Monday, 18 February 2013


I think Gabriel Bellisario was born in Rome around 1840; he first shows up in British records in 1859 when he married Mary Ann Agnes Hogan in Bristol; a son, Luigi Garibaldi Bellisario was born in 1860.

In 1861 he was recorded in the census in Sheffield (rented accommodation I think) with Mary Ann and Luigi; his profession being 'Professor of Music'. Young Luigi didn't last long, he died in 1861, Mary Ann died in 1870. At some point, Gabriel moved to Cardiff and by the 1871 census, he's in Chrichton Street Cardiff with 'wife' Amelia; his profession is now 'photographer'.

In 1871 Gabriel is living in Tudor Street (that's where I go now to catch a bus when the city centre is closed off for rugby internationals) although his photographic studio is 226 Bute Street (over a chemist shop) which sadly no longer exists.

Gabriel and Amelia married in Cardiff's registry office in April 1874. Gabriel's father is Luigi Bellisario, profession - author. Google hasn't produced anything to verify this, so if anyone knows anything different...

In 1881, everything changes, there's new information! Gabriel is head of the household with Amelia as his wife...but!! Here's also James, son aged 16, born Italy, profession 'embosser'; Joseph, son aged 14, born Bristol, mechanic and Ernesto, aged 2. Amelia's mother, Fanny Littleton is also part of the household and is described as 'paralytic'. Fanny died in 1885 and is buried in Cathay's cemetery in Cardiff.

James and Joseph - what happened to them? Do I look for James and Joseph or the Italian equivalents?

In 1891 we're still in Tudor Street (with the studio in Bute Street) but by 1901, Gabriel and Amelia had moved to Beauchamp St and Ernesto had moved out.  In 1901, at the age of 23, Ernesto was in Liverpool and married to Frances Georgina Russell. Of which, more later)

In the 1911 census, Gabriel is listed as photographer and musician; I'm following up on local newspaper items where it looks as though he was playing the double bass at various concerts (how many signor Bellisarios were there in Cardiff anyway?)

Gabriel died in Cardiff on 26 Feb 1916 and is buried with his mother-in-law Fanny in Cathays cemetery (I was able to place flowers on their grave last Palm Sunday - a Welsh tradition); Amelia died in 1935 but is not with Gabriel and her mother; she's in a different part of Cathays in a common grave. I'm not sure why or how this happened but I did place flowers on her grave too last Palm Sunday)

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