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Origins of
the Coniglio Family

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        The earliest known ancestors of this line of the Coniglio family included the Montalto, Messina, Butera, Calabrese, and Burgio families. Filippo Coniglio was born in the early 1700s in the village of Serradifalco (originally Serra del Falcone: which means Mountain of the Hawk), in the province of Caltanissetta, Sicilia (Sicily), Italia (Italy).   Filippo married Vincenza Ricotta.  Their son Don Pasquale Domenico Coniglio, born 4 August 1837, married Rosa Volpe, and one of their sons was the first known Gaetano Coniglio of the line, born in about 1770.  He married Giuseppa Montalto and they produced a son, Raimondo Coniglio, born in about 1801.

         In 1830, Raimondo married Maria Messina in Serradifalco. Raimondo and Maria had several children, including a son Gaetano.   All were born in Serradifalco Gaetano, born 27 February 1836, married Maria Carmela Calabrese, daughter of Felice Calabrese and Maria Burgio.  Their seventh son was Gaetano Coniglio, born 26 April 1889, father of Angelo F. Coniglio. To see that Gaetano's ancestors, CLICK HERE, to see his descendants, CLICK HERE.

       The village of Serradifalco is a small 'Comune' in central Sicily, in the Province of Caltanissetta.   The pronunciation of the town's name in the Sicilian language is Serradifarcu (sair-uh-dee-FAR-koo).   It is not far from the provincial capital, the City of Caltanissetta, originally called by the Romans 'Castrum Niciai' (Fort of Nicia) after the Carthaginian invader, admiral Nicia. Its 12th-century Saracen occupiers then called  it 'Qalat al Nisaà' (the fort of women).  Today, a local nickname for the city is 'Nissa'.

        As early as about 1400 AD, the area known as 'Serra del Falcone' was a vast feudal "fief", or holding, of the Spanish noble family Moncada.  The last Moncada to own the fief in which the town of Serradifalco was eventually founded was Guglielmo Raimondo Moncada VI, a direct descendant of El Cid, the legendary champion of Spain. 

          The Grifeo family acquired the fiefdom in 1617, and the incorporated Comune (town) of Serradifalco was founded in 1640 by Baron Francesco Grifeo.  Since he was only five years old at the time, the license was granted by King Felipe III of Spain, to Grifeo's grandmother and guardian, Donna Maria Sarzana-Ventimiglia.  Just twelve years later, in 1652, the fief and town were acquired by Baron Leonardo Lo Faso Pietrasanta of Palermo, who was later named Duke of Serradifalco.  Many peasant legends whirl around the town's name.   One of these, recounted by the inhabitants of the "Falbaccaro" district, tells of a fabled falcon or hawk that lived in the cliffs during the time of the Moncada princes.   Serradifalco's coat of arms, showing a hawk, is reproduced above.   Like mainland Europe, Sicily once had a feudal system, with Baroni (Barons), Duci (Dukes), Signori (Lords), and Cavaliere (Knights); and many Sicilian families have "noble" origins.  Most, however, came from peasant stock, and it was generally they who emigrated to America and elsewhere, seeking a better life.

         In 1836, Serradifalco's Duke Domenico Lo Faso Pietrasanta was the  first president of Sicily's Commission of Antiquities and Fine Arts.   He was a public benefactor who sponsored the excavation and preservation of Sicilian historical sites like the temple of Castor and Pollux in
AgrigentoThat year, sculptor Valerio Villareale and archaeologist Francesco Saverio Cavallari unearthed and re-erected three ancient fluted Greek Doric columns there, by order of the Duke of Serradifalco.  He was also a reknowned archaeological historian and library curator, who produced the first modern archaeological map of Sicily.   In professional circles, he was called simply "Serradifalco".   During the "Rivoluzione Federale", a period of political upheaval in Italy, Serradifalco helped preserve Sicilian history by sending books on archaeology and architecture to the Library of Palermo for safekeeping.  Domenico died in Florence in 1863, at the age of ninety.

