Giuseppe Mazzini - Activist, Journalist, Politician and - maybe - my ancestor.
The question If you could meet one ancestor of yours, who would it be? got me thinking about the story my father told me - that he was a direct ancestor of Giuseppe Mazzini. Dad died in 2008 and had been estranged from his family since just before the second world war.
Dad's recorded name is Frederick Mazzini Miles - but the census records for his father and grandfather have not, thus far, taken me back any further.
Mazzini was exiled to England in 1837, he also lived for a time in France with his lover, a widow, Giuditta Bellerio Sidoli. Sidoli was an Italian and had children - she left Mazzini to return to them in 1840. Could she have been pregnant with Mazzini's child?
Whilst there is no written record in all his writings, and Mazzini wrote copious amounts , of a child or another lover Mazzini held women in high esteem and publicly articulated his admiration. There are several quotes such as this one attributed to him:
"Love and respect woman.Look to her not only for comfort, but for strength and inspiration and the doubling of your intellectual amd moral powers. Blot out from your mind any idea of superiority, you have none."
Given the times in which he lived and the work he did this was likely not a regulalry held view by the men he associated with. Certainly Marx was very dismissive of Mazzini.
Mazzini studied law at the University of Genoa. He held strong views that Italy should become united and independent. Mazzini was convicted (in absentia) for subversion and sentenced to death. However, he continued to survive and founded La Giovine Italia to liberate Italy from foreign and domestic tyranny.
Mazzini died in Pisa in 1872 and is buried in Genoa. He is nicknamed "The Soul of Italy."
It seems to me that Mazzini was a man of integrity, passion for what he believed in and social justice. He was a visionary and believed in the United States of Europe 100 years before the EU began.
Even if it turns out we are not related I would still like to meet him someday.
If you would like to know more about Giuseppe Mazzini here are some links to get you started: