Need Help with a Term--Is it a Put Down?

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Need Help with a Term--Is it a Put Down?

Post by sigatti » 22 Jun 2015, 06:51


Thanks to Antenati Italiani, I have been able to gather a lot of information about my husband's family from both Lazio and Calabria.

As I was looking up birth information for a great aunt born in Ischia di Castro in 1886, I ran across a term I thought might be derogatory: scopino. It was used to describe the father's profession.

The father--who was a stonemason--had registered the new baby girl. A few years earlier, he had registered a male child. In both cases, the mother was identified only as a "woman who is not his wife." Apparently, the couple had been married in church but had not engaged in a civil wedding. Two years later, the couple did get married to legitimize their children.

Still, I'm puzzled by this term. I checked an online dictionary and discovered that "scopino" has some unflattering meanings, ranging from street sweeper to sexual profligate.

What am I to make of this? Could my husband's great-grandfather really have been a "sweeper?" Or was the village official making a judgment about him? If he was commenting on the moral status of the baby's father, was this a common type of notation?

Thanks for any insights into this puzzling term.

Susan Gatti

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Re: Need Help with a Term--Is it a Put Down?

Post by PippoM » 22 Jun 2015, 07:52

I've never found such judgements in civil records.
I think I found the record, and I think he was a town sweeper.
As you might have seen, almost half the children born in those years were said to be "illegitimate" (children of unknown mother). In that area, the influence of the Church, just a few years after the end of political power of Popes (1870), was still strong, and led people to refuse civil marriage, in favour of religious one. At least until they realized that they had a lot of problems for their every day life, starting from inheritance.
Giuseppe "Pippo" Moccaldi

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