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The Maryrose Burriesci Family Home Page

Updated October 4, 2005

I am looking for family information for my family. Surnames from my side of the family are: Smith, Haley, Canady, Sommer, Braun, Burriesci, Pinola, Leone and La Barbera.

I am particularly interested in finding out more about the "real" surname of my maternal great-great grandfather, John Henry Smith. Some members of my mother's family think that his actual surname was "Stranahan." The family legend states that he ran away from his home in Philadelphia (after having come to the US from Ireland as a child) at age 13 because of some trouble he had gotten into. (We think he killed someone). He lied about his age and joined the Union Army as a drummer boy and served in the Civil War. After the battle at Shiloh (purported to be the bloodiest battle of the Civil Way) he went AWOL and ended up in Corinth, Mississippi. To avoid capture, he changed his surname to "Smith" and lived out the rest of his life in Corinth. How he survived living in Mississippi with a thick Irish brogue is something of a mystery. He married three times and had several children, my grandmother being his oldest granddaughter. She remembers a time when she was a young girl, John Henry received word that his sister had passed away. He purchased a train ticket to Philadelphia but just couldn't bring himself to get on that train. Even though he was really old at this point, he was still worried about the "trouble" that had made his leave Philadelphia in the first place. My family would really love to learn about our "missing" relatives in Philadelphia.

On my father's side, I'm looking for any information about the Burriesci and Pinola families. What I know for sure is that my paternal grandmother, Rosa Leone Pinola, had an arranged marriage at age 16 to Gaspare Burriesci, son of Michaele Burriesci and a woman with the surname of La Barbera. Rosa's birth certificate states that her father was Nunzio Pinola but the surname listed on the certificate is that of her mother: Leone. This leads our family to believe that Mr. Pinola and Ms. Leone were not married, thereby making my grandmother illegitimate; which would explain the arranged marriage as she wouldn't have had a dowry. Interestingly enough, her sister Francesca had an arranged marriage to Gaspare Burriesci's brother Christofo. Same reason, we think. The offspring of both families are considered to be "double cousins" (my father is one of them) and they all look so much alike since they share so much of the same DNA. Nunzio Pinola and my great-grandmother had several children together but only 3 survived. I'd like to know more about these families.

You are welcome to email me if you think any of the above might link you to my family. Thank you!

Maryrose Burriesci

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