- Posts for Bergamasco tag
Great-Grandparents Galfre and Bergamasco | Our Prairie Nest
Great-Grandparents: The Bartlett-Galfre Side

Today, we’re looking at my fourth and final set of great-grandparents. As far as my maternal side goes, these are the folks I know the most about, as well as the Italian side I’m researching most actively. Even though I have dozens of Mayflower lines, one of the lines from this side of the family was my “gateway” into lineage societies.

Basil Wade Bartlett and Lia Elizabeth Galfré

My maternal great-grandparents, particularly along my mitochondrial DNA line, interest me greatly. The first DNA test I took was in 2006 and it was a mtDNA test through Family Tree DNA. Our mitochondrial haplogroup is H1aj1, which originated in Iberia. Besides my uncle, I have another mtDNA match with a genetic distance of 0 who is also Italian. I have been working on building out both of our family trees to see if we can determine our shared common ancestor, but because of the nature of mtDNA, that might not even be possible.

I knew my Nana Bartlett, Lia Elizabeth (Galfré) Bartlett, but not my great-grandpa Basil Wade Bartlett. Nana was quite small, as were her parents whose passports have them measuring barely 4 feet tall (for her mother) and 5 feet tall (for her father). That height or lack thereof runs in the family to this day, mostly among my Nana (grandmother, who just passed away last year at the age of 93), mother, aunt, uncles, and their cousins.

The Bartlett Family of Plymouth, Massachusetts

Basil’s father was Basil Clyde Bartlett, born 25 March 1881 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts. This is the main Bartlett line, as I have multiple, that I followed when applying for membership to the Society of Descendants of Robert Bartlett and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. Most, but not all, Bartletts in Plymouth descend from Robert Bartlett, who married Mary Warren, daughter of Richard Warren, a Mayflower passenger. I have been the editor of the Bartlett Society’s newsletter for over a decade and their webmaster for a few years. There are many Bartletts who emigrated to Massachusetts and Connecticut in the 1600s, and it’s easy to assume they’re all related. However, DNA testing has proven they are not.

It is certainly convenient to “fit” the Bartlett family of Puddletown, Dorset, England to Robert Bartlett. However, I look at that theory with caution until documentary or DNA evidence is found to make the connection. Anyone who shares my interest in the origins of Robert Bartlett of Plymouth may want to follow the Bartlett DNA Project at Family Tree DNA. We provide more information about it on the Bartlett Society’s DNA page.

Basil Clyde Bartlett’s mother comes from a family that I’m actively researching from Porter’s Lake, Halifax, Nova Scotia. I would love to identify his maternal great-grandmother, Elizabeth (maiden name unknown) (Parks) Johnston. Here’s hoping I can really delve into those research efforts during the remainder of 2024! I think DNA will be an important factor in this research, as I have already identified many matches in that particular family network.

The Wade Family of Bridgewater, Massachusetts

I grew up in Bridgewater, which was home to the ancestors of Basil’s mother, Rosedla Lorena Wade. Rosedla was born 21 December 1878 in Carver, Plymouth, Massachusetts to Henry William Wade and Ruhamah A. French. I find it interesting that Rosedla’s parents were married in Indiana. None of my family went west, with only a single exception, let alone ventured west and then returned to Massachusetts. Since they were married in 1865, I wonder if this was because Henry was serving in the Civil War and Rosedla couldn’t wait to marry him. Or perhaps their families disapproved of the union. Who knows?

This is also one of my many Mayflower lines, going back to multiple passengers. I always figure it makes sense that if you have one Mayflower ancestor, you probably have more, since their marital prospects were pretty limited for quite some time.

The Galfré Family of Cuneo, Italy

Among the ancestors who interest me most are those of my great-great grandparents – my Nana Bartlett’s parents. Her father was Bartolomeo Giovanni Michele Galfré, which is such a fantastic name. My mom’s cousins have many wonderful stories about him, and one of those cousins has shared some fantastic pictures of Bartolomeo on his WikiTree page. Bartolomeo was born 21 January 1865 in Cuneo, Piedmont, Italy. He and his wife, my great-great grandmother, were married 24 October 1896 in Sanremo, Imperia, Liguria, Italy. They emigrated to Massachusetts, where they raised their family, including my Nana Bartlett.

Bartolomeo spoke “real good French” according to my Nana and her sisters. His paternal grandparents or great-grandparents possibly came from France. I’m hoping to find his parents’ death records to confirm their parents’ names and places of birth. Italian records are wonderfully thorough, as well as easy to read. However, the particular comune for which I’m seeking records isn’t online yet. I’ve written to the parish where Bartolomeo’s parents, who were possibly born in Spinetta (part of Cuneo, not to be confused with Spinetta Marengo), may have gotten married, but had no response. Alas, inquiries for information from Italian officials and clergy are hit or miss as far as receiving a response.

