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Anna Di Leysa
Three generations of Italians in Izmir: A brief history of my family
I am greatly grateful to Mr Alex Baltazzi, Ms Marie Anne Marandet and Mr Fabio Tito for the information supplied in the last months. Without their help and their deep knowledge of the history of Izmir I would not have been able to trace back the origins of my family. When I began this research I did not even know who the first ancestors were to move from Italy to Turkey. Now many details are clearer and supported by documents (kindly provided by Ms Marie Anne Marandet), even if there are still many shadows in the story.

With this document, I am trying to get in touch with anybody who may have known some of my ancestors or may be somehow linked to the family (I really don’t know if any Di Lernia and Piccinini are still living in Izmir), to collect as much information as possible.

Origins of my family name

My name is Anna Laysa Di Lernia, I was born in Italy where I still live, near Milan, but my father, my grandfather and my great-grand father were born and lived abroad for more than a century before my birth.

From what I was able to find out, my ancestors arrived in Izmir from Italy around 1850. In those years a group of men of the Delerno family, probably brothers and cousins almost the same age, moved from Trani, near Bari (Apulia, Italy).

According to the documents of the Italian Consulate1, the original name of my family was Delerno, but some members changed it into Di Lernia2, even if in the parish registers we see the surname written in many different ways for many years (Delerno, De Lerno, Dellerno, Dilerno, Dillernia). From the documents it is possible to determine that four/five progenitors settled in that period in Izmir:

  • Domenico Delerno/Di Lernia, who died before 18803, was married with Maria Mastropasqua and had a son, Nicola, born in Izmir in 1848;
  • Domenico Delerno/Di Lernia, who died before 1871, was married with Maria Carabotti, born in Malta in 1824, and had seven children from 1850 to 18634;
  • Spiridione Delerno, who died before 1880, was married with Anna Mirzan (or Mizzi), born in Izmir in 1835, and had three sons from 1859 to 1866;
  • Vincenzo Delerno, son of Giuseppe from Trani (died before 1872), born in Izmir, in 1848. He was a mason, married to a woman born in Trani, Saveria Ragno, and in Izmir they had eight children from 1871 to 1889. He died in 1890, at the age of 42 years;
  • Francesco Delerno/Di Lernia, son of Giuseppe, born in Trani around 1843. He was married with Teresa Ventura, also born in Trani, and in Izmir they had seven children between 1862 and 1879, when Francesco died at the young age of 36.5
Apulian migration to the East

In the years between 1830 and 1860 a certain number of families coming from the Apulia region, and specifically from the villages of Trani, Molfetta, Barletta and some others on the coast near Bari, left their country (in those years Kingdom of Naples) and settled in the Levant. According to an essay by Biagio Salvemini6 about the Apulian fishers in the period between the middle of 18th century and the years 1830s, there were economic and historical reasons for this migratory flow. During the last fourth of the 18th century, the fishers of the above-mentioned villages adopted a new fishing technique called “alla gaetana” (from the port of Gaeta where it was first introduced). It consisted of a trawl dragged by two light and fast boats called “paranzelli”, which allowed to catch faster an increasing amount of fish and could meet the demand of an increasing population. Moreover, the Apulian fishers took advantage of the fact that trawling was restricted for the fishers of the Neapolitan coast, so that they were fishing all year long in different areas of the Mediterranean sea. The economy of the area had a great development and the fishing fleets of Trani, Molfetta, Bari, Barletta entered in competition with each other.

In the years 1815-1820 Trani was the most important fishing harbour of the coast, but in the following years the situation changed: around 1850 the paranzelli of Trani were more frequently used for commercial trips and its fishers got used to long transfers which kept them abroad for months or years. The figures of the census for the village of Trani show that by the year 1861 at least 3% of the population, generally male fishers, had emigrated, and the percentage raises to 4.5% between 1861 and 1871 and is 3.7% between 1871 and 1881.

The reasons for this phenomenon are different: the growth of Molfetta and Bari as fishing ports and that of Bari as a commercial harbour, which caused a slow decline of Trani; the fact that some men from Trani knew the Levant harbours and its facilities7 and they preferred to take these new opportunities; some incentives granted by the Russian Empire for settlements in Crimea; in some cases also political reasons (some followers of Garibaldi left the area before the Italian union).

