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Roots in Giumaglio, Switzerland

May 2017
Italian and Latin Names
Parish records, from which most of this information comes, is primarily written in Latin, while civil records are primarily written in Italian. Names that have only been observed in Latin but have either been converted to Italian or left in Latin are rendered in italics.

Giumaglio (Giumai)Top

Emblem of Giumaglio, Ticino, Switzerland

The ancestral home of our Cerini, Giornica Giumini, Marchese, Piezzi, Pozzi, Sartori, and Scamoni families is the town of Giumaglio in the Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland. In Ticinese dialect it is known as Giumai. Giumaglio lies in Valle Maggia, one of the three main river valleys of Ticino. Giumaglio at one time was a municipality with a population that peaked at 413 in 1850. By the end of the century, the population declined to 232 and has hovered just above 200 ever since (up through 2003, according to Wikipedia). In 2004 the municipality was incorporated into the nearby municipality of Maggia.

In April 2013, I began researching parish records of Giumaglio. Because this little community has only 12 main families (Adami, Bonetti, Cerini/Cerinói, Gaspari/Gasparri, Gasparini, Giumini/Giümítt, Lesina/Lèsna, Marchese, Pedrotti/Padrött, Piezzi, Pozzi/Pozzítt and Sartori), all are intricately intertwined to the point that our family's blood lines connect to 6 of them, so far, I decided to reconstruct the entire parish. Beyond Giumaglio, these families also intermarried with families up and down the valley: Broglio (De Bernardi), Riveo/Someo (Coirata, Tognini, and Tognazzini), Coglio (Ferari, Lafranchi and Guglielmetti), and Avegno (Zamarone/Zamaroni), to name a few.

Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Giumaglio
Church of Santa Maria Assunta
(Sancta Maria Gratiarum),
Giumaglio, 1986

Parish Records

The parish of Giumaglio was formed in 1671 from the mother church at Maggia.[Signorelli 325] The parish records of Giumaglio and the Church of Santa Maria Assunta (in Latin as Sancta Maria Gratiarum), cover baptisms (1668-1899), confirmations (1677-1776), marriages (1671-1899), deaths (1668-1899), and church censuses (stato d'anime) (1692-1843).

Throughout most of this time the parishes of the valley had been under the Diocese of Como, in Italy, until the new federal government of the restored Swiss Confederation unilaterally abolished the diocese's jurisdiction in 1859. Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) eventually responded by appointing the Bishop of Basel, in Switzerland, as administrator Apostolic over the parishes of Ticino in a nominal Diocese of Lugano in 1888. Such an administrator ran the parishes of Ticino until 1971 when a formal Diocese of Lugano with its own bishop was finally established.

Pastors of the Parish of GiumaglioTop

Fathers Giovanni Giacomo Pozzi and Pietro Giacomo Pozzi (1668-1696)

Father Pietro Giacomo Pozzi started the baptism registry book in 1668, a couple years before the parish was formally established in 1671, having formed from the mother church at Maggia.[Signorelli 325] Father Pozzi served as vicar of the parish for at least 28 years until his death on November 15, 1696. He also attended Father Giovanni Giacomo Pozzi, whom he also identified as vicar of the parish, at his death on April 9, 1694, at the age of 75. Father Giovanni Giacomo Pozzi had not been mentioned in any records prior. Any relationship between the two is unknown.

During Father Pietro Giacomo Pozzi's tenure, the parish birth rate grew in the 1670s and 1680s with a peak of 20 births in 1678. This number was only subsequently approached by 19 in 1708 and again in 1846.

In 1677, Giovanni Ambrogio Torriano, Bishop of Como (1666–1679), visited the valley and conducted confirmation ceremonies. Half the parish (100 parishioners) of Giumaglio traveled south to Maggia on May 22 to be confirmed by him and then the remaining half (76 parishioners) traveled north to Someo on the 31st. Contrary to modern practice, this even included infants as young as two months. Six years later, Carlo Ciceri, the succeeding Bishop of Como (1680-1694), visited the valley in June 1683 and similarly conducted confirmation ceremonies at the parishes of Maggia and Someo. Of the 17 children confirmed all but one were born after Bishop Torriano's visit and their ages ranged from 9 months to 8 years.

Father Pozzi also witnessed the deadliest year in the parish, with 25 parishioners dying in 1686, 15 of whom died in the 11 weeks spanning March 20 to May 28. All but two were the age of 9 or younger. Such a number of deaths was only approached in 1700, with 23 deaths, and 1709, with 21.

