Tag Archives: Doreen Frandi










Dear Reinfried,

I so love this photograph you sent me from Austria…

it reminds me of the hopelessness my mother felt, her loneliness; she was also a heavy smoker.

You captured all of that desolation in one image for me. – Anne Frandi-Coory


Anne Frandi-Coory








Reinfred Marass certified photo


Well, that was my intention. That’s why it is entitled Abandonné.

The original went to Aix in France to a woman who writes for a Jazz Magazine.

The woman pictured told her story in the book Welcome to Hell … similar to the story of  your book,  Whatever Happened To Ishtar?

See, I am surrounded by writers 🙂 – Reinfried Marass



Reinfried Marass

ishtar-front-cover‘Whatever Happened to Ishtar?’ by Anne Frandi-Coory  is a necessary read for any mother in order to help make an adjustment to your mindset in this information age filled with books on how to parent better.

Anne tells, in an honest and direct way, the reality of her childhood where her mother was largely absent; suffering neglect and abuse in the hands of the Catholic Church and her extended [Lebanese] family.  Despite this absence by her [Italian] mother, the rare moments Anne shared with her still gave her something enormous.

It is a balanced account such as she does acknowledge the education the Catholic Church introduced her to.

Why Anne’s story is one of redemption and healing is that, despite what she reveals of her childhood and subsequent adult quest to reach a place of understanding, Anne has in her, a life blood and intelligence that is vibrant and strong.  Anne knows how to live in the moment and embrace love and laughter to its full.

Anne is giving back to her children the opposite of what she was given which is a massive testament to her strength and sheer force of character.  So if you ever feel you are not giving enough to your child take a read of what Anne didn’t get from her biological parents.  Be encouraged by Anne’s story that even the most meagre rations her parents were able to give did make a difference to her.  How much more so, an available parent with intent to actively love her children, despite the inevitable mistakes you make along the way?  Such a mother  Anne has turned out to be, despite all odds.


roseann cameron

Roseann Cameron, Christchurch New Zealand 25 November 2013


Read here more about Anne Frandi-Coory’s mother:

This page, including text and images are copyright to Anne Frandi-Coory 2 August 2015 All Rights Reserved 


Italia Frandi’s Daughter, Elvira Corich Pengelly, Reminisces  About Her Life Within The Extended Frandi Family. 

Pam Frandi Parkhill, Francesco Frandi’s grand-daughter,  was a great friend to Elvira Corich Pengelly, who was Italia Frandi’s daughter. Pam thought it essential to record these memories on tape as a valuable resource of Frandi Family history.  The story telling took place in the lounge of Elvira’s home at 54 Weld Street, Wellington, not long before she died in 1996.  Anne Frandi-Coory transcribed the interview from the tape recording in September 2005.


Copy of IMG_0513

Pam Frandi Parkhill, Tony Pengelly, Elvira’s son, with Anne Frandi-Coory 2005

[Elvira is sometimes referred to as ‘Vera’, and her uncle Francesco as ‘Frank’ in the recording.  Francesco Frandi is Alfredo’s oldest brother. Francesco’s wife, Assunta, ran off with a neighbour and left him with four young children, including William who was Pam Frandi Parkhill’s father.]

Elvira Begins by Talking About Her First Cousin Amelia Frandi.

Francesco’s  only surviving daughter, Amelia, called Millie by her family,  was twelve years older than Elvira.  Elvira’s  mother Italia   included Amelia in many outings with her own daughter.   But Amelia was an embarrassment to Italia in many ways.  Elvira was always well groomed and dressed beautifully, as shown in the many photos of her, while Amelia always appeared unkempt.  Amelia loved food and although there was always plenty to eat, she frequently “stole food and hid it under her bed, and” Elvira went on,  “Amelia wasn’t to be trusted when you took her visiting.”    This was because after their visits “things would be missing from the house.”

In 1913, when Amelia  was 23 years old, she gave birth to a son out of wedlock, Kenneth Maxwell Frandi.  His father’s name was not recorded on any documents.  Kenneth died when he was three years old as the result of recurrent erysipelas (Fever and deep red inflammation of the skin)  toxaemia over  three months.  On 27 July 1917,  Amelia gave birth to another son, Maxwell Lawrence,  who, it is believed,  was later  adopted by  Cecil Taylor, the man Amelia would  eventually marry in 1922.  Elvira describes Cecil as “a first class boozer” although Amelia didn’t drink alcohol as far as she knew.   Maxwell was re-named Albert Taylor, and  their daughter Jean was born in 1925.  Before she was married, Amelia worked for the Richard Seddon household as a house maid.

Francesco, the Pierotti and Russo Families

Francesco’s  wife Assunta Pierotti left him with 9 year old Amelia, and three young sons, the youngest,  4 year old William, after they had been married for 11 years.  They had two other daughters who died in infancy.   Read: Francesco Garibaldi Frandi and Assunta Mary Pierotti.   Assunta  moved in with Charles Barnett in Whiteman’s Valley, Hutt Valley in Wellington, and they  subsequently  moved to Tasmania after the birth of their 11 children there.  Two more children were born to them in Tasmania.  They never married as Francesco and Assunta were both Roman Catholics and could not divorce. Assunta and Charles Barnett’s children did not know their parents  were unmarried, nor did they know that Assunta had left behind four children  and a husband until after Assunta had died.

Francesco’s parents, his sister Italia and his sister-in-law, Italia Pierotti Russo (auntie Kate) helped raise his four children after Assunta’s departure.   Italia Pierotti married Bartolomeo (Bartolo) Russo, who emigrated from Stromboli Italy, and the Russo family bought property at  Rona Bay in Wellington.   As Elvira explains, “it is situated between Days Bay and Muratai,  which was quite classy even then, and Rona Bay was  often called Russo Bay because of the influence the Russo family had in the area”.  Elvira remembers her mother quite often taking her over to the Russo’s, usually on a Sunday.  They were very friendly people and had many visitors.  She recalls that Rona Bay was just a “big beach” in those days, and quite undeveloped, but there was a ferry travelling around the bays.   Elvira’s son Tony Pengelly, elaborates, and tells us that he clearly remembers the trips to Rona Bay with his  mother and grandmother Italia  on the ferry called  Cobar.

