Family History, Lore and
Pescaglia, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
Emilito (Emil Signes)
Although Emilito's great grandmother Victorina was the last of his
ancestors to bear Graciani as her primary surname ("primer apellido"),
this line -- the only one that has a documented origin outside of Spain
-- goes back further than any other of Emilito's lines. It is a
line whose history holds a lot of mystery -- and interest as well.
has spent many hundreds
of hours researching this line, both in Italy and Spain. The
introduction here is a very brief summary of the Graziani brothers
Romano and Flavio and their ancestors anad descendants. For more
information, please see one of the following pages, which are long
descriptions - in English and Spanish - of how Emilito researched and
solved many of the Graziani mysteries (as well as finding
Finding Graziani: A History
Emilito's Search for his Italian Roots:
Spanish - Buscando Graziani
Detailed descriptions of the Graziani family tree may be found, in many
incarnations, on the page of family
trees on this web site. Specifically, the descendants of
Giuseppe Antonio GRAZIANI and his wife Maria Lucia MARCHI, the last two
members of the family to live out their lives in Italy, may be found at
Descendants of Giuseppe
Antonio GRAZIANI (1754) and María Lucia MARCHI (1756)
and the first 12 generations of documented ancestors (from no surname
to Gratiani to Graziani to Graciani), ending with the first generation
born in Spain, may be found at
the first 12 generations: Descendants of Giambattista (c. 1490)
In addition, a "trip report" of Emilito's first visit to Lucca -- the
home of the original documented Graziani -- may be found here: Visit to Lucca 2003.
The Graziani ancestral Italian home: Villabuona
The little hamlet ("frazione") of Villabuona, within the community of
Pescaglia (Lucca), was the home to the forefathers of the Spanish
more than 300 years. See "Finding
Graziani" for more details.
Romano and Flavio
1815 and 1827 the two brothers, Romano (b. 1788) and Flavio (b. 1797)
GRAZIANI, left Italy - according to oral family history they were
probably Carbonari who fled for political reasons and entered Spain,
where they would spend the rest of their lives. Professionally
they were likely image makers, artisans that made statuettes of Plaster
of Paris. Emilito doesn't know to where in Spain they went, but
he does know that Flavio's children were born in Aranjuez (encompassing
at least the year range of 1828 to 1836) and that Romano's daughter
Dolores was born in 1830 in Menorca and his son Francisco
(Emilito's great-great grandfather) in 1832 in Alicante.
Romano married Dolores PASTOR ALIAGA, a native of Ayora (Valencia), and
Flavio's wife was Paula MARTÍN [2nd surname unknown] of
Aranjuez. Although marriage information is unknown, both would
have been married in the 1820s.
The death year and place of the two brothers is unknown, although based
on family stories and a photograph we have of Flavio with his sons it
is likely that Romano died much earlier than Flavio.
The first generation
generation of Graciani born in Spain comprised at least seven children:
a son and a daughter born to Romano and five sons born to Flavio.
Romano's children were Dolores and Francisco (Frasquito) GRACIANI
PASTOR *, born in Menorca and Alicante, respectively.
* We know
that Francisco's mother's surname was Pastor; we're not sure Dolores
had the same mother, though we assume that to be the case.
Dolores was living with her daughter Alejandrina CARO GRACIANI in 1890;
very little more is known about her other than that, apparently widowed
early, she lived for many years near her brother Francisco.
One story told by Dolores's great-granddaughter Janina MARTÍNEZ
DELGADO to Emilito was that Dolores's husband Romano did not share any
financial information with her, so that when he died suddenly, she
didn't even know what bank he was using, let alone any account
Francisco, from what little Emilito has heard, was employed as a
sculptor, contributing, according to Emilito's Aunt Betty [tía
Isabel BESTEIRO GRACCIANI], to the
restoration of the cathedral at Alcalá de Henares in 1862, the
year of birth of his daughter Victorina. Aunt Betty also notes
grandfather dressed in the manner of artists of the time (from what
Emlito can make of her handwriting, perhaps in Harlequin-style
Flavio's children were Andrés, Antonio, Domingo, Manuel, and
Francisco (Paco) GRACIANI MARTÍN. As of this date, Emilito
believes that all were born in Aranjuez.
Of Andrés and Antonio we know nothing, although a June 2006
"Eureka!" may eventually shed some light on this.
Domingo was a master carpinter, apparently also an anarchist who named
his children Federal and Nitroglicerina, and -- it seems -- a very
interesting character. According to several family sources, he may also
have been involved in the assassination of Juan Prim y Prats.
(Prim was a famous Spanish general and statesman whose 1870
assassination was never solved.)
Very little is known about Manuel, although Emilito tracked him and his
family down to Madrid in 1890 and 1895 per the Madrid censuses of those
Paco -- an accomplished engineer in Seville -- is not only the most
well-known of the siblings, but the ancestor of 90% of Flavio's line.
Lines of Descent
90% of the descendants of the brothers Romano and Flavio Graziani are
descendants of the
two Francisco Graciani first cousins (Romano's son born in 1832,
Flavio's in 1836).
