Where in Italy is your family from?

Started by Sarah White on Wednesday, April 13, 2011


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4/13/2011 at 7:55 AM

Tracing back my roots has been a little difficult -- not many people in my family have payed much attention to our ancestry. I am Italian via paternal connection. My dad's great grandparents were from Italy and immigrated to the USA (Genoa, I believe) and his grandfather was also full Italian with his father being half, him being one fourth, and me being one eighth.

4/13/2011 at 8:20 AM

What was your father's great grandfather's surname in Italy?

4/13/2011 at 8:30 AM

Our name is Leonardi. We hear that it was originally Lunardi then after coming to the US it was Leonard but it later was changed to Leonardi. The family was/is Roman Catholic. Not sure if that helps.

4/13/2011 at 8:35 AM

Perhaps you can create a "Lunardi Family from Italy" Project.
Also, Google Lunardi and see if you can come up with other Lunardi families that trace back pre 1800 Italy. It is a beginning.

What about your maternal great great grandmother's name?

4/13/2011 at 8:43 AM

Wow, I googled your name and a separate Lunardi, Leonardi, Leonard Family Project would be a great addition to your Italian Project.



The Surname

In church and civil documents, in Italy, Menorca, and in Florida, the Leonardi name can be found with a variety of spellings: Leonardi, Leonardy, Lionardi, Lleonardi, Lleonard, Lunardi, and other variants.

The surname appears most often as Lunardi in Catholic Church documents from Gragnanella, Italy.

Prior to the 1800s, the name is usually Leonardi or Lunardi on church and civil documents, and sometimes both spellings appear even within a single document.

Roque and his siblings were baptized in Gragnanella, in the parish in which the family lived, San Bartolomeo, where the spelling of the surname is typically recorded as Lunardi. However, the 1713 baptismal document of Roque’s aunt gives her name as Maria Magdalena Leonardi (Gragnanella Baptisms). That same spelling variation occurs for many of Roque’s extended family (aunts, uncles, and cousins).

It appears that all or most of Roque’s siblings’ surnames were recorded as Lunardi on their respective baptismal records.

One child, Rocco Pelligrino Lunardi (Roque Leonardi), is the Italian who sailed to New Smyrna with the Andrew Turnbull Expedition. His name is recorded on his baptismal certificate as Rocchus Peregrinus Lunardi (Gragnanella Baptisms).

The record of his 1768 marriage, in Menorca, to Esperanza Balle lists him in Latin as Rochus Lionardi (Menorcan Archive Films, 1768, entry 47). After he arrived in Florida, he signed his name (or his signature appears) several times in the Escrituras (notarized instruments) of 1784-1821 as Rocco Leonardy. His signature appears once as Roque Leonardy in the same documents, but is in a different handwriting.

Thus the combination of different languages and their respective dialects (Italian, Catalan, Latin, and later Spanish and English), different ways of pronouncing the surname, lack of codified spelling, and different ways of translating into Latin produced many spelling variants.

Roque's grandfather's marriage to Maria Nardini Fosciandora, Italy, 1701. Roque's grandfather's name was also Rocco.
Click on image for detail.

Roque's father's marriage to Giacoma Biagoini, Castelnuovo, Italy, 1736. Roque's father's name was Giovanni.

The Family:
The first Leonardi / Leonardy for whom we have documentary evidence is Roque Lunardi who married Maria Nardini in 1701. This Roque’s place of birth has not been positively determined, although from his marriage record, it appears likely that he was from Gragnanella, Italy; Maria was from Fosciandora, Italy.

One of the children of Roque Lunardi and Maria Nardini was Giovanni Lunardi who was baptized in Gragnanella in 1710. He married Giacoma Biagoini of Castelnuovo in 1736.

Roque Lunardi, son of Giovanni Lunardi and Giacoma Biagoini, and grandson of the first Roque Lunardi, was born in the town of Gragnanella in 1741 and was baptized there in the Catholic Church of San Bartolomeo. This Roque joined the Andrew Turnbull Expedition in 1768. The travelers stopped first in Menorca where Roque married Esperanza Balla that same year.



4/13/2011 at 9:26 AM

This is going to sound terrible -- but I am not sure of my maternal great grandmother's last name. I will find it within a couple of days.

I am not really sure how a lot of this works.

My maternal grandmother's parents: Mother - Margery Maxine Stump (previously Barcellano - maiden currently unknown, will update thread) and Father - Isabello M Barcellano (from the Phillipines - immegrated in the 1930's, I believe - from the West Coast to Chicago, IL and then Des Moines, IA)

My maternal grandfather was adopted in to a family with the last name of White (the name we carry) but we discovered a few years back that his birth name was Randall Hill and that the Hill family is from Michigan.

