The Friggieri Family

Volume 1.1 April June 1999

 

Introduction

My name is Vince Friggieri and I was born in Malta in 1958. Since 1980, I have lived in England, where most people cannot even spell my surname and usually assume that it is of Italian extraction. I have myself often wondered about the origin of the name and last year, decided to assuage this curiousity by starting work on the Friggieri Family Tree.

Once started, this project very quickly evolved through several phases. At first, my intention had been to establish my pedigree as far back in time as possible. With the help of Joe Borg, a professional genealogist, my direct paternal line was very quickly traced back to Giovanni who lived in the 17th century in Zabbar, Malta. The next challenge was to find the common ancestry of all the Friggieri families in Malta. That milestone was achieved in March with the discovery that all Maltese, English and Australian Friggieri families are descended from Salvatore and Maria (nee Borg) who married on November 28, 1809 in Valletta. The next self-imposed target is to find the connection between ALL the Friggieri families in the world.

It is my intention to publish this free newsletter every quarter to provide an update on the project and to record for posterity the social history of the family.

I would love to hear from anyone with an interest in the family and would greatly appreciate receiving copies of any birth, marriage and death certificates, as well as photographs and biographical information.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

PLEASE WRITE

 

A Big Thank You !

Many of you have already participated in the project and have my gratitude. I don't want this to sound like an Oscar acceptance speech but I do want to express my special thanks to the stalwarts without whose help, I could not have made so much progress.

First of all my Malta-based helpers. My dad Walter (b. 16/6/36) who collated a substantial amount of data on the descendants of his grandfather Giuseppe (b. 4/9/1874). My brother-in-law Joe Muscat (b. 17/2/62) who, at very short notice managed to acquire and set up a PA system and OHP for the Family Reunion. Oliver (b. 27/3/47), for his continuing guidance and encouragement. John C. (b. 27/4/15) for the information he provided about family members in the 19th century. Also, Clifton (b. 10/5/76), Godwin Camilleri (b. 19/1/33) and his son Kurt (b. 21/9/74) and Edward Lentini (b. 20/9/44) for providing a wealth of names and dates. Joe (b. 5/1/49) for the long hours spent trawling through Parish records and for proving the common ancestry of the family.

Then, off to Australia. Lisa (b. 12/1/71), my first email contact and source of information for all the Sydney-based descendants of Ruggiero (b. 11/4/1886). Godfrey Sultana (b. 20/7/44) for the wealth of information he provided from his parallel research project.

In England, there are Francis (b. 13/7/24), Michael (b. 3/3/55) and Jane Bugeja (b. 29/9/32).

The Italian crew are Andrea (b. 9/7/69) and Athos (b. 29/12/27) and the French connection is Stephane Friggeri (b. 1955).

Differences

At the top of the page you will notice two family crests. The one on the left corresponds with the entry in 'An Illustrated Collection of the Coats Of Arms of Maltese Families' by Charles A. Gauci. The other comes from Italy and belongs to Andrea's family which has roots in Reggio Emilia. I have seen a pencil drawing of another crest which is similar to the Maltese one but only has a single central star.

My research indicates that the surname FRIGGIERI has had several alternative spellings. Over the centuries it has been spelled as FRIGGERI, FRIGERI, FRIGIERI and FRIGERIO.

 

The Family Reunion

In April, I hosted a Family Reunion in Malta.

The following article and photographs appeared in The Sunday Times of Malta on May 9.

 

A unique event took place at St Aloysius College, Birkirkara on the evening of April 9. The reunion of the Friggieri Family was organised and hosted by Vince Friggieri (aged 40), a freelance Computer Consultant based in the UK.  

The doors opened at 7:30 pm and within minutes, over 150 inquisitive family members had filed into the hall. After a brief period of introductions and settling in, Mr Friggieri drew the audience's attention to the projection screen and launched into a businesslike slide presentation outlining the scope of his research.  

Mr Friggieri opened by stating that the prime motivation for embarking on this heritage project had been curiousity. The Friggieri name in Malta is associated with many fields of endeavour ranging from the academic and literary to sporting and catering. However, in the UK, it is so uncommon that hardly anyone ever spells it correctly.  

Mr Friggieri explained that whilst surfing the web late one night, he followed the impulse to run a surname search and was surprised to obtain 88 website hits and a significant number of email addresses. There and then, he decided that it would be an interesting challenge to produce the Family Tree. Much to his wife Lorna's chagrin, he was hooked and the succeeding months saw the purchase of a genealogy database system (complete with digital camera and scanner), the set up of a dedicated website and an astronomical telephone bill.  

However, the effort expended has been fruitful. With help from a growing number of enthusiastic family members, Mr Friggieri has made several breakthroughs. He has successfully traced his direct paternal line back to Giovanni Frigeri (the original spelling) who lived in Malta in the mid-17th century. Giovanni's son Bartolomeo married Angelica Fiteni on August 7, 1679. At that time, the family lived in Zabbar and were mentioned in the very first 'status animarum' of 1687. The 'Frigeri' line continued with Francesco (b. circa 1680), Lorenzo (b. circa 1702) and Publio (b. circa 1741). Publio lived in Vittoriosa and sired (at least) 13 children. His son Salvatore married Maria Borg on November 28, 1809 and from that union resulted all offshoots of the Friggieri Family resident in Malta, the UK and Australia.