PASTOR (30 known descendants). Her lines include a series
of famous Spanish actors, including her daughter Alejandrina CARO
GRACIANI, also married to two famous actors - first the Cuban Paulino
DELGADO SUÁREZ and second the Spaniard Ángel SALA
LEYDA. Alejandrina's daughter Julia DELGADO CARO was a very
famous actress in her day, both in Spain and throughout Latin America
(as was Alejandrina),
and Alejandrina's sons by Ángel -- Fernando and Salvador -- were
Julia's son Fernando DELGADO became a famous actor known throughout
Spain, and his son Alberto DELGADO is currently acting, both on
stage and in television.
Salvador SALA CARO's daughter Pilar SALA LÓPEZ played the role
of Rosa in the opening of Antonio BUERO VALLEJO's "Historia de una
Escalera," one of the most well-known plays of the mid-20th century.
(Julia DELGADO and her son Fernando were also in this play.)
PASTOR (303 known descendants). Frasquito married Joaquina
LORENZO BLAS of Villar del Cobo (Teruel). As far as we know, they
only had two children, Joaquin and Victorina.
Francisco's son Joaquin fathered three children, Emilio, Joaquîn,
and Manolita GRACIANI SÁNCHEZ, all of whom moved to Cuba around
1920. Later Emilio - another actor in the family - moved on to Chile
and then Ecuador. Both his children and their families now (2006) live
in Ecuador -- Emilio GRACIANI PALMA and his famiy in Guayaquil and
Inés GRACIANI ENCALADA and her husband in Quito - Emilito
believes the children of Inés and Bolîvar, however, are
now all in the US. Manolita's daughter Alicia, granddaughter
Roxana, and great-granddaughter Jonathan all live in Havana.
Joaquín died young in Havana in 1931 with no offspring.
Francisco's daughter Victorina was the matriarch of 282 of Francisco's
303 descendants. Specifically, she is the mother of the five BESTEIRO
Domingo BESTEIRO GRACIANI emigrated to Cuba where he married Mercedes
LORET DE MOLA BETANCOURT and where all their children were born.
With the great dispersal of Cubans following Castro's revolution, his
descendants are now scattered among Cuba, Florida and Venezuela.
Josefa BESTEIRO GRACIANI, Emilito's grandmother, also emigrated to
Cuba, but moved to the USA shortly afterwards with her children.
All her descendants (with her husband Antonio LAGOS TOLEDO) currently
live in the US.
Emilio BESTEIRO GRACIANI is the only one of Victorina's children to
never leave Spain. He was executed by unknown murderers in the
first month of the Spanish Civil War. There are many descendants
of his adopted son Teodoro LANCHA RODRÍGUEZ, all of whom live in
Jorge BESTEIRO GRACCIANI [sic] went to Cuba with his mother but
returned to Spain to marry his childhood sweetheart, Elisa ASENSIO
LÓPEZ. They had nine children and they and their
descendants all live in Spain.
Isabel BESTEIRO GRACCIANI [sic] went to Cuba with her mother and stayed
there till she died in 1978. Although she, her husband Mario
GARCÍA GONZÁLEZ, their daughter Nena and Nena's
family remained in Cuba, her son Pepe moved to Puerto Rico with his
family after the Revolution. Pepe's family is now split between
Puerto Rico and Florida.
MARTÍN (0 known descendants).
Antonio GRACIANI MARTÍN
(0 known descendants).
numbers may change; in June 2006 Emilito found a family that almost
certainly belongs to one of the above brothers. It will take
another trip to Madrid, however, to figure this out.
Domingo GRACIANI MARTÍN
(19 known descendants). Domingo and his wife Manuela
GARCÍA LÓPEZ had two children, of whom it appears only
one -- Segundo -- lived to have children of his own.
It is not yet proven, but it may well have been Domingo that introduced
the double consonant, as in "Grazziani," into the family in the late
Manuel GRACIANI MARTÍN
(30 known descendants). Very little is known of Manuel,
other than that he was living in Madrid in 1890 and 1895, with his
family: his wife Josefa PEÑASCO HERNÁNDEZ and their five
children. His descendants are all in Spain.
Francisco GRACIANI MARTÍN
known descendants). The most prolific of all the
first-generation Graciani, Paco and his wife Nicolasa VARELA
LÓPEZ had eight children. Although only three were men,
those three had 326 descendants including 10 sons that fathered
children. This helps to account for the large number of people in
Spain with the surname Graciani.
Although most of Paco's ancestors still live in Spain, several
grandchildren -- mainly the children of his son Bernardo GRACIANI
VARELA -- moved to South America and today there are Graciani
descendants in at least Venezuela and Brazil.
Graziani descendants. We know that the descendants of
Romano and Flavio descendants, today, inhabit at least the followingn
countries: Spain, USA, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, and
Brazil. There may be more.
More information can
be found in the family tree section
of emilito.org, and a detailed story of how all this information was
discovered can be found at ["Finding
Graziani" (English), and "Buscando
Emilito has put together an entire page
on Victorina GRACIANI LORENZO, the matriarch of the Lagos-Besteiro
branch as well as all the descendants of the BESTEIRO GRAC[C]IANI
The first six links - and some others - on the page
introducing Emilito's family histories all refer to descendants of