Italia Pierotti Russo (auntie Kate) and her parents

Italia Russo’s parents Cesare and Luisa Pierotti embarked from Livorno to New Zealand when she was two years old.  She and Bartolo  lived in “a huge white house with a verandah all the way around it, which all the children used to play on and run around and at times the noise was deafening” recalls Elvira.  All the while “auntie Kate would be working like a slave cooking lovely meals, and she also looked after the garden, which was beautiful, with vegetables and flowers”, remembers Elvira with admiration.  When visitors were about to leave “auntie Kate would load them up with grapes and tomatoes, she had a big heart.”  “It was such a happy place,  and I loved going there”, reminisced Elvira, “because there was music; mandolin, banjo and wind instruments, and I liked playing with auntie Kate’s son Miro who was just a bit younger than me.”

Italia and Bartolo had four other children; Rita who was closer in age  to Elvira’s sister Helena, Caterina, Bartolo and Cesare.  Eventually “the sons moved to a stud farm in Cambridge”.  Some of the family also lived in Tinakori Road for a time, an area where other ethnic groups lived.

The Makara Farm in Karori

Frandi farm at Makara Wgtn

Makara Farm Front row L t R: Aristodemo, Amelia and Helena sitting on front step, Annunziata, Menotte standing beside her, Antonio and Yolande standing in front doorway, Italia seated in front of them.


Another favourite place Elvira loved to visit was the farm at Makara on the outskirts of Wellington,  which the Frandi family owned.  It was such a treat for her and there was a girl her age about a mile away who she often played with.  She and her mother and other relatives would often walk down to the beach which was “a horrible beach really, full of rocks and stones” but it was nice to be so close to the sea.  Often when her mother was too busy to go, Francesco and his  son William, would take her out to the farm.  “My mother used to feel so guilty because she did not always have time to take me out there.   We would go out to the farm on Friday night and return to the city at 7am Monday morning  after the men had done the milk run on the horse and cart.”  There is laughter in Elvira’s voice as she relates the story of the farm horse.  “The men would drive the horse and cart to the city to pick us up, and the horse would know where to go, because the men would be so tired after a long day on the farm, that they would nod off, but the horse just kept going until it came to the Makara farm gate, and then stop”.  More giggles.  “The horse always whinnied when it got to the gate, so the men would wake up and jump down to open the farm gates.”


Milk truck

Milk Cart

Then Elvira remembers, with another  chuckle, something else about the horse.   “Granny Frandi (Annunziata) would have all the windows open – and when she baked she would put the scones or the rice buns on the sill to cool.  But of course that horse could smell the baking, and steal the food, while granny was busy elsewhere.  Then suddenly we could all  hear granny shouting ‘that bloody horse!’ at the top of her voice”.

Elvira describes the farmhouse layout.  “At the back of the house, there was a huge vegetable garden,  and [from there] you would walk into a kind of shed where water was boiled in a big copper  and the water [pipes] was attached to the back of the open fire and coal range”.  This shed was where everyone left their coats and shoes before entering the farmhouse  kitchen.   The farm workers slept in the hay loft, “but they didn’t put boys and girls together, that wouldn’t have been right”.

Socialising at the Farm.

After milking was over and the evening meal finished, the adults would play cards.  “The house opposite belonged to the Post Mistress and there was an Anglican and a Catholic church further down the road, so everyone was catered for”, Elvira tells us.   Neighbours would  “congregate outside the Post Mistress’ house when they collected their mail or bought something from the attached small shop”.     Evidently, it was  a good meeting place to stand and chat.  Everyone liked to go to the local dance, but William was so shy “he would just stand there and watch everyone else dance”.  “At the dance hall there was a ladies’ dressing room where mothers could look after babies and put them into the little beds at the hall,  and there was beer and tea available”.    “But”, Elvira suddenly recalled, “the men had to put on their milking gear and go to work straight after the dance!”

Amelia’s Three Brothers.

Describing her cousin Menotte as “happy go lucky, although a shingle short”, Elvira adds,  “but he was very fond of my sister Helena”, intimating  this redeemed his shortcomings.    Menotte’s brothers  “Ricciotti  and William  were very reserved and shy  but everyone got along with each other very well on the farm”.  Ricciotti was a “terrible gambler”, and there was a casino not far from where the family lived in Wingfield Street, “but he was very hard to get to know”.  The extended Frandi family and their friends “loved going to the farm because it was such a happy place”, says Elvira dreamily, “and there used to be singalongs most nights, although everyone usually went to bed very early because the men had to get up about 5am to milk the cows and do the milk run”.  Life at the farm was based on  “a lot of friendships where there was an old record player, you know with the  huge sound trumpet, and the women did embroidery, mending and made cushions.  Granny Frandi was great at mending clothes, she was very, very neat.  There was always a lot of laughter”,  cackles Elvira as she relates those warm, happy times, “and  although Francesco was very quiet he liked company, and there were a lot of sing songs”.   Elvira illustrates, “Uncle Enrico played the clarinet,  Uncle Antonio the trombone and the trumpet, while uncle Ateo played the piano.  Uncle Alfred liked to sing and play the fool!     There is a photo somewhere of uncle Antonio taken at the front door of the farmhouse”   continues Elvira, “where there were two bedrooms there  at the front, two more further down the hall and then a double bedroom which was grandpa and granny’s.  Then you walked into a big room which was the dining  and sitting room combined, and the kitchen was off that”, she finishes.

Elvira, Italia and the Convent.

