on all these (in Sicilian tax records called Riveli, we can see that this is true). In addition, he might have a fixed contract for a number of years, or he could, at other times, be evicted at will. He paid cash rent for the use of the land during a growing season, but gained no legal or customary right to a particular plot of land. Most rentals were divided into a tiny square called a passi (which was 1/30th of a hectare). On one thirtieth of a hectare, the remuneration had to be so small, no matter what the rental involved. Most coloni, therefore, rented multiple passi, but these may well have included inferior and widely scattered parcels of land. All in all, the tenant farming system did nothing to encourage soil conservation, labor or mechanical efficiency, wise crop rotation, or a meaningful change in the status of the colono or his children (Bell, p. 136).

***You can't use current Italian dictionaries to determine the meaning of the occupations we find in these records.

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Re: Help understanding profession

Postby Anizio » 28 Mar 2015, 22:32

well your old book you seem to be copying and pasting from doesn't seem to be helpful, no offense.

Based on what your saying villico, colono, and possidente shouldn't be used together - but they are. I appreciate your attempt to help sincerely, but its only become more confusing
TIP: When asking for records from Italy, do NOT ask for an "estratto." ALWAYS ask for a "copia integrale." A photocopy of the original Act will contain more information

erudita74
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Re: Help understanding profession

Postby erudita74 » 29 Mar 2015, 00:21

Any books I quote from are written by professors who have done extensive research. I'm sorry if the info I have shared confuses you. I don't know what other kind of source you would find credible and helpful. All I know is that you can't look these occupations up in current Italian dictionaries and determine from those what the occupations entailed at the time your ancestors were alive.
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