Recently (end of 2008), an extremely interesting documentary was published by Tito Manlio Altomare, called “L’olocausto sconosciuto degli Italiani in Crimea” (The unknown holocaust of the Italians in Crimea). It tells the almost completely unknown story of some fifty Apulian families, which moved from Trani to the village of Kerch, in Crimea (now Ukraine), to develop local agriculture and sea transports across the Black Sea in the same years we are considering. They were not poor emigrants like those leaving for America, but able seamen, often ship-owners, and skilled farmers who took advantage of new opportunities to develop their profession. There, the community became rich and important, but had a terrible experience after the Russian Revolution of 1917 and later (1934) with the “purge” of Stalin, when they were sent to the gulags, in Kazakhstan (it is possible to see this unique document here).

What is amazing is that the names of those families are often the same as the ones who settled in Izmir: Scagliarini, Ragno, Tito, Bassi, Fabiano, De Martino and (what was really a great emotion for me!) De Lerno. The journalist Tito Manlio Altomare interviewed some descendants of the De Lerno family, and I have been able to get in touch with one of them, a young lady called Nataliya, who still lives in Kerch. Another descendant, Marietta De Lerno, lives in Kazakhstan, where her family was deported to, losing many members and all its fortune.

Without the documents from Izmir stating the original name of my family I would have never been able to connect the Ukrainian De Lerno to the Levantine/Greek/Italian Di Lernia! Now, next step is to find out our common ancestor: in the archives of Trani.

My line of descent

Francesco Delerno/Di Lernia is the progenitor of the branch I belong to. The documents don’t provide other details about his wife, Teresa Ventura, even if the family Ventura is represented by a certain number of members in the following generations in Izmir. She was registered in the Italian Consulate register at n° 132 on April 24th 1879, three weeks after the death of Francesco, with the list of their children, and probably died on March 6th 1908, if she is the same person recorded in the parish register of deaths of the Holy Rosary Church.

According to some family stories, my ancestors moved to Izmir to work for the railway (ORC?) and in fact the first son of Francesco and Teresa, Giuseppe Di Lernia, born on January 5th 1862, is recorded as Dipendente delle ferrovie (Railways employee)8.

The second son of Francesco and Teresa was Gennaro Di Lernia, my great-grandfather, and after him they had five more children: Rosa9 in 1866, Policarpo10 in 1872, Antonio11 in 1874, Pasquale12 in 1877 and Nicola13 in 1879.

My great-grandfather Gennaro was born in Izmir on August 19th 1864. He was a sailor, specifically helmsman, and on January 26th 1893 he married Maria Carmela Sanson (or Sansum), born in Istanbul in 1875. Her birth place is stated in the register of the Cathedral, were the ceremony took place, but the family legend says that Carmela was born in Malta14 and since she was very beautiful and the Sultan wanted her in his harem, her parents (Francesco Sanson and Vincenza Cremona) sent her to Constantinopole, to stay with an old aunt without children.

Somehow Carmela and Gennaro met. He was eleven years older that her, a blond/reddish haired man (his nickname was, in Greek, “gharida”, prawn, also for his pale skin that reddened at the sun), with a big moustache, dressed in Turkish style. They eloped, probably to Izmir, where they got married (wedding certificate), witness her father Francesco Sanson and a certain Maria Giaccolano (was her mother Vincenza Cremona dead?).

Gennaro and Carmela had eight children, all born in Izmir: Adolfo Francesco, whose nickname was Franzi, who was born on October 12th 1893 and died in Rhodes during WWII, Giovanni Battista, born on May 13th 1895 (baptism certificate), Maria Alessandra, who was born on July 6th 1897 and died 10 months later, Teresa, who was born on April 11th 1899 and died in 1916 at the age of 17, Vincenza, born on June 6th 1903, Policarpo, my grandfather, born on June 28th 1905 (baptism certificate), Luca, who was born on January 17th 1910 and died on February 5th 1911 for a neck abscess, as specified in the registration of his death (baptism and death certificate), and Giuseppe Gabriele, whose nick name was Kuzuna, born in 1912.

Carmela died on June 7th 1923 in Izmir at the age of 48 (had she been involved in the fire?) and Gennaro never married again: he used to throw his stick to everybody who suggested that he should have 0a second wife (it seems that he was a hot-tempered man...).

