Gaetano Abate (Abbate)

Born: 2 April 1835 ~Serradifalco,
Caltanisetta, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Married to Giuseppa Cimino: 15 March 1859 ~Serradifalco

Died: 17 November 1918 ~Serradifalco, Caltanisetta, Sicily

Meaning of Abate [uh-BAHT-eh]: abbott


        In 1835, the year my maternal great-grandfather Gaetano Abate was born, Sicily, with Naples and the southern Italian peninsula, formed the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, ruled by Bourbon Spain.   Gaetano's family owed allegiance to the King of the Two Sicilies, Ferdinando II (at right), who in turn was a subject of his cousin Isabella II, Queen of Spain and All its Holdings (including Sicily).  
        The great Sicilian composer of opera, Vincenzo Bellini, died in 1835.

        The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies extended over the Mezzogiorno (the southern part of mainland Italy) from Naples to the island of Sicily.  This was the same territory that formed the original Kingdom of Sicily, which was the world's first "nation".  Its coat of arms was shown on this 1835 "Two Sicilies" coin.  My great grandfather was not born in Italy, which nation did not exist in 1835.  He was born in the KIngdom of the Two Sicilies, in the reign of Ferdinando II.
      In the United States in 1835, Andrew Jackson was in his second term as President.

      The Abbate coat of arms at the left, above, is that of a noble Sicilian family.  Having a surname that was or is descended from nobility does not mean that everyone so named has 'noble blood'.   Only descendants of the original family can claim a noble connection.  Many 'noble' surnames were the result of distinguishing ordinary persons who lived in the sphere of influence of a prince, baron or count.  My great-grandfather Gaetano Abate's father was a 'contadino', a peasant sharecropper.  There is no evidence whatsoever, at least back to the mid 1700's, that any of his ancestors were of the nobility.
      For more about the 'Arms of Sicily', click HERE.


From Serradifalco Registri Stato Civile Film 1466430, 1835 Births, No. 70, Gaetano Abate      


R E C O R D   O F   B I R T H  

Notice of the day on which
was administered the Sacrament
of Baptism

Number Seventy

In the year one thousand eight hundred thirty-five on day two of the month of Aprile at hour twenty-one before Us Gaetano Piazza, Mayor and officer of the vital records of the community of Serradifalco District of Caltanisetta Province of Caltanisetta appeared Giuseppe Abate age twenty-four occupation Sharecropper living at Strada Mintina, who has presented us a boy that accordingly we have visibly witnessed, and he has declared that the same was born of Rosa Saetta his legitimate wife age twenty-six, living here with her husband, and of him, the declarant, age as above, occupation as above, living at as above on day two  of the month of April in the year stated above at eleven hours, in their own house.

The same has also declared that he has given the male the name Gaetano.

  The aforesaid presentation and declaration was made in the presence of Luigi Bellanca age forty, occupation Barber, a subject of the realm, living at Piano San Francesco and of Salvatore Calabrese age thirty-six, occupation Shopkeeper, a subject of the realm, living at Strada Nuova, witnesses attending the present act, and provided by him, Mister declarant

  This document, which we have created as required, was inscribed on two registers, read to the informant and to the witnesses, and on the day, month, and year as stated above, signed by Myself only, the declarant and witnesses having said that they don't know how to write.

The Mayor
(Signed by)
Gaetano Piazza

Number Seventy

In the year one thousand eight hundred thirty-five on day two of the month of April the Parish priest of this town has returned to us on the day stated above  of the year stated above, the record, which we had remitted to him on day two of the month of April of the year stated above, the here-written birth act, at the bottom of which he has indicated that the Sacrament of Baptism has been administered to Gaetano Abate on day two of the month stated above.

  Having seen this document after having it encoded, we have provided that it be preserved in the register of documents at page Seventy

  We have also acknowledged to the Parish priest the receipt of the same, and we have created the present record which was inscribed on the two registers in the margins of the corresponding birth record, and then we have signed.

(Signed by) Piazza


      The 1859 civil record of the marriage promise reproduced below, for my maternal great-grandparents Gaetano Abate and Giuseppa Cimino, covers four pages.  The form is in two columns, on the left showing the Record of the Solemn Promise to celebrate matrimony, while the right-hand column is entitled 'Indication of the subsequent canonical [church] celebration of marriage'.  Only the left column of the record is translated below.  Essentially, the left column gives the details of the civil promise made at the Town Hall, while the right column simply confirms that the couple was married in church on 25 May 1859 in the presence of witnesses Girolamo Curatolo and Luigi Calabrese, and that the civil and church records were cross-referenced. 
        This record is only the promise or contract to marry, but it contains much more information than the actual marriage record made by the church.  Click on the images at left to see the original documents.  Unfortunately, the church marriage records for the years 1856 through 1865 are missing.

