My Genealogy

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's Saturday Night - time for some Genealogy Fun

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1) How old is your father now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ahnentafel. Who is that person?

3) Tell us three facts about that person with the "roulette number."

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook note or comment, or as a comment on this blog post.

5) If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then spin the wheel again - pick your mother, or yourself, a favorite aunt or cousin, or even your children!

Here's mine

My father's 62 years old (born 3 Dec 1946)
62 div 4 = 15.69 = 16

Ahnentafel position 16 occupied by my great-great-grandpa Carmelo Franciscus Marianus Barbara

Some facts:
- His nickname was "La Karm"
- He was born in Zurrieq, Malta, where his father married on his return from Bone,Algeria
- He died on the 15 Jul 1942 at 80 years of age, just one month before the Convoy of St Marija berthed in Valletta with much needed food supplies for the starving island. It must not be nice to die in such situations.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Genealogy Art

Here are some genealogy-inspired art : basically its binary form and the heterosexual nature of reproduction which bears the next generation. Males are represented in blue, females in red.

The first is Banner, one that would flutter on the battle standard's lance ahead of a knightly regiment formation. In reality, one could put the emblem of his ancestors in place of each square.

Next is an inverted tree-like structure titled Invasion as it looks like an alien invasion.

This one, titled Son, looks like a solar depiction, with rays coming forth from the center - the individual whose ancestors ring around him with their parents right behind them.

This one, titled Related depicts individuals with their own aura of ancestry around them and how they share them with other individuals. Time is along the z-axis here, with the older invidiuals and their ancestors faded into the background.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Last 5 : A Visualisation

Here's a picture I made to demonstrate who are the five targets I wish to reach by next year to mark the Decade Milestone.

Along the bottom are the dates of birth of that generation, fanning out in semi-circles.
I also coloured it into three: the innermost semi-circle refers to those whom I have met in person, the middle semi-circle refers to those whose records can be acquired from the Public Registry, the outer white section refers to those ancestors whose records can only be acquired from their respective parish records.

As can now be clearly seen, the original six targets where evenly split between my paternal and maternal sides. Having found my maternal grandmother's maternal grandmother, Catherine Aquilina, we stand at 3-2.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One Down, Five To Go!

As I had listed in Decade Milestone , I have six great-great-great-grandmothers that I want to find by next year in time for the 10th anniversary of the beginning of my genealogical research.

I am happy to say that Target 6 has been found: Gratia Pisano from B'Kara.

Daughter of Joseph Pisani and Catherine Aquilina she was born on the 6th day of February 1854 with her given names being Gratia, Anna, Maria, Helena and her godparents being Michael and Gratia Micallef.

The archpriest of B'Kara is an acquaintance of mine (he was parish priest of my town, Zabbar) and he was kind enough to answer my request by email. Moreover, he also satisfied my second request: that of finding her parents' marriage.

Joseph Pisano son of Michael Pisano and Rosa wed Catherine Aquilina, daughter of Lawrence Aquilina and Maria Micallef, on 14th January 1805.

1805? The date looks strange... would they have a child 49 years into their marriage?? Also, I had erroneously looked up the B'Kara parish records in the years 1843 to 1845, and found no birth to a Joseph Pisano.

For now I will guess that the correct date of the marriage is 1850, not 1805 - whilst awaiting confirmation from the parish priest.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Future Genealogy: leaving a history to your children

No one can negate that genealogy is about family history, it's about the family. An extended family that transcends generations. It's about going back to meet the families which were instrumental in us becoming ourselves.

A major emotional aspect of genealogy is about being able to read, learn, think, about how our ancestors lived their own lives, their births, their marriages, their deaths... we can read hand-written records penned by people who lived, saw, talked to, our ancestors... how many a times did we feel like our ancestors were talking down to us across the generations? Or rather, how many times did we wish they could talk back and answer our questions? Instead, we try to search for hints and clues, newspaper reports, passport requests, memoirs, heirlooms, to try and find answers to our questions.

We cannot help facilitate this anymore than we can bring the dead back. But there's one thing we can do, make it easier for our future generations. Starting from your children. How many times did you wish to tell them a story, or explain a decision, or narrate an episode of your life? Think about old grandad telling stories to his grandchildren. But what if we will not be around when they are of age? What if we forget these episodes by the time we come to narrate them?