After the Great fire, probably due to the new laws imposed by the Kemalist government, Gennaro left Izmir (I don’t know exactly in which year, but surely after the death of Carmela, i.e. June 1923). He moved to the Island of Rhodes, which was Italian in those years, with his daughter Vincenza and his sons Franzi15, Policarpo, my grandfather, and Giuseppe Kuzuna16. Nobody in the family remembers the second son of Gennaro, Giovanni Battista as living in Rhodes, so maybe he didn’t leave Izmir: he had married (wedding certificate below) in 1920 Elisabeth Portelli, daughter of Policarpo and Rosa Scagliarini, and they had three children (Gennaro, Carmela Antonia and Sofia Rosa). I have no information about this branch of the family.

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Giovanni Battista and Elisabeth Portelli’s wedding certificate.
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My grandfather Policarpo during his military service, around 1924.
Vincenza Di Lernia, my grandfather Policarpo’s sister.

My grandmother’s family: the Piccinini

Both my paternal grandparents were born in Izmir, from families who had settled there two generations before. About the Di Lernia I have already explained.

My grandmother’s ancestor was Filippo Felice Piccinini (he was generally called simply Felice), who was born in Molfetta (Bari – Apulia) on April 25th 1839, from Vincenzo and Maria Silvestri. He seems to have been the only member of his family to move to Izmir17. He was a seamen (“marinaio” is written in the Consulate register) and he was married with Teresa Frisani (or Frissano)18, daughter of Gaetano, born in Trani in 1850. They probably didn’t leave permanently Italy until 1877-78. In fact, according to the Italian Consulate register they had their first son, Vincenzo19, in Izmir in 1871, but the two following children, Maria (1873)20 and Gaetano (1876)21, were born in Trani, while the following seven children were all born in Izmir (the Italian Consulate document does not list them all), from 1878 to 1889. Their names were Eleonora22, Nicola Antonio, my great-grandfather (about him I will talk later in detail), Luigi23, Policarpa24, Angela, Anna25 and Angela Anna26.

Filippo Felice had quite a long life: he died in 1911, at the age of 72, due to chronic bronchitis (church register of his death). On the contrary, his wife died young, only 45, in 1895, as recorded in the Cathedral register of deaths.

Differently from the Di Lernia, who moved to Izmir as a family group and together with many other families from Trani, Filippo Felice’s settlement seems to be in line with the description of the economic and social situation of the village of Molfetta we find in the already mentioned work by Biagio Salvemini27. In the years 1850s, when fishermen and seamen from Trani emigrated, Molfetta took Trani’s place as the most important fishing port of the Bari area.

From those years until the 1890s Molfetta kept its economic importance, but its fishers had to brave long and dangerous journeys to catch the fish required by the market: the registers of arrivals and departures from the harbour of Molfetta show that around the years 1870s many fishing boats were leaving for Greece and Egypt and stayed away many months. My ancestor may have been one of the seamen on those boats coming and going from and to the East.

Captain Barba Colé, my great grandfather

The fifth child of Felice’s and Teresa’s was my great-grandfather, Antonio Nicola Piccinini, born in Izmir on June 30th 1880 (certificate of baptism). He lost his mother when he was 15 and he probably began to work on boats with his father, becoming an able seaman and later a captain and owner of a small commercial fleet. His nick name was “barba Colé”.

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Egidio Mazzei, my great grandmother Teresa’s brother, in 1942 in Rhodes, with Carletto Piccinini, grandchild of his sister Teresa, being son of her son Vincenzo and Angela Scagliarini.
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Two pictures of Maria Mazzei: as a young lady in Izmir
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and, later, in Rhodes, holding the picture of her partner Gioacchino.
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Teresa Mazzei and Nicola Piccinini in 1940, when Teresa was 58 years old and Nicola 60.

