Friday, April 20, 2018

Using the Corippo Parish Register

We know from his naturalisation papers that Giuseppe Scettrini (my great-great grandfather) came from the village of Corippo in the Canton of Ticino, Switzerland. And from his marriage and death register entries, we know that his parents were Giovanni Scettrini, and Giovanini (Johanna) Maria Scilacci, and that he was born around 1835.

Corippo is found in Valle Verzasca. The nearest larger town to Corippo is Locarno.

Back in the 1990s when I was researching more about Giuseppe’s ancestors in Corippo, I was able to order the microfilm for the Corippo Parish Registers in to my local Mormon Family History Centre. The film number was 1751127. This film had not previously been ordered by anyone in New Zealand, and it was brought into the country for me. I remain grateful to the Mormon Church for this service.

The parish church in Corippo is named Sancta Maria Virgine de Monte Carmelli (Blessed Mary Virgin of Mt Carmel).

The parish registers in Corippo at the time were all written in Latin.  I had reason to be appreciative of the three years I had studied Latin in high school to School Certificate level, as it enabled me to translate a lot of the important details.

One of the treasures of this register, was that entries commonly named the father of those named. So for instance, when Giuseppe was baptised, each of his parents were named, but so also were the names of the fathers of each of his parents. This clue to the names of 'three generations' made it much easier to trace entries back with more confidence.

The family name is spelled Scettrini in Italian, but in Latin in the parish registers, it appears as Scitrini when in the nominative case. However, one of the characteristics of Latin is that endings alter depending on the ‘case’ of the noun. Thus it appears as Scitrino in the genitive case, eg when someone is the daughter of someone else.

The register was not always easy to read. The handwriting of some priests was more legible than others. Additionally, the entries varied in length and detail according to the priest of the time. (Sometimes there was considerable detail about such things as the degree of consanguinity that I didn’t try to translate.)

There were so many Scettrini families in Corippo at the time, that sometimes our line was called Scettrini-Benada, or even just Benada.

At times family members descended to a pasturage area, Vira Gambarogno, nearer the lake, Lago Maggiore. This meant that occasionally I could not find the entry for a direct ancestor I was trying to find.

I constructed some family group sheets as well as I could. However, then I had some truly fortunate contact with a man called Rae Codoni who hailed from California. Rae had done extensive research into his Codoni ancestors from Corippo. (We worked our that I am a half fifth cousin with his daughter Anne, the half being because of a remarriage.) I was very glad to be able to compare my draft findings with his, and am truly grateful for all the information he so generously shared with me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"Family" Stamps

One of the things I enjoy most about tracing my family history is finding out more about the places my ancestors came from, and maybe understanding a bit about what it was like living there. And sometimes there are little 'place' treats along the way.

In the very early days when I was working out who my great-grandparents were, I was sent this stamp by Maurice Payn. It represents a "Payn" family coat of arms from Jersey in the Channel Islands.

And someone sent me this stamp that represents Corippo in Ticino, Switzerland, where my Scettrini family came from. (I think it might have been a young German friend of a friend who visited there and sent me some photos.) It was a Swiss stamp that was issued 19 February, 1985.

The stamp gives you a bit of an idea how beautiful this mountain village is. I hope to revisit it once more in a year or so- maybe 2020...

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Fr John Riordan

Again, I am in debt to the Papers Past website for information about my family's past. This time I am grateful for more things I have been able to learn about my great-uncle, John Riordan, who died in 1925 while serving as Parish Priest in Ross on the West Coast.


In the early 1990s when I was starting to collect genealogy information about my family, I wrote to the Christchurch Diocesan Archives to find out more about Fr John Riordan. A lovely kind priest, Fr K J Clark, was interested to find out more about some of these former priests himself. He contacted the priest in Hokitika to see if someone could check The Guardian, the Hokitika newspaper, and I was sent notes taken from that paper about Fr John's dying and funeral, as well as his obituary.

Time has moved on since then, and a lot more from past newspapers can be easily retrieved online, (though still not from The Guardian in Hokitika it seems.) Some of these old newspaper treasures give such an intimate look at a person from the past. And so it has been with Fr John Riordan.