With these in mind, here's what I did about it: I made a couple of gmail accounts, one for each child of mine. Occasionally I write them an email, addressing them as adults, but talking about what is going on right now. Sometimes I include pictures, or attachments (such as the result of my son's first banging on the keyboard) to help the story. Now it will be my prerogative as to when to give them the password to the email account. I plan to give it to them on their 21st and 18th birthday respectively (there's a three year gap between them). Hoping that I'll still be alive by then. If not, I plan to leave hints as to the password, or leave it with a trustworthy relative.

I can send them an email from home while they are asleep, in breaks at work, from my mobile while travelling... anywhere.

I encourage you to take on this idea, and you too help your future generations know more about you.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

2nd cousins on 2nd cousins

The photo above shows Nathan and Jerome, second cousins, on their respective grandparents, Marthese and Paul, who are themselves second cousins. Karmenu Barbara, paternal grandfather to Nathan, and Catherine Micallef nee Barbara, maternal grandmother to Jerome, are siblings (brother and sister).
On the other hand, Marthese Barbara nee Vassallo, wife of Karmenu and paternal grandmother to Nathan is the niece of Teresa Micallef, shown on the far right in the picture below dated 1908. Her sister Grace, shown in the below photo to the left of the said Teresa, is the paternal grandmother of Paul Micallef, husband to the above Catherine, and maternal grandfather to Jerome.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Decade Milestone

2010 marks the first(!) decade of my genealogical research begun as a personal Millennium Project in 2000.

To this end, I wish to reach a milestone: having found all my ancestors back to the 6th Generation: that is up to my 3GGrandparents.

I am not far off: I have only 6GGrandmas to find, so here I set the targets that I want to reach:

TARGET 1: Mrs Borg
WIFE OF: Giuseppe Borg
MOTHER OF: Carmelo Borg born abt 1857 in Zebbug, Malta
PLAN A: Baptism record of Carmelo Borg from Zebbug
PLAN B: Marriage of Carmelo Borg to Maria Carmela Abela, probably in Zebbug

TARGET 2: Mrs Chirchop
WIFE OF: Giuseppe Chirchop
MOTHER OF: Salvatore Chirchop born about 1852 in Zebbug, Malta
PLAN A: Baptism record of Salvatore Chirchop from Zebbug
PLAN B: Marriage of Salvatore Chirchop to Nicholina Magri, probably in Zebbug

TARGET 3: Mrs Magri
WIFE OF: Saverio Magri
MOTHER OF: Nicholina Magri born abt 1862 in Siggiewi, Malta
PLAN A: Baptism record of Nicholina Magri from Siggiewi
PLAN B: Marriage of Salvatore Chirchop to Nicholina Magri, before 1894, probably in Zebbug

TARGET 4: Mrs Micallef
WIFE OF: Saverio Micallef
MOTHER OF: Carmelo Micallef born abt 1854 in Rabat, Malta
PLAN A: Baptism record of Carmelo Micallef from Rabat
PLAN B: Marriage of Carmelo Micallef to Teresa Galea in Rabat, or Dingli

TARGET 5: Mrs Galea
WIFE OF: Fedele Galea
MOTHER OF: Teresa Galea born abt 1862 in Rabat, Malta
PLAN A: Baptism record of Teresa Galea from Rabat
PLAN B: Marriage of Carmelo Micallef to Teresa Galea in Rabat, or Dingli

TARGET 6: Mrs Lisano or Pisano
WIFE OF: Giuseppe Lisano
MOTHER OF: Grazia Lisano born abt 1854 in Birkirkara
PLAN A: Baptism record of Grazia Lisano from Birkirkara
PLAN B: Marriage of Mariano Zammit to Grazia Pisano in Zebbug or Birkirkara

Looking at the above targets, once can notice that I minimally need to visit three places:
  1. Zebbug, Malta parish priest office for targets 1, 2, 3
  2. Rabat, Malta parish priest office for targets 4 and 5
  3. Birkirkara, Malta parish priest office for target 6

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Family Increases!

The certificates have arrived - and the family tree adds 7 new additions: four 4GGrandfathers and three 3GGrandparents.