On September 26th 1903 he married (certificate of marriage) Teresa Mazzei, born in Izmir on August 30th 1882 (certificate of baptism). Teresa was the daughter of Rocco Mazzei28, born in Crotone (Calabria, Italy) around 1851 and Elisabetta (Laisa) Verdori (or Verdaki) born around 1862. Teresa had five brothers and sisters: the first born was Egidio (born 1881), then Antonio (born in 1884), Nicola (born in 1886), Maria (born 1887, who married in 1905 Polycarpo Piro, but in 1924 seems to be the wife of Firmino Bignami29, and later, in Rhodes, had another partner, a tailor called Gioacchino Segreto) and Angela (born in 1889 and died in 1892 at the age of 3 years).

Nicola and Teresa had eight children. The first was Vincenzo, born in Izmir on January 24th 1904 and baptized in the Cathedral on February 25th, as shown in the document, godmother Maria Mazzei, Teresa’s sister.

The second son was Felice, born on March 7th 1906 (certificate of baptism), who died at the age of 3 on July 27th 1909 (record of his death).

The third born was my grandmother Elisabetta Laysa. She was born on January 19th 1908 and baptized on February 28th in the church of the Holy Rosary with her maternal grandmother’s name. It seems, according to the parish documents, that the family had its residence in the Punta area until my grandmother’s birth, i.e. 1908, but later moved to the village of Bayraklı.

In fact Laysa’s brother Felice died there in July 1909 and later her sister, Polina Antonia called Pola, was born on December 23rd 1909, at 7:15 PM, in Bayraklı, where she was baptized (certificate) in the church of St. Antony on February 24th 1910, godparents Lucas Cauki and Emilia Mattesich.

On April 18th 1911 Carlo was born, who was baptized (certificate) on May 28th by Elisabeth Dickinson, a lady about whom I don’t know more than this. The ceremony took place, again, in the church of the Holy Rosary in Izmir: had the family moved back from Bayraklı?

One thing that is certain is that between the end of 1911 and 1913 the family left Izmir and settled in Tripoli (Libya - presumably as a result of being expelled along with other Italians in Turkey at the time, in retaliation of the Italian attack on this Ottoman territory: info - archive images), where in 1913 the sixth son was born, Egidio, called Gigi. Unfortunately there are no documents of his birth and it seems very difficult to get them from Libya after all those years, as his son Edoardo confirmed to me recently.

In 1915 the family was back in Izmir, where another son, Felice, was born on June 17th and baptized (certificate) on December 6th, 1915 in the Holy Rosary Church, the godmother was his aunt, Eleonora Piccinini Filippucci, Nicola’s sister.

The last son of Nicola and Teresa’s was Francesco. His certificate of baptism is very interesting, because it reveals many details: in 1924 the family was living in Bournabat, where the child was born on May 2nd at 8 pm; his father Nicola had become a trader (commerciante); even if they lived in Bournabat, their parish was still the Holy Rosary Church in Izmir, where Francesco was baptized, godparents were his mother’s sister Maria Mazzei and her (second? – see before) husband Firmino Bignami; Francesco did not receive his confirmation in Izmir, since the document does not mention it. In fact, some years later (but I don’t know exactly when) the family left Izmir and settled in the island of Rhodes, at that time an Italian possession (Dodecanese Colonies).

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My grandmother Laysa Piccinini, in Rhodes, around 1933.
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Laysa and her sister Pola Piccinini, in Bari around 1946.
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Felice Piccinini and his wife Nina Koukakis (o Coccachi), also born in Izmir. This picture on the left is taken in Venice
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at the Acropolis, in Athens.
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Egidio Piccinini in Africa.

My ancestors’ everyday life in Izmir

I really don’t know much about my ancestors’ everyday life in Izmir: my grandmother Laysa did not tell me detailed stories about those years, so I only have small insights of her residence in Izmir. I know, for example, that she and her sister Pola attended a Catholic school, probably a French one (Sacré Coeur?), because they used to say prayers in French; she hated boiled carrots because the nuns forced her to eat them, even if her father Captain Colè used to provide the school with fresh fish and many vegetables which he traded; she used to describe the horrible scenes of the Great Fire, with the streets covered with dead people while they were rushing away. This episode made me believe that the family left Izmir on that occasion, but the birth of Francesco, my grandmother’s youngest brother, in 1924 in Izmir means either that they did not leave the town then or that they did leave Turkey in 1922 but, like many others, came back later.