Italia & Vera

Italia and and her daughter Elvira


Elvira once again turns the conversation back to her beloved mother, Italia.  “We were forbidden, as children, to play outside in the street [Wingfield Street, Wellington] but my mother was quite happy for us to play on the huge lawn in the front of the house. She was very kind and my friends were often invited over for treats.  One  day my playmates  were overheard by my mother to say that ‘Vera will get the strap’, and my mother questioned the girl as to why.  My playmate then explained to my mother that on Monday mornings at school the Mother Superior would ask at assembly for those who did not attend Sunday School to raise their hands.  And those who raised their hands got six  straps on the hand which really hurt.  After a couple of times I did not raise my hand any longer, to avoid the strap”.  Elvira says her mother was furious and felt that the convent school was turning her daughter into a liar.  “So”, Elvira carries on, “my mother goes to the convent and says to the Mother Superior, ‘I am Elvira’s mum, is it true that if the girls do not go to Sunday School, they get the strap?’  ‘Yes’,  replied the nun, ‘that is our ruling’.  My mother next explains to the austere nun  ‘I can rarely go out, and the weekend is the only chance my daughter gets to go out to the Makara farm’.  Then my  mother lectures, ‘I think that you should check with each family about what their situation is – you are just encouraging my daughter to lie so she wont get the strap!’ So my mother removed me to a State School”, Elvira tells me with unconcealed pride.   “But my mother did send me back to the convent years later to learn music”,  she adds quickly.

Elvira Growing Up.

Elvira talks of her teenage years which she describes as “good”.  “Cabaret had just started and I had nice things to wear, because mother was more affluent then, she even had a cigarette holder!  These were the days of the Charleston;  good times for me, and life started for me when I was 17 or 18 years old”.  Then she speaks lovingly of Italia again, “The  good things about me were all because of my mother’s upbringing, she was strict but very kind”.   And obviously very talented and a good business woman.   Italia was an accomplished dressmaker and clothes designer, and Elvira says her mother worked long hours, as she was a widow with no other means of support.  “My mother was a great dressmaker and had many clients, who would call on her with descriptions of clothes they had seen at DIC and Kirkcaldies”,  Elvira continues, the pride and love for her mother evident in her voice.  “So she would walk to those stores and look at the respective garments and go home and copy them”.   Italia had a tailor’s table upon which she cut out all the patterns and fabrics,  and Elvira often heard her mother tell her clients, “on the funny phone we had”, ‘please do call in and if you like what I have done I’ll make it for you in the fabric of your choice’.   She was a great dressmaker.”

Shops in the City

16 Murphy St Fernglen

‘FERNGLEN’ 16 Murphy Street, Wellington, where Francesco and his sister Italia lived and ran a boarding house


Elvira then discusses the shops in the vicinity of 20  Wingfield Street where the family lived before moving to 16 Murphy Street, which was  a boarding house as well.  The other streets are “Molesworth, Hill and Aitken Streets”,  The shops include a “shoe repair, Prestons Butchers, horse and cart yard, and a big house with a very long verandah”.  On the corner of Wingfield Street there was a Chinese shop with accommodation.  “Our house had three steps up to the entrance, all the houses seemed to have three steps up to the doors”, noted Elvira as an aside.  “In those days the Chinese had pigtails and they wore black caps, and kids would always try to pull their pigtails or else pull their caps off.  They used to get angry and chase the kids with a knife, awful choppers they were”.  This evokes memories of her dear sister Helena who was 14 years older than she.    Even though most of the memories were happy ones for Elvira, there is obvious poignancy  in her voice when she speaks  of Helena, who died at the age of 30.  The large age difference meant that Helena would have been like a second mother to Elvira, who was sixteen when her sister died and it would have had quite an effect on her young life.  Elvira elicits  that the Chinese  “thought the world of Helena”.


Elvira & Helena Italia's girls

Elvira and Helena in beautiful costumes made by their mother, Italia


The Neighbourhood

Elvira’s tone picks up again.  “There was a small cake shop, then a wood and coal yard.  Oh, and a fish shop and the grocer’s store.  Opposite was the Prime Minister’s residence [Pipitea St] and the Post Office, and then along further there was the drapers and grocer’s shop combined, they had half of the shop each.   And then there was the driveway and the baker’s shop, with a lane [Collina Tce]  beside it”.  The family was surrounded by all the suppliers they needed.  Elvira then remembered that there was another Street next to the lane called “Hawkestone Street where there was a pub called the Shamrock which also had accommodation and I liked to go into the greengrocer’s shop. There were also lots of shops around Molesworth Street  and a side street led to Tinakori Road which was very primitive, but it was all very friendly.  My mother used to let me buy sixpence worth of broken biscuits as a treat, but she would say ‘now don’t eat the chocolate ones, Elvira’ ”

Doreen’s Life Within Her Family

Frandi girls

Anne Frandi-Coory’s mother, Doreen with her younger sisters Joyce and Betty (photo: Karen Albert)

Italia always felt sorry for her niece Doreen as “she had a pretty hard childhood”, Italia had one day told Elvira.   “She was the eldest girl and was responsible for helping around the house and caring for the three younger  girls, Joyce, Betty and then Anne”  and it was evident that Doreen was very attached to Italia.  Anne, her youngest sister,   also has stories to tell about the hardships of Doreen’s life, and the  heartbreaking  events  she was a witness to.    Although there were 16 years difference in their ages, Doreen and Anne were very close.  Doreen’s son Kevin was also a part of the many  sad times in her life and speaks eloquently of them.  It is attested to by several members of the family, that Doreen’s mother Maria, or Millie as she was known within the family, was a morose woman in looks and in nature, and there are very few photos of her looking happy.  Doreen reminded Tony very much of her mother Maria, in her features  and demeanor; fragile and anxious.