When he was ordained he served first in Ahaura parish, and though he was not there for long before  he went to Ross, it seems that fond memories of him were still held. This account - Ahaura Notes- appeared in the NZ Tablet on 6 May 1925.

May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Riordan/Narbey line

I have been looking at the Canterbury Riordan info I have, prior to the NZSG conference which will be held in Christchurch at Queen's Birthday weekend.

Patrick Joseph Riordan (my great-uncle), was the third child born to Patrick Riordan and Mary Burke in 1886. In 1911, he married Mary Philomena Narbey (born in Akaroa) at the Catholic Church in Darfield. Patrick Joseph and Mary Philomena had six children: a son, Patrick Alphonsus, and five daughters, Mary Patricia (Molly), Thecla Philomena, Ursula Veronica, Colleen Cecelia and Aileen Winifred.

Patrick Joseph died in 1944 and is buried at the Broadfield-Shand’s Rd Cemetery along with his wife, Mary Philomena, who is buried in the same plot. Bridget Ryan, Patrick’s sister, is buried nearby.

I do not have a ‘confirmed’ photo of Patrick Joseph, but there is a possibility... Perhaps someone in Patrick's direct line, or someone descended from a Narbey line, might be able to shed some light on this photo.


This photograph, from the HH Clifford collection of Canterbury Museum, is labelled “Mr R J Riordan, bridal couple, c 1911.” I have searched and was unable to find any R J Riordan, nor his wedding in 1911. This man ‘looks’ like  one of our Riordans to me! I suspect- but have not proven- that this is a photo of Patrick Joseph Riordan and Mary Philomena Narbey on their wedding day.

Anyone who has any further info about this photo, I would love to hear from you!

PS: For comparison- this is a photo of my grandfather, Martin, -Patrick's brother. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

How do we know?- Scettrini in Corippo

Joseph Scettrini seated in middle, in Kumara.
 I have been following the ancestral trail of Giuseppe Scettrini in Switzerland for quite some time now. Somehow early on I learned he was from Corippo in Ticino. I am not sure how I 'knew' this- but it must have formed part of the family story passed down somehow. However, recently, I have had someone from Australia tell me we are wrong- the name is really Scattini- perhaps from another village entirely.

So I had to see what kind of 'paper trail' there was for Corippo being the correct place of origin for my Scettrini. I have a copy of Giuseppe's marriage and death register entries. In both it just says he comes from Switzerland. But in both it also names his parents- with spelling variants as always!- as John Scetrini and Giovanini Scilaci.

I began looking through other papers I had, and quite clearly in his naturalisation papers there it was. In 1883, when Giuseppe applied for naturalisation, it is quite clearly written that he was born in Corippo, in the Canton of Ticino, Switzerland.


And back in the parish register in Corippo, his baptism is clearly recorded in Latin- in 1835, as the first born child to Giovanni Scettrini and Maria Johanna Scillaci. See this post.
Corippo, in springtime



Sunday, January 21, 2018

Payn-Wallace wedding

How I love Papers Past! I am currently going through all the info I have about Frank Payn and Johanna Scettrini's family, and tidying it all up in neat folders both on the computer and into paper files. Mostly I only have a small amount of info about each of their children but it still takes time.

Next job is to store it all online somehow but I am being so indecisive about what to use. I find Google Docs so cumbersome- not sure about DropBox- and have never really got to proper grips with iCloud. One day...

Every so often I get bored with being neat and tidy, and I delve into Papers Past to find something new...

While I was tidying all my info about Elizabeth Payn, the third child of Frank and Johanna, a little Papers Past delving led me to this wonderful account of her marriage.
 This account was published in the West Coast Times on 7 February 1912. From it we learn that Elizabeth Payn married Mr Kenneth Wallace of Hokitika on February 5th 1912 at Holy Trinity Church. We are told Elizabeth was the second daughter, and was given away by her father. Her sister Mary was her bridesmaid. There were toasts held at the bride's parents residence after the ceremony, and in the evening bride and groom left for their future home in Hokitika. 