A few words about my great-grandfather Nicola Piccinini. He surely was a resourceful man: he was a skilled sailor, he spoke six languages (Greek, Turkish, Italian, French, Arabic and some Hebrew) and was clever enough to take advantage of the increasing importance of Izmir as a commercial port. Little by little he became a trader, owner of a small commercial fleet: he used to remember that Aristotle Onassis had worked on his boats, before leaving for Argentina and later the U.S. where he added to his fortune having left Smyrna destitute.

Captain Piccinini was forced by the new laws of Kemal Atatürk to leave Izmir, since he wanted to keep the Italian nationality, but he probably had already arranged for the settlement of his family in Rhodes, a port that he certainly knew through his trades. There, he continued his trades and even extended his activities. In fact he also became owner of a sawmill, of which old residents of Rhodes still keep memories, and –as far as I know – he was also the ‘port captain’.

About the Di Lernias I have even less information. My grandfather Policarpo used to remember his stay in Marseille (France) for a work of painting and restoration in a church, but I don’t know when it happened.

The Di Lernia and the Piccinini in Rhodes

In the years between 1924 and 1930 both the Di Lernia and Piccinini families moved to Rhodes, like many other Italian citizens. I don’t know whether the families already knew each other in Izmir, but I know that in Rhodes the Italian community coming from Izmir kept close relationships.

My grand-parents Laysa Piccinini and Policarpo Di Lernia got married in Rhodes on September 10th 1934 in the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria. Between 1935 and 1942 they had five children : Carmela Teresa (2/3/1935), Gennaro (Gino), my father, (12/5/1936), Teresa (18/8/1937), Nicoletta Guerrina (23/1/1941) and Anna Maria (called Irene, 19/10/1942).

Last summer I went to Rhodes to gather documents about my great-grandfather’s activities, but the local Chamber of Commerce only keeps documents from 1960 and the Port Captain’s Office does not keep archives.

In May 1943, forced by the war, they had to move again. My grandmother Laysa with her five children and her sister-in-law Angela Scagliarini, wife of Vincenzo Piccinini, with her seven children were embarked on a military flight. At the time my grandfather Policarpo worked at Maritsa military airport so he took this opportunity to send the family back to Italy. On May 28th 1943 they arrived in Bari, where my great grand-parents Nicola and Teresa had already moved, while my grandfather Policarpo followed the sad experience of deportation in German camps, from which he came back to Italy only in 1948.

The rest of the family, uncles, cousins etc., reached Italy in 1945 as refugees, hosted in camps in Bari and later in Naples. Another chapter of their story began...

As a wish, I would like to if possible get in touch with any descendants of my grandfather’s brother Giovanni Battista Di Lernia, married to Elizabeth Portelli. He probably remained in Izmir after 1925-26, since he was not in Rhodes with the rest of the family.

To view my basic descendancy chart, click here:

Sesto San Giovanni (Mi), December 2010

e-mail: annalaysa.dilernia[at]tiscali.it



1 The sources of this article consist of parish registers and Consulate registers, which I didn’t see personally. A big contribution comes from the precious work of Marie Anne Marandet (her data-base called Marmara2) and the group of descendants of the Levantine families she works with. Regarding the Italian Consulate registers, it is worth noting that Italy as a nation was founded in 1861 (before than the Italians coming from southern Italy were subjects of the Kingdom of Naples) and it took at least ten years to register all citizens already settled in the area as Italians. In many cases this was done through the data of the parish registers, as shown in the notes of many records. return to main text

2 This note appears in some records: “Il cognome Delerno è stato cambiato in Di Lernia”). return to main text

3 This “terminus ante quem” is given by the fact that, when the Italian Consulate began the registration of the Italian citizens, the wives were registered as “widow of…”, so we can only infer that the husband had died before the year of registration. return to main text

4 I wonder if these two Domenico were not the same person, widow of the first wife and remarried, since the child of Domenico and Maria Mastropasqua, Nicola, was born in 1848 and the first child of Domenico and Maria Carabotti was born in 1850. return to main text

5 Since there is no mention of the name of Giuseppe’s wife, it is impossible to know whether the two last Delerno, Vincenzo and Francesco, were brothers. If they were, Giuseppe Delerno should have moved to Izmir between 1843 and 1848, i.e. after the birth of Francesco in Trani and before the birth of Vincenzo in Izmir. If they were not (they could be cousins), Francesco may have arrived in Izmir as an adult, around 1860, and his father Giuseppe (whose name we know from the register of the Italian Consulate) may have never left Italy. return to main text

