TARABORELLI Genealogy Homepage


The idea of putting online the result of years of hard and obstinate research - that in the end will interest no one else than some curious and stubborn uncles of mine - is just a way to collect as much information as possible from other genealogists whose work may intersect my own. The tacit hope is that one day, from the hazardous collision of branching ascendancies and lost matrimonial connections one be able to put the meaningless history of his name, and his family, in a larger framework.

I will never write a full-fledged English version of these pages. In spite of the common surname, all the American Taraborelli's who wrote to me in the last years asking me about their Italian origins, actually come from Italy, but discend from a Southern branch of the family not directly linked to my own ancestors, who originally lived in a Northern region near Mantua.

A large number of "Taraborelli's" (or "Taraborrelli's") still live today in Abruzzo, a region in the South of Italy, in particular in the province of Chieti and in small centers such as Lanciano, Vasto, Orsogna, Miglianico, Guardiagrele [see the distribution maps]. The immigration records clearly show that most Taraborelli who live today outside Italy descend from an ancient family whose history is recorded in the civil and religious repositories of Abruzzo. In this region, the name Taraborelli is mentioned since the XVIIth century, if not earlier [see for instance: Archivio di Stato di Chieti, not. Nicola dell'Arciprete, 1650,28/11 - Contratto dotale di Angela Raniero e Berardino Taraborrelli]. The fact that today the surname is almost absent in the North would also suggest that its very origins are to be found in the South.

This is coherent with the most plausible hypothesis I could find about the meaning of the surname. My current idea is that the surname Taraborelli may refer to the geographic origin of the family, as it is often the case with italian surnames.

Many historical sources report that a noble french family called Borrel, probably a collateral of the Earls of Valva, settled in the middle ages from Normandy in an area of the Abruzzi delimited by the middle valley of the Sangro and the upper valley of the Trigno. This area was anciently known as "Borrel's Land" - which in latin sounds like: Civitas Burelli or Terra Burrelli [see E. Giammarco - Toponomastica abruzzese e molisana, Roma, 1990, p.41] or Terra burellensis [AAVV - Cittą e Paesi d'Italia , Novara, 1968 (vol. VI, p.330)]. The toponym Borrello, a small village in the province of Chieti, probably represents the only relic of this ancient geographic appellation. It's very likely that a family originally stemming from such regions could inherit the name "Terraburrelli", later modified in Tarraburelli and Taraborelli.

Two considerations play against this very suggestive idea. The first is that at the very beginning of the XVIth century a large group of Taraborelli's had already settled in the (relatively far) regions of Mantua, and it is not evident how they could have come from the Abruzzo, unless they had moved very early. Second, continuous flows of migration are actually recorded around the XVIth century from northern regions such as Lombardia and Veneto towards the Abruzzi - which would suggest that, in some ancient era a branch of the family could have moved from the North to the South of Italy, and not from the South to the North.

These pages trace the history of my own family and my ancestors who lived at the beginning of the XVIth century in the region called Oltrepò Mantovano. My hope is obviously that some smart genealogist, reading these observations, will once be able to find the missing link between the northern and the southern branch of the Taraborelli's, about which, it seems, my grandfather used to fancy when he first started to think about the ancient origins of our family.

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