It has taken me a couple of years to actually be able to read the San Vincenzo records from 1566. For the longest, it just looked like chicken-scratching to me. In fact, just this past Sunday, while living a quarantined Easter, I decided to look at these records again, and was totally flummoxed by the writing. However, I just sat and read. And read and read and read. Apparently that was enough to turn a switch in my brain. For some of the records at least! So for the past day or so I’ve been pouring over these records, finding it easier and easier to understand these words in front of me. But I had skipped many of the very first records in these books, because they just seemed so difficult. Today, after looking at many, many records, I ventured back to the beginning, and amazingly they suddenly made sense!
Not much was happening in San Vincenzo in 1566 in the marriage department it seems! There were only a handful of pages for 1566, and of those, many records have been lost to damage. Here’s a picture of the first page of the marriage register.
It didn’t take long though to find something I was interested in. Just a few pages later, in 1569, I hit pay dirt. The right-hand record says that Andrea, son of Sentino Zanrè had chosen Caterina, daughter of ZanDomenico (Giovanni Domenico as he would likely have been called today) Rolandi, and married her on what looks to be the 13th of January, 1569.
There are a few other things of interest on this page. These records are written in Italian. There are definitely Northern dialect influences in how words are spelled, and there are also Latin influences from time to time, but it’s definitely Italian, and not Latin. Zan is a Northern Italian way to say Giovanni (John). We’ve seen the name written Gianre as well. And of course, if the priest is writing in Italian he occasionally falls back on some Latin words. In the first record on the left, you see that Matio (Mateo) is the the son of “qdm” Rufino (? maybe Rufino – It’s a tough name, and I’ve not encountered it before). Quondam in Latin means the “late/deceased”. That’s not a word I’ve generally seen in records written in Italian before. But quondam in Latin church records is a great way to narrow down if a particular Giovanni, for example, is the one you are looking at in a record based on whether he should have been living at the time of the recorded event or not.
Also, notice that in the record on the right we have Zandomenico, Rolandi and even Mancino, but they are spelled interestingly. To some, these look like Zadomenico, Roladi and Macino. Notice however the little squiggly above the As in these names.
I used to think that was an odd “circle”, but finally realize it was the N. In our local burghësan dialect, an N after a vowel, generally means the vowel is nasal. That is one of the reasons why we were persuaded to think that maybe the story of Napoleon bringing the Zanrè to the ValTaro was plausible. The name “sounds” somewhat French when pronounced correctly with the nasal A in Zan.
Thus, we now have an Andrea Zanrè, married in 1569. Probably born around 1545, and Sentino his father, likely born around 1520 or so. I find that Italians generally got married later in life than my Tennessee family for example! When guessing generations, I usually put the bride and groom in their mid 20s, with the parents of the bride and groom about 30 years older than them. That’s been pretty consistent in my research. A few teenaged brides, but not that many!
How will we ever find Andrea’s birth records, or Sentino’s wife and parents? I don’t know at this point, but will be trying to find out, if it’s at all possible, “who came before Sentino”!
Hope this was interesting to you. It certainly was to me!