The Stagno Family

The Stagno Family

Following on from last week’s Friday’s Faces From The Past, I will be focussing on Ignazio Stagno’s wife, Margherita Musarella. In the above photograph she is standing on the far left. She is the mother of my grandmother, Maria Stagno, who is the little girl standing next to her. Beside Maria is her little brother Paolo and her father Ignazio and older brother Giuseppe.

Margherita Musarella was very obviously a beautiful woman. She was born on the 4th of December, 1895. I chose her as my feature for today’s Friday’s Faces From The Past because the expression on her face in this picture is rather like the expression on the Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Upon first glimpse I would say she looks both bored and annoyed. Her husband Ignazio looks a little more lively. I know it wasn’t customary to smile in photos back then, but he at least seems to be interested in the photo. I wonder why Margherita makes this face. Were her kids misbehaving? I remember taking my stepdaughter to the park last summer and seeing a family getting their pictures taken. The mother was screaming her head off at her children. And then a second later she would have them in position while smiling gleefully at the camera as the photographer took their photo. Once the photo was taken she was back to scolding her children. I laughed then, thinking how stilted and fake photos can be. But what if it wasn’t her children that caused her to make that face? Am I imagining an expression altogether? Perhaps it was just taken mid-expression and she actually had no problem with the behavior of her children, or getting the picture taken. I do love the way that she is holding her daughter’s hand. It was slightly awkward for Margherita to hold her daughter’s hand at a higher-than-natural position, because Maria was standing on a chair, but that she wanted to be holding her child’s hand in the photo says something about her as a mother – she was a loving mother.


Margherita with all of her children. (From Left to Right) Concetta Stagno, Maria Stagno (Sulfaro), Paolo Stagno, Margherita Musarella, Giuseppe Stagno, Maria Stagno & Catena Stagno

Because Margherita is my great-grandmother the stories about her life are short and far between. Most of what I know is simply factual. She married Ignazio Stagno on the 1st September 1905, in Giardini. She wrote letters back and forth to her daughter Maria when she moved to Australia. She died at the age of 83, almost 9 years after her daughter Maria, who she never saw again after she immigrated. My mother never got to meet her grandmother. But Margherita seemed to be a very loving grandmother in the few photos that we have of her.

margherita + grandchildren

Margherita in the top center surrounded by her grandchildren in Giardini. Date of photo is unknown. I believe it was before 1970, however, because she would have sent this to her daughter Maria.

margherita margherita margherita and car

Unfortunately I have not had much luck in contacting the Giardini-Naxos Comune for birth / marriage / death records lately, but they have sent me some information on Ignazio Stagno that noted some information on Margherita also, such as their marriage and where they were living in Giardini. Margherita Musarella is buried next to her husband Ignazio Stagno in the Giardini-Naxos Cemetery, so the dates listed on her gravestone were helpful in my research.

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margherita musarella