6 Biagio Salvemini, Comunità separate e trasformazioni strutturali. I pescatori pugliesi fra metà Settecento e gli anni Trenta del Novecento, in: “Mélanges de l'Ecole française de Rome. Moyen-Age, Temps modernes” T. 97, N°1. 1985, pp. 441-488 (the article can be read here:). return to main text

7 In 1827 a commercial treaty was signed between the Kingdom of Naples (to which Apulia belonged) and the Ottoman Empire. According to this treaty, the ships flying the flag of this Kingdom could make free trade in the Levant and this was a great business opportunity for Apulian ship-owners (generally the fishers owned their boats). return to main text

8 Giuseppe had a longer life than his father (he died on May 29th 1932, at the age of 70) and got married three times: in 1888 with Teresa Accoto (born in 1865) who gave him four children (Francesco in 1890, Antonio in 1891, and the twins Emilia and Maria Lucia in 1893) but died, only 28, ten days after the twins childbirth, on 1894. Unfortunately, also the twins did not survive: Emilia died at the age of 8 months, Maria Lucia when she was 3. So Giuseppe in 1895 married his first wife’s sister, Giovanna Accoto, from whom he had three more children: Teresa in 1896, Giuseppe Pasquale in 1897 and Policarpo Antonio in 1898. Giovanna died young too, at 32 in 1901, and in 1903 Giuseppe got a third wife, Antonia Cosentino, who, at the age of 40, gave him his eighth child, Emanuela, in 1904. return to main text

9 Rosa was born on June 1st 1866 and had two husbands: Giuseppe Caporeale, born in Bari, whom she married in 1883, from whom she had 5 children (Michele, Victoria, Michele, Teresa, Anna Camporeale) from 1855 to 1896, and Antonio Musmus, married in 1900, from whom she had 4 more children (Francesco, Marie, Polycarpe and Lucia Musmus) from 1901 to 1907. Rosa died in Izmir on December 8th 1938. return to main text

10 Policarpo was born on September 28th 1872 and married Anna Tito (born in 1878) in 1897 - image Anna with her married sisters. return to main text

11 Antonio was born on May 29th 1874 and in 1900 he married Margherita De Lucia. They had seven children: Francesco (married with Maria Policarpina Portelli), Antonio, Luigi (married with Maria Rosaria Bassi), Policarpo, Carmelo, Paolo and Vittorio. return to main text

12 Pasquale was born on June 24th 1877 and died in 1915. He was married with Caterina Marinaro and they had four children: Francesco, Teresa Giovanna (married with Giorgio Gheracaris), Spiridione and Maria. return to main text

13 Nicola was born on January 16th 1879 and married in 1904 Marianthi Caluta, from whom he had three children, Teresa, Francesco and Giovanni. return to main text

14 I have no evidence of this story, since the surname Sanson or similar (Sansum, Sansone etc.) seems to be unknown among the names of residents in Malta from 1700 on, while I found there some Cremona (Carmela’s mother family), but I don’t know if they belong to the same family. The only link I found between the Sanson and Malta is in the list of Maltese seamen in the Royal Navy (here): a certain Antonio Sansone, 362523, born in Valletta on 20th February 1881, joined the Royal Navy in May 1904 on board HMS Illustrious as a bandsman, but left in November 1905. Could he be the Antonio Sanson who appears in the Izmir documents? This one was married with Josepha Vierda and had seven children: Elena (who married in 1917 Antonio Karakukaki), Paola Maria, Francesco Battista (married in 1922 with Euphrasie “Francesca” D’Andria), Maria Pasqualina (who married, the same day of his brother, Policarpo Tito), Policarpo, Emilio and Odetta. Another Sanson was living in Izmir in those years, Michel, who married in 1906 Anne Elisabeth Cauki and in 1924 Thérèse Bretin. return to main text