This first record is the birth certificate of Teresa Aleta Carmela Anna Micallef, my maternal grandfather's mother, on 20 Sep 1894 to Carmelo Micallef and Teresa nee Galea who were 40 and 32 years of age at the time, placing their date of birth to circa 1854 and 1862 respectively. The newcomers are Saverio Micallef and Fedele Galea, their respective fathers and my 3GGrandfathers.

The second record is the birth certificate of Alphonse Paolo Daniele Vincenzo Vassallo, my 2 GGrandfather along my mother's paternal line, on 12 Aug 1876 to Nichola Vassallo and Evangelista nee Vassallo who were both 36 years of age at the time, placing their date of birth to circa 1840. The newcomers are Giuseppe Vassallo and Felice Vassallo, their respective fathers and my 4GGrandfathers.

The next record is the birth certificate of Paolo Vincenzo Crocefisso Mattia Zammit, my maternal grandmother's father, on 23 Feb 1895 to Mariano Zammit and Grazia nee Lisano who were 29 and 41 years at the time, placing Grazia's date of birth to circa 1854. The newcomer is her father Giuseppe Lisano, my 3 GGrandfather.

The last record is the birth certificate of the abovementioned Mariano Zammit, with his name in full being Mariano Gioacchino Angelo Antonio Zammit. He was born on 19 Dec 1865 to Giuseppe and Angela nee Micallef who were 39 and 38 years old at the time placing their date of birth at about 1826 and 1827 respectively. The newcomers are another Mariano Zammit and Antonio Micallef, my 4GGrandfathers.

At this point I have found all my male 3GGrandfathers with only six females remaining to complete my thirty-two 3GGrandfathers.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Having reached a dead end, and with 25 minutes to spare at the Zurrieq parish records, I set to research any other records that I needed from this parish.

Having returned to Malta, Antonio Barbara married and had a son Carmelo. This Carmelo married a Josephine Briffa, whose family was also from Zurrieq. A missing record that I required was the birth date and location of her greatgrandfather Vincentius Briffa - whose est. year of birth was 1752 based on his death record which estimated his age at 75 when he died in Zurrieq on 29 Feb 1828.

I started searching from 1752 working my way to earlier dates but I found no birth record of a Vincentius Briffa, nor of any other baptisms to the parents of Vincentius: Jacobo and Maria Briffa.

Then I started searching forward and found the following siblings to Vincentius:
  • Joannes Baptista Micael Joachinus BAPTISED ON 25 Feb 1753
  • Joannes Petrus Joseph Thomas BAPTISED ON 30 Mar 1754
  • Michael Angelus Joseph BAPTISED ON 17 Nov 1757
  • Michael Arcangelus Joseph Ignatius BAPTISED ON 28 Apr 1759
  • Feliciana Maria Teresa BAPTISED ON 26 Feb 1763

Having married in 1771, Vincentius couldn't have been born after Feliciana so I stopped searching there.

The clock struck six and the office had to close, so I laid down my tomes and walked away, determined to return again and scrutinise more closely the year 1750 to 1753 - as in my records, the marriage of Jacobo and Maria Briffa was on 4 Oct 1750 (which I will confirm first thing next time).

P.S. Much of the data I have here was acquired by Googling "Concepta Formosa" and finding this research made by my 5th cousins in Canada:

However I do make sure to confirm there data by looking them up in the parish records.

Today I googled "Concepta Formosa" again and found another tree available freely on, here:

From this site I gathered that Vincentius was born around June 1752, apart from the fact that he had two other brothers: Jose Giovanni Briffa born in 8 Jan 1756, and Franciscus Arcangelus Briffa born 5 Oct 1751. Did I miss them?? I'll make sure next time...

One Dead End

A week ago, in my post An Uncle in Bone?, I started a bypass search through a suspected uncle, Andrea Barbara because of an Andrea Barbara dying at 60yrs of age in Bone, Algeria in 1836, the same year Antonia Barbara died there. The only knowledge of Andrea was that his wife was called Maria Farrugia.

In Zurrieq, whilst searching for Antonia Barbara, I started finding baptisms of children born to a certain Andrea Barbara and his wife Maria - so I started a family profile in order to find their marriage and their conclude whether this Andrea Barbara in Zurrieq was an uncle of my ancestor Antonio Barbara, younger brother of the late Antonia Barbara.