Bartolomeo’s brother, Giovanni Battista Bartolomeo Galfré, has descendants, our cousins who still live in Italy, and we’re fortunate to be in touch with them. They are wonderful folks, but they don’t share the same interest in family history as we do. So here’s hoping the records I’m looking for are made available via FamilySearch or Antenati soon!

The Bergamasco Family of Cairo Montenotte, Italy

This is, perhaps, one of the more confusing sides of my family. While we have a wonderful “family history” full of memories recorded by my Nana and two of her sisters, I have since found information that augments it.

For a long time, we understood my great-great grandmother’s name to be Ernesta Maddalena Bergamasco. However, when trying to locate a birth record for her, nothing was found. I couldn’t understand why until I scrolled through records for Moneglia, where she was born, and found one for Maddalena Pedemonte on the same date of birth. That was the lightbulb moment, especially once I found the birth records of her siblings! Each siblings’ record lists only one parent – either the mother, Catarina Santina Pedemonte, or the father, Giuseppe Bergamasco. None of the records list both parents, as they were not married when their children were born. But if it weren’t for the family history my Nana and her siblings recorded, we never would have known the names of all the siblings to search in the first place.

Giuseppe Bergamasco was born 18 February 1837 in Cairo Montenotte, Savona, Italy.  His parents were Giovanni Antonio Bergamasco and Maddalena Bozzolasco. He had at least 3 sisters – Agnes, Maria and Catterina, none of whom married.  

Catarina was born 15 December 1842 in Cogoleto, Genova, Italy. She was the daughter of Tomaso Pedemonte and Angela Giusto. Tomaso’s death record states his parents are unknown, so he is currently a brick wall. I wonder if Tomaso was a foundling or orphan. 

Catarina first married Giacomo Spiazzi, probably about 1864. She had 3 children with him – Bartolomeo (to whom Giuseppe Bergamasco was godfather), Emilia, and Angela. Two of these children are mentioned in our family history recording.

Giacomo emigrated to Buenos Aires, where he died in 1869 of Cholera. Catarina went on to have 8 more children – Giovanni Battista, Ernesta Maddalena, Theresa Adelaide Armenia, Enrico Dante Alessandro, Pietro, Alessandro, Battista Aurelio Archimede, and Adele – some with the surname Pedemonte and some with the surname Bergamasco. The recording only mentions 3 of these children, however at least half of Catarina’s children died young, so it makes sense that my Nana and her sisters didn’t know their names.

Catarina married Giuseppe on 25 October 1894 in Moneglia, Genova, Italy, eight years after the birth of her last child. Her parents are also a bit of a brick wall for me and I would love to work my way back further on all of these Italian lines. Especially my mtDNA line!

Ernesta Maddalena Bergamasco
Northern Italian Ancestors

One of the techniques many genealogists use in working on brick walls or research questions is a technique called sideways searching or digging into the FAN Club (friends, associates, and neighbors). This means looking at collateral and other relationships to see if they might answer your questions. In 2021, my research focus is on my maternal Italian ancestors, the Galfré and Bergamasco families.

My Galfré ancestors came from Cuneo and maybe Spinetta before that, and then France another generation or two prior. My Bergamasco ancestors came from Moneglia, Cogoleto, and Cairo Montenotte.


My great-great grandfather was Bartolomeo Giovanni Michele Galfré, born 22 January 1869 in Cuneo, Piedmont, Italy according to his Certificato di Nascita. He married Ernesta Maddalena Pedemonte Bergamasco on 24 October 1896 in Sanremo, Imperia, Liguria, Italy.

Bartolomeo had only one sibling, a brother named Giovanni Battista Galfré, born in 1868. Giovanni remained in Italy, while Bartolomeo emigrated to the United States. Bartolomeo died in Lakeville, Plymouth, Massachusetts on 5 October 1952.

Giovanni married Carolina Chialva and they had 8 children. He died 20 March 1948 in Cuneo.

His parents were Michele Galfré and Francesca Manassero. At this time, records for Cuneo and the other places associated with the family aren’t yet digitized, which means I haven’t found anything online. I’m not sure if the places and dates of birth I have for Michele and Francesca are correct, so I have not yet reached out to the Stato Civile to inquire.

I have supposed birthdates of 20 June 1836 for Michele and July 1839 for Francesca Manassero, both in Spinetta, Alessandria, Piedmont, Italy.

Michele’s parents were Giovanni Battista Bartolomeo Galfré and Teresa Dematteis. Francesca’s parents were Giovanni Manassero and Teresa Cavallo. I have no other information, except for their son Giovanni’s family in Italy. I am even in touch with Giovanni’s descendants, and what little information I have that isn’t proven by records comes from them through my aunt, who once visited with them.


Ernesta Maddalena Pedemonte Bergamasco was born 18 May 1871 in Moneglia, Genoa, Liguria, Italy. I’ve had better luck researching her family because records for Moneglia are digitized and browsable via the Family Search catalog.

