In the fall of 2000, my mom and I spent three weeks in Italy together. We had a wonderful time. While we were camped out in Venice, we took a day trip up to Bannia, the village where her father (we called him Babbo) was born. I am forever grateful to the Giuseppina Facca, who recently passed away, and her daughter Daniela having us picked up at the Pordenone train station and driven around Bannia. We were able to meet some Bertolo relatives, one of whom bore a strking resemblance to Babbo.
Mom said Babbo had told her that when he was a boy, he used to sit under the fig tree beside the church in Bannia. He never returned to Italy after emigrating in 1913. But we went to see if the tree still stood. We didn't see the tree, our Bertolo cousin told us it stood where the village war memorial is now. But it was sure worth the trip.
What we did find was a history of the parish, SS. Perpetua e Felicita di Bannia, which had been written by the parish priest, Stefano Battiston. The book includes an 1895 census of the parish, Statistica della popolazione di bannia al 1 gennajo 1895. Like many old censuses, it only gives the names of the head of the household, plus the number of males and females living there. As a parish census, it also shows how many in the household had received the sacraments of Communion, Confirmation and Marriage. There were 194 families in Bannia in 1895, with a total of 1,374 people. I won't copy the census without the permission of Don Stefanno, but here's a summary of the family names in Bannia at the time:
(family name: number of households in Bannia in 1895)
Dal Tio: 2
Da Re: 1
Del Bianco: 1
De Lorenzi: 2
Mio detto Parussolo: 1
Mio detto Tesolin: 3
Do you have roots in Bannia? Please let me know if you'd like me to look up more info on your ancestors from this census.
If you are from Sault Ste. Marie, you will recognize many of those surnames, particularly Bertolo, Candido, Caligari, Chiarot, Fabbro, Facca, Marson, Mio, Muzzin and Zuccatto. One of the research projects I would like to take on is to figure out who was the first man from Bannia to come to Sault Ste. Marie. In our family, I believe it was Mino Bertolo, brother to my great-grandfather. I don't know if he was the first from Bannia, but I do know, from looking at Ellis Island records over the years that an awful lot of citizens of Bannia headed to Sault Ste. Marie to join their "brother Mino Bertolo," "uncle Mino Bertolo," or "friend Mino Bertolo."
Do you know who was the first from Bannia in the Sault?
P.S. In a future post, I'll share more information about the civil records from Bannia (and the rest of Fiume Veneto) that are available on microfilm through the LDS Family History Centres. They are really tough to read, but thrilling too. Within minutes of scanning one of the three films I ordered I found Uncle Frank's birth registration and Ernesta Candido's too (her maiden name was Bertolo). More on that later!