17 November 2009

Albert Patrick D’Alessio 1872-after 1955

A few days ago in another one of my rummages to find things to get rid of to make room for more I came across this little Birthday Book. The front cover has long fallen off so this is the front page.


I don’t really know why but I purchased this book from an old second hand bookshop many years ago, perhaps because I had just become interested in genealogy. I suppose I was fascinated that it was so old and apart from the cover was still in relatively good condition. I was thrilled to find it again because now I thought I might have a chance of finding out about the D’Alessio family and maybe even a descendant or two.

My research has been the most interesting I’ve done on any family so far and I hope I can do the story justice in the telling of it.

The book is of course the depository of birthdates of those near & dear to the owner and inside is a goldmine of birthdays, this is an example:-


All written in a very pleasant hand-writing style by the owner Albert P D’Alyssio. This is a list of all the names in this book, some with death dates written in next to them:-

Jan 04 Mary S D'Alessio. d 22 August 1933
Jan 06 Theodore G Weber
Jan 13 Kathleen Frances Rowley, 1910
Feb 02 Gladys Sinclair Thom
Feb 04 Anthony John Brickwood
Feb 11 I S John D'Alessio. d 12 July 1907
Feb 23 Bryan M Whitworth
Mar 11 Esther Joly
Mar 16 Albert P D'Alessio, Sat 1872.
Mar 16 Mabel Dorothea Rowley. d 1935
Mar 17 Mary S D'Alessio
Mar 24 George Sydney Herbert D'Alessio, 1877
Mar 26 Edward Hugh D'Alessio Rowley, 1902
Apr 02 Dorothy Gwendolin D'Alessio (Bunty)
Apr 14 Violet Vera D'Alessio, 1906
May 25 Dorothea Mary Rowley, 1905
Jun 18 Hildebrand S Barker, 1869
Jul 09 Margaret Wolters
Jul 16 Joan Brickwood
Jul 28 Winnifred Fanny Sabina D'Alessio, 1899
Jul 29 Edmond M Gibson, 1875
Aug 05 Emily Mortlock/85
Aug 09 A H Barker/63
Aug 09 John Geoffrey Rowe D'Alessio, 1908
Aug 22 Mary Sophia D'Alessio. died 1933
Aug 30 Blanche Winnifred F R D'Alessio. d 28 Aug 1952
Sep 01 David A D'Alessio, 1875
Sep 01 John T D'Alessio, 1875
Sep 07 1905 Wedding Day
Sep 12 John Vincent D'Alessio Rowley, 1907
Sep 29 Sophia D'Alessio
Oct 15 Graeme Charles Brickwood
Oct 18 Peter Alan Brickwood
Oct 27 Arthur F D'Alessio, 1880
Oct 30 Mabel D D'Alessio, 1873. Married June 1901
Nov 16 Edward Ronald D'Alessio, 1904
Nov 18 Elizabeth Madeline D'Alessio, 1943
Nov 21 Mrs Chasney
Nov 27 Edward S J D'Alessio, 1870. d 2 July 1947

At the end were a few pages titled ‘Autographs’ and on the first two was a list of dates & place names:-


Some of the names were illegible or unfamiliar to me but I did recognise some of them and it seems they are a list of the places Albert lived covering a span of 30 years.

So started the online research, the first place I headed for was the 1911 census on FindMyPast:-

1911 census
100 Cambridge Gardens, Notting Hill W. Kensington, London
Albert Patrick d'Alessio head 39 married 12 years 2 children 2 living Solicitor born Turkey (Smyrna)  resident Naturalised 1893
Winnifred wife 32 born At Sea resident British by Parentage
Winnifred Fanny dau 11 born London
John Geoffrey Rowe son 2 born London

2 Adelphi Tce, Paignton, Totnes, Devonshire
Edward S J D'Alessio visitor 40 married 7 yrs 2 children 2 living clerk in holy orders born Smyrna Italian naturalised 1892
Vera Maude visitor 28 born Cuttach India BSubj
Edward Ronald visitor 6 born Poona India do
Violet Vera visitor 4 born Gresford North Wales do

Dorset County Asylum, near Dorchester, Dorsetshire
John Theodore D'Alessio patient 36 single no occupation born Italy resident Italian

