Illegitimate Children of the Clergy and Other Men in Termini Imerese

1) October 29, 1542: a priest at the Benedictine Abbey at Castelnovo named Franceco [p~sti franc~ di benno di cast’novo] is listed as the father of a child who was given the name Simone. The priest’s surname is lacking in the manuscript.

2) On November 27, 1542, an unnamed brother of Padre Filippo Vianisi, a priest who administered the Sacrament of Baptism many times at San Nicola, brought in his niece Vincenza, to be baptized [la niputj di lu fratj di p~stj ph~o vianjsj. n. viche~ſa]. One of the godfathers, Giovanni di Napoli, was also a priest.

But who was the actual father? It had to be one of  Padre Filippo’s brothers; or perhaps a sister in the family had given birth to a child out of wedlock or during a time when her husband was away at war, or even killed in battle. Or was the father Padre Filippo himself? Unfortunately, we can never know the story behind this little drama which took place in Termini Imerese so very long ago.

3) Fra Nicola [fraccola] presented his daughter for Baptism on February 20, 1545. She was given the name Filippa.

4) One Pietro stood as Godfather I to Francesca LuCalabrese on June 28, 1542. Pietro is listed as being the son of Padre Andrea [pº di p¯ſti andria]. Of course, Padre Andrea could have entered the priesthood after his wife died. There is yet another explanation of the entry, as the term ‘di’ can also mean ‘belonging to’, it would then follow that Pietro was the slave of Padre Andrea.

5) On April 15, 1543, Father Filippo Teresi baptized the daughter of Mastro Natale, a friar from Patti [lu monaco di pattj]. She was named Laurea.

6) On October 27, 1547,  Monsignore Simone Solito brought his daughter Laurea to the baptistery. The identifier attached to Simone Solito’s surname ‘lo Povero’ [lo povjro] indicates that he was a mendicant, i.e. a Franciscan or a Dominican.

7) February 2, 1548: On this day Luigi Carbonello brought in his granddaughter Sarna for baptism. Sarna is described as the daughter of Luigi’s unnamed son [la f. dj lo f. dj lujſi carbunello]. One suspects illegitimacy, though it is possible that Luigi’s son had died or was away in the army at the time that his wife had given birth. On the other hand: Sarna, as her name suggests, might be the daughter of the daughter of a female slave belonging to Luigi Carbonello by whom he had had Sarna.

8) On February 22, 1547  Mastro Giovanni, the son of Fra Greco :: mº Jo: dj fragreco stood as Godfather II to Pietro, the son of Bernardo Sanguigno. Fra Greco was a member of a mendicant order (Franciscan, Dominican, etc).

The lo Gennino – Offspring Series

On five occasions in Codex A, the term ‘lo gennino’ [or simply ‘g’] meaning ‘offspring’ is used in referring to a father-son relationship. This curious notation might be a subtle manner of indicating that the son was illegitimate.

1) September 25, 1542: Manfredi, baptized on this day, was the  son of an unnamed female slave owned by Antonino DiGravina who, himself,  was the offspring (g = gennino) of one Simone:  manfre lu f dj  la scava di antⁿº di gravina g da simonj. Most likely, Antonino was Manfredi’s father. In this case, the term gennino is used to clarify which of two men named Antonino DiGravina we are dealing with: here it is the son of Simone.

2) July 16, 1545: The other Antonino DiGravina: dj gravjna dj lu g da Jacº, a Signore and a son of ‘one of the offspring’s’ of Giacomo, had a legitimate son whom he named Benedetto Serafino.

3) November 12, 1542: on this day the baptism of Bartolo LuForte’s son, Bernardo :: nardo, was recorded with the information that Bartolo was the offspring (gennino) of Nicola LuForte :: nardo f. dj bartulu lu fortj g da cola lu fortj. Bartolo LuForte’s name comes up several times in the manuscript, but only once is he specifically mentioned as the offspring of Nicola LuForte, i.e, one of the other entries with his name has such a differentiator.

4) July 26, 1547: Domenico, the father of Giacoma who was baptized this day, is mentioned as being the offspring of one of the Traina family members [Jacª la f dj mjnjco gennjno dj trajna]. There is no other adult in the manuscript named Domenico Traina, although Antonio Troina had a son whom he brought for baptism the following year (on March 28, 1548) and whom he named Domenico.

5) April 3, 1547: On this day Giuseppe, the son of one Pietro, was baptized. According to the manuscript, Pietro, was the offspring of Luca DiFaccio :: Joſeppi lo f dj petro lo ge~njno dj luca dj faccjo. There is no other person in the manuscript named Pietro di Faccio.

Published on July 26, 2009 at 1:41 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Some of them may have been Byzantine catholic priests!


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