Gaetano Coniglio

Born: 27 February, 1836 ~Serradifalco,Caltanissetta,
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Baptized: 28 February, 1836 ~Serradifalco
Married to Maria Carmela Calabrese: 6 October 1861 ~Serradifalco,  Sicily, Kingdom of Italy

Died: 11 October 1910 ~ Serradifalco, Sicily, Kingdom of Italy

Meaning of Coniglio [coo-NEEL-yu]: rabbit


The photo on the left is the only one I have of Gaetano. 
On the right is an Artificial Intelligence reconstruction.


        In 1836, the year my paternal grandfather Gaetano Coniglio was born, Sicily, with Naples and the southern Appennine 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, who in turn was a subject of his cousin Isabella II, Queen of Spain and All its Holdings (including Sicily).  My grandfather was not born in Italy, which did not exist as a nation in 1836.  He was born in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

      In the United States, Andrew Jackson was in his second term as President.  The Mexican siege of the Alamo, in Texas, began on 23 February 1836, four days before my grandfather was born.  Texas declared its independence from Mexico on 2 March 1836.



        My paternal grandfather Gaetano Coniglio was born at Strada del Calvario.  He lived at Strada Nuova in 1864, when his name appeared as a witness on the document reporting the death of Giuseppa lo Vecchio, who was my ggg-grandmother on the Alessi side.  He lived at Corso Torrearsa in 1873, at "Strada" Migliore in 1869, and at "Via" Migliore No. 10 in 1879.  
       This street was variously called "Strada" (Street), "Via" (Way), and "Vicolo" (Alley).  My father Gaetano was born at Number 10 Vicolo Migliore. 
        My grandfather Gaetano was a "Solfaio" (sulfur miner), a founding member of the "Societa Mutuo Soccorso dei Solfatai in Serradifalco" (Mutual Aid Society of Sulfur Miners in Serradifalco). 

Vicolo Migliore No. 10



        From about 1820 through 1865, civil birth records in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies reported the details of all births on the left side of a two-page form, reproduced below.  The right side of the record refers to Gaetano's baptism.  It is not a baptism certificate.  It names no priest or godparents, but simply states that the birth was reported to the church and the church confirmed that the child had been baptized. 
      The translation below, following the image of the actual record, has been condensed to one page.  The church baptism record follows, dated 28 February 1836.  Because of the high infant mortality rate, babies were baptized within a few days of their birth.

From Serradifalco Registri Stato Civile Film 1466430, 1836 Births, No. 47, Gaetano Coniglio      


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 forty-seven

In the year one thousand eight hundred thirty-six on day twenty-seven of the month of February at hour twenty-one before Us Gaetano Piazza, Mayor and official of the Civil Record of the community of Serradifalco District of Caltanisetta Province of Caltanisetta appeared Raimondo Coniglio age thirty occupation Laborer living at Strada Calvario, who has presented us a boy that accordingly we have visibly witnessed, and he has declared that the same was born of Maria Messina his legitimate wife age twenty-four, living here, and of him, the declarant, age as above, occupation as above, living at as above on day twenty-seven  of the month of February in the year stated above at twenty-two hours, in their own house.

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

  The aforesaid presentation and declaration was made in the presence of Leonardo Avenia age thirty-three, occupation landowner, a subject of the realm, living at Strada Piconotti and of Francesco Messina age forty, occupation Sharecropper, a subject of the realm, living at Strada Calvario, 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 forty-seven

In the year one thousand eight hundred thirty-six on day twenty-nine of the month of February the Parish priest of this town has returned to us on the date stated above  of the year stated above, the record, which we had remitted to him on day twenty-eight of the month of February 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 Coniglio on day twenty-eight 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 forty-seven

  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) Gaetano Piazza


Baptism Record

From Serradifalco Registri Ecclesiastici Film 2012918, 1836 Baptisms, No. 47, Coniglio Cajetanus       

Coniglio |  die 28 Februarii 1836          No 47
Ego Sacerd s Nicolaus Romano Cappelanus sacramentalis
aptizavi Infantem, natam ex Raimondi et Maria Messina ju-
galibus Cui impositum fuit nomen Cajetanus. Patrini fuere
Paolina Calabrese uxor Josephi, et Petrus Migliore filius
Magister Philippi ----
                                   Martius 1836

Coniglio |  day 28 of February 1836          No 47
I Priest Nicola Romano, Chaplain of sacraments,
baptized an Infant, born of Raimondo and Maria Messina, ma-
ried, on Whom the name imposed was Gaetano. Godparents were
Paolina Calabrese, wife of Giuseppe; & Pietro Migliore,  son of
Master Filippo ----
                             March 1836 
[heading for next month's baptisms]


      The 1861 civil record of the marriage promise reproduced below, for my paternal great-grandparents Gaetano Coniglio and Maria Carmela Calabrese, 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 Giuseppe Sferanza, 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 5
Year eighteen hundred sixty-one, day six of the month of October at hour fourteen, before Us, Notary Antonino LicalsiSenior Councilman and Assistant to the Mayor and official of the Civil Record of the town of Serradifalco, district of
Caltanissetta, Province of Caltanissetta, have appeared in the Town Hall: Gaetano Coniglio, single adult age twenty-five, born in Serradifalco, district of Caltanissetta, Province of Caltanissetta,occupation Sulfur miner, living in Serradifalco, son of the late Raimondo, age ______ occupation ______ living ____, and of Maria Messina age forty-nine, living here; and Maria Carmela Calabrese, single minor, age eighteen, born in Serradifalco, living here, daughter of the late Felice age ___, occupation ___ living ____, and daughter of Maria Burgio age sixty-one, 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 mothers 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 eighteenth day of the month of August of the year stated above.
 We, in accordance with their request, after having read them all the consistent documents:
First, the birth record 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
Fourth, the death record of the father of the groom
Fifth, the death record of the paternal grandfather of the groom
Sixth, the death record of the father of the bride
Seventh, the death record of the paternal grandfather of the bride.