15 In 1915 Uncle Franzi had married Maria Leonarda Tito, called Nardò, born in Izmir on February 10th 1893. They had four children: Gennaro, Bartolomeo Giuseppe, Bartolomeo and Carmela Maria, but only Gennaro and Carmela survived. After 1923 they moved to Rhodes, where Franzi died after a long illness. The episode surrounding uncle Franzi’s death was a very sad and shocking one. It happened in 1944, when the island was bombed every day. Franzi’s body had to be left unattended in the house, because the warning forced everybody to rush to the shelter. When my grandfather Policarpo came back, he found his brother’s body attacked by rats, themselves compelled by hunger, like the whole population. Aunt Nardò, Gennaro and Carmela went back to Italy as refugees in 1945: after a short stay in Bari, they were sent to Naples (Barra), where they settled. Carmela had married in Rhodes a guy of the Maglione family, from Casoria (Naples). return to main text

16 Giuseppe got married in Rhodes and had two children, Gino and Carmela, who remained orphans very early: when they arrived in Italy with the other refugees, in 1945, they stayed few months with their aunt Vincenza and with my grandmother Laysa, but later they had to be hosted in an orphanage. return to main text

17 Another Piccinini appears in the register of weddings of the Saint Mary Draperis Church in Istanbul: in 1886 Marie Hortense Piccinini, daughter of Lazzaro, already dead by that year, married Frédéric Testa. return to main text

18 Other Frisani (or Frissano) were in Izmir in those years: a Francesca, married to Onofrio Bassi, and an Angiolina (or Angela), born in 1850 in Trani, and married to Giovanni Battista Fabiano. Considering that the names of the children of these three women are similar, it is possible that they were sisters (Teresa and Angiolina, twins?), daughters of Gaetano and Eleonora Fabiano, quoted in some Izmir documents as husband and wife. These women were surely linked, since Angiolina has been the godmother of three children of Felice’s and Teresa’s (Eleonora, Luigi and Angela). return to main text

19 Lacking other documents (for example the registration of baptism), I have some doubts about Vincenzo’s birth in Izmir, just two years before his sister, who was born in Trani: the family should have come back to Italy either with a newborn baby or with a little more grown up child, but with a pregnant wife. Vincenzo Piccinini was a boatman (“barcaiolo”). He died very young, when he was 28, in 1899. In 1893 he had married Carmela Galdies, from whom he had three children: Teresa Caterina, in 1894, who married in 1930 Giorgio Policarpo Ventura, Policarpo Salvatore in 1897, died in Buca in 1958, and Liberata Antonia, who married in 1919 Vittorio Braggiotti. return to main text

20 Maria Piccinini married in 1890 Joannes Vragnatz. return to main text

21 Gaetano Piccinini died in February 1877, when he probably was only 1 year old. return to main text

22 Eleonora Piccinini was born in 1878 and in 1894 married Vincenzo Filippucci from whom she had 9 children: Anna Teresa, Teresa Maria (married to Antonio Micaleff), Maria Teresa Agnese, Maria Filippucci-Cassar, Antonio (married to Maria Papagno), Agnese Rosa (who married her sister Teresa Maria’s husband Antonio Micaleff in 1924, probably after her sister’s death), Edoardo Antonio (married to Renée Sponza), Felicita (married with Giovanni Sponza) and Natalina Anna (married with Mario Tornaviti). Eleonora died in 1945. return to main text

23 Luigi Piccinini was born in 1882 and died in 1894 at the age of 12. return to main text

24 Policarpa Piccinini was born in 1894 and in 1903 married Policarpo Copparoni. return to main text

25 Angela and Anna Piccinini lived very shortly: the first was born on October 15th 1885 and died one month later; the second was born in 1888 and died when she was two years old. return to main text

26 Angela Anna Piccinini was born in 1889 and in 1906 married Giovanni Juane Serra. They had 4 children: Tommaso Tommy (married with Domenica Vassallo), Felice, Rosa (married with John Papi), and another Felice. return to main text

27 See note 6. return to main text

28 Rocco was the son of Egidio Mazzei and Teresa Zitto and had a brother, Antonio, who moved to Izmir too. The two brothers married two cousins: Rocco Elisabetta (Laisa) Verdori and Antonio Virginia (aunt Virginie) Verdori, daughter of Giorgio Verdori’s and Antoinette Armao’s. return to main text

29 See the baptism certificate of her nephew Francesco Piccinini, of whom she and her new husband were godparents. return to main text

image courtesy of Anna Laysa Di Lernia



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