Origins of the Lanza, Bellanca and Barca Families

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Mussomeli

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          Mussomeli (in Sicilian, Mussumeli) is a relatively large town of about 16,000 at the near-center of Sicily.  It was the birthplace of Salvatore Lanza and his wife Paolina Bellanca, and their son Vincenzo (Jim) Lanza.  Their daughters Elisabetta (Isabel), Maria (Mary), Giuseppa (Jessie) and Teresa were born in America.   Also born in Mussomeli were Pietro Barca and Anna Fasino, parents of Vito Barca of Belgium and his siblings Vincenzo, Pietro, Carolina, Rosa, Calogera and VincenzaMary Lanza and Anna Fasino were third cousins, both descended from Carmelo Faldetta and Marianna Piazza of Mussomeli.
          The name Mussomeli may be derived from the Latin 'mons mellus', 'or 'mount of honey'  Its modified modern form is often translated 'mouth of honey, or 'honeypuss' .
           The town's outstanding feature is a fortress-like castle, the Castello Manfredonico, built by Manfredo Chiaramonte, a Sicilian nobleman, in 1391, about a mile from the town. The castle is comprised of prototypical Medieval elements: a drawbridge; a dungeon; a trap door that dispatched foes into the 'camera delle morte' (room of death); a torture chamber; 'stumbling blocks' in doorways; crenellated outer walls for guards and archers, and so on.  It even has a legend of princesses imprisoned in a tower room, and a ghostly knight who haunts the castle still.  The only element lacking is a moat, which was entirely unnecessary, since the castle was built on a huge monolithic outcropping of rock that was virtually unscalable.

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Castello Manfredonico
(click here for more photos)

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          Mussomeli is the site of the Church of our Lady of the Miracles.   The ceiling of the church is shown below.
        
A feast is held in Mussomeli in honor of Our Lady of Miracles during September of each year, and in the early 1900s, Mussomelese immigrants to America began a similar feast which is celebrated to this day, in Buffalo.

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Carmelo Faldetta and Marianna Piazza (circa 1785)

Paolina Faldetta and Salvatore Lanza

  Carolina Faldetta and Vincenzo La Greca
Vincenzo Lanza and Elisabetta La Greca   Anna La Greca and Giuseppe Fasino
Salvatore Lanza and Paolina Bellanca   Vito Fasino and Vincenza Cicero
Mary Lanza and Salvatore Bongiovanni   Anna Fasino and Pietro Barca
Angela Bongiovanni
 and
Angelo F. Coniglio
  Vito Barca
and
Antonina Coniglio
Vincenza Barca
 and
Vincenzo Gagliano
Angelo R. Coniglio Angela Y. Coniglio   Anna Barca
and
Giovanni Miccich
Rita Gagliano
and
Pasquale Nevoso
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Paolina Bellanca immigration records from http://www.ellisisland.org
[The record was incorrectly listed under "Carolina Bellama"]
Click document to enlarge.

  Anna Fasino Pietro Barca
 
     
Salvatore Lanza immigration records from http://www.ellisisland.org
Click document to enlarge.
  Vincenzo Gagliano and Vincenza Barca Rita Gagliano, Anna Barca, and Vincenza Barca


Marcello Nevoso
 
    Adamo & Pasquale Nevoso
Salvatore Lanza &
Paolina Bellanca Lanza
50th Anniversary ~ 1950
Paolina Bellanca Lanza 
~ about 1956 ~
 

Vincenza is Vito Barca's sister.  Anna is related to the Coniglios of Serradifalco; and Anna, Vincenza and Vito Barca, and Rita are related to Aunt Angie Bongiovanni Coniglio, a descendant of ancestors from Mussomeli.
  Giuseppe Gagliano and Salvatrice Di Lena
(Rita's paternal grandparents)

 

The Lanza family at Angie and Ange's wedding
~ October 28, 1961 ~
Click photo to enlarge.

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Fourth and fifth generation Lanzas, 2011:
Josh and Christine Stewart
Anna Lee, Jacob Robert, Isabella Marie, Julian Kenneth
Click photo to enlarge.

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Last revision: 14 May 2015 ~ Angelo F. Coniglio, ConiglioFamily@aol.com