Geneablogy: An occasional Journal about our experiences exploring our heritage

Saturday, October 7, 2000

I've been a real slacker on keeping this website up-to-date lately, but I haven't been exactly inactive. I got a couple of films from San Potito Sannitico at the Family History Center, and I've been spending some time looking at them. I found the marriage record for my great-great-grandparents, Vincenzo Brandi and Maria Domenica Rapa, married on August 6, 1870 (page 1 and page 2). I've found my greatgrandfather Raffaele (Ralph) Brandi's birth certificate from September 6, 1871. Unfortunately, at that time the records were completely handwritten, rather than being in pre-printed books, which makes them a little tough to read at times, but scanning the photocopies into the computer so I could zoom in on the writing helped a lot. The interesting thing about these documents is that you can get information on up to three generations in a single one. Because so many people had the same names in some of these towns, you'll usually see someone referred to as the child of their parents, so, for example, in Raffaele's birth record, his father is named as "Vincenzo Brandi di Filippo", and his mother as "Maria Domenica Rapa di Domenico". So Vincenzo's father was Filippo Brandi, and Maria's was Domenico Rapa. One other thing you can tell from that is whether or not the parents referred to in the name are still alive or not. If the father is named using "di", then they are, but if they're referred to as "fu", that would mean that they're dead at the time the record was created.

Other things that I found from the 1870s were a couple of birth certificates and a death certificate. Raffaele's brother Giuseppe (Joseph) Brandi was born April 11, 1875. One really interesting thing on this record (which was on a printed form, and is therefore easier to read) is that it gives the address they were living at, 38 via Albero in San Potito Sannitico.

The 1910 Census said that Mary Brandi had had three children, two of whom survived. Only two children crossed the ocean with her, so I figured that the third child probably died in Italy. Sure enough, I found a birth certificate for another Giuseppe Brandi, born on November 10, 1872 ("il giorno dici"). Unfortunately, he didn't even live for a year, dying on August 30, 1873. I haven't figured out yet if the certificate says what he died of; between my lack of Italian language skills and Domenico Izzo's lack of penmenship I haven't figured it out yet, but I'm working on it.

So Vincenzo and Maria had three sons, Raffaele, Giuseppe, and Giuseppe. I understand that it was quite common in Italian families if a child died to name the next child of that sex with the same name.

Going back to the records from the 1840s, I also found a birth certificate for Vincenzo (page 1 and page 2). Turns out his full name was Vincenzo Daniele Brandi. He was born August 17, 1846 ("dicissetta del mese di Agosto"). His father was Filippo Brandi, 28 years old at the time, and his mother was Maria Navarro, 21 years old. Maria Domenica Rapa was born on May 23, 1845 (page 1 and page 2), which means she had the same birthday as my brother Steve. Maria's father, as mentioned, was Domenico Rapa, 24 years old at the time, and her mother was Maria Pietrosimone, also 24 years old.

Looking further at the records, I found a birth record for Vincenzo's brother, Daniele Brandi, born March 21, 1848 (page 1 and page 2) to Filippo Brandi and Maria Galbina Navarro. This is something I haven't covered here yet, but in the records I found in Michigan in August, the marriage record for Michael Brandi and Mary Zito shows Michael's father as Daniel Brandi and his mother as C Fredericke. Well, Daniele's birth certificate has a notation at the end that he married Maria Chiara Federico, and if you're an English-speaking clerk in Saginaw in the 1890s and not used to Italian, I can certainly imagine that the name Federico would be recorded as Fredericke. Also, I found the marriage record for Daniele Brandi and Maria Chiara Federico from December 2, 1871 (page 1 and page 2). Maria probably died before 1890, because there's also a notation on Daniele's birth certificate that he married Clementina Palmiero on February 11, 1890. So Michael Brandi, who moved to Saginaw in about 1895, and Salvatore (Sam) Brandi, who moved to Saginaw in 1911, who were brothers, were both children of Vincenzo's brother Daniele, which basically means that I'm related to everyone I've found with the last name Brandi in the state of Michigan. When Michael came to Saginaw, he lived with his uncle Vincenzo for a year or two until he moved out on his own.

So to summarize, Filippo Brandi, born sometime around 1820, and his wife Maria Galbina Navarro, born around 1824, had at least two children, Vincenzo Daniele Brandi and Daniele Brandi. Vincenzo married Maria Domenica Rapa, the daughter of Domenico Rapa and Maria Pietrosimone, and they had three children, Raffaele, Giuseppe, who died very young, and (again) Giuseppe. Daniele married Maria Chiara Federico, and they had at least two children, Michele (Michael) and Salvatore (Sam).

Posted at 3:09:27 PM