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San Pietro Avellana

Don Giovanni arciprete Frazzini

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Giovanni Frazzini was the brother of my great-great-grandfather, Felice Amato Frazzini. He was the son of Ippolito Frazzino and Maria Lucia Giuseppa diFlorio. Giovanni was the priest in San Pietro Avellana from 1862 to 1903. He was born Giuseppe Giovanni Frazzino in SPA on 18 May 1824 and died on 21 Jan 1903 at the age of 78. He was succeeded by his nephew, Sabatino Frazzini.

I got this list of "Arcipreti" or head priests at the church in SPA:

  Giovanni Salvatore 1769-1812
  Paolantonio del Re 1815-1860
  Giovanni Frazzini 1862-1903
  Sabatino Frazzini 1903-1921
  Liborio di Comso 1921-1946
  Francesco Riga 1947-1949

From the book "Il Mio Paese Racconta" by Mario Colaianni  1996.

After doing some investigating, it turns out that both Giovanni Frazzini and Sabatino Frazzini are great uncles of mine (but one generation apart).

In 1903, Don Sabatino took over as head priest upon the death of Don Giovanni. Don Sabatino is my great grand uncle and he was arciprete from 1903 to 1921.

Trips to the US

In October of 2009, I got an email from Franklin Smith telling me about a new book available at titled "The Frazzini Name in History". I got a copy of the book from Amazon.

As I thought, it is a computer generated book which contains a lot of generic text with pages inserted with Frazzini information that was culled from's data base and then summarized by a computer program. Its one of these "print on demand" books. They say that they have 300,000 names available.

All in all, worth looking at but it didn't present much new data and actually left out a lot of data. It pointed out two Frazzini's who came to the US in 1848 and 1869. This person was listed as born in Switzerland. He traveled with Germans and Frenchmen.

As I looked at the new Frazzini and did a little more searching on, I found an 1850 census from Amherst, NY with a Joseph Frazzini, Clergyman. Remember, Don Giovanni's name at birth was Giuseppe Giovanni Frazzini.

The birth dates don't all match yet from these records, but I think this is my great-great grand uncle who was arcipriete of SPA from 1862 until his death in 1903.

This is new information for me (if its correct). He would also have been one of the earliest arrivals from SPA to the US. I am guessing though, that he was just here in the US studying and then returned to SPA to assume his duties there.

I can't explain why he said he was born in Switzerland. What would a Frazzini be doing in Switzerland anyway? Maybe studying for the clergy?

Here are the three documents that I found:

1. 1 Jun 1848 arrival at New York of J.Frazzini on board the Burgundy. Age 24y (born about 1824), Occupation: Merchant, born in Switzerland.
2. the 1850 census sheet which lists Joseph Frazzini in Amherst, New York. Occupation : Clergyman. Age: 35y, born in Switzerland (abt 1815), occupation - Catholic Clergyman. Living with 3 other men with same occupation and who were born in Germany. It is possible that the age was written wrong and should be 25y
3. 4 Oct 1869 arrival at New York of Joseph Frazzini on board the Main. Age 53y. Born in Switzerland. On this manifest, he is listed just above another person whose occupation is listed as Clergy. His age is listed as 53y which would mean he was born abt  1816. Men listed before and after him were born in Austria and Germany.

Another reference I found is from the 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. I don't have access to the actual document because a special subscription is needed at The index shows a person by the name of "Revd Joseph Fruzzini", born about 1816 lived in Waterloo County, Canada West (Ontario) in 1852. Here is the detail that I found on the new LDS site :

Name: Joseph Fruzzini
Gender: Male
Age in years: 36
Estimated birth year: 1815
Birthplace: Switzerland
Province: Canada West (Ontario)
District: Waterloo County
District number: 38
Subdistrict: Wilmot
Subdistrict number: 361
Page: 135
Line number: 2
Library and Archives Canada film number: C_11754
Collection: Canada Census 1851

I've asked my cousin, Giuliano Colajanni to inquire at the church in SPA if any historical documents are available about Don Giovanni.

caro Giuliano,

Does the church in SPA have any old photos of the priests, Don Giovanni Frazzini and Don Sabatino Frazzini? Both priests are my uncles.

I have found a 1850 census record which may show Don Giovanni Frazzini living here in the USA with other priests. I have attached three documents:

1. the 1850 census sheet which lists Joseph Frazzini in Amherst, New York. Occupation : Clergyman
2. 1848 arrival at New York of J.Frazzini. Age 24y
3. 1869 arrival at New York of Joseph Frazzini. Age 53y

Possibily at the church in SPA there might be other historical documents. Don Giovanni Frazzini was named at birth "Giuseppe Giovanni Frazzini". Can you ask at your trip to SPA?

