Monique’s family

moniques family
Monique’s grandmother Domenica with her two sons –
Monique’s dad on the left and her uncle on the right

When Monique was in San Giorgio during the summer she asked for some help getting birth and marriage certificates of various family members. She had the relevant dates and when we when to the commune at Mondavio and Serrungari we found the staff to be very helpful and within 30 minutes we had the relevant certificates.

At Mondavio we were looking for the birth certificate of her grandmother Domenica Quarta  who was born in Mondavio in 1894. When the man in the commune gave us a copy of the original certificate we asked if he could read out the details as the writing was difficult to decipher. Starting to read he suddenly went “Oh”. It turned out that the birth had been registered, not by the father, but by the midwife and a note on the certificate said that the child had not been recognised by the parents and was subsequently sent to an orphanage in Fano. However, the note went on to say that when Domenica was 10 she was “legitimised” by her parents and removed from the orphanage.

We assumed that leaving the baby for adoption was a result of poverty and their inability to manage. However, when Monique went back to America and talked to family members she was given some extra details:

Domenica’s father had gone to America, married a German woman and they had a child. He wanted to divorce her but being unable to, he returned to Italy where he met Petonilla, Domenica’s mother. (She was a widow – she had not only lost her husband at sea but her 3 children had also died).
They lived together out of wedlock and as children were born they brought them to the orphanage. Luckily, Domenica was taken in by, according to the family, a beautiful woman and Domenica came to consider her her mother. When she was ten, the German wife died, and her parents, able to marry, went to collect their children.
Domenica’s adopted mother started to come to visit her until one dayher real mother, Petronilla, told the woman that it upset her too much to see her and asked her to stop coming to see Domenica. It seems that her mother just used Domenica for labour and so when she met her future husband and he asked her to go to Americawith him she readily agreed.

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