Friday, April 20, 2012

To all members of the Spadoni family in Seattle: Welcome to our family tree

Thursday, March 19
The fifth entry shows the baptism of Michele
Spadoni and gives the names of his parents, as
well as that of his paternal grandfather.
I have time for one more trip to the church archives in Pescia before we leave San Salvatore on Saturday. I decide that I will focus on the Spadoni family of Seattle, to see if I can find the link that ties our families together. I know the first Seattle Spadoni came to the United States from Ponte Buggianese in 1905, two years after my grandfather Michele arrived in the states and ultimately ended up in Gig Harbor, about an hour by car from Seattle. Oddly enough, the head of the Seattle family was also named Michele Spadoni, and both were roughly the same age, my nonno being five years older.

I have made contact with various members of the Seattle Spadonis, and we have wondered if the two Micheles knew each other, either in Italy or Washington. Donald Spadoni of Seattle says he remembers his nonno Michele taking him on a ferry to visit relatives in Gig Harbor when Donald was very young. He thinks it must have been a visit to the Gig Harbor Michele. He remembers that the house overlooked Puget Sound, which I can confirm. He also remembers a number of other older Italian Americans being there, which could have been Nonna Anitas siblings Ruggero, Seghiero and Rosina, all of whom lived in the same neighborhood, as did Nonnos nephew Adolfo.

Carlo Spadoni of Italy says all the Ponte Buggianese Spadonis are descendants of the Spadoni family of Stignano, but I hope to find the specific link today, so once again I enlist the help of super sleuth Andrea Mandroni.

Before I continue with this story line, I must relate an interesting sidebar. Just a few minutes before we finish our research today, Andrea asks me where I am living while in Italy. I mention that I am living in San Salvatore to be near the relatives of my nonna, who was a Seghieri. It turns out that Andrea’s nonna was also a Seghieri, also from Montecarlo, so we too are distant relatives. We find that our family lines split around 1450, in the same century that my Spadoni line split from Carlo Spadonis line. So I have found yet another distant relative!

Back to the Spadoni research: We find the Seattle Michele’s birth records and another odd coincidence. Michele celebrated his birthday on September 29, but his Italian birth records say he was born the day before. My nonno said his birthday was October 8, but the Italian archives show he was born October 9.

The Ponte Buggianese records are filled with the name Spadoni. While looking in the marriage files, I briefly follow the wrong track, thinking I should be looking for an Enrico Spadoni. I find four different men with this name, all from different fathers, who married in the same 20-year period in the same city. But soon we get back on the right trail and find Michele’s father Angelo, born in 1826; then Lorenzo, born in 1793; another Angelo, whose date we don’t have time to pin down, preceded by another Lorenzo born in 1723. This looks like the same Lorenzo who is in my line. In a few minutes, Andrea has found the confirmation: Lorenzo’s father was Lionardo, which means he is the same Lorenzo from my family tree. Therefore, the Michele Spadonis who grew up in neighboring cities in Italy and moved to neighboring cities in Washington around the same time had the same great great grandfather. The Micheles were third cousins.

Gig Harbor Michele's brother
Enrico stayed in Italy, but
two of his sons, Adolfo
and Alfredo, also came to
Washington, so some Gig
Harbor Spadonis are their
descendants.
I doubt they understood the specific details of their kinship or knew each other well. It is unusual for third cousins in Italy or America to know much about each other, especially when they don’t live in the same city. Now, however, the world is smaller. It is possible for the Gig Harbor family to communicate with our Seattle cousins by e-mail, Facebook and phone, and I notice that I am not the only Gig Harbor Spadoni who is Facebook friends with at least one Seattle Spadoni. Only now we can write with absolute certainty, “How ya doing, cousin?”

-----------------------------------
Second from last on this page shows
the baptism of Pietro, Michele's
brother, of the same parents.
Post script: After coming home to record this information in my computer, I find on ancestry.com that someone has a different name for the Seattle Michele Spadoni’s father and mother. Could I have found the wrong information? I go back to Andrea again and we double check, and I photograph the documents so I can validate my research. It clearly shows that Michele’s father was Angelo Spadoni, and his mother was Teopista Giovannini. They were married in the year 1862. Further verification comes when we check the birth record for Michele’s brother Pietro, who also came to the United States. His father and mother are shown as Angelo Spadoni and Teopista Giovannini as well.

14 comments:

  1. Amazing discoveries, Dad! It feels like you're on some sort of Indiana Jones adventure into the Spadoni past... now you just need to sneak into that church in Buggiano at night and take a pick axe to that resurfaced floor. Then open up the tomb of our ancestors to find the FIRST of the three biiig swords of our clan. You'll also find a message in Latin that reveals that the second sword was carried by Marco Polo to Mongolia. Where I happen to be going be next week so I can help you.

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  2. I'll enjoy working together on this crusade, Junior.