One of the other useful features of the Papers Past website is that it is now easy to get the full reference details to an excerpt- and I (usually!) remember to screenshot them, so here they are. 
Someone - I think it was Freda, descended from the Kate Payn (Olsen) line- sent me this wonderful photo of the Wallace family.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Joseph (Giuseppe) Scettrini


Joseph (Giuseppe) SCETTRINI

On September 20, 1834, John, son of Joseph Abondi Scitrini, and Maria Johanna, daughter of  Gugliermus Scilacci, were married at the Church of the Blessed Mary Virgin of Mt Carmel, in Corippo, Canton of Ticino, Southern Switzerland.

From Corippo parish register- via microfilm at Mormon FHC.
A year later, on the ninth of September, 1835, their infant son, Joseph, was baptised at the same church.
From microfilm of Corippo parish register, 1835,- with my translation.
               Joseph was one of many young men who left Corippo where there were many hardships, and he found his way to the goldfields in Victoria. In 1864 he was married at St Kilian's, Bendigo, to a young Irish woman named Catherine Heneberry. He described himself then as a 29 year old bachelor, resident at Sailor's Gully.
             
Their first child, Johanna, was born at Sandhurst on 29 December 1865,  and their second child, John, was born at Eaglehawk in 1867.
           
It wasn't long before the family moved across the Tasman to the West Coast goldfields, and settled first at Waimea, near the Big Dam, during the Goldsborough rush. Johanna is known to have gone to the school there.  At least four children were born at Waimea: the first was MaryAnne in December 1869, and the last seems to be Joseph Beneda, born in May 1876.           
The family is next known to be living at Kumara, where Joseph lived for the rest of his days in a house on Boundary Road. 
 
On 21 March, 1883, Joseph applied for naturalisation. He was described as a goldminer,  45 years old, who had been living in the colony of New Zealand for 15 years.
           
On 6 January, 1887, Catherine Heneberry died, leaving Joseph a widower with eleven living children (nine of them girls), ranging in age from two to twenty-one. He never re-married.
                            
In September of 1890, Joseph discovered gold in a swampy area near Whiskey Creek, and a small rush occurred. He applied for a 6 acre claim and had constructed a 30ft tunnel. A newspaper reporter on Sept 15, 1890, found only one person working on the prospector's claim (assumed to be his son) and states that "I understand that Scetterini is not well at present and is consequently not working." He continues later: "I think we should all be desirous of rewarding a prospector and the storekeepers who had the courage to back him, for months, and though I consider six acres rather too large a slice for a very small party of men, I think the area should be in proportion to the labour expended.” 
Mr Seddon gave notice in Parliament on Sept 16, 1890, that this rush had occurred, and named the prospector as J. Sceterini. He sought Government aid to improve the access track.
Joseph is believed to have buried some of his gold, but when his section was dug up after his death, none was found. 
           
At the family reunion in 1992, Elizabeth Payn's wedding photograph from 1912 was reproduced on the front page of The Greymouth Evening Star. It shows Joseph Scettrini seated in the front row, complete with walking stick and large white beard.
 
           
Joseph lived until 4 October 1928, when he died, at 94 years of age, at his daughter's residence in Boundary Rd, Kumara. He was survived by seven children and thirty grandchildren. His obituary says: "Deceased followed alluvial mining practically all his life, and was for some time employed on Government Roads in and about Kumara. He was one of Kumara's oldest identities, as well as being one of the longest lived of Kumara's citizens."  


Note on SPELLING of Joseph Scettrini's name.

Joseph's original first name in Italian was Giuseppe. On the Latin baptismal entry it is written as josephus. The original spelling in Italian (in Corippo) of the surname is SCETTRINI, though on the Latin Church entries it appears as scitrini.

The surname is OFTEN misspelled, and when searching for information about the family in indexes, it is necessary to think quite laterally!  Some of the variations in spelling that I have detected include Scetrini, Sectrini, Scetrina, Seitrina, Sechini, Seitrino, Scetrim, Setrini, Citrini.