Mattei: Times of Turmoil-the third generation

From Barb Mullen, Australia

Giuseppe and Domenica MATTEI(4) had Pietro(3) (1782) and Antonio(3) (1786) – named after his grandfather. They were grandfathers to Alessandro MATTEI(1).Pietro(3) married outside the immediate family, to Giocamina TRONI(3), daughter to Carlo TRONI(4). This couple had at least one daughter who is important to our story.

Meanwhile, Antonio(4) and Antonia MATTEI nee CHRISTOPHINI(4) named their daughter born in 1787, Domenica(3).

Antonio(3) married his first cousin, Domenica(3). They had at least 8 children. The Mattei family in Cevio was a big family.

Life could be very hard and Cevio was not a wealthy place. It was more of a hand to mouth existence for most of the people. In this time of political upheavals (Napoleon’s invasion, revolutions) our Mattei families kept family links strong and braced themselves to face the future.

Mattei baptismal recordA photo of the baptismal record of Domenica Mattei(3), 1787.


By this time, at the beginning of the 19th Century, Cevio was breathing the heady air of freedom and hope after years of instability.
Guiseppe MATTEI(2), son of Antonio MATTEI(3) was born in 1807 into this world of optimism.
Guiseppe(2)’s wife, Giovanna MATTEI(2) was born in 1813. Yes, she was his cousin, the daughter of her husband’s uncle, Pietro MATTEI(3) and Giocomina TRONI(3). Giuseppe and Giovanna were married in 1831 after successfully seeking a dispensation from the church.
In Switzerland an air of prosperity had eventuated with centralised government. Changes filtered into the Valle de Maggia, still relatively isolated but a part of the wider world more than ever.
The population of Cevio increased and this in turn put pressure on the capacity of the village to feed itself.


Guiseppe(2) and Giovanna(2) gave birth to Alessandro MATTEI(1) in 1838. Alessandro(3) was baptized and named Antonio Maria Alessandro MATTEI after his grandfather, great grandfather and great grandmother and great, great grandfather – all Antonio (or Antonia). Fortunately, for us, he was also named Alessandro and that is the name he was commonly known by.
Alessandro was baptized Antonio Maria Alessandro Matttei.

The world of Alessandro was to be turned upside down. There was a food shortage. Then their valley was blockaded, all the people working in Italy were sent home.

No food, no money, no trade – hard times.

Alessandro dreamt of gold, Australia and a new start.

All the information regarding names and dates was obtained from La Chiesa Parrochiale, Cevio, Ticino, Switzerland.

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