My Genealogy

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?