Anne with Freddy and Reggie

Doreen’s youngest sister, Anne Frandi Albert (photo: Karen Albert)


Elvira’s First Wedding

Elvira spends some time talking about her first marriage to William (Bill) Meban, whose photos show a very handsome man, with dark swarthy looks.   “We were engaged after only knowing each other for three months”, she explains, with mirth in her voice.  “My mother and both families had set a date, but Bill didn’t want to wait for that date, he wanted to get married straight away”.    Pam states, “your mother didn’t get a chance to make the wedding dress”.   “Well, yes and no”  replies Elvira, and then she tells us that she and Bill decide that  they will get married on a week night and plan for their secret event meticulously.  “Bill was an engineer on the Ripple,  a New Zealand Coastal ship, and we knew it had to be that particular week or we would have to wait for his next trip home”.  Elvira then explains the hectic timetable they had devised for themselves.  “I had a singing lesson that afternoon at the convent, which would explain why I was dressed to go out, and it was my chore to prepare the dinner that night, so I bought something quick to cook.  Bill  would be at our place for dinner, so we  could head down to the Registry Office as soon as dinner was finished.”   Elvira then says with girlish giggle, “I made a dessert for tea,  it was huge – to last two or three days I told everyone”, but in reality it was to be for their wedding breakfast.  “We left separately, and then met up at the Registry Office, and we had  two witnesses, Edith Brown and the ship’s Chief Engineer.  As we prepared for the ceremony, Bill suddenly exclaimed, ‘Vera, look at your frock!’ and I looked down to see blood had dripped onto it from the quick steak meal” she laughs.   “I had borrowed that dress from Uncle Alfred’s wife Maria”, Elvira tells us.  It is unclear  whether Auntie Maria was in on the secret wedding plans.

Time To Own Up

So Elvira and Bill were married in secret, but their consciences soon got the better of them;   “My mother didn’t deserve this treatment”, they had reasoned, “and we were worried someone might notice the ring.  On his next trip home, we were sitting at the dinner table, all chatty and bright, when uncle Frank observed, smiling,  ‘We’re a very jolly family tonight’ and looking over at family friend Skipper Bates, he asked, ‘have you been drinking Bates?’”  Things started to get out of hand, their guilt consuming them, and after six weeks of subterfuge,  Bill insisted to Elvira, “you have to tell your mother!”  Elvira’s cackle filters through the noisy tape as she says “The marriage hadn’t even been consummated, even then.”   Italia took the news well, although surprised and worried, “You wont be well received in Napier”, she cautioned.  “Of course, mother was right, and Bill’s mother was furious!”  and a more serious Elvira continues, “She called me a slut and asked Bill when the baby was due, to which he replied  ‘there is no baby’”.  Elvira and Bill agree to a second wedding ceremony in 1923 at Old St Paul’s Church down the road from  Wingfield Street,  ”because Mrs Meban performed so much.”  Elvira’s  father had died when she was four years old, so  Francesco gave her away.   But Elvira goes on to say  that things were “never really reconciled with the Meban family”. She enlightens us further,   “Bill’s father was a shoemaker and his brother was a sheep farmer in Napier”

Elvira Bill Meban

Bill and Elvira Meban Wedding


What might have been

Elvira confides that she and Bill had often discussed having children and what faith they might bring the children up in.   And what church would they marry in?   “Well we got married in an Anglican Church, my mother was a Roman Catholic and Bill was a Presbyterian”.  However, Italia was relatively unconcerned, counselling her daughter that  “God means you to be happy, so you decide, it’s up to you”.

Elvira’s Loss

Tragedy was about to strike the young couple.   You could sense the sadness as the details of the tragedy slowly emerge;  “I remember there was a severe storm that night [1924].  Oh there were often bad storms, but this was worse than the others.   I got up in the morning after a sleepless night, and on the way to the bathroom, I could hear my mother talking to a lady,  ‘You had a busy night last night, with the phone ringing constantly’”.    Elvira recalls that the lady had  replied  “Get a good breakfast into Vera, the ship was wrecked with all lives lost in that  terrible storm.”   The news was absolutely devastating for Elvira.  “Bill was in the engine room – not a hope of getting out, and Bill had always told me that the ship was a death trap.   And the strange thing was, the Chief Engineer  died in the night, the same hour as Bill died in the shipwreck, but he was in hospital with peritonitis,”  she finishes quietly, obviously the memory is still painful for her after so many years have passed, and she changes the subject.

By all accounts, Elvira never really got over the heartbreaking loss of her first love, Bill.   But Elvira was no stranger to tragedy, and neither was her mother. They lost a father and husband, Pietro Corich in 1906, a much loved  sister and daughter, Helena, in the 1918 ‘flu epidemic, and the child Helena was carrying. Italia also had to deal with the death of one of her favourite brothers, Ateo, in WW1 at Gallipoli.

Elvira married her second husband Melville Pengelly in 1931.  She died 7 May 1996 and is survived by her only son Anthony John Pengelly.


Thank you to Pam Frandi Parkhill and Tony Pengelly for their contribution to this piece of Frandi Family history.

Our Italian Surnames


This page and its contents, including photographs is Copyright To Anne Frandi-Coory All Rights Reserved 13 July 2015


I bought this book to help with my research into the origins of our Italian ancestors’ surnames.

Our Italian Surnames by Dr Joseph G. Fucilla was originally published in 1949 and is still widely regarded as the definitive book on Italian Surnames. Professor Fucilla, who earned a doctorate in Romance Languages (University of Chicago 1928),  has written hundreds of articles and numerous books on Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese linguistics. Onomatology,  the study of the origin and history of proper names and another facet of Dr Fucilla’s vast erudition, was the field out of which emerged Our Italian Surnames.

The information contained in this wonderful book is vast. Many names are derived from animals, occupations, geography, birds, botanica, music and the arts. For the purposes of this post, I am concentrating on the origins of the names Frandi and Greco.



My maternal great grandfather Aristodemo Giovanni Frandi


The Evolution of Italian Surnames

Dr Fucilla writes: A surname or family name may be defined as an identification tag which has legal status and is transmitted by the male members of a family from generation to generation. It is a comparatively recent phenomenon.  It is in Italy perhaps more than any other nation that a person may be identified as a native of a definite section of the country or even of a particular province through his given name. 