Date:            Sat, 7 Nov 2009 16:14:30 +0100 (CET)
From:            <>
Subject:         R: Re: R: Priests Don Giovanni and Don Sabatino Frazzini

OK Marco
Consider that Giuseppe Frazzini b.18/May/1824, is perfect with first trip and with the 1850 Census, and consider that in the October 1869 Giuseppe Frazzini signed (I will verify) the Status Animarum.
caro Giuliano,

Thank you for your help.  It was exciting for me to learn about this "Joseph Frazzini" and the possibility that it is my great-great granduncle.

Date:            Tue, 10 Nov 2009 20:47:55 +0100 (CET)
From:            <>
Subject:         R: Re: R: Priests Don Giovanni and Don Sabatino Frazzini


Now it is important to verify if in the Monastero of Montecassino there is info about priests operating in USA around 1850, studying or working.
In your new page dedicated to G.F. you refer to CAMPANA story. The complete original (written by G.F.hand) report is attached at last pages of my book (very little characters).

Date:    Thu, 12 Nov 2009 14:08:23 +0100 (CET)
From:    <>
Subject:    I: Ricerche storiche

I have written to MONTECASSINO Archive after phone contact. I am awaiting info because probably the 1850 Superior of the monastero was German!
Date:            Thu, 12 Nov 2009 10:30:13 +0100 (CET)
From:            <>
Subject:         Ricerche storiche

Gentilissimo Padre Don Faustino

Mi chiamo Giuliano Colajanni, e sono un ricercatore storico.

A seguito della telefonata odierna, le invio queste informazioni nella speranza che possa aiutarmi.

La persona di cui sto cercando notizie era un sacerdote cattolico di nome GIOVANNI GIUSEPPE FRAZZINI nato nel 1824 a San Pietro Avellana ora provincia di Isernia ed in questo paese, all'epoca dipendente territorialmente da Montecassino, ha operato magnificamente come arciprete dal 1862 al 1903.

Mi risulta la sua presenza in USA IL 12/Agosto/1850 nella citta' di AMHERST conte di NEW YORK dove viveva insieme ai seguenti sacerdoti cattolici di origine tedesca:
Probabilmente ho scritto male i nomi perche' poco leggibili

Chiedo se vi risulta se Don GIOVANNI FRAZZINI SI TROVASSE IN USA per studio, e qualche notizia possibile sulla nomina sacerdotale del Frazzini e dove e' avvenuta.

Grazie in anticipo Padre a presto, puo rispondere su questa mail

Giuliano Colajanni

Dear Father Don Faustino 
My name is Giuliano Colajanni, and I am an historical researcher. 
Following today's phone call, I send you this information in the hope that you can help. 
The person of whom I am looking for news was a Catholic priest named Giovanni Giuseppe FRAZZINI born in 1824 at San Pietro Avellana, province of Isernia and in this dependent zone, adminstered territorially from Montecassino, he had honorably served as pastor from 1862 to 1903.
My research shows that he was the USA on 12/August/1850, in the city of AMHERST, state of New York where he lived together with the following Catholic priests of German origin:
I have probably misspelled the names because they are hard to read.
I ask if you know of Don Giovanni FRAZZINI who was found in the USA for possible study and any information about the priestly ordination of Frazzini and where it occured.
Thanks in advance for your response to this email,

Historical documents from SPA

Birth from LDS microfilm 1338775, dated 18 may 1824 index #36.

1952 SPA Status Animarum, living with parents, Ippolito Frazzini and Maria diFlorio.

1869 SPA Status Animarum, ref 293, via La Plaza, lived with mother, Maria diFlorio, sister - Santa, and many nieces and nephews (children of Felice Amato Frazzini and Liberta diSanza) including my great grandparents - Ippolito Frazzini and Albina Salvatore. Also living there was Felice's son Sabatino who would become the next arciprete of  SPA.

Atti di Morte (death record) from SPA municipio, dated 21 Jan 1903 index #1, 78y - my cousin Giuliano Colajanni sent me Don Giovanni's death record which he located in the records at the SPA town hall.

1852 Status Animarum

In 1852 Giovanni Frazzini presided over a census like enumeration of the population of San Pietro Avellana. In 2003, our cousin Alfonso diSanza d'Alena told me of it.