I need to make another trip to vital records and the Iowa Genealogy Society for more details and am awaiting some family members joining the site.

I appreciate all of your help! This can be a daunting process in the beginning.

4/13/2011 at 12:02 PM

Thank you!

4/13/2011 at 10:58 PM

Well, after doing some research I found some information on Footnote.com that led me to Ancestry and then to Ellis Island (after finding my great grandfathers actual name (Francesco Lunardi). From what I can tell... the Ellis Islan records show them coming from the Genova port of Italy to NY in 1903 when my great grandfather was 5 years old. from the ship manifest it shows that his father was Demenico Lunardi who paid for himself, Francesco, and a wife named Cleonice Palandri and then there were two with her lase name (all 5 stating their destination was Des Moines, IA - where we are from) but they paid for themselves - they were ages 16 and 22 and it leads me to believe they were her brothers. I searched Demenico Lunardi and Cleonice Palandri on Google and it pointed to a family tree in ITALIAN on Ancestry.com that stated Demenico and Cleonice were the parents of Francesco Lunardi and he was born in Italy and died in Polk County - Des Moines, IA. I do not have an Ancestry.com account -- but I am curious about that family tree.



==Possible Connections==

*[http://www.footnote.com/page/64369852_frank_leonardi/ '''Frank Leonardi, Des Moines, IA''']

Francesco Lunardi -
Social Security Death Index
Birth, Marriage & Death:
NAME: Frank Leonardi
BIRTH: dd mm 1898 - Italy
DEATH: dd mm 1981 - city, Polk, Iowa, United States of America
OTHER: city, Polk, Iowa, United States
Copy link to browser:
*[http://tinyurl.com/francesolunardi '''Francesco Lunardi''']

Verifies that:
Leonardi Family Tree
1 documento allegato, 1 fonte
Francesco Lunardi
[Frank Leonardi]
NASCITA: gg mm 1898 - Italy (Italia)
DECESSO: data - città, Polk, Iowa, United States of America (Stati Uniti)
CONIUGE: nome cognome
P: Domenico Lunardi
M: Cleonice Palandri
*[http://tinyurl.com/AcomFrankLeonardi '''Lunardi Family Tree - Italy''']

===Elis Island===
*[http://www.ellisisland.org/search/matchMore.asp?FNM=FRANCESCO&L... '''Search Results - Francesco Lunardi''']

4/13/2011 at 11:00 PM

Mind you, this is an assumption -- but I feel that it is a pretty good one because everything seems to match up with my family time line, my grandfather's birth and death, the origin of the family, and the fact that there seemed to be no other Frank Leonardi or Lunardi or any other variant anywhere near Des Moines, IA

4/14/2011 at 3:59 AM

Fantastic!! What an amazing amount of research in a short period of time.
I am very excited for you.

4/14/2011 at 6:51 AM

:) Thanks! It's fun finally finding this stuff. I have been searching for years and kept giving up because I had nothing to really go off of. Now, one little hint led me all over the place!

4/14/2011 at 6:53 AM

And . . . the best is yet to come!

4/14/2011 at 6:54 AM

Correction, I typo'd Demenico Lunardi it is Domenico.


4/14/2011 at 7:48 AM

Sarah, Your project has added immeasurably as a new direction for outreach to Italians of all countries, and a valuable tie-in to the Geni Rome themed projects, and the great Old Masters, etc.

I won't be available for a week or so, but keep up your terrific work, and I will catch up when the Passover Holiday is over.

4/15/2011 at 7:06 AM

I really appreciate it. Have a peaceful Passover and I will be glad to see you when you get back. I am sure I will have unveiled many new things by then.

4/15/2011 at 7:41 AM

I am researching my neighbors family in northern Italy--Tuscany, Mazzei is the surname. I need some help!

4/15/2011 at 9:50 AM


I have posted some questions and information in another topic, "I need help researching an Italian family!" This way we can keep the information easily searchable :)

4/15/2011 at 11:47 AM

Yes, Sarah, I saw it. You're so smart. I like it this way, I can go back and cut and paste. lol

4/15/2011 at 12:17 PM


9/24/2011 at 7:43 AM

My grandfather, Eligio Sangoi, is from Gemona Del Friuli, Udine, Italy.

I did find one site that was helpful in tandem with my usage of Google translate...

But it's only good for people who were in Udine.


8/13/2014 at 11:23 AM

My grandpa was from Trapani Sicily and I hear my grandma was from Sant'Agata.

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