Giusto Sforza Spera
Found: 26 or 27 August 1835 ~Mussomeli, Caltanisetta,
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Born: 26 or 27 August 1835 ~Mussomeli
First Marriage, to Salvatrice Spoto: 19 August 1860 ~Mussomeli

Died: 18 July 1867 ~ Mussomeli
, Caltanisetta,
Sicily, Italy 

Meaning of Giusto [JOO-stoh]: correct, right, righteous

Meaning of Sforza [s-FORTS-uh]: strives, tries

Meaning of Spera [SPEHR-uh]: hope


        My wife Angela Bongiovanni's great-great grandfather Giusto Sforza Spera was a foundling.  His birth record and his his civil and church death records indicate that his parents were unknown. 
      Typical of surnames given to foundlings at the time, his surnames often carry some extra meaning.  Combined with his first name, the meaning may have bee something like "the righteous strives to hope".
      The odds against survival for abandoned children were overwhelming.  If they did not die of exposure in the wheel or on their way there, conditions in foundling homes could be horrid, causing their residents to suffer from malnutrition, and from diseases borne by wet-nurses.  In Mussomeli, Giusto may have been consigned to a foster family.  There he may have been shown some care, but too often these children were 'adopted' simply to be used as servants or workers in the family enterprise.
      Regardless, Giusto overcame these odds; his blood runs in the veins of his progeny,
and his trials and tribulations no doubt helped formed the family values that have descended to us.
                                                             Click HERE for more about foundlings.


        In 1835, the year Giusto was born, Sicily, with Naples and the southern Appennine peninsula, formed the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, ruled by Bourbon Spain.   Giusto and his family owed allegiance to the King of the Two Sicilies, Ferdinando II, who in turn was a subject of his cousin Isabella II Queen of Spain and All its Holdings (including Sicily).  Giusto not born in Italy, which did not exist as a nation in 1835.  He was born in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

In North America, the Texas Revolution for independence from Mexico began in 1835.  In the United States, Andrew Jackson was in his second term as President. 


        The baptism record of Giusto Sforza, below, gives his birth and baptism date as 26 August, 1835.  His civil birth record, shown farther below, gives the date of both as 27 August.  There is no way at this point to determine which record is exactly correct.

Baptism Record

From Mussomeli Registri Ecclesiastici Film 2013806, Chiesa San Ludovico,
1835 Baptisms, Page 89, Justus Sforza       

Parentis Incogti
Justus Sforza


Anno Dmi millmo Octingmo trigmo quinto  1835       89

Die Vigma sexta Augusti     
Ego Sac. Antoninus Morreale
Cappnus Sacratis hus M. E. ba
ptizavi infantem hodie hora 16
cir ex Parentibus incogti
natum. Cui impositum est nome Justus Sforza. Pni fuere
Joseph Tomasino, et Josepha Antonina uxor qm Nicolai Lanzalaco


Parents unknown


Year of our Lord Eighteen thirty-five  1835       89

Day twenty-six of August     
, Priest Antonino Morreale Sacramental Chaplain of this Mother Church ba
ptized an infant born today around 16:00 hours of Unknown
parents who was given the name Giusto Sforza. Godparents were

Giuseppe Tomasino & Giuseppa Antonina wife of the late Nicola Lanzalaco


        From about 1820 through 1865, civil birth records in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies reported the details of all births on the left side of a two-page form, reproduced below.  The right side of the record refers to Giusto's baptism.  It is not a baptism certificate.  It names no priest or godparents, but simply states that the birth was reported to the church and the church confirmed that the child had been baptized.  Because of the high infant mortality rate, babies were baptized within a few days of their birth.
      The translation below, following the image of the actual record, has been condensed to one page.  Because this was a foundling's record, it did not fit the format of the typical birth record, and much of it is simply written in the blank spaces without regard to the pre-printed matter.  The record is indexed by the name Giusto Sforza, which is the name on the 'civil' side of the record, but the baptism notation gives the name as Giusto Sforza Spera.  His marriage and death records give his name simply as Giusto Sforza.