As D’Alessio is an unusual name in the UK I looked for others and there were three of them in 1911, they all turn out to be brothers. Back another ten years to the 1901 census on ancestry.com, apart from one other D’Alessio family who don’t seem to be connected, I only found Albert this time:-

1901 census - Source Citation: Class: RG13; Piece: 1177; Folio: 24; Page: 39.
74 Montague Rd, West Hillingdon, Middlesex
Albert P D'Alessio boarder unm 29 solicitor born Asia Minor (naturalised BSubj)

After that I searched all the census for England & Wales and only found these two entries:-

1891 census - Source Citation: Class: RG12; Piece: 979; Folio 95; Page 4; GSU roll: 6096089.
St Peter’s College, Radley, Berkshire
John Theodore D'Alessio 15 scholar unm born Constantinople (BSubj)
David Anthony D'Alessio 15 scholar unm born Constantinople (BSubj)

1891 census - Source Citation: Class: RG12; Piece: 616; Folio 113; Page 5; GSU roll: 6095726.
Hampton Court Palace, Hampton, Middlesex
Edward S J D'Alessio visitor unm 20 scholar born Smyrna, Asia Minor
Albert P D'Alessio visitor unm 19 scholar born Smyrna, Asia Minor

David & John, were at St Peter’s College in Radley, Berkshire in 1891 where both Edward & Albert had also been studying, this from the College’s Register of 1847-1904:-

D'Alessio, Albert Patrick; left 1889
B.A. Ch. Ch. Oxf. ; Solicitor
2g Essex Street, Strand, W.C,

D'Alessio, Edward Samuel John; left 1889
B.A. Trin. Hall Camb. ; H.O. 1897 ; m. 1903 Vera Maude, 2 d. of G. E.
Manisty, Esq., late I.C.S., of Gresford, Denbighshire ; Chap, at St. Paul's,
Poona, from 1903
The Rev. E. S. J. D'Alessio,
Poona India

D'Alessio, David Anthony; left 1892 Ob. April 1897
D'Alessio, John Theodore; left 1892
Kadikeui Constantinople

D'Alessio, George Sydney Herbert; left 1894
Kadikeui Constantinople

Australia was my next stop where I hit the jackpot in the National Archives:-



So far this is what I have on Albert Patrick D’Alessio:-

Albert was born of Italian parents in Smyrna, Turkey on 16 Mar 1872. His parents were Isaac Samuel John D’Alessio and Mary Sophia (maiden name unknown). About 1885 he went to England to further his schooling where he studied at St Peter’s College in Berkshire and then became a Bachelor of Arts at Oxford University and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Justice.

He became a Naturalised British Subject in 1893, was Articled (period of training) in Law in Feb 1894 and was Admitted to the Bar in Dec 1897.

On the 7 Sep 1905 in St Peter’s Church in Bayswater he married Winnifred Burgess (née Rowe), daughter of John Rowe (Lieut RN) and Sabina née Hill.


There seems to be a little mystery here because on his 1911 census form he wrote that he’d been married for 12 years and had two children, Winnifred aged 11 and John aged 2, the maths don’t quite add up. Now that I’d found that Winnifred was a widow I searched once more and found that she wasn’t a widow but had been divorced from Robert Percy Howard Burgess in 1904 and that her full name was Blanche Winnifred Frances Roseare Rowe, this from the National Archives in Kew:-

Item details J 77/821/4945    
Context : quick reference  
Records of the Supreme Court of Judicature and related courts 
Record Summary
Scope and content Divorce Court File: 4945. Appellant: Blanche Winnifred Frances Roseare Burgess. Respondent: Robert Percy Howard Burgess. Type: Wife's petition [WX]. 
Covering dates 1904

So it seems daughter Winnifred was his step-daughter, full name Winnifred Fanny Sabina Burgess. Although he does list her as W F S D’Alessio in his birthday book in one of the other letters to the Australian Dept of External Affairs he mentions he has one son and one step-daughter.