So far I had found eight daughters for Andrea and Maria born in Zurrieq:
  • Francisca Aloysia Carmela Elisabeth Catherine Colomba Barbara BAPTISED ON 27 apr 1826
  • Gratia Modesta Rosa Barbara BAPTISED ON12 Apr 1824
  • Anna Francisca Joanna Barbara BAPTISED ON 12 Feb 1821
  • Antonina Maria Andreana Barbara BAPTISED ON 27 Jan 1820
  • Catharina Maria Gratia Barbara BAPTISED ON 28 Nov 1816
  • Consuela Catharina Christina Barbara BAPTISED ON 4 Aug 1814
  • Gratia Rosa Margherita Barbara BAPTISED ON 4 Jan 1812
  • Francisca Horatia Antonina Barbara BAPTISED ON 7 Feb 1810

Today I continued the search and more offspring came forth:

  • Veneranda Horatia Maria Barbara BAPTISED ON 20 Jul 1808
  • Horatia Veneranda Rosa Barbara BAPTISED ON 12 Jan 1806
  • Josepha Veneranda Caterina Anna Barbara BAPTISED ON 28 Nov 1802

For a total of ELEVEN DAUGHTERS. I did not have time to check if any died very young.

Having found no more baptisms to the couple for the prior 5 years, I went to look for their marriage and I found it:

On 10 Jan 1802, Maria Camilleri daughter of Micaelis and Gratia Camilleri was wed to Andrea Barbara son of Josephi and Vizulae Barbara.


  1. Andrea Barbara of Zurrieq was NOT Antonio's uncle
  2. Andrea Barbara of Zurrieq was NOT the same Andrea Barbara of Bone, Algeria, as his wife's surname is CAMILLERI, not FARRUGIA
  3. Andrea Barbara of Bone, Algeria COULD STILL be an uncle.

To further cement the fact that Antonio Barbara's father Giuseppe was NOT from Zurrieq, I did a 10 year search around the est year of his birth and found

  1. NO record of Giuseppe's birth
  2. NO record of a baptism to a BARBARA family

Thus my search has to resume elsewhere, as I said in my earlier post In search of Antonia, around Zurrieq.

P.S. As Giuseppe's mother is Caterina, Zejtun could be another place worth visiting...

Saturday, August 22, 2009


The certificates didn't make it today - I have to wait until Monday, hopefully!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Good News!

"Your order for certificates with reference #4808 has been processed and payment has been settled by the Public Registry. Your certificate copies have been sent by mail."

I'll spend the morning panting next to the letterbox tomorrow, awaiting the certificates!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Online request for Certificates from Public Registry

During your research you are prone to come across information which will be assimilated for later pondering and deductions. While trying to find more info for the Barbaras in Zurrieq and Bone, I learnt that 1863 is the earliest date for records available from the public registry. Also I was reminded that the full birth certificate gives the names of both grandfathers.

This thought came to mind while I was in the peadiatrician's waiting room. So I loaded up my genealogy programme and brought up a 5-generation ancestor chart.

I checked if I had any post-1862 births for which I could get a full certificate and discover more ancestors. On my father's side I had exhausted all possibilities, but on my mother's side I had some work to do: which was a positive thing as research had stalled horribly there - basically never started in earnest.

The first candidate was Alphonse Vassallo, born in 1876. So far I only had the names of his parents - and getting their fathers' names is a very important step. This is the paternal line of my mother - as much important as my own paternal line.

Next candidate was Maria Teresa Micallef, born in 1894, being my maternal grandfather's mother - just 3 generations away. Again I only knew her parents.

The other two candidates come from the paternal line of my maternal grandmother: her father Paolo Zammit born in 1895 whose maternal grandparents are as yet unknown, and his father Mariano Zammit born in 1865 of who only the parents were known as yet.

With EUR9.00 per certificate, this will cost me EUR36 but will excavate seven more ancestors from the as yet dormant maternal side of the research.

Watch this space for updates and fingers crossed (that the clerks at the Public Registry manage to find the records!)

Monday, August 17, 2009

An Uncle in Bone?

Whilst looking for the birth record of Antonia Barbara (see In search of Antonia) I came across the birth of a child in Zurrieq to a certain Andre Barbara and Maria.