Among the Hebrews, only one name used to be employed, but during the Greek and Roman dominations a second temporary name was adopted for individuals, such as Paul of Tarsus, Mary Magdalen (from Magdala). Christianity with its institution of a single baptismal name and the one-name system of the Germanic tribes who were soon to become the masters of Europe, eventually caused the collapse of the whole Roman name system. 

What causes names to be changed over time? Dr Fucilla posits that: These changes can be explained under six headings….

translations, dropping of final vowels, analogical changes, French influences, decompounded and other clipped forms, and phonetic re-spellings. By means of these it will be possible to explain the vast majority of those Italian surnames which we find in Anglicised form.


Aristodemo Giovanni Frandi was born in Pistoia in Tuscany in 1833.  The original ‘Aristodemos’ is a Greco/Roman name. However, the only city in Italy I visited where there were people still living with the name Frandi was in Pisa, where two of Aristodemo’s children,  Ateo and Italia were born. The two men I traced worked for local government in Pisa.

The only historical name I could find that came even close to Frandi is Ferrandy or Ferrandi, which is very common in Italy, especially in the north. However, it does suggest Gallic origins and as was frequent in ancient times, Ferrandy/Ferrandi slowly became Frandi to fit in with other simplified Italian spellings which often end in ‘I’. When speaking to native Italians, they pronounce Frandi as Ferrrrrandi anyway, rolling their rrrs. Conversely, Ferrandi is a very common name in France!

Dr Fucilla studies add more weight to my view that the name Frandi/Ferrandy is a French derivative.  In his chapter headed Topographical Names, he writes: 

We may divide the natural and artificial topographical features that have given rise to Italian surnames …..   among them he lists several mineralogical and agrarian characteristics such as the prefix ferro which is the one we are interested in. This refers to iron (ore) generally but in the agrarian sense it refers specifically to the land and its minerals. We know that as a young man Aristodemo worked on the land as did most of his countrymen. When Aristodemo decided to emigrate with his family to New Zealand in 1875, the very real draw card was the allocation of 10 acres of free land on the West Coast. And later when the family settled in Wellington, their dream was to own a farm, which was eventually fulfilled.

In another chapter under the heading Geographical Names, which are frequently used in Italian surnames, Dr Fucilla  documents the French/Italian name La Fiandra which means ‘from Flanders’ which in parts of its history was ruled by the French. Italians with French connections added ‘La’ to their surnames. Aristodemo called his first born son, Francesco, a derivative of France.  It is possible that Frandi is a compound name of both La Fiandra and Ferrandy/Ferrandi. Dr Fucillo devotes a chapter to such compound names in which place names, nouns, occupations, religious references, and others, were compounded into abbreviated form.

In the mid 19th Century, when Aristodemo was in his 20s, all young men were conscripted into the regular army to protect territory in Northern Italy held at various times in more recent history by the Austrians, Germans, and the French. Most of the men were agricultural workers, and their loss was keenly felt by their families who needed them to tend the land.

Here are excerpts from my book ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?’ pages 286-287:

Aristodemo was conscripted into the regular army in 1859, 1865-1866 against the Austrians, at Ancona, a major port city at the base of the Apennines in the Marche region of the strategic East Coast of Italy which faced the Adriatic Sea. Then at Tirolo which is a tiny commune in the province of Bolzano-Bozen in the Italian region of Trentino-Alto-Adige in the far north of Italy, between Austria and Switzerland.

Aristodemo returned to Pisa to prepare for his marriage to Annunziata Gustina Fabbrucci in 1863. A year later the couple travelled north where Aristodemo was barracked with the regular army while Annunziata lived a few miles away in an Italian conclave.  It was during this conscription period that Annunziata gave birth to their first child Francesco, in 1866 at Lake Lugano.  Eventually, Aristodemo left the armed forces and worked for the fledgling Italian railways laying tracks, the best chance for work in an Italy in the throes of the industrial revolution and the confiscation of farmlands, which threw Italy into a new kind of poverty.

I have discounted Frandi as being derived from any form of the occupational prefix Ferra in its relationship to  Ferrari, metal worker, or Ferroviere, railway worker, as a surname. The use of  Ferroviere as a surname is very rare  and its use is a very recent phenomenon.

Interestingly, Aristodemo’s mother was named Caterina Degli Innocenti Cashelli …Italians often used their parents’ names, or other family names,  as middle names depending on where they come in the family hierarchy  eg firstborn etc. Degli Innocenti is not a family name. It is the name given to all babies who are orphaned or abandoned and who are placed as foundlings in convents or ‘foundling hospitals’ (Hospital of the Innocents) .  On one of our visits to Florence we came upon a beautiful building with coloured tiles depicting religious themes embedded above the doorway. Also written on the tiles were the words  ‘Ospedale Degli Innocenti’ and when I inquired as to what the purpose of the hospital was, this was the explanation...a foundling hospital or sanctuary. Children were only baptised with this name if they were foundlings. The origins of Caterina’s given surname, Cashelli, are unclear, but it is possibly related to casella or caselli meaning dairy

In 1928 a law was passed in Italy forbidding the imposition upon foundlings or illegitimates of names and surnames that might cast reflection on their origin. The law has probably stopped the increase of such names, but has hardly affected those already in existence. Ripples in a pond: this sort of stigma can and did affect the fortunes of  those so named.

Pistoia is an ancient city with remnants of Gallic, Ligurian and Etruscan settlements everywhere. It is possible to trace the origins of Pistoia back to the 2nd Century BC when the Romans established a settlement there for the provision of its militia during the wars against the Ligurians. The Oppidum Romano (fortified citadel) achieved a certain importance in the 4th Century AD and its growth was favoured by its position along the Via Cassia the road that connected Rome to Florence and Lucca. The origin of the name Pistoia is  possibly Pistoria Roman for bread oven. Roman troops were garrisoned and replenished there.