Date sent:          Fri, 22 Aug 2003 16:17:58 +0200
From:               alfonso di sanza <>
Subject:            About records

Here is the text of ‘status animarum’ record about Frazzini’s family write by archpriest Giovanni Frazzini in 1852 (it’s taken from the book ‘I documenti storici e la vita di San Pietro Avellana’ di Pasquale Settefrati, Edition EDIGRAFITAL 2002):
“L’origine più lontana e remota di questa nobile distintissima e benemerita famiglia è meridionale. Li ha sempre fiorito degnamente, primeggiando per fasto, per le alte cariche nelle armi e nella scienze. Lo stemma si è prelevato nell’Achivio Curale anno LV n° 489. Gli antenati furono assai benemeriti verso la patria e verso la religione. Alla prima diedero molti uomini di valore delle armi, ed alcuni statisti onesti e di molti meriti. Alla religione dei martiri per la fede cristiana e qualche Prelato di molta dottrina e d’ingegno superiore. Furono attaccatissimi al partito Guelfo ed alla Real Casa d’Angiò che ne era a capo. Trassero nobili natali e lasciarono di loro chiara fama, consultando la preziosa opera del Ginanni per i significati araldi risulta avvalorato quanto si è detto per lo che i fregi in d’oro fra il labello rosso rappresentano un’onoreficenza che la casa d’Angiò dava ai suoi migliori sudditi, i più fedeli, ai più meritevoli. L’aquila poi denota la nobiltà dei natali e la fama chiarissima. (Blasone ecclesiastico Via Cola di Rienzo 149 Roma)”.

Rough computer assisted translation (with further explaination by Alfonso diSanza d'Alena):

The most distant and remote origin of this most noble, distinguished, and meritorious family is southern. They have always prospered deservingly, showing excellance in the high offices in the arms and sciences.

The coat-of-arms is drawn from the Achivio Curale, year (or annual) 55 number 489.

The ancestors were very supportive towards the native land and the religion. To the first, they gave soldiers and statesmen. To the martyrs' religion for the Christian faith they gave priests of superior talents.

They were aligned with the party Guelfo and to the Royal House of Anjou that it was its leader. Drawn from noble births that made them well-known.

Consulting the invaluable work of Ginanni for the meanings of the herald further strengthened what was said that the gold ornaments in between the red label represent a decoration that the house of Anjou gave to its best subjects, to the most faithful, to the most deserving. [Alfonso's note: Marc'Antonio Ginanni in 1756 wrote a book about the art of heraldry, "L'arte del blasone dichiarata per alfabeto"]
Then the eagle denotes the nobility of their birth and their importance.

(Blasone ecclesiastico Via Cola di Rienzo 149 Roma)

New Bell for the SS Pietro e Paolo Chiesa

Here is an article that was on the San Pietro Avellana Museo web site. Written by Giuliano Colajanni. That site is no longer operating. This page, which described the casting of a new bell for the church, was found here. You can read the original memo written in the hand of Don Giovanni on page 92 of Giuliano Colajanni's book "1870-1924 La Grande Emigrazione Italiana".


via Fontana Grande 12, 86088 S. Pietro Avellana (IS) 

Un pò di storia (una storia al mese)

Sicuri di fare cosa gradita ai nostri amici lettori, intendiamo usare questo spazio per riportare fatti e notizie del tempo andato; squarci di vita della nostra collettivita' e del territorio di SPA

Gli articoli e le note che riporteremo saranno sempre documentati con i relativi riferimenti storici e bibliografici e, salvo giustificati motivi, avranno con lo stesso linguaggio e fraseggio del documento originale.
In qualche caso, per motivi di spazio tipografico ed anche di tempo materiale, qualche articolo potra' essere pubblicato in piu tempi.

Ci piace iniziare con un promemoria scritto dall'arciprete Giovanni Frazzini, nel 1864, aggiornato dallo stesso arciprete nei mesi successivi alla data del primo appunto e avente come argomento il nostro "Campanone". 