Births Sep 1899
Burgess  Winnifred Fannie S    Brentford  3a 156

Births Sep 1908
D'Alessio  John Geoffrey R     Kensington  1a 118

Unfortunately the South Australian BMD Registration Office do not have online searchable indices so I thought that was that. Then, on relooking in the Australian Archives I came across these two applications for assisted passage by British migrants:-

D'ALESSIO John Geoffrey Rowe, Dorothy Gwendoline [nee CHASNEY], Elizabeth Madeline [Application by British migrants for assisted passage] 
Contents date range 1955 - 1955 Extent
Location: Perth
D'ALESSIO Albert Patrick [Application by British migrants for assisted passage]
Contents date range circa 1948 - circa 1956 Extent
Location: Perth

Then this passenger list:-

Date of departure: 5 December 1955   
Port of departure: Southampton  
Passenger destination port: Fremantle, Australia  
Passenger destination: Fremantle, Australia
Date of Birth: 3 March 1910 
Age: 45 (calculated from DOB) 
Marital status: Married
Sex: Male 
Occupation: Clerical 
Passenger recorded on: Page 26 of 33 
The following people with the same last name travelled on this voyage: - 
Mr A P DALLESSIO Page 26 of 33
Mrs D DALLESSIO Page 26 of 33 
Miss E DALLESSIO Page 26 of 33

So it seems they weren’t very happy in Australia and must have gone back to England probably sometime before 1915. In the birthday book he has listed ‘6 July 1915 – Druces & Atlee’. I wasn’t really able to decipher the second word but after doing a little Googling I found a firm of Solicitors in London called ‘Druces & Atlee’ who had been there for over 200 years, that was when I realised the second word was ‘Atlee’.

The only D’Alessio records I found in the New Zealand BMD records are these two deaths & one burial:-

1980/27860 D'Alessio  Dorothy Gwendoline  2 April 1910
1990/31840 D'Alessio  John Geoffrey Rowe  9 August 1908

Purewa Cemetery & Crematorium
Surname  D'ALESSIO
First Names  Dorothy Gwendoline
Age  69 Years
Date of Death  13 Jan 1980
Religion  Anglican
Ashes Disposal  Scattered

John & Dorothy had a daughter, Elizabeth Madeline, born in 1943 so I’m presuming she came to NZ with them.

While I was doing the research on this family I was struck with wondering why a family born in Turkey with Italian roots wrote (and probably spoke) such perfect English. Their names seem to have been English spellings right from birth not later Anglicized. So back to Google for a little research on Smyrna. This is a review on a book written by Giles Milton “Paradise lost: Smyrna 1922”:-

Gripping account of a half-forgotten 20th-century war that ended in gruesome ethnic cleansing.The Levantine city of Smyrna (today called Izmir) in 1914 was a vibrant commercial metropolis of 500,000 on Turkey's western coast. These coastal areas had formed part of ancient Greece, writes veteran historian Milton (White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and Islam's One Million White Slaves, 2005, etc.), and even after the 11th-century Ottoman conquest Greeks remained the dominant minority. They constituted two-thirds of Smyrna's prosperous polyglot community of Christian Greeks, Armenians and Europeans mixing freely with Jews and Turks under a benign Ottoman governor. This apparent harmony deteriorated after Turkey entered World War I on Germany's side. Smyrna's Christians mostly supported the Entente Powers, but the governor ignored orders from his superiors to persecute Greeks and massacre Armenians. At the war's close, the Treaty of Versailles gave Smyrna to Greece. Arriving in 1919 to an enthusiastic reception from their countrymen, Greek troops proceeded to loot the Turkish quarter, killing hundreds and enraging Turkish nationalists. Then Greek forces advanced deep into Turkey during a bloody three-year war. Finally overreaching themselves, they were crushed by armies under the charismatic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Pursuing the fleeing Greeks, Atatürk's forces reached Smyrna in September 1922 and engaged in an orgy of murder, rape and looting. They burned the city, leaving more than 100,000 dead, and eventually expelled more than one million Greeks from Turkey.