Filippo Grego

My maternal great grandfather, Filippo Grego (Greco)

Filippo Greco was born in 1869 in Amalfi, Italy. Amalfi had close connections with Gaeta, a Greek trading port, and Gaetano and Gaetana were Greco male and female family names respectively, so it’s more than likely Filippo’s extended family originated there. Gaeta has fortifications which date back to Roman times and these fortifications were extended and strengthened in the 15th century, especially throughout the history of the Kingdom of Naples (later the Two Sicilies). There is evidence that Filippo’s early ancestors came from original Greek settlements in Sicily.

Grego is the anglicised version of Greco, which was originally a name given to those living in Greek settlements in Southern Italy. Since the days of the Romans,  Greco has  been a synonym of astuteness and disloyalty and often connotes a stammerer.  Dr Fucilla suggests that some names such as Greco, have acquired a depreciative, figurative meaning which  may now and then have led to their application to native Italians.

To summarise Dr Fucilla’s  conclusions:

Anglicisation of Italian surnames is achieved by the drive of two strong forces converging upon their goal from opposite directions. One force, the most powerful of the two, represents non Italians who consciously or unconsciously in speech or in writing, make Italian names conform to English linguistic patterns, spelling, or individual names or types of names with which they happen to be acquainted. The other force represents the people of Italian origin who deliberately change their names or tolerate modifications made by outsiders as a concession to their new environment.

Finally, a very interesting paragraph from Dr Fucilla’s book:

Greek, Roman, Germanic and Hebrew Patronymical Names.

About 650 BC Ligurians, Illyrians, Umbrians, Etruscans, Sabini, Latini, Greeks, and Carthaginians occupied the various parts of Italy. They were all sooner or later, assimilated by Rome. After the fall of the Roman Empire a number of Germanic peoples including the Lombards, Franks and Normans, overran the peninsula. They too, were assimilated by their environment and with the others, through centuries of cross breeding fused into a fairly close-knit ethnical group now called the Italians. Yet despite fusion, traces still remain particularly in the guise of place names that carry us back to one or another of the stocks just mentioned. However, from the standpoint of personal surnames, a virtual monopoly is enjoyed only by three of the groups: Greeks, Romans and Germans. Their names eventually spread all over the country and from time to time through invasion, immigration, cultural tradition and religion, received reinforcements and accretions. A large mass of personal surnames was later adopted from an outside group, the Hebrews.

 See here: Mansi; My Fascination With Italian Surnames Part 1 

***This page is copyright © to author Anne Frandi-Coory. All Rights Reserved, 4 June, 2014.  No text or photograph can be copied or downloaded from this page without the written permission of Anne Frandi-Coory.***


Captain Ateo Giusto Leale Frandi killed at Gallipoli 8 May 1915

 The Mystery Surrounding His Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal

Ateo Frandi original 2

Captain Ateo ‘Little Arthur’ Frandi


As Fate would have it, on 8 May in 2014 a comment was posted on my blog on the opening page: My Life & Rhymes

The writer was Verna Crowley from Otaki in New Zealand:

Hi Anne, I came across your story while I was researching Ateo Frandi…I have in my possession a medal with his name inscribed on it. It was issued in 1911 for his long service with the Colonial Auxiliary Forces. I would dearly love for it to be returned to his family, he has no direct issue but if you know of a family member I can pass it onto I would appreciate it. Thanks.


Head inscription reads: EDWARDVS Vll REX IMPERATOR



Reverse and rim inscriptions read: For Long Service In The Auxiliary Forces; No 179









I replied that I would so love the medal which I would treasure as would my family. The only memento I have from the Frandi family is a set of broken Rosary beads cherished by my mother, Doreen Frandi. Her father, Alfredo, was Ateo Frandi’s youngest brother and while Ateo died before she was born, Doreen knew Ateo’s sister, Italia, very well. By all accounts, Italia had a soft spot for the troubled Doreen. Ateo and his only sister, Italia, were close in age, both born in Pisa and devoted to each other. Both of Italia’s daughters were deceased and Italia’s only grandchild didn’t have any children. I truly didn’t know anyone else to recommend.

Ateo & Italia

Italia and Ateo


We subsequently continued our conversation by private email. Verna goes on to explain how the medal came to be in her possession, which I was eager to discover. Was she related to the Frandi family I had asked?

The medal was among Verna’s grandmother’s treasured possessions which after her death were handed down to Verna’s mother. It was alongside her first husband’s WW1 medals and papers. Verna has no idea whether either of her grandparents and my great uncle knew one another, but it is possible that they did; the time frame fits, according to Verna. Her grandparents married in 1916, and had a daughter together, (Verna’s mother) but her grandfather never returned from the war. He is buried at Cologne cemetery in Germany. Verna’s grandmother later remarried and had more children.

Tragedy intervenes once again and Verna’s mother suffers the same fate as her mother before her; she also lost her first husband, this time during WW2, and he is buried in Belgium. She also remarried and had three children to her second husband of whom Verna was the youngest. Verna’s mother died in 1971 but none of her three children were given any of their mother’s possessions. Later, her father married again and had more children to his second wife. When Verna’s father died in 2007 Verna and her sister, (their brother was deceased), contested their father’s Will. Some of the few of their mother’s possessions the sisters received were her first husband’s medals along with her father’s.The medals were still in the same box that their mother had always kept them in.

Verna continues in a letter which accompanied Ateo’s medal:

I was looking through your blog and read your post, Letters To Anne Frandi-Coory. I was blown away and I truly believe that Ateo’s medal was meant for you all along. I am convinced a higher power, maybe my mother, encouraged me to find you. If all three circumstances hadn’t come together at around the same time, the medal would probably have been lost forever and never returned to its rightful home.

• My sister and I received, in 2009, the few things that belonged to our mother
• Your memoir and Frandi family history  Whatever Happened To Ishtar?  was published in 2010,
• This significant ANZAC year of 2014 prompted us to scrutinise carefully the papers and medals we received as a result of contesting our father’s Will. discovering that one of the medals had a different name on it.