From Mussomele Registri Stato Civile Film 1438785, 1835 Births, No. 187, Giusto Sforza    

R E C O R D   O F   B I R T H  

Notice of the day on which
was administered the Sacrament
of Baptism

Number one hundred eighty-seven

In the year one thousand eight hundred thirty-five on day twenty-seven of the month of August at hour twenty Italian time before Us Francesco Cinquemani, Mayor and official of the civil record of the community of Mussomeli District of Caltanisetta Province of Caltanisetta has appeared Rosalia Lupo age _____ occupation Wheelkeeper living in this Town, who has presented us a report that accordingly we have visibly witnessed, and he has declared that the same was born by the Community Administrative Commission of the Town of Mussomeli of . . . . . age Community living Administrative Commission and of in accordance with Article 26 of the age Civil Code occupation she reported living at to the Mayor and Official of the Civil Record that on day this day at the of the month of hour sixteen in the year there was found in the at hour wheel of foundlings, a in the house baby boy of recent birth wrapped in swaddling clothes, without a blemish
The same has also declared that she has given to or visible sign the name of any kind.

[second page] We have given him the name Giusto Sforza
~ the Commission: Francesco Cinquemani, Mayor
Emmanuele Petix; Giuseppe Minelli;
deputy Salvadore Genci Secretary . . . .

The aforesaid presentation and declaration was made in the presence of We, after having recorded age the said report occupation
have directed that a subject of the realm, living at it be placed in the volume of documents at page ____ and of . . . . the Registrar of the Tribunal age Civil, occupation . . . . . . . . a subject of the realm, living at We have today signed this document, which is recorded in the two registers of the Civil Record, on the day, month, witnesses attending the present act, and by him, Mister and year as above. provided.

  This document, which we have created as required, was inscribed on two registers, read to the informant and to the witnesses, and on the day, month, and year as stated above, signed by Us alone.

[Signed by]  Francesco Cinquemani Mayor

Number one hundred eighty-seven

Year one thousand eight hundred thirty-five on day twenty-eight of the month of August
the Parish priest of this town
has returned to us on the day
stated above
of the year stated above,
the record,
which we had remitted to him on
twenty-seven of
the month stated above, of the year ____ the birth act written opposite, at the bottom of which he has indicated that the Sa-
crament of Baptism has been ad-
ministered to Giusto Sforza

on day as above.

  Having seen this document after having it encoded, we have provided that it be preserved in the register of documents at page one hundred eighty-seven

  We have also acknowledged to the Parish priest the receipt of the same, and we have created the present record which was inscribed on the two re-

[second page] gisters in the margins of the corr-esponding birth record, and then we have signed.

[Signed by] F. Cinquemani Mayor


      The 1861 civil record of the marriage promise reproduced below, for Giusto Sforza and Salvatrice Spoto, covers four pages.  The form is in two columns, on the left showing the Record of the Solemn Promise to celebrate matrimony, while the right-hand column is entitled 'Indication of the subsequent canonical [church] celebration of marriage'.  Only the left column of the record is translated below.  Essentially, the left column gives the details of the civil promise made at the Town Hall, while the right column simply confirms that the couple was married in church on 16 August 1960 in the presence of witnesses Salvatore Valenza and Domenico Frisa, and that the civil and church records were cross-referenced. 
        This record is only the promise or contract to marry, but it contains much more information than the actual marriage record made by the church.  Click on the images at left to see the original documents.  Unfortunately, the church marriage records for the years 1856 through 1865 are missing.

