My Genealogy

Friday, November 30, 2012

Across the Globe and Back in Time to Unravel the Mystery of Pietro's Ancestry PART TWO

Ok, so after a good night's sleep, we're up to face the mystery of history again..

*Think* about it:
Pietro's mother is listed as Gioanella
Domenico and Antonella marry in Qrendi
Pietro is from Qrendi
His mother is Nella...
too much of a coincidence?
We'll see.

First port of call is the parish priest of Qrendi.

Dear Rev. Mifsud,
According to my records, my 12th great-grandpa PIETRO BARBARA was married in Qrendi to a MARGARITA AQUILINA on 9th August 1622.
I would greatly appreciate if, at your convenience, you could check out the names of their PARENTS from your parish marriage records please.
Many thanks in advance.

Jonathan Barbara
To which the reply, within a couple of hours, was a negative:
Good morning Jonathan,

According to the marriage registry betwen 1620 and 1626 there was not the marriage you are referring to

Fr Mario

Hmm. A blank. Then the marriage was registered at a notary, and not at the church of Qrendi.

My only other option is to ask a friend of mine at geneanum.
You wouldn't have the snapshot of the original record that you can share with me, would you please?

Here's the reply:

Mat. 9 Agosto 1622 di Margherita Aquilina figlia di Mariano ed Imperia del Siggiewi e Pietro Barbara figlio del qdm Mro Domenico e Nella del Crendi.

Marriage 9th August 1622 of Margerita Aquilina daughter of Mariano and Imperia of Siggiewi and Pietro Barbara son of the late Mro Domenico and Nella of Qrendi.

Now that's saying a lot in very little: the mother is not listed as Gioanella, but just Nella.

Next, we look up the notary records and find the testament left by Mro Domenico Barbara and his wife Antonella Cassar.

- Domenico's father is listed as Nicola Barbara (GREAT!)
- Domenico's heir is his wife Antonella Camilleri
- Antonella's heirs... are the following;

- Domenica wife of Demetrio PACE,
- Marietta wife of Giuseppe CARUANA
- Caterina wife of Consalvo BUTTIGIEG,
- Barbara wife of Lorenzo XERRI,
- Natale 
- Clemenza wife of Vittorio CAMILLERI
- Paola, widow of Antonio BUTTIGIEG and wife of Vittorio CASSIA
- Sevastulla wife of Mariano/Damiano CASSAR of Birchircara
- and Pietro, all children of the said Antonella.

THAT'S IT! Amongst her children are her two sons: Natale and Pietro Barbara.

This confirms that our Pietro Barbara is her son, and Natale, the guy we found in the Malta Genealogy website is his brother! .. (beats me where that PACE surname cropped up!)

So our search is over! And the top of Teresa's family tree now looks like this:


Across the Globe and Back in Time to Unravel the Mystery of Pietro's Ancestry PART ONE

It's Wednesday night and I'm connected via Skype with my newly found cousin in Michigan USA, Teresa. We both have a copy of her family tree as reported by a Maltese genealogist and at the top she has the elusive Pietro Barbara and his mysterious wife Margarita.

So we're looking at the notary records as per geneanum and we find the entry related to the marriage of Domenico Barbara with Maria Farrugia that we found in the Malta Diocese archives in the last post of this blog. Domenico's details has the name of his parents:

Pietro Mro x 1622 fils de Domenico et Gioannella PACE.

So his father is Mro Pietro Barbara, who got married in 1622, and who is the son of Domenico BARBARA and Gioannella PACE. Thus we have gone one generation upwards from the reported family tree my cousin has. GREAT!

Then we look at his mother's details, and apart from confirming her name as Margarita, we also have her surname: AQUILINA. GREAT!

Onto the details of the bride: Epouse veuve de Mario Cilia. This confirms my earlier blog's  transcription of the entry in the parish records: Maria is a widow of the late Mario Cilia. But here we also get her parents' names: Mro Giuseppe FARRUGIA and Giovanna (Sorry no surname there!). Lots of Mro around... I wonder if that's a Maestro as in Musical Composer or some other social status at the time - anyone has any idea about this? Please share!

Knowing the year of marriage for Pietro (1622) we go further up in the notary records to find HIS marriage now. His father's name is confirmed: Mro Domenico BARBARA, whilst his mother's name gives us further information: Gioanella dite Nella. Meaning Gioanella known as Nella.

Looking at his bride, we learn something more beyond her surname: her parents' names: Mariano AQUILINA and Imperia FORMOSA who got married in 1578 in Siggiewi. GREAT!

However our journey came to an end, as there was no marriage listed for a Domenico BARBARA and a Gioanella PACE.


