Normal activity for me, doing some genealogy research for someone else. He sends a little information into to get me over a brick wall: “ My Mum's Mother was Esmee Joycelyn Wemyss (nee Burns) her Mother was Rhoda Burns nee Major and her Mother Annette Major nee Guzzi.”
Lets talk about Annette Guzzi Major. I soon find that her maiden name was Ghezzie, spelt with that ‘e’ on the end. Using the NZSG New Zealand Marriages 1836-1956 I find her marriage to Frederick Major in 1883. Now pop in the NZSG Burial CD and there are two more Ghezzie’s – Ada Sarah died 1944 and Alfred Ross died 1925.
Check the NZSG Index CD and I only get Annie (Annette) and Ada. We all know how surnames get mis-spelled, so I try “starts with” Ghezz for the surname. Eureka – lots of them with the surname Ghezzi. Why the heck did Annette have an ‘e’ on the end of her surname? Sort by date and the oldest entries are all children of Louis Ghezzi. Take a look at records on Louis and find his 1917 probate. His name is Louis or Luigi Ghezzi. Open PapersPast in my browser and there is a death for Luigi which says he was from Parma Italy.
Off to check ship manifests and there he is arriving in Auckland on the ship Reiherstieg in 1874. Wife and infant son with him. Hummmm, Annette must have been born in New Zealand after they arrived in 1874. Assume his wife Mary Ann Curtain is also from Italy. I’m thinking her real name was Maria Curtane or something like that.
Open the NZ Historical BDM web site. No birth on Annette or her husband Frederick Major. He sounds English to me anyways. Can’t find immigration/ship manifest on him. Order death certs on Luigi, Mary Ann, Annette, Frederick and a few other family members. Order marriage on Fred and Annie. Wait wait wait. Run to the mailbox ten times a day hoping for documents from New Zealand.
Documents arrive! What the heck? Annette was born at Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa and Frederick was born Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Luigi’s death says he was from Borgo, Sandino, Italy. No problem, Borgo is small village near Parma. Why isn’t Annette on ship manifest with her parents? Unsolved mystery. Find out Fred was son of Samuel Major, a shoemaker from Ireland. Find Samuel came to New Zealand also. Luigi’s wife, Mary Ann, was born in Limerick Ireland! How did a guy from Italy end up married to a lady from Ireland with two kids born in South Africa? Guess they were both enroute to New Zealand, ship stopped at Cape Town and love was in the air.
Cruise the Ghezzi message board at Ancestry.com and find a living relative with information on Luigi. Luigi Ghezzi left Italy during the revolution of 1848. He had a price on his head for his participation in the revolution. He was later pardoned (and considered a hero) but had left the country by then. He ended up in Cape Town, South Africa. Here he met and married Irish immigrant Mary Ann Curtain in January 1861. The couple would have two children before being recruited by agents of the New Zealand Immigration Organization.
Looks like Fred Major’s mom, Harriet, died before he and his dad came to New Zealand. No death or burial records on her in New Zealand. His dad remarries in 1863 but not in New Zealand. Maybe Canada? Get his dad’s death printout. He was from Ireland, as was his second wife. Potato famine immigrants?
Many of my questions answered, but just about all my assumptions were wrong. Oh well, just another adventure climbing the genealogy tree.