Whilst revising the survey I had made of the Barbara records in Bone, Algeria I rediscovered the death of a certain Andre Barbara at the age of 60, whose wife was a certain Maria Farrugia. Is it a coincidence that, on the same year of Antonia's death , 1836, another Andre Barbara dies, with his and his wife's name cropping up in Zurrieq whilst searching for her death? Desperate times call for desperate measures: if he is an uncle, a brother to Antonia's father Giuseppe, then I can trace HIS family in Zurrieq. I had a look at his death record (Giuseppe's mentioned his father's and mother's name) but in Andre's case, they only mentioned his wife, Maria FARRUGIA.

So I had no choice but to head to Zurrieq. Wife and kid in tow, then deposited at the nearest park, I headed to the parish office where I was given access to the birth records of the 1830s. 

The plan of action was this:

  1. A family profile of Andre Barbara and his wife Maria
  2. Find the marriage record of Andre Barbara and his wife Maria
  3. Compare Andre's parents with those of Giuseppe (Antonio  and Caterina)
  4. IF the parents match
  • Find Andre's birth record
  • Look for Giuseppe's birth record in the whereabouts

I had 45 minutes to do all this... and in fact only managed to do the first (IF I have found all the offspring of the couple in question).

As I went through the births, I noted down ALL baptisms of Barbara offspring, irrelevant of their parents, just in case I'd need them in future. Here are my findings:

PARENTS: Andrea Barbara AND Antonia
NAME Carmelo Joseph Franciscus Barbara
BAPTISM 20 Feb 1833
NAME Archangelus Rosarius Joannes Cajetanus Barbara
BAPTISM 19 Dec 1828

NAME Anna Rosa Maria Barbara
BAPTISM 3 Jan 1828

PARENTS:  Marquis Francisco Barbara AND Carolina
NAME Heliodony Erasmus Inatius Antonius Paulus Franciscus Joseph Carolus Barbara
BAPTISM 26 Nov 1828 

PARENTS: Petro Barbara AND Maria
NAME Joanna Cajetana Paula Barbara
BAPTISM 19 Jan 1816 

PARENTS: Andrea Barbara AND Maria
NAME Francisca Aloysia Carmela Elisabeth Catherine Colomba Barbara
BAPTISM 27 apr 1826

NAME Antonius Joannes Paulus Barbara
BAPTISM 13 Jun 1825

NAME Gratia Modesta Rosa Barbara
BAPTISM 12 Apr 1824

NAME Anna Francisca Joanna Barbara
BAPTISM 12 Feb 1821

NAME Antonina Maria Andreana Barbara
BAPTISM 27 Jan 1820

NAME Catharina Maria Gratia Barbara
BAPTISM 28 Nov 1816

NAME Consuela Catharina Christina Barbara
BAPTISM 4 Aug 1814

NAME Gratia Rosa Margherita Barbara
BAPTISM 4 Jan 1812

NAME Francisca Horatia Antonina Barbara
BAPTISM 7 Feb 1810

That's EIGHT DAUGHTERS for Andre and Maria in 16 years - and counting.

I plan to go again this week to finish off the plan - unless Andre turns out to be someone else's uncle!

Monday, August 10, 2009

In search of Antonia

In my previous post, A surprise at the National Archives , I mentioned the discovery of an elder sister to Antonio, who died two years before his birth, at the tender age of 4.

Now this is actually a help to try to find the origins of the Barbara family (see Before Bone, Algeria ). Why? Whilst I have no idea of the year in which the couple was married, with Antonina's death at the age of four in 1836 I can retrace her birth date to 1832. So now rather than searching blindly for a marriage, I can search for a the birth of a specific Antonia Barbara to a couple Giuseppe Barbara and Rosa Vella in the year 1832.

Not having found any such record in Zurrieq, I started looking in the neighbouring towns.


Having recently discovered that an acquaintance of mine was a Barbara from Mqabba, I felt inclined to start my search from here.

From I found the opening hours of the parish priest's office for Mqabba, and today, Monday I drove there in the afternoon. The parish priest was a bit hesitant at first, but then was very helpful in trying to find such a record - but unfortunately to no avail.

Hal Safi

My next stop was Hal Safi. I had no internet access in my car so I just tried my luck - and lucky I was for I found the office open. The young parish priest was very helpful. The records can be very efficiently searched due to an index by surname and by year. The only Barbara baptism records in the 1800s were in 1800 and 1882 - so again the search was futile.


