The Van Houbraken family according to the Church registers of Livorno. Thursday, Nov 10 2022 

Niccolò Van Houbraken
Self portrait or
François Rivière’s portrait

c.1720
Corridoio Vasariano
Galleria degli Uffizi
Firenze

*** this paper was updated after the initial publication, see at the bottom.

The Van Houbraken family is a line of flemish painters from Antwerp who emigrated to Sicily around the 1620s-1630s and then to Livorno, in Tuscany, in the second half of the 17th century.

Jan (or Johannes) Van Houbraken (1612-1676?), disciple of Peter Paul Rubens and Matthias Stom, emigrated to Messina with his son Ettore (or Hector), another painter whose works are often confused with those of his father. In Messina Ettore had several children with a local woman named Giuseppa Maffei, daughter of architect Nicola Francesco Maffei, some of whom we can identify through the Church registers of Livorno, as the family emigrated there in 1674.

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The Story of a man, of his diseased body and his grave (including his medallion) Monday, Feb 13 2017 

[The identity of Mr. H will be revealed later in this article]

Mr. H. whose identity will be revealed later.

Born in Edinburgh in 1778, the eldest and first surviving of seven children, Mr. H. was a delicate child. He matriculatd at Edinburgh University and chose to study law, aspiring beyond that to public life, funded by his profession. He also studied political economy and joined several academies and societies. In 1799 he espoused “the ancient Whig politics of England, which are at present so much out of fashion, being hated by both parties”, his mentors being David Hume and the French physiocrats. He passed advocate in 1800, but finding little success he switched to the English bar, entering Lincoln’s Inn in 1802 and becoming, in the meanwhile, acquainted with the whig lawyers and literati Romilly, Abercromby, Mackintosh and Sharp, who welcomed him as a “Northern Light”. In the same period he helped found the Edinburgh Review. He found a place in the Parliament in 1806. He opposed the control of trade by export licence to counter Bonaparte’s continental system in 1808 and, critical of the naval battering of Copenhagen, voted for Whitbread’s peace motion. He supported Catholic relief and his role model Romilly’s bid to reform criminal law. Mr. H. felt he was “made, or educated, for the sunshine of an improving community”. He was a member of the Holland House circle and, in 1810, he clearly displayed his talents in the Bullion Committee, arguing that there had been an excessive issue of paper money since the stoppage of cash payments by the Bank of England in 1797, and that bullion importation was the solution. Later he criticized the East India Company’s trade monopoly, and advocated a presbyterian chaplaincy in India. He supported Whitbread’s peace bid and was a consistent opponent of the protectionist corn laws in 1813–14. He also quizzed Castlereagh on his failure to obtain universal abolition of the slave trade during peace negotiations. The Dictionary of National Biography of 1891 stated that: “H. was a man of sound judgment and unassuming manners, of scrupulous integrity, and great amiability of character. He was a correct and forcible speaker, and though without the gift of eloquence or humour, exercised a remarkable influence in the House of Commons, owing to his personal character. Few men, with such small advantages at the outset of their career, ever acquired in such a short space of time so great a reputation among their contemporaries. As a political economist Horner ranks deservedly high.”

H. suffered from a pulmonary ailment, and during the autumn of 1816, having been advised to winter in a warmer climate, he travelled to Pisa (Italy) with (more…)

Livorno Non-Catholic indexes (1818-1865) silently updating… Sunday, Dec 2 2012 

The Livorno’s Non-Catholic Civil Births’ Index (1818-1865) has been silently updated in the past few days, after the initial release of letters A-E, and is now fully published online. The index is comprised of 6666 single entries and a little over 1000 different family names.

Some more information on this source can be found here (also accessible from the blog homepage), otherwise you can  directly access the Births’ Index.

Livorno Non-Catholic Birth, Marriage, and Death indexes (1818-1865) are online. Monday, Nov 19 2012 

For the first time this fundamental source for the history of Livorno is being gradually published on this blog. The first batch of the Births’ Index is already online and it includes letters A through E totalling a little more than 2000 individuals.

The plan is to publish the totality of the three indexes (Births, Marriages and Deaths) in batches like the first one, a few letters at a time. Once completed, it will be a priceless source covering nearly 50 years (1818-1865) of  existence of the non-catholic minorities in Livorno. All births, marriages and deaths of any individual professing a non-catholic faith were recorded and indexed in these civil registers, including but not limited to: Jews, Dutchmen, Germans, English, Huguenots, Waldensians, Muslims, Orthodox Greeks, Protestants, et al.

Some more information on this source can be found here (also accessible from the blog homepage). There you will find answers to the following questions and, of course, the links to access the indexes:

– What are the “non-catholic indexes” of Livorno?

– What information do they include?

– What information can I expect to find in a full act?

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If you already know the answers you can click directly on the Births’ Indexes.

***

UPDATE (Nov. 21st, 2012): Added letters F – G – H – I – J – K

Shame! The “English Cemetery” of Pisa. Sunday, Sep 2 2012 

If you happen to visit the city of Pisa by bus, chances are that your bus parks at the large bus parking area on Via Pietrasantina, a few hundred yards away from the world heritage site of Piazza dei Miracoli, where thousands of tourists visit the leaning tower everyday.
In this case, unfortunately, you might also happen to walk down Via Pietrasantina to reach the famous square, risking at the same time your life and (more…)

New Blog Section: The Old English Cemetery of Livorno in Images Thursday, Aug 23 2012 

A whole new section has just been added to the blog’s page about the Old English Cemetery of Livorno:

 ♦ The Old English Cemetery in Images ♦

The new page consists, for now, of a few sub-sections rich of images related to the cemetery:

I plan to add more pictures and themed-sections in the next future. Enjoy!

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