Vines and Branches

Volume 1, Issue 1 -- April 1997

News from The Gianninis of Virginia
Editor: O. Allan Gianniny, Jr., 1711 King Mountain Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901

Family Newsletter
This newsletter is the first developed to  summarize the stories and the activities of the Giannini-Gianniny extended families.
The idea for this newsletter came from family members who attended the 1996 reunion in Charlottesville. It is supported by contributions from those attending that reunion, in hopes that they and others who did not attend might keep in touch with each other. 

Your comments, suggestions and stories are welcome. Our purpose is to announce events, share our knowledge and interests on a frequent if not regular basis.

150+ Attend 1996 Reunion

More than 150 descendants of the original Giannini immigrants celebrated the lives of Anthony and Mary at a reunion on Labor Day weekend in Charlottesville.  The occasion was the first public showing of THE GIANNINI'S OF VIRGINIA, co-edited by Robert Lewis Giannini III (fourth great-grandson) and Omer Allan Gianniny (third great-grandson).  Barbara Martin (third great-grand-daughter) hosted the event which attracted children of Nicholas and Lawrence, two of the three sons of Anthony and Mary.

This group enjoyed good food, conversation and visiting on a warm and pleasant Saturday afternoon. Those attending asked that a major reunion be planned for 1997.

 The organizing committee for 1997 includes Donna Morris, chair; “Buck” Gianniny, Florence Fitzgerald, Pete Gianniny, Rosanna Bencoach, and Cyndi Burton.


1997 Reunion:  Saturday, August 2, in Charlottesville

Make plans now to attend the first major reunion of the Giannini/Gianniny family  in Charlottesville.  Come and bring the family. Bring photos or notes to share. Enjoy a morning trip to Colle and Ash Lawn and the afternoon picnic at the Elks Club shelter. A detailed announcement of events will be made in a special newsletter in early June.

Visit Colle and Ash Lawn: 9:30-12:00

See the land where Mazzei and Antonio attempted their first vineyards. For those who wish to add a little extra to their visit, we are planning a Saturday morning visit to Colle, the original home of Anthony and Mary when they came to Albemarle County in 1773. Colle is about 5 miles from Charlottesville, just past Monticello. The trip will include a tour of the Monticello winery, at Colle and a conversation with Jim Wooten, Curator of Ash Lawn-Highland on 18th century life in the Buck Island area.

 Gathering at Elks Club Shelter, 3:00-8:00

The Elks Club facility offers an attractive and convenient site just north of the intersection of US 250 and VA 20 (north) on the east edge of the city. Enjoy swimming, tennis, volley ball,  croquet and other similar entertainment. A small fee will cover the cost of lifeguards and operation of  the swimming pool.

 Relax in the shade at the large pavilion  for conversation, sharing stories and photographs and enjoying each others’ company. Bring folding chairs, in case the crowd overruns the installed benches.

Barbecue at 5:30
Barbecue supper at 5:30, catered. (Participants will be asked for a contribution) and each family is asked to bring a vegetable, fruit, salad, or dessert.  Group photos and video-taped interviews will help to make this a memorable occasion.

edited by O. Allan Gianniny, Jr. and Robert L. Giannini III, 1996.

The second printing of this book will be available at the reunion. The first edition, published in August, 1996, is sold out. One hundred copies were printed and by mid-March of 1997, less than five copies remained for sale. Orders and requests have come from family members in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, , Maryland, North Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and, of course, from all parts of Virginia. 

This is the first document that closely follows the lives of Antonio (Anthony) and Maria (Mary), beginning in their native province of Lucca, moving to Albemarle County and eventually to Nelson County in Virginia. The more we learn about them the more interesting they become. We are planning a new printing so the book will continue to be available.

As is always the case, the first publication  of  a genealogical record contains some errors-- omissions and mistaken connections. To make revision easier, we bound the books in plastic ring binders that can be spread to add or replace pages. Though individuals can open the binders to change pages, it is easier to seek the help of a copy shop that has spreaders available.

Some members of the family have already shared with us their information that corrected or added to the 2500 listings we have accumulated. If you have additions or corrections, please send them to the editor. Wherever possible, tell us how you know (e.g., personal knowledge, family stories, official documents?)

Revisions  and new entries may be sent in printed form or on 3 1/2 inch disks using the standard  “GED” format, readable in WINDOWS 3.1.  Include your name, address phone number and e-mail address.

June 1st Deadline for Family Tree Revisions
For the reunion we will also publish a separate and expanded Part V -- Outline Family Tree and "Book of Descendants."  Revisions received by the editor not later than June 1, 1997, will be included.  Information received after June 1 will be held for later publication.

Grave Sites for early Gianninis
Can you help locate grave sites for early members of the family?
We know little about the burial sites for members of the family in the 19th century.  To share your information or stories that would help to locate sites, drop a line to the editor, for future publication.

Help Wanted!
What do You Know about Gianninis as "Stone Masons"?

Often told and long lasting accounts claim that at least some Giannini immigrants were brick or stone masons. So far, however, we have been unable to learn who they were, where and when they worked at the trade. We would like to collect all the versions possible to see whether they show  some skills and interests we have not known about. Too many of these stories have survived for us to ignore them.

Some versions of the story claim that three brothers were brought to Virginia to work for Thomas Jefferson. Some stories have placed the brothers at Monticello; say they worked at the University of Virginia. Sometimes these Giannini’s have been called brick masons, stone masons, sculptors, and at least once, architects!

However, none of our searches of lists of workmen at the University and Monticello show any masons named Giannini. Neither have we found  tools, and or records of work done-- except that crude stone carved by "Antony JAHNNENE" in 1776. Let us know the versions you have heard, and if possible, the sources.

We are unwilling to discount these stories; they are too prominent and have come from so many sources-- some Giannini’s must have done some work with brick or stone.

Who were the Gianniny Children attending  Miller School?

Registration records at Miller School of Albemarle County show that four orphaned Gianniny children were enrolled. We have identified two of these children. Can you help us with the other two? 

Mary Lizzie [Elizabeth] Gianniny, daughter of John Wesley Gianniny and Mary Samuel Parrish, was enrolled from 1890 until 1894.  

Walter  L. Gianniny, son of John W. Gianniny and Gurtha [Gertie Lang] was enrolled from 1915 until 1919.

The two we have not identified are probably brother and sister: Ethel Dice Gianniny, enrolled in the years 1900 until 1904, and Morero Antonio Gianniny, enrolled between 1901 and 1905. Their parents or guardians were  listed as “Jas. L. and Jennie M.” Was Jas. L. the James Lawrence Gianniny, son of Nicholas, and “Jennie” was his wife, Jane Amanda? If so, were they grandparents acting as guardians? If you can  identify these children, please write or call  the editor.

 Puzzle for Young People of All Ages

Look for answers in

1. Who was the Giannini child who came from Lucca in the ship with her parents, Antonio and Maria ?_____

2. When did the first Giannini’s arrive in Virginia? ____________________

3. How many children did Anthony and Mary raise? ______________

4. Where did some of  your other ancestors (not Gianninis) come from?  ______________




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