Page 3 continues: and having also read chapter six under the title of marriage of the civil laws regarding the respective rights and obligations of the spouses, 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:
Luigi Giardina,
age thirty-three, occupation Sharecropper subject of the realm of the Two Sicilies, living at Strada Cagnina;
Domenico Difrancesco,
age sixty-seven, occupation Sharecropper
[p. 4] subject of the realm, living at Strada Mintina;
Pasquale Giumento,
age thirty-three, occupation Sulfur miner subject of the realm, living at Strada Vullotti;
Leonardo Avenia,
age fifty-three, occupation Courier subject of the realm, living at Strada Piconotti;
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 betrothed, the mothers of the betrothed and the witnesses having said they don't know how to write.

The Senior Councilman of the Mayor
Antonino Licalsi

From Serradifalco Registri Stato Civile Film 1466476,
1861 Marriages, No. 5 Gaetano Coniglio and Maria Carmela Calabrese

        In the early 1800's the sulfur mines near Serradifalco, like others in Sicily, were likely owned by the Baron who owned the town.  When feudalism was abolished, the mines were taken over by 'venture capitalists' who exploited the poverty of the local peasants for cheap (sometimes slave-like) labor.  This was probably the situation in the late 1800's when many miners banded together to form the Società di Mutuo Soccorso dei Solfatai in Serradifalco, or the 'Society of Mutual Aid of Sulfur Miners in Serradifalco'.  Pictured and dated 1886 are the first three pages of the regulations of the society, listing the founders.  Click the images to enlarge them.  In the image below on the right, line 36 reads: Coniglio Gaetano fu Raimondo (Gaetano Coniglio, son of the late Raimondo Coniglio).  These are the names of Gaetano, born in Serradifalco in 1836, a founding member of the organization, and his late father Raimondo, born in about 1805. 

Images provided by Ray Iannello, grandson of founder No. 19, Rizzo Leonardo fu Giacomo.


           In Sicilian, "sulfur miner" is "Zurfararu" or "Surfararu".  Gaetano was evidently the first Coniglio to take up this trade, probably because in poverty-stricken Sicily, it was difficult to make a living as a capraio (goatherd) or bracciale (day laborer), his father Raimondo's occupations.
             The following is a song in Sicilian, "U Surfararu" (The Sulfur Miner).




From Serradifalco Registri Stato Civile Film 1964373, 1910 Deaths, No. 169, Gaetano Coniglio     



Number 169

~ * ~

Gaetano Coniglio
   In the year one thousand nine hundred nine on day eleven  of October  
at hour eleven
   Before me Sir Doctor Vincenzo Perito Commissar of the Realm,
Officer of Civil Records of the community of Serradifalco
________ have appeared Salvatore Crinò  ________, age thirty-six _____,sulfur miner___, living in Serradifalco _, and Gioachino Calabese, age thirty-three, _____, a broker _____,  living in Serradifalco ______________,  who have de-
clared to me that at the hour
ten _____________ and minutes thirty _________
today ____, in the house located at Via Migliore ___at number twelve has died Gaetano Coniglio ___________, of age seventy-four ___, sulfur miner ___, living in Serradifalco _____, born in Serradifalco _______, son of the late Raimondo_, a sulfur miner _, who lived in Serradifalco__, and of the late  Maria Messina __________, a housewife ________, who lived in Serradifalco,
[Gaetano Coniglio was]the widower of Maria Carmela Calabrese
   At this certification have been present the witnesses Vittorio Butera ____,
of age
thirty-five __, a sulfur miner _, and Baldassare Falzone_, of age thirty-four _, a plowman ______, both residing in this Town.  The pre-sent record was read to all those assembled, and they have, with me, signed below
~Salvatore Crinò    ~Vittorio Butera
~Gioachino Calabrese
         ~Baldassare Falzone
Perito [the Official]

From Serradifalco Registri Ecclesiastici Film 2013011, 1910 Deaths, P. 79, No. 169, Cajetanus Coniglio      



N. 169.

son of


         Year of our Lord One Thousand Nine hundred 10.
Day                 11      Month   October
Gaetano Coniglio son of the late Raimondo and Maria Messina. Widower of Maria Carmela Calabrese
his age    
74.                                    In communion with
the Holy Mother Church he returned his soul to God, his body is interred in the communal Cemetery.  His confessor took his confession on day _______ refreshed by the holy Eucharist, strengthened by the sacred anointing oil
[priest's name missing]                                 on day _______
       In which faith ---- I
[priest's name missing]


The street and house where Gaetano died in 1910, at
Vicolo Migliore Number 12.

Serradifalco, July 2004 ~ Photos by Greg and Melissa Coniglio


Gaetano married Maria Carmela Calabrese on 6 October, 1861 in Serradifalco

Raimondo Coniglio: 1862 - 1863
Raimondo Coniglio: 1864 - 1910
Maria Coniglio: 1867 - 1868
Felice Coniglio: 1869 - 1933
(Married Salvatrice D'Amico)
Antonio Coniglio 11 May 1873 - 3 Mar 1944
(Married Antonina Andolina, then Giuseppa Verdone)
Giuseppe Coniglio: 1879 - 1964
(Married Angela Alessi, then Anna Fazio)

Maria Coniglio: abt 1874 - abt 1950
Leonardo Coniglio: 1885 - 1886
Gaetano Coniglio: 26 April 1889 - 4 July 1944
(Married Rosa Alessi)


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Gaetano & Rosina


















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