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  3. Hello, A family member stumbled upon your page. Do you have anymore info on Pietro Spadoni? The farthest my family has been able to trace back is a Pietro Paulo Spadoni, born in Ponte Buggianesee, who had a son named Paulo Antonio, born in 1860. I have no information on wives or other children. Does any of this sound familiar? The timeline sure fits.

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  4. Hi (Cousin) Diane,
    I can make two statements with relative certainty. First, your ancestor Pietro Paolo Spadoni is not the same as my great grandfather Pietro Spadoni. Second, the two Pietros were related; they shared a common ancestor.

    I know the first statement is true because I know quite bit about my Pietro. He was born in Ponte Buggianese, married Maria Marchi of nearby Pescia, and moved to Pescia. They gave birth to six children (in Pescia), three of whom died by age 7. The three who lived to adulthood were Enrico, Eugenio and Michele. The family moved to nearby San Salvatore in the 1893, and in 1903, Michele moved to America, where he and his wife Anita Seghieri had seven children, one of them being my father.

    However, if you read some of my other blogs about the Spadoni family, you will find that there are many Spadonis in the area of Ponte Buggianese and Borgo a Buggiano, and they are all descendants of Bartolomeo Spadoni, born around 1430. He moved from Marliana to Stignano and established a large family line in this hillside city. When the lowlands were drained in the 1600s, almost all the Spadonis gradually moved, family by family, to the lush lands of Ponte Buggianese, Borgo a Buggiano, San Salvatore, etc., to establish farms.

    Now, please tell me more about your family line! I will be returning to Italy next February, and I would like to trace your family back to find out exactly how we are related. Once I make the connection, I can provide you a complete tree dating back to 1430. When and where did your Spadoni ancestor come to America? What were the names of his children, and where do you fit in?

    There is also a Narciso Spadoni who moved to Chicago that I am researching and plan to find out how we are related. I am in online contact with his offspring and we are working together on this. I would like to eventually trace the family lines of all Ponte Buggianese Spadonis who came to America to show how we are connected.

    Here are some blogs that relate specifically to my Spadoni family research project:
    http://livingwithabroadintuscany.blogspot.com/2012/04/grand-success-and-even-grander-hopes.html
    http://livingwithabroadintuscany.blogspot.com/2012/04/in-which-i-find-missing-link.html
    http://livingwithabroadintuscany.blogspot.com/2012/04/ancient-family-ties-common-interest.html
    http://livingwithabroadintuscany.blogspot.com/2012/04/visit-to-stignano-of-buggiano-ancestral.html
    http://livingwithabroadintuscany.blogspot.com/2012/04/on-vacation.html

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  5. Ciao Cugino Paul!

    Wow! That is some fantastic information. I will be certain to check out your blog in greater depth and will send some cousins over as well.

    My grandfather was Guido Spadoni of Alameda, Ca. He came to America in 1903 while his brothers Italo and Bruno remained in Italy. His brother Gino spent time between the US and Italy and is buried near Italo in the rear mausoleum portion of the Ponte Buggianese cemetery.

    If you go to the old commune, there is a plaque on the outside wall recognizing Italo for his heroism in fighting the fascist. There is also I. Spadoni Street near it, which is named after him. Bruno died in a Roman jail while serving time for supplying a gun that killed a fascist leader. Gino apparently had “questionable” ties. This mostly remains unverified, though we did find a fairly famous case tried in the US where he got off of murder charges based on the fact that his rights were not read to him in Italian. In the court docs there is mention of his being accused of a murder in Italy.

    Guido’s parents were Paolo Antonio Spadoni (known as Antonio and born around 1860) and Gioconda Niccolai. I remember seeing Gioconda’s grave while I was there and taking a picture of her face that is placed on it. It is one of the two pictures I have of my great grandmother.

    Paolo’s father was the Pietro I spoke of. All I know is that he and his son were both farmers. I have no idea if there were other children or who his spouse was.

    If you can find a direct connection, that would be amazing! I was there briefly a few years ago and the lady at the commune was nice enough to do some research on Bruno and Italo. She sent me paper work (including a school report done by children that mention Bruno) on them along with my grandfather’s birth certificate. I know Italo had a wife (Catarina) and daughter (Gina,) but I believe they are both long past, which makes sense as Italo was born in 1898.

    Anything you could share would be wonderful. My business info is attached to the website I am listing. There is an email form where you can contact me directly. If you do that then I can send you a private email address.

    Grazie!

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  6. Wow, fantastic info right back at me! I have seen the plaque and Via Italo Spadoni and also his grave at the cemetery. Do you know anything more about the circumstances surrounding his death? I know the year was 1924, quite a while before WW2, so the Italian peoples' conflicts with Fascism started earlier than I realized. In retrospect, it seems Italo was farsighted to have opposed Facism when he did!

    Anyway, thanks for the info, and I will see what I can discover next winter and get back to you.

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  7. I just sent you a chunk of what I have via email. Thanks!