to celebrate matrimony

[p. 1] Number 18
Year eighteen hundred fifty-nine, day twenty-four of the month of May at hour fourteen, before Us,
Felice Cacciatore Mayor and official of civil records of the town of Serradifalco, district of Caltanissetta, Province of Caltanissetta, have appeared in the Town Hall: Gaetano Abate, single adult age twenty-four, born in Serradifalco, district of Caltanissetta, Province of Caltanissetta,occupation Sulfur miner, living in Serradifalco, son of Giuseppe, age forty-eight, occupation sharecropper living here, and of Rosa Saetta age fifty, living here; and Giuseppa Cimino, single minor, age seventeen, born in Serradifalco, living here, daughter of Antonio age forty-six, living here, and daughter of Concetta lo Guasto who lives here.
The couple,
in the presence of witnesses who will be mentioned below, and produced by them, have requested to receive their solemn pro-
[p. 2]
to celebrate prior to the Church ceremony, according to the format prescribed by the Sacred Council of Trent for the
marriage which they plan between them
with the support of the respective parents of the espoused, who came together for the present record in order to lend their express and formal consent, which they have accordingly declared.
   The notice of this promise was affixed to the door of the town hall of Serradifalco on Sunday the tenth day of the month of April of the year stated above.
 We, in accordance with their request, after having read them all the consistent documents:
First, the birth records of the groom
Second, the birth record of the bride
[p. 3]Third, the marriage banns made in this Town where they both live, to which there have been no objections.
and having also read chapter six under the title of marriage of the civil laws regarding the respective rights and obligations of the spouses,

Page 3 continues: we have received from each of the parties, one after the other, the declaration, that they solemnly promise to celebrate the marriage before the Church according to the format prescribed by the Holy Council of Trent.
           We made the record of all this
in the presence of four witnesses attending the solemn promise of marriage:
Giuseppe lo Vecchio, forty-eight, Sharecropper, Strada Piconotti;
Filippo Cimino, thirty, Sharecropper
[p. 4] Strada Acquisto;
Salvatore lo Vullo, forty-five,
Sharecropper, Strada Cellura;
Calogero Arcadipane, twenty-three,
Sharecropper, Strada la Giarra
We have read this record, which is inscribed on the two registers, to the witnesses and the bride and groom, to whom we have also given two consistent copies signed by Us, to be presented to the parish priest, to whom the celebration of the marriage pertains, and then it is signed by us alone, the groom and the bride and the respective parents and witnesses having said they don't know how to write.

The Mayor
Felice Cacciatore

From Serradifalco Registri Stato Civile Film 1466476,         
1859 Marriages, No. 18, Gaetano Abate and Giuseppa Cimino         

This translation is factually correct.      
To conserve space, it is not a strict literal translation.  


      In 2015, the LDS church began publishing on-line civil records for Serradifalco for years later than 1910 (the latest that were previously available).  One of those is this record of the death of my maternal great-grandfather Gaetano Abate, showing that he was another of my parents' close relatives who died shortly before their marriage and subsequent emigration to America.  Gaetano Abate died at Via Prizzi No. 9, the same house where my mother Rosa Alessi had been born.  On his 1911 death record, all the attendees at the registration of his death were literate, which was rare in earlier records: declarants Paolino Cordaro and Michele Milazzo; witnesses Pasquale Benfante and Leonardo Lovullo; and Official of the Civil Status Carmelo Chiarelli.

From LDS on-line Serradifalco Civil Records, 1918 Deaths, No. 288, Gaetano Abate     



   In the year one thousand nine hundred nine on day eighteen of November 
at hour eleven
   Before me Professor Carmelo Chiarelli, Elder Councilman acting for
the Mayor in his absence

Officer of the Civil Status of the community of Serradifalco
________ have appeared Paolino Cordaro__, age thirty__, 1peasant sharecropper_,
living in Serradifalco _________, and Michele Milazzo, age twenty-four, ____, 1a sulfur miner ____,  living in Serradifalco ______, who have
declared to me that at the hour
seventeen_____ and minutes ______
yesterday ___, in the house located at Via Prizzi ____at number nine, has died Gaetano Abate _____________________, of  2age seventy-five, 1a sulfur miner ___, living in Serradifalco ____, born in Serradifalco __,
the late Giuseppe, 1a sulfur miner _, who lived in Serradifalco__,
and of
the late Rosa Saitta __________, 1a housewife ________,
who lived in
Serradifalco, 3 widower of Giuseppa Cimino
   At this certification have been present the witnesses Pasquale Benfante,
of age
thirty-three_____, 1a farm owner__, and Leonardo Lovullo __, of age twenty-two_, 1a flour-maker______, both residing in this Town.  This record was read to all those assembled, and they have signed below with me
~Paolino Cordaro         ~Pasquale Benfante
Michele Milazzo         ~Leonardo Lovullo
            ~C Chiarelli

Number 228

~ * ~

Gaetano Abate






1 Indicate occupation or status.
2 Note the years, months, days or hours of
   age of the deceased.
3 Whether widower or husband, widow or wife,
   or whether single.


Gaetano Abate married Giuseppa Cimino on 15 March 1859 in Serradifalco


Rosa Abbate: 17 Jan 1862 -
Concetta Abate: 13 May 1865 -
(Married Leonardo Alessi)
Giuseppa Abate: 6 Dec 1867 - 21 Jul 1869


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Gaetano & Rosina


















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