Though Ernesta’s surname in her birth record is Pedemonte, her surname in her marriage is given as Bergamasco. Her mother, Caterina, was married twice, though the surnames of her children differed.

Caterina Santina Pedemonte was born 18 December 1842 in Cogoleto, Genora, Liguria, Italy. She first married Giacomo Spiazzi, of Verona, around 1864. I will continue searching for their marriage record. Caterina had 3 children with Giacomo:

  1. Bartolomeo Spiazzi, born 13 Jun 1865 in Finale Pia, Savona, Liguria, Italy. He married Anna Teresa Maria Costa on 27 January 1910 in Moneglia, and had at least 2 children.

His sons were Aurelio Spiazzi, who later became known as Raimondo Spiazzi, the Catholic theologian (1918-2004), and Enrico Giacomo Attilio Spiazzi (1920-?), about whom I know nothing more.

2. Emilia Spiazzi, born about 1866. She married Alessandro Zanetti about 1887, and they had at least 4 children. They were:

Alfredo Zanetti (abt 1887-1944), who emigrated to Chile and married Rosa Zúñiga Gonzalez in Santiago in 1919; Ida Luigia Zanetti (1889-1969) who married Bartolomeo Angelo Carlo Bado; Arturo Giovanni Zanetti (1891-?); and Adelina Giulia Maria Zanetti (1895-?) who married Luogo Giovanni Del Pio.

3. Angela Spiazzi, born 24 June 1868 in Cogoleto, Genoa, Liguria, Italy, and died 14 January 1936 in Moneglia. She married Natale Giuseppe Chiapponi and had at least 3 children. They were:

Anna Santina Domenica Chiapponi (1890-1907); Ernesta Pierina Beatrice Chiapponi (1892-1895); and Natale Giuseppe Chiapponi (1922-?). The gap between children is interesting and I wonder if Angela and Natale lived elsewhere for some time between 1907 and 1920, before returning to Moneglia.

Giacomo Spiazzi went to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and died of cholera there in February of 1869. Caterina then went on to have many more children, and their birth records name either their mother or their father, but not both. These were probably the children of Giuseppe Bergamasco, who was born about 1837 in Cairo Montenotte, Savona, Liguria, Italy.

These children were as follows:

4. Possibly Theresa Adelaide Bergamasco, born about 1869 and died 8 October 1881 in Moneglia. Her death record names her father as Giuseppe Bergamasco.

5. Giovanni Battista Pedemonte, or Uncle John, took the name of Bergamasco later, born 21 December 1870 in Vado Ligure, Savona, Liguria, Italy. He came to the United States with his half-brother, Bartolomeo Spiazzi, and stayed briefly. The family story is that he returned to Italy to deal with some health problems in his 50s, got married, and died within 6 months of his marriage, before March of 1925. According to family lore, his death was considered suspicious.

6. Ernesta Maddalena Pedemonte, took the name of Bergamasco later, born 18 May 1873 in Moneglia. My great-great grandmother. When she and Bartolomeo emigrated to the United States, she never saw her mother or sisters again, but she did have visits from her brothers.

7. Enrico Dante Alessandro Bergamasco, born 13 February 1881 and died 16 February 1881 in Moneglia.

8. Pietro Bergamasco, born 7 March 1882 in Moneglia and died sometime after 15 December 1925, probably in Chile. Pietro had a clothing manufacturing company located at Casilla 147, Los Andes, Chile, known as: Fabrica Italiana de Fideos “La Estrella Polar” de Moltedo, Bergamasco y Cia.

9. Alessandro Bergamasco, born 7 March 1882 in Moneglia, died 2 June 1882. Twins ran in the family, as Ernesta also had twins for her first pregnancy. Unfortunately, both also died in infancy.

10. Aurelio Archimede Bergamasco, born 9 December 1885 in Moneglia. My Nana and her siblings all referred to him as Uncle Archie. I don’t know any more about him. Also, he has another name from what I can tell from his birth record, but I can’t read it!

11. Adele Bergamasco, born 11 November 1886 in Moneglia. I don’t know any more about her.

Caterina also had a brother, Giovanni Carlo Pedemonte (abt 1837-1887), who married Maria Luigia Porchetto, and had at least 10 children, all of whom I have been able to document to some extent.

Caterina’s parents were Tomaso Pedemonte and Angela Giusto. Angela is my most distant known mtDNA ancestor at this time, and I hope to learn more about her with focused research.

Giuseppe Bergamasco’s parents were Antonio Bergamasco and Maddalena Bozzolasco, and he had 3 siblings – Agnes, Maria, and Caterina. Giuseppe certainly knew Giacomo Spiazzi and Caterina Pedemonte, because Giuseppe their son Bartolomeo’s godfather.

That is what I know about my northern Italian ancestors at this time, but I hope to learn more soon!