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  8. Diane and Paul:
    Oh. my. goodness. I am so excited right now that I'm not even sure I can put together a sentence :)

    Diane, I am the descendent of Narciso Spadoni that Paul mentioned in his earlier message to you. We have been trying to figure out how our Spadoni lines are connected. I still don't have an answer on that BUT...you and I are most certainly related!! You've just given me some missing pieces to my puzzle also!! I'm not sure where to start.

    I've been working on my tree for some time and get bits and pieces of info from my grandma and her sister. But, given their ages it's sometimes like being given pieces of a puzzle and trying to figure out how everything fits together. I have a good handle on my Chicago Spadoni's. I have a cousin on my Niccolai side of the family who was recently in Ponte Buggianese and met with my grandmother's first cousin to try to get more Niccolai info. We were trying to figure out who my great great grandfather Niccolai's siblings were. There was a language barrier but this woman was able to tell her that there was an Esther who married someone named Nannini, and a Giaconda who married a Spadoni and had children named Italo and Guido. She said one of them (and she thought it was Italo) moved to California.

    I then spoke to my grandma to run this info by her and she remembered visiting Spadoni relatives in 1939 (!) in Alameda, CA. She couldn't remember if it was Guido or Italo but remembers that he was a silversmith for Westmoreland Silver and thought he had 2 daughters and a son (that she could remember).

    Now, I also recently hired Andrea (mentioned in Paul's blog posts) to research my Niccolai line in Ponte Buggianese. I just got the results a week ago. What do you know, my great great grandfather Niccolai did indeed have siblings named Maria Esther and Maria Giaconda!!!

    So, your great grandmother Giaconda is the sibling to my great great grandfather! I would love to share my family tree with you on Ancestry.com. Thanks to Andrea, my Niccolai line now goes back to the 1500's! Prior to seeing the post of yours, I had found info on Guido but could not figure out why I couldn't find anything on Italo. Now I know why!

    You mentioned that you've seen Giaconda's grave and have a picture of it. I can't even tell you how happy it would make me if you'd be willing to share that!

    If you want to share info or chat, you can reach me at wam1974@somtel.net
    Like I said, I'm happy to share my tree with you if you'd like to take a look!

    Wendy Manganiello

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  9. This is all very exciting! Wendy, I just sent you an email with some info along with a picture of the grave. I am trying to locate the picture of Giaconda and her sister and will send that as well. I am also working on a Spadoni report for you.

    Thank you Paul for this magic!

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  10. Mi abuelo Paterno Francesco Spadoni era Calabrés y con mucho orgullo llevo en la sangre el apellido SPADONI. MI ABUELO (IL MIO NONNO) VIAJÓ A LA ARGENTINA Y LUEGO SE RADICÓ EN URUGUAY- PAYSANDÚ,PARA SER MÁS PRECISO.- ARREGLABA E INSTALABA MOLINOS DE VIENTO DE LA ÉPOCA ( POR EL 1900 O ANTES)), SOY CONCIENTE QUE TENGO PRIMOS HERMANOS EN DICHA REPÚBLICA HERMANA (ARGENTINA),PERO NO TUVE LA SUERTE DE TRATARLOS.- SPADONI52@HOTMAIL.COM ES MI E- MAIL.-

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  11. Hello, my name is Peter. Michele Spadoni (Seattle) was my great grandfather. His son Albert was my grandfather. It was my family tree on ancestry.com that I'm sure you saw and caused your confusion. I hit a brick wall in my research. It was then that my mother Catherine Spadoni told me she had Michele's marriage certificate from his marriage to my great grandmother Marianna Baccetti. There was a section on the document listing their parents and it was written in horribly sloppy cursive. Not to mention, I'm sure my great grandparents had thick Italian accents and the person filling out the certificate just wrote down what he thought was close. I tried my best to decipher it. I'm so excited to have found this page! You've answered so many questions. I knew I could never learn more without going to Italy. Please email me I would love to learn more: phallgrimson@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Peter,
      I was pleased to read your comment on my blog, and I am happy to meet, even if only by e-mail, another of my distant cousins, especially one who shares my interest in family history.
      In case you haven't read some of my other blog entries, I have now figured out how five different Spadoni family lines in America are related--families from Seattle, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Alameda and Chicago. Because the Spadoni family in Ponte Buggianese was so large and the connections so ancient, I am pretty sure that the heads of these five families did not know how they were related, even though they lived in the same region of Italy before coming to America.
      If you haven't read my blog posts on Stignano, you should, as that is where our ancestors lived from the 1400s to the 1600s, before they moved to Ponte Buggianese.
      I will be going back to Italy again next February-April. You should come visit me there!

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  12. My grandmother, Mary Ann Spadone from NJ married Adam Spadoni of Massachusetts. She is 94.

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    1. Hi Louise. Do you know the region of Italy from where either of your grandparents came? If either came from Tuscany, maybe I can find out more about their ancestors. Paul

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Comments welcome.