to celebrate matrimony

[p. 1] Number 35
Year eighteen hundred sixty, day
of the month of August
at hour twenty-four, before Us, Don Giuseppe Langella,
and official of the Civil Record of the Town of
, district of
Province of Caltanissetta, have appeared in the
Town Hall
: Giusto Sforza, bachelor
age twenty-five, born in Mussomeli,
district of
Caltanissetta, Province of Calta-
, occupation villager, living in
, son of an unknown father,
age ______ occupation ______ living ____,
and of an unknown mother, age ______, living ______;
and Salvatrice Spoto, maiden, age nineteen, born in Mussomeli, living
here, daughter of Giuseppe, age forty-five, occupation villager living here, and daughter of Maria Carmela
age deceased, who lived ___.
The couple,
in the presence of witnesses who will be mentioned below, produced by them, have asked me to receive their solemn pro-
[p. 2]
to celebrate prior to the Church ceremony, according to the format prescribed by the Sacred Council of Trent for the
marriage which they plan between them
with the support of the father of the bride who in our presence has declared his express formal cansent.
   The notice of this promise was affixed to the door of the town hall of Mussomeli on Sunday the twenty-second day of the month of July of the current year.
 We, in accordance with their request, after having read them all the consistent documents:
 [p. 3]First, the birth records of the groom
Second, the birth record of the bride
Third, the marriage banns made in this Town, to which there have been no objections
Fourth, the death record of the mother of the bride

Page 3 continues: and having also read chapter six under the title of marriage of the civil laws regarding the respective rights and obligations of the spouses, we have received from each of the parties, one after the other, the declaration, that they solemnly promise to celebrate the marriage before the Church according to the format prescribed by the Holy Council of Trent.
      We made the record of all this
in the presence of four witnesses attending the solemn promise of marriage:
Lodovico Lombardo,
age fifty, occupation Villager subject of the Realm, living in Mussomeli;
Giuseppe Castrogiovanni, age thirty-four, occupation Villager;
[p. 4] subject of the Realm, living here;
Salvatore Vaccaro,
age twenty-three, occupation Villager subject of the Realm, living here;
and of Salvatore Lombardo,
age twenty-eight, occupation Villager subject of the Realm, living here;
We have read this record, which is inscribed on the two registers, to the witnesses and the bride and groom, to whom we have also given two consistent copies signed by Us, to be presented to the parish priest, to whom the celebration of the marriage pertains, and then it is signed by us alone since those assembled for this record and the witnesses are illiterate.

The Adjudicator
G. Langella

From Mussomeli Registri Stato Civile Film 1438828, 1860 Marriages, No 35, Giusto Sforza and Salvatrice Spoto


From Mussomeli Registri Stato Civile Film 1963948, 1867 Deaths, No. 435, Giusto Sforza     

 In the year one thousand eight hundred sixty-seven on day nineteen of July at hour
ten-thirty ante meridian in the Town Hall before me Raimondo Mis-
tretta, Secretary of the Town of Mussomeli, District and Province of Cal-
tanisetta, delegated Official of the Civil Staus for records of death, by the Mayor
by act of twenty-two May one thousand eight hundred sixty-six, approved on the 1st of June of said year; appeared Vincenzo Genuardi son of the living Sebastiano, age
sixty, occupation Villager, living in Mussomeli; and Giuseppe Mar-
tone son of the living Salvatore, age forty-three, occupation Villager, living
here, who have declared to me that at the hour of ten post meridian on yester-
day, has died, in his own house, Giusto Sforza, husband of Teresa Tuzzeo; age
thirty-one, occupation Villager, living in and born in Mussomeli
of an unknown Father and an unknown Mother.
        [signed] Raimondo Mistretta Secretary

Nunber Four hundred

Giusto Sforza

Church Death Record

(Church death records for Mussomeli for 1867 have not been microfilmed.)

Giusto Sforza Spera married Salvatrice Spoto on 19 August 1860

Known Children

Giuseppa Sforza Spera: 25 Sep 1861 - ?
(Married Salvatore Bellanca)

Giusto Sforza Spera married Maria Teresa Tuzzeo on 5 Jun 1865

Known Children

Vincenza Sforza 10 Mar 1866 - 6 Apr 1866

Vincenza Sforza 27 Mar 1867 - 16 Jul 1867


webbunny.gif (3114 bytes)






2 3 4


Gaetano & Rosina


















Hit Counter