Diversity in the Notarial Archives: Italian Community

The records of the Clerk of Civil District Court’s Office, which date back to the 1700s, represent the rich history of New Orleans and its diverse communities. Our archives can be used for property, family history, architectural, and landscaping research.

New Orleans is home to a large Italian community whose influences can be seen throughout the city. This post will illustrate how an Italian notary catered to Italian individuals and organizations in New Orleans.

Ulisses Marinoni, Jr., Notary

Ulisses Marinoni, Jr. was from a distinguished Austro-Lombard family. His father, Ulisses Marinoni, Sr., was born in Brescia, in the upper Lombardy region of Italy. Marinoni, Sr. graduated as a “doctor of laws” from the Imperial University in Vienna, Austria. He served as an appellate judge in his hometown until the outbreak of revolution against Austrian rule. Marinoni, Sr. immigrated to New Orleans in 1850.1

Times-Picayune, 15 Mar. 1902, p. 8. NewsBank: America’s News – Historical and Current.

In 1866, Marinoni, Sr. co-purchased a property on the corner of Decatur and Ursulines. In 1889, a fire broke up in the basement of the two-story building, according to an article in the Daily States newspaper.2 Marinoni, Sr. bought the other half interest of the property in an act of sale passed before notary, James Simeon, in 1895. His son, Ulisses Marinoni, Jr., was a witness to the transaction.

Simeon, James. 1895 Apr 1. Vol 9, Act 38. Courtesy of Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Clerk of Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans.

In the succession of Marinoni, Sr., filed in the Civil District Court (Case No. 67853), the property was split between his surviving spouse and his son and daughter. This early court record is housed in the City Archives of the New Orleans Public Library. The abstract of the succession, as pictured below, was also recorded in the conveyance office in 1904 and is housed in the Land Records Division of the Clerk’s Office today.

Conveyance Office Book 203, Folio 221. 1904 December 29. Courtesy of Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Clerk of Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans.

The act of sale from Ulisses Marinoni, Jr. and his sister, Ogla Marinoni Nolan, to Hibernia Bank is located in our collection. An act of sale includes the legal description and the previous acquisition of the property. Both are featured within the act below.

Benedict, Percy. 1924, Sept 23. Vol 73, Act 871. Courtesy of Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Clerk of Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans.

A survey of the property is shown on the blueprint displayed below that is also included in the act of sale. E. L. Eustis, the surveyor of this 1924 plan, explains that an 1833 plan created by Joseph Pilie was supposed to be annexed to an act passed before notary, William Christy. However, on the blueprint, Eustis notes that the 1833 plan could not be located.

Benedict, Percy. 1924, Sept 23. Vol 73, Act 871. Courtesy of Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Clerk of Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans.

Additionally, one of the female notaries mentioned in a previous blog post on women, Emma Cornay, served as the notary in a later act of sale of the aforementioned property.

Cornay, Emma. 1937 December 23. Act 22. Courtesy of Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Clerk of Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans.

The building once belonging to the Marinoni family was recently the Margaritaville Store. It is currently the Pepper Palace located directly across from the French Market.

Formerly owned by the Marinoni family, this building is currently used for a business known as the Pepper Palace. Google Image as of September 2019

Marinoni, Jr. attended Jesuit College and graduated from the department of law at Tulane. He was active in social clubs such as the Lions’ Club and the Boston Club. Days before his death, as stated in his obituary, Marinoni, Jr. was awarded two decorations from the Italian government in recognition of his service rendered to Italy. In Marinoni, Jr.’s notarial practice, he executed acts in English and Italian. Many of his acts written in Italian were for obtaining a power of attorney.  

Times-Picayune, 13 Sept. 1931, p. 6. NewsBank: America’s News – Historical and Current.

In an act of procuration, Rocchi Eugenia and Sully Thomas, a married couple who were domiciled in New Orleans, came before notary, Marinoni, Jr., to appoint a procura speciale (power of attorney). In the act executed by Marinoni, Jr., they appointed Dr. Emilio Bassi, a notary who resided in Milan, to handle their finances, annuities, and debts.

Marinoni, U. 1915 Apr 12. Vol 14, Act 17. Courtesy of Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Clerk of Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans.

The act below, written in English, is a charter for an Italian benevolent association called “Societa Italiana Di Mutua Beneficenza Fraterna.”

Marinoni, U. 1915 Apr 13 Vol 14, Act 21. Courtesy of Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Clerk of Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans.
Signature page. Marinoni, U. 1915 Apr 13 Vol 14, Act 21. Courtesy of Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Clerk of Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans.

The organization’s purpose was “to promote a feeling and spirit of friendship and amity and good fellowship among its members, to aid and succor them in sickness and bury them when dead, to provide funds for their help, and to furnish them with medicines and a doctor when in need of them…” These benefits and aids would also be extended to the members’ wives and children.

The Clerk’s Office has a rich amount of history pertaining to the Italian community. If there are any particular interests that you would like to learn more about, please contact the Clerk’s Office. We are happy to assist.

Sources:

1. Times-Picayune, 15 Mar. 1902, p. 8. NewsBank: America’s News – Historical and Current.

2. Daily States, 28 May 1889, p. 4., c. 2.

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