My DNA ancestry showed Slavic ancestry. When I told this to my mother, she wanted to get her genome done as well, to see it she is not as Italian-American as she thought she was. Years ago, I hit a brick wall with my mother’s family tree search. I had one clue from my mother’s cousin, now deceased, regarding my great-great grandmother, Serafina Pace of Orsogna, Italy. He said that her “supranome” was “Schiavone,” which my aunt told me meant “slave” and was a derogatory term for people who came to Orsogna from Croatia. I searched for anyone named Pace in Croatia, and came up with one man, Andrea Pace.
This is the notation I had made at the time:
The Schiavone name is a “soprannome,” or family nickname; it is an additional surname used by some Italians to help identify different branches of the same family. It may be the surname of her mother, or it may mean that the family came from Schiavi d’Abruzzo, a town in the region of Abruzzo.
Schiavone was also a nickname commonly given to Slavic women whose families were from Dalmatia (Italian: Dalmazia), which is modern-day Croatia. It is located immediately across the Adriatic sea from Ortona, Italy, and would be a short trip by ship. Under the Treaty of Rapallo (1920), Zadar, Dalmatia, was ceded to Italy. At this time many of the Croatian population were harshly treated, as a result of which most of them left for Yugoslavia.
Nazi Germany occupied the city in World War II, as it was once one of the best-fortified cities in the world, and Zadar was bombed 72 times by the air forces of Britain and the United States. Afterwards it became a part of Yugoslavia. The Italian population left for Italy, among them Ottavio Missoni, owner of the renowned fashion company Missoni.
Because of this specific nickname and the history between Italy and Dalmatia, there is a probability that Serafina Pace was of Slavic ancestry instead of Italian. Another possibility is that her Italian family lived in Dalmatia for a time prior to Italy’s occupation of Zadar, because of the relationship between Zadar and Italy.
A search of familysearch.org resulted in the discovery of one Pace family in what is now modern-day Croatia. They were from a town called Tar in Hrvatska (Croatia).
They are included here as they may turn out to be ancestors of Serafina one day:
Andrea Pace (male) born: Vavuari, Istria (listed as Yugoslavia but may have been Dalmatia at the time)
married Maria Francesca Vellovich on 25 May 1805, Tar, Hrvatska
Maria Francesca Vellovich was born 6 Mar 1777 in Tar; father – Simone Vellovich born 07 NOV 1735 Tar, Hrvatska. Mother = Cattarina Urbin
Simone Vellovich’s father: Zuane Vellovich. mother Cattarina unknown.
other children of Simone Vellovich and Cattarina Urbin:
Cattarina Martina born 19 Nov 1771, Tar, Hrvatska
Toma (male) born 19 Dec 1773 Tar, Hrvatska
Domenico Marco born 22 Apr 1780 Tar, Hrvatska
Gianna Ellena born 23 Oct 1783 Tar, Hrvatska
Andrea Pace and Maria Francesca Vellovich had the following children, all born in what is listed as Tar, Hrvatska, Yugoslavia:
Maria christened 3 Jan 1812
Martino Antonio born 29 May 1806
Martin born 14 November 1808
Giorgio born 18 Apr 1816
Anna Maria born 1819
After doing my DNA and Mom’s DNA, it is becoming clear that we have some Slavic ancestry. What I had found earlier may be correct; however I can’t find it on the web site any more. I may well have to to go a Mormon family center and look for them, and more importantly look for the link between Andrea Pace and my great-great grandmother.
I did find the Vellovich family in an archive of “Atti e memorie” (Acts and Memories”); I found this passage:
Al vicino comune di Torre venivano aggregate li 3 agosto
177Ó le seguenti famiglie: Paolo Rade, Giovanni Vellovich q. m
Paolo, Martino Vellovich q m Giovanni, Simone Vellovich q. m
Giovanni, Nicolò Vellovich q. m Antonio, Martino Cernogorag,
Tomaso Garghetta, Marco Garghetta, Giovanni Dobrilovich,
Giacomo Ranovaz, Bortolo Selencovich, Marco Milevich, Matteo
Simonovich. Matteo Butarcich, Antonio Cvitan, Michele Mu-
scovich, Eredi Pupilli Corazza, Eredi Pupili Voinovich, Eredi
Pupilli Dasena, Domenico Maranpon q m Girolamo, Giovanni
Maranpon q. m Francesco, Nicolò Verban, Martino Petrecich fu
Matteo 12 ).
Other passages, once translated, leads me to believe this is a listing of people formed into groups and made to work…like slaves. The word slave is used frequently in entries; toward the beginning it had said that the slavic people who
wanted stay would take Italian names and stay with the families that employed them.
So, as I await my mother’s ancestry to confirm the slavic ancestry, I’m looking for the Vellovich family of the late 1700’s, and looking for the parents and grandparents of Serafina Pace.