In 1692 Father Pozzi compiled the first parish census which recorded 313 residents and 70 households (by my count).

Fathers Bettetini, Vaccini, and Mella (1696-1704)

Father Antonio Maria Bettetini of Ascona served as pastor and vicar of the parish from December 1696 through October 1702. In 1698 he recorded 68 households and "about 304" residents in a parish census. The total number of residents and houesholds dropped by 3% over the 6 years since the previous census.

Father Bettetini also oversaw a year when 23 parishioners died in 1700. Ten of them died between March 25 and April 20, with seven in a single week, and of them, four on April 18--all children. Such a annual number of deaths was not seen until 1709 when 21 died.

Father Giuseppe Maria Vachinus (Vaccini), also of Ascona, served as vicar of the parish from December 1702 through the first half of 1703. He recorded "about 62 families" (60 households by my count) with "about 266" residents in 1703, which represents another drop of about 13% in population and 9% in the number of households over the 5 years since the 1698 census.

Father Giovanni Antonio Mella of Onsernone served as vicar from August 1703 through April 1704.

Father Baldassare Maria Franzoni (1704-1718)

Father Baldassare Maria Franzoni of Cevio was first noted as the vicar of Someo as early as July 1702 and afterward as vicar and rector of Giumaglio for 14 years from July 1704 through the end of 1718. There was a small gap of at least three baptisms records in his first year for infants who died in their first year. Their deaths were recorded.

Father Franzoni conducted a parish census in 1709 and recorded "about 57 families" (56 households by my count) with "about 227 residents." This represents a drop of about 15% in population and 7% in the number of households over the previous 6 years. During this decline there was a spike in 1708 to 19 births--second only to 20 births in 1678 and to only be matched again in 1846. This spike was immediately followed the next year by 21 deaths among the parishioners, with 6 dying in the winter of 1708-1709 and a stretch of 14 deaths from May to October 1709, 8 of whom were children under the age of 10.

Father Franzoni likely died around 1719.

Fathers Pozzi, Grassi, Vedova, and Broggini (1719-1725)

The years 1718 to 1720 were particularly hard in the parish. 42 parishioners died, including a malady that took nine lives (only one of which was an infant) in the 8 weeks between July 29 and September 22, 1719.

Father Giovanni Battista Pozzi) (1685-1731) was a native of Giumaglio and the son of Giovanni and Giovanna (Cerini) Pozzi.[Bap 1685] In 1707 he was noted once as a a cleric under Father Franzoni in Giumaglio and served with him at least through 1710. Father Pozzi had become the Vicar of the Chiesa di Santi Placido ed Eustachio in Someo by April 1717 and substituted on occassion for Father Franzoni until Franzoni's apparent death around 1719. After Franzoni's death, Father Pozzi filled in as vicar and rector in July and August 1719 until Father Giovanni Battista Grassi (Grassus) of Mosogno, Valle Onsernone, took over as vicar of the parish for a year from August 1719 until August 1720. Father Pozzi served as rector and vicar of Someo through at least June 1726.

During the transition, Giuseppe Olgiati, Bishop of Como (1710-1735), visited the valley and conducted confirmation ceremonies for 16 parish children at Maggia on June 12, 1719. Most of the children were between the ages of 5 and 12.

Father Pozzi returned after Father Grassi's departure and doubled as the vicar of Someo and temporary vicar of Giumaglio from September through November 1720. Later, apparently after returning full time to Someo, Father Pozzi died on January 5, 1731, and was buried at the Church of Santa Maria Assunta. He was "about 45 years" old.

Father Giovanni Giacomo Vedova (signed all baptism records except for his first two in the Latin form "Vidua") served as vicar of the parish for three and a half years from December 1720 until about August 1724. During two of Father Vedova's absences and after his departure, Father Carlo Giuseppe Coraggionus (Coraggini?), the Vicar of Coglio, filled in.

Father Remigio Broggini served as vicar for about one year from November 1724 until about October 1725.

Father Giovanni Angelo Broggini (1726-1747)

Father Giovanni Angelo Broggini (Broggino) served as vicar and rector of the parish for nearly 20 years from January 1726 until at least February 1747. His relationship to his predecessor, Father Remigio Broggini, is unknown. He conducted a parish census in 1741 and counted "about 40 families" (37 households by my count) with 193 residents. This showed a drop of about 15% in population and 33% in the number of households over the previous 32 years.

