• The Italian connection

    The Italian connection This summer we went to Lucca, Italy, and you probably know that our ancestor, Carlo Morganti, who was Grandpa's grandpa (his mother's father) came from a neighbouring village, Bagni di Lucca (above picture). Auntie Bee went there some years ago, and met some cousins who still remembered him, and even resented the fact that he hadn't come back to Italy after having emigrated to England in mid nineteenth century. There are still a number of Morganti people in Bagni di Lucca, as you can see if you hit the link.

    I thought it would be fun to tell you more about this Italian in our family, so here are the few facts which I have gathered. Carlo was born in 1843 in Bagni di Lucca, and left his country young, because in 1861 the census locates him in Clerkenwell, in the house of a fellow countryman, Giovanni di Franchi, and the document below indicates he's then 19.

    the 1861 census

    As you can see, he is listed as an "electro-typist" apprentice, to become a silver-smith, and was still unmarried then. AB (thanks a lot for her help!) tells me this job "could be interpreted as electo-plating of silver plating on base metal. Of course he would be taught engraving and type-setting of emblems etc." She adds that "he was apprenticed to a silver smith in Clerkenwell where they had many shops - and still do - specializing in clocks and silverware and sent from the family firm in Lucca who owned a very large business (from a pin to an elephant as Auntie Olive would quote) there." She also explains that he "was to return to the family business who had a huge business in Italy. He left the apprenticeship and of course must have been reluctant to return home and tried his hand at Opera singing. But nervousness militated against his ever doing well. He met and married his Irish wife (from Cork), Jane Mooney, in 1867. She had come over to London to find work. They had 10 children, among which our grandmother and great-grandmother Erminia Olivia, who was born in 1880 in Westminster. [Here, there are a few of the other children's possible names: Giuletta Carlotta (married to Charles Evelyn Johnson), Renaldo Terrance (married to Minnie Eva Parks), Carlo Luigi...] Most of those children went into the music business. But business reversals with a partner who ran off with the money left Carlo in debt. This must had led him into the demon drink! He just up and left. That was the disgrace."

    So anyway, all these children means that there are certainly many members of the family out there who can claim the same Italian ancestry as us! Carlo died in 1917 (at 74)... But the National Archives hold a record of his divorce from Jane Morganti in 1886: link. Is it the right couple? Because the 1891 census indicates he was still living with his wife at Tremlett Grove, Islington as a "vocalist". The children indicated to be living with him are Giuseppina, aged 17 (so born in 1874), Carlo, aged 14, Erminia aged 12 and Renaldo aged 9. As per the 1901 census, the Morgantis lived at Camden Town, and it's nice to see that the census-taker notes that Percy Hughes and Erminia are "visitors" in the house: since they were 24 and 21, perhaps they were living with Erminia's parents at the time? Percy is indicated to be a teacher (does someone what he taught?). He will later live in 13 Conway Villas, Conway Road, Palmers Green.

    So here's the family tree with Carlo in it (click on the picture to enlarge):

    The Italian connection

    As soon as I have more data, I'll post it: you can help too!

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