Ambientazione: casa canonica vicino al campanile, inizio primavera

Nel dì 11 Aprile del 1864 si e' pesata la campana grande di questa chiesa , rotta nel di 6-Novembre 1863 e si e' trovata del peso di sei cantaia e rotola quarantasette di buon peso, alla presenza del sindaco Sabatino Di Florio , di D. Ferdinando Perilli, Bellisario Mariani, Giuseppe Frazzini e Giuseppe Fantone, di me sottoscritto e dell'artefice Tomaso Marinelli di Agnone, che deve rifonderla.
Giovanni Arciprete Frazzini

Nel di 11 Maggio del 1864 e' stata eseguita la fusione del metallo della campana ed il suo getto e' riuscito bene. Al di 13 detto mese ed anno e' stata ripesata la nuova campana e si e' trovata del peso di cantaia otto meno rotola cinque.
Il di più di un cantaio e mezzo di metallo rinvenuto nel peso della nuova campana e' stato anticipato dal Municipio col danaro dei LL.Pii nella somma di ducati venti, da restituirsi nelle prossima stagione autunnale, dopo raccolte le volontarie offerte di questi cittadini.
Oggi quindici Maggio del sud. Anno , giorno di Pentecoste, si e' situata e suonata per la prima volta alla presenza degli artefici Tomaso e Raffaele Marinelli di Agnone, i quali avendo condotto bene tale lavoro han meritato le lodi del pubblico e l'ammirazione e riconoscenza di me sottoscritto
Giovanni Arciprete Frazzini

In un appunto successivo non datato leggiamo

Le volontarie offerte non si sono verificate percio' la campana descritta e' stata fusa a spese de' LL. Pii oggi congregazione di carita'.

Nel resoconto che abbiamo letto, e' descritta la fase di pesatura della campana ,espressa in cantaia e rotola.
Ambedue sono unita' di peso utilizzate nel 1700 nell'Italia del sud e corrispondono all'incirca :
Cantara o Cantaia = 100 rotoli= 89.5 Kg.
Rotolo= 100 trappesi= 890 g.

La nostra campana rotta del 1863 pesava circa 579 Kg.
La nostra nuova campana del 1864 pesa circa 712 Kg.

Il riferimento a LL.Pii era un fondo in denaro alimentato dalla richiesta di Messe e Cerimonie religiose spesso pagate anticipatamente ed in numero determinato in memoria dei defunti.

Fonte: archivi parrocchiali

A bit of history (one story per month)

For the enjoyment of our readers, we intend to use this space to report facts and news about the old days, glimpses of life of our community and the territory of SPA 

Articles and notes that we bring you will always be documented with the relative historical and bibliographical references and, except for good reasons, will have the same language and phrasing of the original document.

In some cases, for reasons of space and even time printing material, some articles may be published in the longest.

We like to start with a memo written by arciprete Giovanni Frazzini, in 1864, as updated by the same priest in the months following the date of first appointment is as an argument with our "Campanone". 

Setting: house rectory near the church tower, early spring

On the 11th of April 1864 we weighed the large bell of this church, cracked on 6-November 1863 and found the weight as six cantaia forty-seven rotola of good weight, in the presence of Mayor Sabatino diFlorio, D. Ferdinando Perilli, Bellisario Mariani, Giuseppe Frazzini and Giuseppe Fantone, me undersigned and craftsman Tomaso Marinelli of Agnone, who will recast it. 
Archpriest Giovanni Frazzini

On 11 May 1864 the metal of the bell was melted and the bell was successfully recast.  On the 13th of this month and year, the new bell was reweighed and found to weigh eight cantaia less five rotola. 
The extra one and a half cantaio of metal found in the weight of the new bell was anticipated by the Municipio with the money of LL. Pii with money in the sum of 20 ducats, to be repaid in the coming autumn season, collected after the volunteer offerings of our citizens. 

Today, the Fifteen of May south Year, the day of Pentecost, it is installed and rung for the first time in the presence of the craftsmen Tomaso and Raffaele Marinelli of Agnone, who had done well this work and have earned the praise of the public and my admiration and gratitude.
signed, Archpriest Giovanni Frazzini

In a following memo not dated we read:

The voluntary offers are not verified because they are and described the bell was fused at the expense of LL. Today pious congregation of charity .

In the report we read the process of weighing the bell, expressed in cantaia and rotoli. 
Both are weights used in the 1700's in southern Italy and correspond roughly to: 
Cantara or Cantaia = 100 
rotoli = 89.5 Kg 
Rotolo = 100 trappesi = 890 g.

Our 1863 cracked bell weighed about 579 kg 
Our new 1864 bell weighs about 712 kg.

Reference to LL. Pii was a fund of money fueled by the demand of Masses and religious ceremonies are often paid in advance and in number in memory of the deceased.

Source: parish archives

This site prepared and maintained by Mark DiVecchio

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