That 'Gioanella dite Nella' was taunting me. I looked up the marriages of a Domenico BARBARA before the date of marriage of Pietro BARBARA. And the search bears the fruit of a marriage in Qrendi between a Mro Domenico BARBARA and an Antonella CAMILLERI.

Let me say that again.

between a Mro Domenico Barbara and an AntoNELLA Camilleri.

You see what I did there?

That's another NELLA!

So the mother could be not a GioaNELLA pace but an AntoNELLA Camilleri.  Of course the only way we can confirm that is if we have some record of either Pietro Barbara's marriage or his birth but he is from Qrendi and the records of Qrendi are not online at the Malta Diocese Archives...

On another line of thought... further up in the notary records, we find the marriage of a Natale Barbara, son of Mro Domenico Barbara and Antonella Camilleri in 1619. On the Malta Genealogy website this was listed as

2.1. Mro Natale (Pietro) Barbara, married 1619 Qormi to Margherita Ciantar, , with issue.

Thus Natale and Pietro were being deemed to be the same person, but we know that Pietro Barbara married in 1622 to a Margarita AQUILINA. So this is definitely not right, but this Natale chap is interesting...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Barbara + Farrugia : 1652

In searching for the elusive Pietro Barbara, we start from his son's marriage in 1652. A search through the Malta Diocese Archives brings forth this record:

Maria & Domenico

Die 14 di luglio 1652 ___ Salvatore Muscat Parrochia ___ fatta la ___ denunzazione in questa mia Parrochia e nella Parrochia di Casal Crendi ___ __ __ del matrimonio da __trattarsi ___ di presente ___ Maria vedova ____ del qdm Marco Cilia miei parrochiani, et Domenico Barbara figlio di Pietro Barbara et Margarita iugali di Casal Crendi et no ______ ____ impedimento alcuno (hanno ___ ____) ho celebrato il lor matrimonio in forma comanda la ___ madre Chiesa, testimoni Stephano Mallia et Thomaso Bonnici.

Maria  & Domenico

Day 14 of July 1652. Parish priest Salvatore Muscat having denounced in my parish and in the parish of Qrendi of the matrimony of the present Maria, widow of the late Marco Cilia, my parishoners and Domenico Barbara son of Pietro Barbara and Margarita his wife of Casal Qrendi and no impediment detected I celebrated their matrimony in the form ordered by the Mother Church with witnesses Stephano Mallia and Thomaso Bonnici

So from this record we learn that Maria was already married to Marco Cilia but widowed. Thus we do not get her surname or father's name here. The genealogist who produced the tree would have either sourced the record of her original marriage or maybe she is listed in the marriage record of her son with Domenico, Grazio Barbara, married 1687 in Porto Salvo Valletta.

What we also learn is that Pietro and Margarita were from Qrendi, close to Zurrieq, and any search for him should happen there. Unfortunately, the parish records of Qrendi are not online at the archives...

Back to the Tree

I went to my ancestry briefcase and searched for the letter I had received from Sharon Barbara from Michigan, USA. Given the acquaintance of her niece in my previous post I wanted to bring it back to my attention. And indeed here it is.

It lists all the Barbara marriages from 1893 back up to 1652, when the parents are listed as Pietro Barbara and Margarita. Apparently the genealogist was unable to trace this marriage and did not continue further up.

However, on another family tree up on I found that someone went further up to 1550s:
The quest is on to seek the elusive Pietro Barbara...

Barbara, Michigan, USA

I happened to log in to, in order to install the app onto my android smart phone, and I realised that I had some messages in my inbox. One of them went on the lines of....

Hello, I think that we might have a common ancestor. My great-grandfather was from Malta (XXX Barbara). His family owned an olive oil business in Sfax, Tunisia, where he was actually born. My aunts have visited Malta and really enjoyed it there. I have several names in my Barbara line. I would love to connect.

Dated 20 January 2012. I read it on 25th November 2012. WHOOPS! I sent an apologetic email and immediately got a reply. Turned out I had communicated with her aunt some 8 years back, and she had sent me a copy of her surname pedigree but I had not had any links there yet. I gave her niece a link to my blog and a couple of links to the online diocese archives and sent them to her by mail. Then after a few email exchanges, she sent me:

Jon, I think we are distantly related!! I checked it out, and Ancestry says that Giuseppe Barbara (born 1789) was my 4th great-grand-uncle. I am descended from his brother, Ignazio. Their father Antonio was my 5th great-grandfather. He was married to Catarina. I have names and marriage dates going back to 1550 for the Barbara line. Check out my tree and compare it with yours... I think we're distant cousins  

I couldn't beleive my eyes.