August 2014Father Broggini's records were often sparse on details (omitting the names of the fathers of children's parents and godparents in baptism records and not recording the deaths of children under the age of about 16, the age of communion), but became more thorough and consistent following a visit by archbishop (whose name is only partially legible) on June 23, 1741, which interestingly was either recorded or endorsed by the Reverend Dom. Cancellario Dominicus Antonius Calzonio, Broggini's future successor. However, while the baptism records improved thereafter in their thoroughness, death records in Broggini's handwriting ended a month later. At some point, Father Calzonio either took over recording the death records on Broggini's behalf or began back entering the records, but often without full details.

August 2014During Father Broggini's tenure, strings of unspecified maladies struck the parish nearly each year (generally in the winter) between 1742 and 1744. Five adults died between October 22 and December 1, 1742; and four or five adults, three beyond the age of 60, died between January 24 and March 3, 1744.

Father Domenico Antonio Calzonio (1747-1767)

Father Domenico Antonio Calzonio of Auressio served the parish for 20 years from about January 1747. He was officially elected as the rector on Saturday, April 8, 1747, and had served with Father Broggino in the parish as a cancellario (secretary) since as early as 1741. Father Calzonio served as rector and vicar until his death on January 23, 1767, at the age of about 52 years.

Father Calzonio recorded two parish censuses in 1748 and 1760. The first enumerated about 44 households and the second 39 households (41 by my count). Giovanni Battista Albrici, Count Peregrini, Bishop of Como (1760-1764), held confirmation ceremonies for parishes in the valley at the Church of Santi Placido ed Eustachio in Someo, 2 kilometers upriver, on June 16 and 17, 1761. He confirmed 55 parishioners betweeen the ages of 18 and 8 weeks.

June 2014 During his tenure, strings of unspecified maladies struck the parish nearly each year (generally in the winter) between 1749 and 1767. These maladies took 4 adults between December 1749 and January 1750; 3 adults and 3 children between July and October 1753; 7 adults between February and April 1754; 3 adults in October and November 1755; 3 infants in the month of January 1756; 6 parishioners between February and April 1758; 10 (6 of whom were infants) between November 1758 and March 1759; 3 adults in the month of March 1762 and 11 parishioners between December 1762 and March 1763; and 3 parishioners in January 1767, the last of whom was Father Calzonio himself.

Father Giovanni Battista Pozzi, vicar and rector of the neighboring Church of Santa Maria del Carmelo in Coglio, substituted on several occasions during Father Calzonio's tenure, dating back to 1753, and tended Father Calzonio at his death, after which he doubled as pastor for the rest of the winter of 1767 until replaced in the spring. Father Pozzi substituted a few times afterward through at least 1777. Father Pozzi was also the brother of Notaio Don Rodolfo Maria Pozzi.

Father Giacomo Filipponi (1767-1784)

Father Giacomo Filipponi (Philipponi) (Jr.), of Gordevio, about 8 kilometers downriver from Giumaglio, served as pastor for nearly 17 years from May 1767 until his death on March 29, 1784, at about the age of 62. During his tenure, strings of unspecified maladies struck the parish nearly each year between 1762 and 1783. These maladies took three parishioners in January 1767 (including predecessor Father Calzonio) and 11 between December 1767 and April 1768; three in November 1769; four between March and May 1771, three in April and May 1772, three in January and February 1773, and eight between July and September 1774; three in January and February 1777; six between December 1778 and April 1779 and three in November and December 1780; three in April and May 1782, five beteween September and November 1782, and another four parishioners in August and September 1783.

Early during Filipponi's tenure, Giambattista Muggiasca, Bishop of Como (1765-1789), held confirmation ceremonies for parishes in the valley in late July 1769. Thirty-six parish children between the ages of 7 weeks and 7 years were confirmed, most at the Church of Santi Placido ed Eustachio in Someo on Saturday, July 29. Two were confirmed the day prior at Maggia, four on the same day at Coglio, and one on the day after at Cevio. Bishop Muggiasca returned to the valley 7 years later and conducted confirmations for 20 young parishioners between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 years. Most were held at the Church of Santi Giacomo e Filippo in Gordevio, on Tuesday, July 30, 1776, with 3 held 2 days later at the Church of San Giovanni Battista in Cevio.

Father Filipponi was succeeded by Father Ludovico Orelli as a delegated vicar (Vice Parochus delegatus) from April to November 1784.

