My Genealogy

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

23rd June 1963 - Purchase of the Land

We now look at the contract dated 23rd June 1963 within which my now late grandfather Antonio bought the share of the field known as tal-Katina. It is also the source of the family tree sketch drawn by my father in the Spark.

Listed are the following, referred to as the Barbara siblings.
- Leonardo, a farmer, father of Antonio Barbara listed below, and husband to Clara Grixti, Antonio's mother
- Marianna, wife of Leonardo Camilleri, son of the late Francesco Camilleri and Concetta nee Zammit
- Francesca, widow of Giovanni Zammit
- Giovanna, wife of Policarpio Abdilla, son of the late Giuseppe Abdilla and Giovanna Rosa nee Camilleri
- Rosa, widow of Antonio Camilleri

The above are listed as being the children of the late Carmelo Barbara nd Giuseppa nee Briffa of Zurrieq.

These are the sellers, selling to the buyer, Antonio Barbara son of Leonardo Barbara and Clara nee` Grixti.

The sale is of 1/2 of 5/6 of the field known as tal-Katina, for the sum of Lm25.

The document goes on to explain how this property came to their possession: each one had 1/6 (thus the 5/6) of one half of this field (thus 1/2 of 5/6) through the inheritance from their father Carmelo Barbara (who died on the 15th of July 1942) and Giuseppa nee Briffa (who died on the 21 October 1930) with wills dated 2nd November 1920 and 8th July 1936 from the notary Francesco Farrugia.

So, let's recapitulate.

Carmelo and Giuseppa Barbara owned 1/2 of this field.
This was split between their six children, each receiving one sixth.
Antonio Barbara, son of one of these children, bought the shares of five of these children, thus getting 5/6 of 1/2 of the field, or 1/2 of 5/6 as written in the text, thus 5/12 of the whole field - almost half, except for the missing sibling's share.

In a letter written by my father's lawyer to the person to which the field was tenured, the share is written as 1/2 of 5/6 of the field, agreeing with the above.

So the fraction of 5/24 claimed in the causa mortis seems to be an incorrect calculation, itself in conflict with the stated purchase of 1/2 of 5/6 in the same document.(EDIT: Probably the 5/24 is 1/2 of 5/12 as he had bought this when he was married to Nicholina nee Borg, so the other half belongs to her).

Two more things need to be found: who owns the other half, and who owns the missing 1/6. Who is the missing sixth sibling?

A possible source for this information will be the records of the tenures paid in the past, which will fall under our scrutiny in the coming days...

Redemption of Sufferance

Before we look at the purchase of the field, a glance at the document regarding the redemption of the due mass of sufferance indicates that a payment of Lm20, so 50 times the annual fee due for the mass in sufferance of Carmelo and Carmela Mamo was paid by Antonio Barbara to the Zurrieq Parish Church. The document also states that this annual fee had been paid annually since prior the year 1900. This occured on the 1st of November 1964.

Causa Mortis : Antonio Barbara

I shall start from a very recent but important document: the causa mortis (succession) document of my paternal grandfather who deceased on 7th March 2000 AD, with the document being compiled on the 5th of June 2000AD which lists my father and his surviving four siblings as their heirs. This document is important as it summarises the inheritance through my grandfather and thus provides documentation to explain how this inheritance came about. Of interest is the field known as tal-Katina, l/o Qrendi.

The document explains how Antonio, my late grandfather, owned 5/24 of this field which approximates to 20.8 % of the field, which has an area of 17,840 metres squared (so roughly, 3716.667 metres squared). It is also explained that this field, in its totality, is rented to third parties for Lm4 (EUR9.32) per year.

The document then explains how this came to be owned by Antonio: On the 23rd of June 1963 he bought one half of five sixths (1/2 of 5/6 == 5/12) whilst he was married to his wife Nicholina nee Borg. Then he subsequently redeemed from the parish church of Zurrieq the perpetual due of holy mass to the worth of 8 shillings on the 1st of November 1964.

Ok, hold it.

How did Antonio own 5/24 when he had bought 5/12? Why half? Is it because the other half belongs to his wife? I think not, as the description before this statement states that at the time of his death, Antonio owned the following which belong to the communcal acquisitions existing between him and his late wife. So the ownership of the 5/24 includes that of his wife.


So a look at the original document wherein the purchase was made beckons...

In the footsteps of my father and of his father...

It is with a mixture of great trepidation, and of great anxiety, that I delve into that part of family history which initiated my interest in genealogy. Anxiety as, as with all genealogical research, unearthing the past, especially one's personal past, is always an exciting and rewarding experience. Trepidation as I know that my father had already gone this way, and gave up on it a couple of years back.

As briefly explained in The Spark, the passing away of my paternal grandfather landed an inheritance of part of a field in the lap of my father, who had to trace the owners and the third parties who were working the land. To explain this he had drawn out a small family tree which had spurred my interest in genealogy, as explained in that article.

I have now in my possession the details that my father received, as well as those that he uncovered over the ten years since he was trusted with its care and follow up by his four siblings. It is through inherited responsability, and through personal interest that I dare walk back into the past and read documents relating the details of such inheritance. I also have the original document from which the family tree sketched by father was extracted.

I was tempted to start a separate blog for this, but given its close links to my research and itself being an attempt to understand past documents and infer information, I beleive it still falls within the remits of this blog.