I couldn’t get that medal out of my mind and so I decided to research the name and other details inscribed on the medal. I found a few clues and of course your web site. If we had rightfully received our mother’s treasures years ago, and tried to find Ateo’s descendents at that time we would not have been able to trace any and that would have been the end of it.

56 Hewer Cres blog

56 Hewer Cres, Naenae, Wellington NZ … My mother Doreen Frandi lived here for many years with her son, Kevin.

Your mother, Doreen Frandi, lived at 56 Hewer Crescent, Naenae in Wellington and her next door neighbours at number 54 were the Hardies; a father and three children, Trevor, Roberta and Marianne. Roberta worked at the Phillip’s factory nearby for many years, possibly alongside Doreen. We lived at 28 Hewer Crescent.

Many connections, but the mystery remains: how did Verna’s mother come to have Ateo Frandi’s war service medal in her possession? Did Doreen give it to Verna’s mother for safe-keeping (Kevin believes this is unlikely) or perhaps Verna’s grandfather and Ateo were war mates and Italia gave the medal to him? Perhaps someone reading this post could enlighten us.


Capt Ateo & Signature 2

Autographed photo of Ateo Frandi


My great uncle Ateo Frandi was born in Pisa Italy on 4 May 1873. His family emigrated to  New Zealand in 1876 and eventually settled in Okuru on the West Coast of New Zealand in 1877. (See blog post OKURU SETTLEMENT).

Ateo was killed on the Daisy Patch at Cape Helles in the Dardanelles on Saturday 8 May 1915 during an attack on the Turkish position. He stood up to give an order when he was shot in the head by a sniper, dying instantly. His body was never recovered.  His sister Italia Frandi Corich proudly paid for his name to be engraved on one of the carillon bells, named Krithia. There were originally a total of 49 bells erected in the war memorial Peace Tower in Buckle Street, Wellington in 1931. Each bell had the name of a soldier who died at Gallipoli and who had no known grave.


Sargeant Ateo Frandi. 2

Ateo Frandi

There is a street named Frandi in honour of Ateo in Thorndon Street, Wellington New Zealand not far from where Ateo lived with his parents before he left for Gallipoli.

Read Here: The commemoration of Frandi Street in 2015 

-Anne Frandi-Coory

***This page is copyright to author Anne Frandi-Coory. No text or photograph can be copied or downloaded from this page without the written permission of Anne Frandi-Coory.***


goddess anne_0001

Author Anne Frandi-Coory with her small daughter






Yes I know. Many of us have been through a divorce and it is one of the most difficult times we have ever had to go through.

But you can guarantee that for the children involved, it will be something they will never forget, for better or for worse.

So, our children must come first, because the decisions we make on how we go about the divorce proceedings, will affect their lives profoundly.



Anne and Anthony at first Santa photo session

Anne and Anthony at first Santa photo session


For all the criticisms I may have had about my ex-husband and the father of our four wonderful children, he never let spite get in the way of any decisions we had to make.  Our three sons were teenagers and our daughter was 11 years old at the time of our divorce. He took our two oldest sons to live with him and I cared for the two youngest children. However, the children moved freely between the two households at holiday times etc.



The point I am coming to is this. Please don’t separate siblings from each other permanently.  The bonds between them are vital because they will need each other in the years ahead. Please don’t use your children as pawns or turn them against each other. Emotional blackmail is absolutely soul destroying for all concerned!

 I didn’t have to read about all of this in books. I and my siblings have lived it.

Our mother, Doreen, had severe bipolar disorder with psychotic episodes which was diagnosed when she was in her thirties. Her psychiatrist and youngest sister, Anne, believe her childhood traumas brought on the severe manifestations of the disorder.

Even though Doreen wasn’t able to care for her children there was no doubt she loved us. (If you want to know more about her story, please read post: Letters to Anne Frandi-Coory. But both our extended Lebanese and Italian families abandoned her and her children.

Doreen had 6 children in all. Hers was a desperate quest to find love and a family. Three later children were taken from her and adopted out. Her oldest son Kevin lived with her in between her frequent bouts in a psychiatric hospital when he was just a small boy. His was a lifelong devotion to her. I was her second child and my brother Anthony her third. All three of us were placed in various orphanages; Kevin whenever Doreen couldn’t look after him (she was either working or in hospital, no benefits in those days). Records show that I was ten months old when I was left at the Mercy orphanage in Dunedin and later, Anthony was left there when he was seven  months old. Both of us were incarcerated in various Catholic orphanages for most of our formative years.

I don’t know the full truth as to why I, Kevin and Anthony were not adopted out as well, but the one thing we three had in common was that we had three different fathers who were all brothers from an immigrant Lebanese family. My father Joseph Coory adopted Kevin when he was about two years old after he and Doreen were married, and of course I was his only child. He loved us and did his best, but his family were adamant they did not want us in the family home. Anthony was completely ignored and neglected until he was much older but cannot remember any of his past traumas. However, they show in his demeanour and on his face.

Getting back to sibling separation, the reason for my writing this piece.

We grew up in different orphanages and had different lives with many years passing between each brief contact.  We could never support each other through the very tough years because we didn’t have that all important bond of growing up together or being in close proximity.

It has taken us years to overcome our childhoods but we have done it all ourselves with no help from drugs, drink or family support. Without the luxury of having each other to share our tears with.  I am sad about that but I am also proud that we have refused to be victims.

I believe the deepest cuts were those inflicted when our mother abandoned us and we were separated from each other. Please don’t do that to your children.


© To Anne Frandi-Coory All Rights Reserved 15 June 2013

If Jason’s father Ateo (Arthur) Frandi had been reported and convicted for sexually abusing his sister and his step children,  (and possibly others) would Dagmar Pytlickova have been murdered?


