Thursday, March 19
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 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?”
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.
|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 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 Anita’s siblings Ruggero, Seghiero and Rosina, all of whom lived in the same neighborhood, as did Nonno’s 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 Spadoni’s 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
|Second from last on this page shows|
the baptism of Pietro, Michele's
brother, of the same parents.