Translating Codex A, San Nicola Archives in Termini Imerese, from the original Sicilian-Latin

Download the translation of the full baptismal records in PDF.

Please note that each page of the translation requires two images in .pdf format. The first image covers  the page number in the MS together with Fr. Delisi’s photo number, the date of the ceremony, the priest who administered the Sacrament, the father, and the baptized person.  The second image includes the page number in the MS (again), the first godfather, the second godfather, the godmother, and additional notes. All titles of the participants are included as they occur in the manuscript.

Procedures Followed in this Edition for  Translating Medieval Sicilian-Latin

Medieval Latin is expressed primarily in contractions. Matters of this nature often become quite bizarre in Codex A because each notary had his own personal versions of the contractions to be used for the Sicilian language. A case in point is Sister Filippa L’Angelica’s name which occurs dozens of times in Codex A. All notaries settled on ph¯a as  the abbreviation of her given name. But insofar as Sister’s surname is concerned, there was no consensus as to how it was to be expressed:



Inchic¯  ca






lo a¯gelica

In a final series of the notation of Sister’s name as seen in Codex A, no less than three pronunciations of her surname in Sicilian emerge: L’anielica, LaIncelica and LaAngelica, each composed in a number of variants (note the interchangeability of the two ways of writing the letter i):



la inchelica

la incheljca








la  ingelica

la angelica

la ingelica

la Ingeljca

la ngelica



Therefore, in an attempt to bring order into this seemingly chaotic situation, the procedure followed in the transcription/translation of Codex A has been to render the 16th-century Sicilian surnames in the spellings commonly used in the present day. It should be noted that the search engine, Google, became invaluable at this juncture, not to mention Girolamo Caracusi’s exhaustive dictionary of modern Sicilian surnames: Dizionario Onomastico della Sicilia. For example, Calabrisi is now spelled Calabrese, Ginuisi is Genovese, and Dardizuni is D’Ardisone.

In the transcription, the modern equivalent is followed by the entry as it appears in the manuscript, in order that the flavor of the original is not lost. A few examples:


  • Mascina :: maxina
  • Bambaci :: bambaxj
  • la Giuffrida :: laJuffrida

Given Names:

  • Agata :: gatuza
  • Alesandra :: ljxandra
  • Giacomo :: Jacopu

A Godfather Conundrum: Vincenzo’s Surname

Codex A preserves the name of one Vincenzo, who served as a godfather for 12 baptisms. The list below demonstrates the instability of  notating his surname, and of notating surnames in general, during the 1500s. All 12 written versions of Vincenzo’s surname are based on variations of the root Pu and its suffix celli. And, as the Google search engine on the Internet demonstrates, all of these versions are in use at the present time among Sicilians. How Vincenzo actually pronounced his surname is, of course, unknown.

li Pocelli :: lj pucellj Vincenzo :: vicº
li Pocelli :: lj pocellj Vincenzo :: vicº
li Pocelli :: li pucelli Vincenzo :: vincº
li Poselli :: li puſellj Vincenzo :: vjch[e~]ſo
li Pozelli :: li puczellj Vincenzo :: vicº
li Pozelli :: lj puzellj Vincenzo :: vicº
li Pozelli :: lj puzellj Vincenzo :: vicº
li Poicelli :: li puicellj Vincenzo :: viche¯ſo
li Poicelli :: lj pujzellj Vincenzo :: vicº
li Pulselli :: li pulſellj Vincenzo :: vicenſo
li Pulselli :: li pulſellj Vincenzo :: vicenſo
li Pulselli :: li pulſellj Vincenzo :: vicenſu
Published on July 26, 2009 at 1:08 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Dear Kathy, I am interested in the LoPresti family tree my 4th great-grandfather was Antonio LoPresti born 1760 in Sicilly died in 1849 marylebone. Before he was exiled he was a count and his father a baron, he left a wife and child behind in Sicilly. I found his ancestor Father Gerado 1545 on this website and Petro LoPresti. Perhaps,they started out as priests and built their wealth up to become members of the aristocracy. perhaps you can help me in this matter. Thanks.

  2. Dear Kathy,
    I am interested in any information that you may have on the Satariano Family Tree. I have been researching the roots of my family and your assistance would be much appreciated.


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