Having successfully proven that all Malta-based Friggieri families have a common ancestor and that the UK and Australian offshoots are the result of 20th century emigration, Mr Friggieri has set himself another ambitious challenge. He wants to ascertain the connection (which he believes exists) between the Maltese and another Italian family which he has traced back to 1680 in Reggio Emilia. Did the original Giovanni come from Northern Italy ? Has there been any interaction between the two families over the centuries ?

 Mr Friggieri ended his presentation by soliciting further help from the audience. He asked that they provide him with copies of any relevant certificates of birth, marriage and death, old photographs and family stories passed down through the generations.

Delving into the past is bound to unearth some 'skeletons' but the sinners and saints all contributed something to the cultural and genetic melting pot which defines the identity of a Family.

 

 

The first five generations of the family in Malta

Malta in the 17th Century

1614 - Estimated population of 41,000 people

1615 - Zabbar became a Parish

1617 - Estimated population of 44,000 people

1632 - Estimated population of 56,000 people

1672 - Suburb that was to become Floriana started

1676 - Bubonic plague in towns surrounding Grand Harbour

1679 - Bartolomeo Frigeri married Angelica Fiteni in Zabbar

1687 - First 'status animarum' shows Frigeri family (of five) living in Zabbar

Ref: Liber Status Animarum, vol 2A, no 55, folio 2v

 

Famous Family Members

Ruggiero Friggieri (b. 11/4/1886 d. 31/8/1925) Footballer

Pawlu Friggieri (b. 24/10/1910 d. 13/2/1988) Footballer

Vincent Friggieri (b. 15/10/1914 d. 1/3/1974) Footballer

John C. Friggieri (b. 27/4/1915) Author

Joe Friggieri (b. 20/6/1946) Philosopher, Poet and Theatre Director

Oliver Friggieri (b. 27/3/1947) Author, Critic and Translator

Donald Friggieri (b. 28/6/1947) Designer

For detailed biographical information refer to 'Maltese Biographies of the Twentieth Century' by Michael J. Schiavone and Louis J. Scerri.

 

Burke's Peerage

In February, I received a mailshot from Burke's Peerage which advertised the imminent publication of the 'World Book of Friggieris' at 26.90. The main feature of interest to me was the statement that it contained 'the most extensive international Registry' of the surname. I ordered a copy and it arrived last month. However, the contents were disappointing. The first four chapters are a generalised overview of various topics of interest to genealogists - Migration Patterns, Name Origins, Heraldry and Ancestor Search Methodology. Chapter 5 contains 24 names and addresses in England, Switzerland and Italy but no mention of Malta. Using Internet search engines, I had already found hundreds of names and addresses in Italy and the Malta Telephone Directory has 70+ entries. If you get a similar mailshot, my recommendation is that you throw it in the rubbish bin.

 

The Sultana Connection

Several months ago, I received an email from Godfrey Sultana who lives in Sydney, Australia. He had seen The Friggieri Home Page whilst surfing the Net and realised that we had common ancestry. Filippo Friggieri and Paola Manzoni who married in Gozo on July 28, 1838 had a son named Vincenzo (my great-great-grandfather) and a daughter named Maria (Godfrey's great-grandmother). Godfrey and I correspond regularly to swap information and follow up leads together. This newsletter is modelled on the one which Godfrey publishes for the Sultana Family.

From my photo album.......

My three sons, Sean (b. 21/3/84), Robert (b. 30/10/79 and Alan (b. 10/6/86) taken at the

Rinella Film Studios, Malta in April.

 

Internet

Those of you with access to the Internet might like to visit the following websites:

http://www.familytreemaker.com/users/f/r/i/Vince-Friggieri

http://www.searchmalta.com/surnames/friggieri

 

 

Nostalgia Section

 

Agnes Borg (far left) was born on November 27, 1920 in Sliema.

She married Edward Friggieri (b. 24/11/1920) on February 24, 1941 and had twelve children.

 

 

Military Hall of Fame

 

Left:

Edward (b. 24/11/1920) joined the RAF at the age of 20.

He served in uniform until 1949 and remained a civilian employee of the RAF until 1967.

Medals received:

1939-45 Star: Africa Star; Defence Medal: War Medal. In 1992, he was awarded 'The Malta George Cross Fiftieth Anniversary Medal' by the President Dr Censu Tabone.

Right:

Alfred (b. 29/11/08 d. 23/11/98) joined the Army at the age of 18 and worked his way up through the ranks to Captain with the Royal Engineers. During his service in Greece he commanded a P.O.W. camp containing about 800 German prisoners.

 

The website maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has an entry for

Able Seaman Emanuele Friggieri who died aged 53 on February 5, 1947.

The entry states that he is 'Remembered with honour' on the Pembroke Memorial in Malta.

 

In the News

In April, Albert Friggieri was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit by the German President Roman Herzog. He received the decoration for fostering German-Maltese friendship through his work in the fields of culture, science and the economy.

Please send me newspaper cuttings for inclusion in this section.