To make sure I did not miss the record in Zurrieq itself, my next and last stop for the day was in Zurrieq - again without checking beforehand whether the office would be open. For the second time that day I was lucky - but the office only had 5 minutes left. The Archpriest did me the kind favour to allow me to search - given I did not take too long. In those 5 minutes I confirmed that she was not born there.

Next Mission

Having covered Mqabba and Safi, next time I plan to visit Kirkop and Qrendi - the remaining two towns around Zurrieq...

A surprise at the National Archives

Note: Please make sure you read the previous post, Before Bone, Algeria, prior to reading this post.

So once again I went to the National Archives of Santu Spirtu, this time looking at naval records BEFORE the birth of Antonio Barbara in Bone, Algeria. I was looking for the journey of the couple Giuseppe Barbara and Rosa nee` Vella to Bone, Algeria. I searched through tomes and grimoires, even enlisting the help of my father - but it was all in vain.

I left the idea for a while...

Then I discovered that the National Archives held another source of information: the Passport Register. While the naval records would have contained information about lots of irrelevant stuff and people (I remember finding a record of a Mexican man landing in Malta), and possibly multiple times for the same person, especially crew, the Passport Register would have only one entry for Maltese persons requesting a passport - and to travel by ship, one would need a passport. This information was also better available: in PDF format, so I could search the records without damaging and old invaluable book. I had 80 pages to search in, and I found something 20 pages on.

I found a record of a certain Rosa Barbara requesting a passport, together with.... wait for it... her daughter Antonina Barbara! Apart from the absence of her husband, which would have gone there before his family, the existence of an elder sister for Antonio was a welcome news!

On my way back home I wondered what could have happened to Antonia. Would she have helped her mother raise her two younger brothers? Would she have returned with them back to Malta, or would she have found love, married and brought up family in Bone, Algeria - would there be descendents, relatives of ours, still living there? Would I be able to make contact?...

All this fizzled away when I rechecked the CAOM records and found out that she had died in 1836, before Tony's birth in 1837 and Antonio's birth in 1838 - they hadn't even met!

Antonia died at the tender age of 4 years. This made the stay of the Barbara family even more dramatic:

  • in 1836 the daughter Antonina dies
  • in 1837 the son Tony is born
  • in 1838 the son Antonio is born
  • in 1839 the father Giuseppe dies

Imagine Rosa's tragic life: going abroad with a daughter and husband, and returning back with only two sons...

Before Bone, Algeria

Earlier this year, specifically in my post entitled Tragedy and Happiness in Bona, Algeria I explained how the Barbara line had emigrated to Bone, and come back fatherless but with two more sons.

Now the quest was on to find out which town Giuseppe Barbara and Rosa nee` Vella came from. Since their son Antonio, on his return to Malta, married in Zurrieq, it was of course the first place to search - but alas with no result.

Actually there was a surprising result which felt like a slap in the face accompanied with dark laughter: I found there a copy of Antonio's baptism record from Bone, Algeria. And I had gone all that way to look for it when it was always there waiting for me!

Some careful thoughts ensued: where would a widow return to, with her two young sons? Would she return to her husband's home town, or to her own family? The latter being the most probable answer would mean that the wife Rosa was from Zurrieq but her husband no. As I was unable to find a marriage record of such a couple, I made an educated guess that Rosa was from Zurrieq, and the husband was from some other, hopefully neighbouring, town - and that they had married there. I could try to find a baptism record for Rosa Vella, but without knowing her parents (usually acquired from the marriage record) it would have been a wildly assuming and presumptious guess.

Where should I look for information as to where they are from?

In the meantime I was intrigued by the fact of being born in one country and getting married in another. I wanted to search for documentation of the journey and one interesting source of information came to mind: the naval records at the National Archives hosted at Santu Spirtu in Rabat, Malta. I had 23 years to search: Antonio was born in 1838 in Bone, Algeria and married in 1861 in Zurrieq, Malta. When I reached the Archives and told the clerk there of my intention, she remarked that I'd spend the whole summer there. I soon learnt why. She came back with three tomes (some 4 feet by 2 when closed) on a trolley - and they only covered the large part of a year. Each page contains details about the ship, its incoming crew, passengers, and cargo, as well as the outgoing crew, passengers and cargo. After looking through these three tomes I gave up... but it was not for nothing.