I’ve never read the book but by all accounts a fairly gruesome account of what happened in Smyrna in 1922, and somewhat contentious. Part of this report on the book by Adam Kirsch gives a little insight into the Levantine Dynasties of Smyrna:-

His primary focus is on the "Levantines," the families of European descent who dominated the city's commercial life, using their terrific wealth to create a bubble of graceful living in a sea of poverty, violence, and ethnic tension. Though the rich, well-connected Levantines suffered much less in 1922 than the vast majority of Smyrniots, Mr. Milton dwells on their dispossession and exile as though it were the heart of the story. In part this is because he is following his sources — he makes good use of the unpublished memoirs of Levantine exiles — and in part it is because the contrast between their gilded lives and their sudden ruin is dramatically irresistible.

For the Whitalls, Girauds, Woods, and other Levantine clans, Smyrna — in particular, the rich suburb of Bournabat — was indeed a paradise. They traced their descent from English, French, and Italian merchant families, and were legally citizens of home countries many of them never saw. But by the time of World War I, they had created a virtually self-sufficient aristocratic world. Members of the leading Levantine dynasties did business together, raced yachts together, admired one another's mansions and gardens, and above all, intermarried. "We called everyone aunt or uncle to be on the safe side," one of the Whitalls remembered.

I found a few transcripts of the Smyrna/Izmir church registers deposited by Chaplains in 1995-8 to the London Guildhall library for safe keeping:-

Church of All Saints Budjah, Register of Baptisms, marriages and burials 1866-1943.
1867 Anna Margaret, Isaac Samuel John & Mary Sophia D'Alessio, Budjah (abode), perf by J T Wolters.
1869 Anna Margaret D'Alesio aged 1, Smyrna (abode), performed by W B Lewis. (Burial)
1872 Albert Patrick, Isaac Samuel John & Mary Sophia D'Alessio, Budjah (abode), perf by J T Wolters.
1874 Mabel Dorothea, Isaac Samuel John & Mary Sophia D'Alessio, Budjah (abode), perf by J T Wolters.

Here you will find wonderful information on the Levantine people in Smyrna.

D’Alessio Family Tree

Anthony John D'Alessio, 1801-1864 (buried in Buca Cemetery)
(possible) father of
Isaac Samuel John D'Alessio, died 12.7.1907
+Mary Sophia Unknown, died 22.8.1933
==Anna Margaret D'Alessio, 1867-1869
==John Anthony D'Alessio, 1869-1869
==Edward Samuel John D'Alessio {Reverend}, 1870-1947
    +Vera Maude Manisty, 1882-?
    ....Edward Ronald D'Alessio, 1904-?
    ....Violet Vera D'Alessio, 1906-?
    ....Josephine C D'Alessio, 1917-?
==Albert Patrick D'Alessio, 1872-? 
    +Blanche Winnifred Frances Roseare Rowe, 1874-1952 
    ....John (Jack) Geoffrey Rowe D'Alessio {Reverend}, 1908-1990 
        +Dorothy (Bunty) Gwendoline Chasney, 1910-1980
        ---Elizabeth Madeline D'Alessio, 1943-
==Mabel Dorothea D'Alessio, 1874-1935
    +Unknown Rowley
    ....Edward Hugh D'Alessio Rowley {Lieutenant-Colonel}, 1902-1994
    ....Dorothea Mary Rowley, 1905-?
    ....John Vincent D'Alessio Rowley {Governor of Darfur, Sudan},1907-1996 
    ....Kathleen Frances Rowley, 1910-? 
==John Theodore D'Alessio, 1875-?
==David Anthony D'Alessio, 1875-1897
==George Sydney Herbert D'Alessio, 1877-?
==Arthur F D'Alessio, 1880-?


If anyone knows anything about or is connected to the D’Alessio family please do contact me, I would love the birthday book to find a new home. Contact by email is preferable but if you are going to leave a comment please don’t forget to include your email address.

All the information I’ve found on this family may also be seen on the next update at WorldConnect here.

Dawn Scotting


Sandy said...

Fannntastic sleuthing Dawn! You should be very proud of yourself :-))) especially explaining it all...i know how intense that can get!

All the best.

courtneycotton01@gmail.com said...

Since publishing this article I've found a couple of links are either wrong or have changed slightly since then, hopefully you'll find them here:-
Izmir Church Registers
Levantine Heritage
I also have further information including the Burgess family if you'd like to contact me.