woensdag 4 april 2012

Florentine ancestry in Antwerp merchants, part 1


In the sixteenth century, many merchants had their flourishing trade businesses in Antwerp; well known are the merchants of cloth. 
In genealogical perspective, this period is interesting, because of the international movements these merchants made.

 One interesting merchant family forms the family around Jeronimus Coymans (1503-1580), son of a purse maker from Wuustwezel, started a trade in Antwerp, where goods like "lywaet" (linen), sugar and cinnamon are part of. He also traded in marine insurances.
It was around 1540 he married Constantia Spinelli (1516-1581), daughter of Thomas.

 Together, they conceived 10 children, had 37 grandchildren, and 109 great-grandchildren, most of whom eventually could be found in the merchant elite at Amsterdam; it seems to me not dangerous to state, that by the 1800's many people of the Amsterdam elite either descended from Coymans, or married a descendant.

 Today, there might be a few thousands, maybe even ten thousand descendants of the couple Coymans-Spinelli. Quite some of them, I included, will descend them twice or more; intermarriage in elites was till the 19th century quite normal.

 The surname "Spinelli" intrigued me, as it was not a very Antwerpian or even a Walloon name. When having looked the Coymans-file at the CBG (Centraal Bureau voor de Genealogie) in The Hague, one of the many hand-drawn pedigrees in it stated that Constantia Spinelli was born in 1516 as the "natuurlijke dochter van Thomas Spinelli en van ... de Cordes". The notion of "natuurlijke dochter" thus meant she was not born in marriage, but in an illegitimate relationship.

 The only Thomas Spinelli, who we find in the Southern Netherlands at that time, was the Florentine agent of Henry VIII of England. Some research on google teaches us that "Tommaso" Spinelli could be found in the Low Countries as early as 1507, when he visited an Antwerpian notary as "Tommaso di Guasparre Spinelli". Later on, in 1513/4 he could be found at Ghent, Brussels, and Bruges.

The Spinelli Archives show a description of his testament, made in september 1522.

 About his children, I did not found an awful lot; he presumably had a son Guasparre, who sent letters in 1518 and 1520 from Antwerp to his uncle Leonardo Spinelli, who served under the pope. Guasparre (or Gasparo) was also known as secretary of the Venetian ambassador in London, so he did have a position similar to his father.

 Tommaso Spinelli was born in 1472 as the son of the Florentine Guasparre di Niccodemo Spinelli and Alessandra di Pietro Gualterotti.

On google books, a large excerpt of "The Spinelli of Florence" can be viewed. The genealogies in the end give Tommaso Spinelli as his wive Marietta Alamanneschi.

Titles of files in the "Spinelli Archives" show Tommaso as having married Daniela di Mattheo Frederighi.

 Though it appears Tommaso did marry twice, the Coymans-file gives him a illegitimate daughter "Constantia", with mother a De Cordes, a family also known in the trade between the Low Countries and Italy.
More is to be said about the families "Spinelli" and "De Cordes".

The Spinelli of Florence, google books

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