I realised that, on some occasions, next to the outgoing passengers was written the name of their hometown. What if I could find the record of Giuseppe and Rosa's OUTGOING journey to Bone, Algeria - and there find the name of their hometown?

Friday, May 22, 2009

A mystery solved - another emerges

In earlier this year I had explained the problem I was in and how I was to go about it.

Today, finally, I found the time to go to Attard parish church again, and started the family profile. My plan was to find out all the offspring having parents Laurentius Fenech and Gratia, and try to find out whether there were two couples or just one - possibly by finding some overlapping pregnancies.

I started by finding Rosa Maria Fenech's birth record again: 16 May 1694.

Then I found the marriage of Laurentius Fenech and Gratia Buhagiar: 13 Oct 1696

I started looking for siblings to Rosa Maria from 1694 onwards, and found:

8 Aug 1697 - Catarina Barbara Fenech
12 Oct 1699 - Maria Coranda Fenech
15 Sept 1702 - Porcha Fenech
13 Sept 1706 - Anna Hieronyma Fenech
19 June 1709 - Joanna Caterina Fenech
16 July 1711 - Jacobus Vincentius Fenech

Then I searched till 1721 but there were no more births.

It wasn't gonna be easy: there were no overlapping pregnancies.

So I searched for siblings BEFORE 1694. If, as I was assuming, they had a child born out of wedlock, it would be the one and only mistake... but I had to rethink my assumptions: I found FIVE more children born to the couple. They were, working backwards:

10 July 1690 - Angelica Fenech
11 Oct 1682 - Domenico Biagio Fenech
9 Nov 1681 - Joseph Fenech
18 Jan 1678 - Domenica Fenech
8 Dec 1674 - Maria Fenech

All born to a Laurentio Fenech et Gratia, coniug. (his wife). I searched as far back as 1660 but could not find any more births to the above couple.

In view of this fresh evidence, spanning a range of 37 years (1674 - 1711), it seems that there really were two couples with the same names, bath in succession, rather than in parallel - and Rosa Maria Fenech was one of the latter children of the elder couple.

With this in mind I set forth to search once more for the elusive marriage of Laurentio Fenech et Gratia, the real parents of Rosa Maria Fenech, my 7GGrandma. I had failed before, but maybe I had given up too early, starting, unknowingly, from the youngest of their children, rather than from their eldest - which is now known : Maria Fenech. So I started again, looking from 1674 backwards till 1662 but the search bore no fruit. I searched later than 1674 just in case fate wanted to have a laugh and have the couple really born children before getting married. But again I found no such record. It is true that in those years the parish registry is a bit tattered, with loose pages. There may have been some missing pages - but then the months are all there, so probably not. The couple were not married in Attard.

So, after all, the mystery of whether Rosa's parents married after her birth has been resolved, with a negative answer. There were two couples in Attard, with the same father's and mother's names. I still have a missing link as I have no details of Rosa's real parents' marriage - but at least I have cleared their name.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Tragedy and Happiness in Bona, Algeria

In an earlier post (Bona, Algeria), I discovered the birth record of my ggggrandfather Antonio Barbara in 1838 in the North African state, then under French possession, where I discovered his father's name: Giuseppe Barbara.

Back to the CAOM I had terrible news. There was the death of a Giuseppe Barbara in 1839 - just a year after Antonio's birth. Looking at the CAOM list there was no Barbara activity until some 8 years later, and the death of the father was an enough strong motivation for the mother to return with her son back to her native land,Malta. To try to prove the link, I asked my french connection to retreive the document of death for Giuseppe from Aix-en-Provence. She complied.

She also stated that she had discovered that Antonio had an elder brother Tony, who was born a year before him, in 1837.

Slowly I was getting a picture of the dramatic stay of the Barbara family in Bone, Algeria:
  • in 1837 the son Tony was born
  • in 1838 the son Antonio was born
  • in 1839 the father Giuseppe died

Knowing that at 19 years of age, Antonio had married and borne a son in Malta, I can only imagine the wife's (Rosa) journey back to Malta with her son(s) (I have no record of Tony Barbara in Malta, yet).