In my earlier post, Continuing the Journey, I had shown a crisis point when the records in Bona, Algeria, said that the mother was named Catarina whilst the marriage record I had found back in Malta listed Rosa as the mother. And here I find a Catarina for Antonio, apart from a sixth cousin!  

Some more research in the pipeline!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Continuing the Journey...

It's been a while since I explored my Barbara line, last seen in the Casal Bisbuti area.

Since this week the Maltese Diocese has surprised us all with the online publication of a good chunk of church records (see here), it is a great opportunity to catch up with some lost threads.

Let's do a quick recap. Evidence currently in hand is summarised hereunder.

Date: 14 Nov 1839
Place: Bone, ALGERIA
Age: 50 years
Description: Catholic, born in Malta
Parents: BARBARA Antonio and Catarina

Date: 22 Jan 1838
Place: Bone, ALGERIA
Father: Giuseppe BARBARA , aged 44 years, native of Malta, daily worker
Mother: Rosa VELLA, aged 36 years, native of Malta

Date: 11 Feb 1837
Place: Bone, ALGERIA
Father: Giuseppe BARBARA , aged 42 years, native of Malta, fisherman
Mother: Rosa VELLA, aged 32 years, native of Malta

Date: 19 Aug 1836
Place: Bone, ALGERIA
Age: 4 years
Father: BARBARA Giuseppe, 40 years old
Mother: BARBARA Rosa, 32 years old

Date: 1835
Applicants: ROSA BARBARA and her daughter ANTONINA

Date: 13 Jun 1820
Place: Zejtun, MALTA
Groom: Josepho BARBARA
Bride: Rosa VELLA
Groom parents: Antonij BARBARA & Rosa GRIXTI
Bride parents: late Josephi VELLA and Maria ZAMMIT

Date:7 Dec 1804
Place: Zejtun, MALTA
Father: Josephi VELLA
Mother: Maria

Now, some inconsistencies.
1) The reported age of Giuseppe BARBARA is inconsistent throughout, aging TWO years in ONE year between the death of his daughter and the births of his sons - but then aging SIX years in ONE year to his death.
2) The reported age of Giuseppe BARBARA and Rosa BARBARA nee VELLA is inconsistent throughout, with Rosa not aging a year and then aging FOUR in TWO years. The birth record of Rosa VELLA fits with her reported age in the death record of her daughter in 1836.
3) At his death, Giuseppe's mother's name is listed as CATARINA, whilst in the marriage of 1820 it's listed as ROSA. To note that the patron saint of Zejtun is St Catherine. Could it be a reference to his birth town, rather than his mother?

The issue at hand here is whether the couple married in Zejtun on 13 Jun 1820 are the same couple who sired my GGGGrandpa in Algeria on 22 Jan 1838. Whilst their names and surnames match, and likewise the name of the groom's father, the name of his mother does not. Also, so far I have been unable to find a daughter named Antonina born to the Zejtun couple on 1832 - this would cement the link.

There are two actions that I am now considering:
1) A family profile of the Zejtun couple - basically scouring the baptism records from their marriage date onwards and trace any offspring they had, together with the death records in case of infant deaths. If quite a number of offspring survive, it will be difficult for the mother to just emigrate to Algeria with just one daughter. Also, if any births are attributed to the couple after 1835, then there would be two concurrent couples: one living in Zejtun and one in Algeria, and the Zejtun couple would not be my ancestors.
2) Look for the baptism of Antonina Barbara in 1832 in other parishes - and thereafter trace a marriage between a Giuseppe BARBARA, son of Antonio BARBARA and Rosa VELLA in that parish - in which case they would be my true ancestors.

To work. To long, laborious work. From my study at home, at least, thanks to the Malta Diocese online archives!

The Family Profile returned the following results:
There were two baptisms of children born to Giuseppe BARBARA and his wife Rosa:
1823 BARBARA Franciscus Joseph ex Josephi Barbara et Rosa
1826 BARBARA Maria Josepha Angela Rosa ex Josepho Barbara et Rosa

There were NO MORE births thereafer, up till 1840.
It would be possible if the couple no longer lived in Zejtun.

No results in searching for Antonina's birth record whereabouts of 1832 neither in Zejtun nor in Ghaxaq and Zurrieq.

I found the following births in Ghaxaq (Asciak) records, but they are unrelated as the mother's surname is Mizzi.

BARBARA Fortunata ex Joseph et Rosa Mizzi in 1830
BARBARA Cajetano ex Joseph et Rosa Mizzi in 1835