         For centuries, Serradifalco was a center of natural, cultural and economic upheaval, with earthquakes and famines in the 1600's, followed by the death throes of feudalism in the 1700's, cholera epidemics in the early 1800's, with the century ending in revolution and emerging socialism, which fermented the beginnings of the Mafia in the early twentieth century.  The contadini (peasant farmers) and zolfatai (sulfur miners), the presumptive heirs of the peons and vassals of the feudal society, were the poorest and most persecuted segment of the population.   In 1912, the miners were outspoken advocates for social change and against the Mafia.  About that time. the Coniglios and others began emigrating to the new world.   Somehow, "going to America for a better life" doesn't fully express the despair they felt for their homeland, nor the hope they envisioned over the horizon.

         The town that they left behind still has its original layout, with ancient streets now called Via Roma, Corso Garibaldi, Via Crucillà, etc.   It is about 1,600 feet above sea level, in central Sicily, in an area rich in minerals and ores.  The patron saint of Serradifalco is San Leonardo Abate (St. Leonard the Abbot).  A French nobleman-turned-monk, he is also known as the patron saint of prisoners of war, expectant mothers, and those in danger from brigands, robbers, and thieves.  He died on November 6th in the year 559.    His official church feast day is November 6, but the town celebrates his festival each year on the second Sunday of August (it's much warmer then!). 

         Serradifalco is a small country village, but there are some local attractions:

         the Chiesa Madre (Mother Church of S. Leonardo) completed in 1678, with a gilded statue of San Leonardo, sculpted by Giancarlo Viviano in 1661.  The church also claims a relic, a nail from the cross at Calvary;

the Palazzo Ducale, or Ducal Palace, on the Via Duca di Serradifalco;

          Lago Soprano
(Soprano Lake, also called "Cuba"), a migratory fowl preserve with unique hydrology.   It was formed only within the past hundred years, and has no surface streams flowing in or out; and

          in the
Grottadacqua district, a Micenean necropolis with prehistoric Sicanian domed tombs.


Raimondo Coniglio (b. 1806, d. ?) Married Maria Messina (b. 1813, d. ?)
Father: Gaetano Coniglio, Mother: Giuseppa Montalto              Father: Luciano Messina, Mother: Maria Butera

Gaetano Coniglio (b. 2/27/1836, d. ?) Married Maria Carmela Calabrese (b. 4/11/1843, d. ?)
Father: Raimondo Coniglio, Mother: Maria Messina                     Father: Felice Calabrese, Mother: Maria Burgio

Antonio Coniglio
(b. 5/11/1873 - d. 3/3/1944)

Photo ~ 1940
Giuseppe Coniglio
(b. 9/8/1879 - d. 12/21/1964)

Photo ~ 1916
Gaetano Coniglio
(b. 4/26/1889 - d. 7/4/1944)

Photo ~ 1938

Also six other children
of Gaetano & Carmela:


Married 1/19/1901
[1] Antonina Andolina
(b. 10/1/1883 - d. ?)
Married   7/10/1927
[2] Giuseppa Verdone
(b. 2/3/1899, d. 10/28/1993)
Married 5/2 3/1903
[1] Angela Alessi
(b. 8/14/1884, d. ?)
(No children by Angela)
Robertsdale, PA

Married 4/9/1925
[2] Anna Fazio
Married 12/1/1912
Rosa Alessi
(b. 9/9/1893, d. 2/19/1972)
Robertsdale, PA
Raimondo Coniglio
(b. 10/9/1862,
d. 2/18/1863)


.Raimondo Coniglio
(b. 6/5/1864, d. ?)

Maria Coniglio
(b. 12/15/1867, d. ?)

Felice Coniglio

(b. 10/9/1869 - d. ?)
Married  10/14/1899
Salvatrice D'Amico
(b. 1878 - d. ?)

Leonardo Coniglio

(b. 7/1/1882, d. 1884?)

(b. 11/5/1885, d. ?)



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[1] Paolino Carmela Gaetano Vincenzo
[1] Raimondo Angelo Leonardo
[1] Gaetano Giovanni Raimondo Angelo
  Gaetano Felice
[2] Antonina Maria Carmela
[2] Carmela Rosa Concetta
[2] Eugenio Antonietta (Anna) Maria Angela
  Giuseppa Antonio
  Raimondo Giuseppe
  Angelo Felice


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Site Index

Robertsdale, Pennsylvania







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A Visit

ChiesaMadreSmall.jpg (3842 bytes)
The Church

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La Societa'

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The Book

La Bedda Sicilia
Coniglio Family List Alessi Family List lo Guasto Family List