Father Giovanni Antonio Calzonio (1784-1826)

Father Giovanni Antonio Calzonio, whose relationship to the earlier Domenico Antonio Calzonio of Auressio is unknown, may be the one who, 17 years earlier (1766), was named as the godfather of Maria Clementina Bonetti. This Giovanni Antonio was a cleric and the son of Giovanni Calzonio of Auressio in Valle Onsernone.

Father Calzonio was first noted as rector of the church and performed one baptism on behalf of Father Orelli in June 1784. Later that year he became pastor and served for 42 years, including the Napoleonic Era. Original records during Father Calzonio's tenure are inexplicably unavailable with the exception of one death record in December 1784 and the parish censuses of 1795 and 1817. The censuses enumerated 31 households (4 Cerini households), in 1795 and 41 (including 6 Cerini households) and 244 residents in 1817.

Father Francesco Vacchini, Pastor and Rector of the Church of Santa Maria del Carmelo in neighboring Coglio, was delegated to substitute for Father Calzonio and tend to the parish of Giumaglio. He performed a baptism, marriage, and last rites in February and March 1806. Later that same year Father Pietro Giuseppe Terribilini became pastor of the church and Protonotary Apostolic. In addition to performing the usual rites and recording them, he set about transcribing numerous records from Father Calzonio's earlier tenure from 1785 to 1806. The completeness of these records are in doubt. For example back entries of death records from that time frame are only for adults. Nonetheles these records reflect about 5 baptisms per year from 1785-1808.

Interestingly, 1808 was also the year that Emperor Napoleon ordered a census of all male residents, regardless of age. In this census, 87 males among 34 households were recorded. 90 females were also counted for a total of 177 residents. After September 1808 baptism and death records ceased until after Father Calzonio's death on February 18, 1826. His death was the first to be recorded in 1826 on the same page that Father Terribilini left off on 17 years earlier. Father Calzonio was said to be about 82 years old.

Father Giovanni Giacomo Antognini (1826-1876)

Father Giovanni Giacomo Antognini of Gambarogno served as vicar and rector of the parish from May 1826 for nearly 50 years until his death at his parish residence on June 17, 1876. Upon taking office, Father Antognini noted in the marriage book that the cause of the gap (from 1808 to 1826) was unknown. During his tenure baptisms numbered around 13 per year in 1830s and 1840s. The population was 335 in 1843 and rose to its peak of 413 in 1850, but thereafter began to decline as emigration increased. Baptisms in the 1850s and 1860s averaged around 8. Father Lorenzo Rizzoli, of the neighboring parish of Coglio, who had previously filled in for Father Antognini once in July 1872, officiated at Father Antognini's funeral and substituted at the parish through 1879. During this time (since at least 1863), the average number of baptisms held at about 8 per year.

October 2013Another figure who frequenly appears in the marriage records is Father Giovanni Roggero, Commissarius Apostolicus, in Locarno (perhaps at the Collegiata di San Vittore il Moro). In this capacity he granted dispensations to couples who had a canonical impediment to their marriage (most frequently consanguinity--blood relations) from 1843 through 1882. Over time his title evolved from Commissarius Canonicus Theologius (1843-1845) and Commissarius Apostolicus e Canonicus (1845-1846) to Commissarius Apostolicus (1846-1882) and Protonotary Apostolic (1857-1861). Throughout most of this time (1843-1865) he operated in conjunction with the Holy Nunciature Apostolic at the Church of St. Leodegar in Lucerne, the leading Catholic city in north-central Switzerland.

November 2016The Gold Rushes in California (1849) and Australia (1851) prompted a wave of emigration, especially between 1853 and 1863. The birth rate in Giumaglio dropped to about a third of that of the previous decade.

Fathers Anzini, Pedrazzini, Padlina, and Maggini

February 2017Father Agostino Anzini took over the parish of Giumaglio by March 1880 until 1887; and, beginning by April 1883, he also concurrently took over the parish of Coglio. During this time, emigration accelerated and the average number of baptisms dropped to about three per year. Father Riccardo Pedrazzini took over by May 1887 and served the next three years until at least July 1890. He also doubled as "vicinior" for the neighboring parishes of Coglio and Someo during the same time frame. Spiritual Deacon Antonio Padlina subsequently took over the parish by February 1891. He also doubled as vicinior of Coglio, became vicar by March 1897, and was apparently ordained as a full priest in May 1898. He served seven years through August 1898. Lastly, Father Giosuè Maggini, Prior of Maggia, doubled as vicinior delegate of Coglio and Giumaglio by October 1898 and served through at least March 1903. 232 residents of Giumaglio were enumerated in 1900.