Source for article below: The Christchurch Press 31 May 2012 & Herald Sun 30 May 2012


Jason Frandi

>< Waimate police were looking for Jason Frandi the day before his body and that of a Czech hitchhiker tourist were found. Frandi had earlier been informed by a member of the public that a sexual allegation had been made against him and police were worried about what action he might take. The bodies of Frandi, 43, and Dagmar Pytlickova, a 31-year-old woman from the Czech Republic, were found in a rugged forest area near Waimate, on New Zealand’s South Island last  Sunday. It’s alleged that Frandi raped Pylickova before cutting her throat. It’s also alleged that Frandi had admitted 12 years earlier that he planned to rape a young woman and then kill himself. This is a pretty chilling scenario considering what happened at the weekend. Frandi was jailed for three and a half years in 2000 for abducting a 19-year-old Oamaru woman, with the intent of having sex with her.  Media reports at the time said the woman was pushing her bicycle down the street when Frandi forced her into his vehicle. Police praised a bystander who heard her screams and tried to intervene, grabbing the door handle then taking the registration number of the car as it sped off.  Despite his previous convictions, police weren’t keeping a specific eye on Frandi.  Pytlickova, also known as Dasha, arrived in New Zealand in January and had been working at a Cromwell-area vineyard until recently, police said yesterday.  They said she left Cromwell on Saturday and was hitchhiking to the Timaru area when she was picked up by Frandi somewhere between Omarama and Kurow. His car was found parked among some trees near Waimate yesterday, and the hitchhiker’s back pack was found inside the car. ><

Czech Republic tourist, Dagmar Pytlickova


Police believe the pair walked from the car to the spot where their bodies were found by charity event riders, about 3km away. Empty alcoholic drink bottles were scattered around the scene.  Pytlickova’s mobile was turned off at 6.40pm.  Autopsies were conducted yesterday in Christchurch.

Frandi was known around the community as a man with a troubled past.  “I know he could be violent when he was drinking,” resident Annette Dungey, who had known him for many years, said.  “I know that because he told me himself.”


See my essay   My Right To Write My Memoir is it right to expose inter-family abuse?


I found the above news item particularly disturbing in view of that fact that Jason Frandi  was a member  of my maternal extended family. I wrote a book  Whatever Happened To Ishtar?; A Passionate Quest To Find Answers For Generations Of Defeated Mothers’  (published 2010 and 2014) after interviewing descendants from the Lebanese and Italian branches of  my family tree, and perusing myriad documents.  In this post about Jason Frandi’s background, I am concentrating on the Italian branch.  During research for Ishtar? I discovered an Italian family history of abandonment, and sexual and physical abuse.

There were many reasons why I wrote ‘Ishtar?’ and although I started writing to exorcise past demons, among them to understand why my own mother, Doreen Frandi, abandoned me when I was an infant, it quickly developed into a far-reaching saga.  See  Letters to Anne Frandi-Coory

Jason Frandi  (43) was the son of Ateo (Arthur) Frandi, b. Wellington, 8 April 1934.  When I interviewed Arthur’s immediate family for my book, they told me that Arthur sexually assaulted his younger  sister in their family home when he was a  teenager.  The only reason the abuse stopped was because Arthur was caught abusing his sister by another brother. Consequently, no other family members knew of the abuse, and it was never reported to police. Following the failure of Arthur’s first marriage to Jason’s mother, Arthur married a woman who had four children from a previous relationship. The marriage broke up when his wife discovered he was a paedophile who had been molesting her children.  I have carefully contemplated this section of the Frandi family history and I wonder whether the rape and  murder of an innocent tourist, Dagmar Pytlickova, by Jason Frandi in May 2012 could have been prevented if his father had been brought to justice many years ago. It appears that Arthur was an abuser from a young age, and there is the possibility that there are many more of his victims out there who are yet to come forward.   It is also possible that Arthur sexually abused his own children, including Jason.

The Frandi family history seems to have taken a wrong turn when Jason’s ancestors, my great grandparents, Annunziata and Aristodemo Frandi fled Italy in 1875 and settled in the barren and wind-swept Okuru Settlement on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand.  I can’t know for absolute certainty, but according to the Frandi family, their life in Italy was privileged until  the aftermath of the Garibaldi uprising and Risorgimento (Unification). The environment  at Okuru was harsh with no medical facilities, no schools and a lack of food supplies. After persevering at a subsistence level for almost four years the family was moved to Wellington in the North Island, at the cost of the NZ government.  The three children Annunziata and Aristodemo brought with them from Italy were the stalwarts of the family, but later born siblings seemed to have been hewn from a different mould. During my research, I uncovered another paedophile within the family’s ranks, and I write about that extensively in my book.

My grandfather Alfredo Frandi was the youngest son of Annunziata and Aristodemo, and Arthur’s grandfather Francesco was their oldest son.   Francesco had three sons including William who was Arthur’s father.  I interviewed William’s middle son extensively, (Arthur was his oldest son) as well as his wife who told me that her husband had a violent ‘Frandi’ temper which terrified her and her children at times. He also had a severe speech impediment which he himself put down to very poor communication and his deep fear of speaking when he was a child.

This is a small window into the extended family my mother was born into; she witnessed horrendous violence toward her own mother at the hands of her father, Alfredo.  The question is, how much family violence is due to environment and how much is genetic? William Frandi  was abandoned by his mother when he was a toddler and he never really overcame his deprived childhood . She ran off with another man and later moved to Tasmania, and he never saw her again. He had a large extended family who did what they could for William, his two brothers and sister, but the damage was done. All four adult siblings were considered either ‘strange’ or ‘intellectually slow’. All had very troubled and unsettled early lives. According to William’s family, he was a man of very few words and barely spoke to his sons at all. He moved to Waimate soon after his marriage to escape the gossip about his mother.  William was too timid to approach a girl in person so he put an advertisement in the local paper, and eventually married a woman from England.

After writing Ishtar? I came to the conclusion that perhaps one of the best things that ever happened to me was that I was placed in an orphanage at ten months old, as traumatic as that turned out to be.  In my case, I hope it is nurture over nature.


Jason Frandi – He Was My Friend

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