A few days before Christmas, a gentleman in Calitri gave me a wonderful Christmas gift. He sent me a spreadsheet document listing matrimoni (marriages) that occurred in Calitri from 1765 to 1801. He spent every Saturday morning the past year in the Canonica of Chiesa di San Canio (Church of St. Canio) pouring over the ancient church registers, deciphering old Italian script and transcribing each marriage.
In the span of 36 years, 1,548 marriages took place. I’ve spent the last two weeks entering information from this spreadsheet into my family tree program, which in itself is a painstaking task. Thanks to this information, I was able to break down a couple of brick walls in my family tree. For example, my great-great-great-great grandmother, Caterina Grasso, was born sometime in 1774 in Bisaccia, a neighboring town of Calitri. She married Canio Vincenzo Maria Gervasi around 1793, presumably in Bisaccia, and lived the rest of her life in Calitri. I knew her parents were Nicola Grasso and Rosa Ricciardi from Caterina’s death record, which I discovered about a decade ago. I wanted to go back further on that line but my letters to Bisaccia went unanswered. While scanning the spreadsheet, I was thrilled to discover that Caterina’s parents married in Calitri in 1772 and that her mother, Rosa, was from Calitri. I also learned that Nicola’s father was Angelo and that Rosa was the daughter of Giuseppe Ricciardi and Giovanna Di Muro. It appears that Nicola took his wife back to his hometown of Bisaccia after they married and raised their family there. When their daughters, Caterina and Camilla, were old enough, Rosa made arrangements to marry them off to Calitrani men – Caterina to Canio Gervasi and Camilla to Giuseppe Cicoira.
If any of you who have ancestors from Calitri would like information on your ancestors, let me know. Out of respect for the person who sent this, I cannot share the spreadsheet document with anyone as he asked me not to, but I can send you your family tree. He has to get permission from the local Bishop first to publish this information and so far, the Bishop has blatantly ignored his request.