Father Serafino Turri

April 2017Father Serafino Turri became vicar of Coglio and Giumaglio (he often hyphenated the parishes as "Coglio-Giumaglio") by November 1905.

Notai and Dons of GiumaglioTop

The office of notaio (notary) was responsible for noncontentious, private civil law issues. Notaries were well educated and prepared legal instruments for conveying property, contracts, powers of attorney, and such. Their position merited the honorific of "Don" (Dominus/Domino/Domini), as did those of military leaders and doctors.

Giovanni Giacomo Pozzi (< 1669-1694)

January 2015

Don Giovanni Giacomo Pozzi, Notaio, was born about 1627 and died on August 26, 1694. He was named as a notaio going back at least as far as 1669. So far he is only known to have had one daughter, Maria Maddalana (Pozzi), and an adopted daughter, Cecilia, who died at the age of 2.

A comtemporary of the don with the same name was Doctor Giovanni Giacomo Pozzi (~1647-1680). His wife was Maria Parinoni (~1649-1701) of Someo and their son was Don Giacomo Pietro Pozzi, who was the doctor of Giuamaglio.

Carlo Antonio Pozzi (< 1685-1700)

November 2014

Don Doctor Carlo Antonio Pozzi was born in the late 1650s or early 1660s and possibly the son of Doctor Giovanni Giacomo Pozzi (~1647-1680). He married Giovanna Cerini but did not have any children who lived to the parish census of 1692. Carlo was first recorded with the honorific of Don and as as a doctor in 1685. He died on February 15, 1700, reported to be at about the age of 45.

Giacomo Pietro Pozzi (1700-~1718)

Don Giacomo Pietro Pozzi (1678-~1718) was a medical surgeon and the son of Doctor Giovanni Giacomo Pozzi. Giacomo Pietro likely succeeded Don Carlo Antonio Pozzi in late 1699 or early 1700. He commissioned the construction of a chapel bearing the inscription "Petrvs Jacobvs Pvtevs Chirvrgvs Jvmalij" ("Pietro Giacomo Pozzi, Surgeon [of] Giumaglio"). Don Pozzi died between 1718 and 1719.

Giovanni Giumini (<1721-~1732)

Giumini Coat of Arms
Giumini Coat of Arms

Don Giovanni Giumini (1691-1732) served as notaio in Giumaglio. He was first noted with the honorific "Don" in 1721[Dth 1721] and commissioned a chapel, the Capèla di Giumitt, which was built in 1721 across the Maggia river to the west of town. The chapel bears his coat of arms.

Don Giumini apparently succeeded Don Pozzi, whose only surviving son, Baldassare (1704-1747), was about 14 years old at the time of his death.

Rodolfo Maria Pozzi (<1741-~1771)

Don Rodolfo Maria Pozzi (1720-1771) was a third generation notaio from the neighboring village of Coglio. His father was Don Giovanni Francesco Pozzi (1688-~1734) and his grandfather was Don Giovanni Pozzi (1618-1696). While the previous dons of Giumaglio had been native to Giumaglio, Rodolfo was not. Why Rodolfo took over as don rather than Baldassare Pozzi, the only son and apparent heir of Don Giacomo Pietro Pozzi, is unclear. In 1741 Rodolfo was enumerated first in the parish, as single, age 21, and with a live-in maid. Rodolfo married a Guimaglio native in June 1741 and started a family. When his father died in 1747, Rodolfo apparently succeeded his father and became notaio of both Giumaglio and Coglio. He officially became patrizia of Giumaglio around 1750. By 1758, Don Pozzi became chancellor of Giumaglio and Coglio.

Rodolfo's elder brother, Father Giovanni Battista Pozzi (1712-1782), was vicar and rector of the Church of Santa Maria del Carmelo in Coglio from 1745 to 1782.

Carlo Antonio Pozzi (<1787-1796)

Don Carlo Antonio Pozzi (1757-1796), son of Don Rodolfo Maria Pozzi, above, was first noted as a "don" in 1787 in parish records in Coglio, but likely succeeded his father who died in 1771. According to Filippini, he lived in Mannheim (which just prior to that time had been home to the royal court of the County Palatine of the Rhine (Pfalzgrafschaft bei Rhein)) for five years either studying or doing business. After he returned home he served as notary (notaio), lieutenant of the bailiff, interpreter, and ultimately as chancellor.[Filippini]