Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday -- Pasquale Ursino

Pasquale Ursino, 1861? - 1947?, born in Catania, Sicily, Italy.
Pasquale is my great-grandfather, and all I know is that he was a gentleman, well-educated, and twice-widowed.  He and my great-grandmother had 5 children.  They were never married because my great-grandmother was unable to divorce the abusive husband she left -- the Catholic church did not allow divorce back then.  All their children had to carry the name of her husband -- Napoli rather than Ursino -- or be "illegitimate" in the eyes of society.  A lot of secrecy surrounded this situation, and when he died, my grandmother and siblings probably knew where he was buried but did not tell their children.  Otherwise they would have to explain why the surname on his grave did not match theirs.  It was a long time before my mother and her siblings knew the true circumstances of my grandmother's birth because she was embarrassed by it, as was normal for those days.  I hope to find his grave the next time I visit Sicily.


  1. How sad that they were unable to share his name. He looks like a lovely man.

  2. What a story! I think it tells a lot about him that to this day despite the circumstances, he is remembered as a gentleman. That is a great tribute to his character. Also, knowing that he and your great grandmother had five children leads me to think they were together for a long time. You can tell that he really loved your great grandmother no matter what the church or society tried to enforce. I do hope you find his grave... He is remembered!

  3. My grandmother always said he was a gentleman. My g-grandmother worked as a housekeeper for my g-grandfather who was widowed. One day she came to work with a black eye, and well, he would have none of that. He went to her husband and called him out for her honor, and her husband never touched her again. She soon left him for my g-grandfather and they had 5 children and lived together until death did them part... church blessing or not.