Italian Wives Listed as â€œMoglieâ€
For those who are researching their Italian ancestry, here’s a little something I recently discovered. On passenger manifests, many times a wife’s surname is written as “moglie.” The Italian word “moglie” means “wife” in English.
For example, my ancestor Ciriaco Fierrimonte and his wife, Maria, departed Naples for New York aboard the â€œEmsâ€ in 1893. His name appears on the manifest as “Fierrimonte Ciriaco” and, on the line directly below, Maria’s name appears as “moglie Maria” [wife Maria]. Looking for Maria Fierrimonte, of course, came up with no results, but I knew she came to the U.S. in 1893 aboard the â€œEmsâ€ and I found her when I looked for her husband, Ciriaco Fierrimonte. When I saw how she was listed, I decided to do a search on “moglie.” Wow! There certainly are a whole lot of moglies.
Also, in Italy the custom (although not adhered to so strenuously anymore) is that women retain their “maiden” surnames when they marry. Using the same example, Maria could have been listed just as easily as “Annecchiarico Maria” on the manifest. I have found some of my female ancestors by searching on their “maiden” surname rather than their husband’s surname. In fact, my own grandmother retained her maiden name when she married her first husband. When she married my granddad, she took his name. (I guess by that time she had become enough of an American to adopt that particular American custom.) Since the husband and wife often came to the U.S. at different times, it’s not unusual to find him alone on one passenger manifest and her and the children on a different manifest, so I search on every surname that seems reasonable, which now includes “moglie.”
Finding Wandering Brothers
I started my family research work after reaching retirement age, and all I had to start with was the few stories I remembered from my early years. I was the oldest one in the family, and there was no one to ask questions.
My grandfather, William Green Williams, and his only known sibling, Elijah, were known to do things together. They left Missouri for Texas in the mid 1880s. I needed to find them as boys, but where in Missouri? After searching all of Williams names in the 1870 Missouri census for a month, I finally found the right family. I was lucky to have known his brother’s name and their approximate ages. I learned later that I could have found the family faster just by using Soundex.
This lead to my contact with the Missouri Williams family that talked of William Green and Elijah building their houseboat and putting it on the Mississippi River, bound for Texas, never to be heard from again. (Actually, they made trips back to Missouri but no one had records of it.)
May K. Williams
[AWJ Editorâ€™s Note: At Ancestry, you can enable Soundex searches by de-selecting the â€œExact matches onlyâ€ box. With the Advanced Search, you can enable and disable Soundex searches for first names and/or last names and allow close matches on all fields by selecting or de-selecting the â€œExactâ€ box.]
Use Care With Birthplaces on Census
I ran into problems while looking at the 1920 census for my some of my families. The census taker put Ohio for the state that they were from, when in fact they were living in Ohio County, Kentucky.
In researching my Kincade/Cole families who were from Connecticut and Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky, while I am sure that they did make brief stops in Ohio, none were born there.
My advice is to take a look around in other states that are talked about in family lore. And donâ€™t always believe what the census taker put down.
Connie Poole Hurley
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