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Carmel Calleja

Dissertation submitted to the Department of History at the Royal University of Malta, Malta 1973

The digital version of this unpublished dissertation may have some differences from original introduced during the scanning process which due to the limited resources didn't have time to completely verify and is another reason why one has to seek the original version (located at UOM) when needs to quote references from it.



(p.9) In 1575, according to Duzina’s report there were 116 households in Mosta. It is interesting to compare this figure with that given by Mgr. Duzina for some of the other villages in Malta.16 These figures tend to show that the average Maltese household at that time consisted of five persons.17 Thus the population of Mosta amounted to about 580 persons. The total population would probably have been greater had not Mosta suffered from a severe setback in 1526. Following a surprise attack by Barbary corsairs, led by Rajjes Sinen, Mosta was almost depleted of its flourishing population. It is said that besides the killed, four hundred Mostin were taken prisoners.18 The inhabitants had to sell their lands in order to pay for their ransom and thus many Mostin were reduced to poverty.19 Moreover, in 1592 plague broke out in Malta, and 3,000 persons were (p.11) said to have died during this calamity.20 This figure included 27 victims from Mosta and 283 from Naxxar and Gharghur, who were all buried in the small cemetery situated in front of the church of St. Margaret at Mosta.21



Village Population Number of Houses
Attard (including Balzan) 665 165
Balzan 300 60
Lija 400 80
Zebbug (including Hal Dwil and Hal Muxi) 1,200 260
Hal Bordi 60 17
Hal Man 50 12
Bormla 1,200 -
Rabat and Mdina 800 -
Mosta - 116
Tarxien - 100
Zabbar - 60
Zurrieq - 203
Hal Millieri - 15
Luqa - 130
Qrendi - 54
Gharghur - 80
Gudja - 80

1. See J. Cassar-Pullicino, op. cit., p. 24.

(p.11) However, these setbacks were only temporary, and the demographic figures for Mosta later showed an upward trend. An important contributing factor to this increase in population throughout the Island was the tremendous impulse given by the Knights to local industries, especially boat-building, weaving and sail-making, the various openings offered to adventurous men, and above all the greater sense of security which existed as a result of the gradual decline of the Turkish menace and by the protection afforded by the Knights. Moreover, the Knights brought about an all-round improvement in the existing state of hospital and medical services, which culminated in the building of the Holy Infirmary.22

(p.12) As can be seen from Table II23 the population of Mosta had almost trebled within a period of seventy years (1575 - c.1647), and, in fact by c.1780 it exceeded that of the matrice of Naxxar.24 In the period 1630-1650, there was a yearly average of 38 baptisms (compared with 34 baptisms for 1612-1629) and 12 deaths (compared with 8 deaths for 1613-1629).25 Unfortunately, these baptism figures are very misleading as the Death Registers of Mosta at this period did not record the deaths of children, and thus it is almost impossible to reach any definite conclusion regarding the infant mortality rate. However, it is safe to presume that infant mortality tended to be very high. Some indications may be obtained from the duplication of names in the same family26 and from the fact that in 1851 the death rate among the general population was 21 per thousand a year in the towns and 28 per thousand in the countryside; almost 57 per cent of this mortality was among infants and children (p.16) under five years of age. The principal causes for this high mortality rate were such diseases as enteritis, measles and diphtheria.27



Year Number of Houses Population
1575i 1165 c. 580
1608ii 180 900
c. 1647iii 344 1,579
c. 1780iv 535 2,126
  1. J.Cassar-Pullicino, op. cit., p. 24.
  2. E.B.Vella, op. cit., pp. 70-71.
  3. G.F. Abela, op. cit., p. 83.
  4. Abela-Ciantar, op. cit., p. 272.


(In R.M.L. MS. 162, f.127r, we do not find the population figures for Mosta; but we are informed that in 1632 Naxxar had a population of 4923 anime made up of 333 males under five years; 2023 males above five years; 397 females under five years; and 2172 females above five years. These figures undoubtedly included the populations of the neighbouring villages of Mosta and Gharghur.)



1612-1629 1630-1650
Year Total Year Male Female Total
1612 47 1630 25 24 49
1613 31 1631 23 11 34
1614 21 1632 22 14 36
1615 29 1633 14 21 35
1616 34 1634 25 19 44
1617 36 1635 20 20 40
1618 40 1636 28 18 46
1619 29 1637 27 17 44
1620 58 1638 18 13 31
1621 27 1639 19 18 37
1622 30 1640 18 13 31
1623 22 1641 15 18 33
1624 34 1642 24 17 41
1625 36 1643 23 16 39
1626 33 1644 14 22 36
1627 30 1645 16 17 33
1628 42 1646 20 20 40
1629 37 1647 24 22 46
1648 14 20 34
1649 22 10 32
1650 24 23 47

1. See A.P.M., D.L. I (1612-1640) and B.L. II (1630-1697).



1613-1629 1630-1650
Year Total Year Male Female Total
1613 10 1630 6 14 20
1614 6 1631 4 2 6
1615 3 1632 3 4 7
1616 12 1633 3 6 9
1617 4 1634 5 10 15
1618 1 1635 11 4 15
1619 7 1636 7 8 15
1620 10 1637 4 3 7
1621 1 1638 2 10 12
1622 8 1639 5 13 18
1623 8 1640 6 3 9
1624 11 1641 4 7 11
1625 15 1642 3 4 7
1626 16 1643 8 3 11
1627 13 1644 5 9 14
1628 8 1645 9 3 12
1629 8 1646 3 8 11
1647 4 7 11
1648 7 10 17
1649 4 5 9
1650 6 8 14
Total 141 Total 109 141 250

1. See A.P.M., D.L. I (1612-1640) and B.L. II (1630-1697)

(p.16) Table V ( from (i) to (xxxvi) )28 may give the impression that the rapid increase in the population of Mosta in the first half of the seventeenth century was the result of natural causes - the data seems to indicate families with an average of six children. But this view will have to be modified by the fact that there appears to have been at Mosta in the period 1630-50 a considerably large number of families who were childless29 or had only one child.30 Moreover, Table V does not give us enough information in that it does not tell us how many of the children died in infancy.

(p.17) According to Blouet, the rapid increase in the population was mainly stimulated by the Order's making a large number of land grants to people wishing to build houses in the village.31 Unfortunately, I was unable to ascertain at what date were these grants given. It is certain, however, that two out of every five girls of Mosta, who married in the period 1630-1650, took as their husbands outsiders. Many of these were from the neighbouring villages of Naxxar, Lija, Attard, Rabat, Birkirkara and Gharghur, but others came from as far as Siggiewi, Qrendi, Senglea, Dingli, Qormi and even from Gozo.32 Gozitans usually came to Malta to export fruit, vegetables, and large quantities of sheep, goats, pigs, cattle and poultry. However, this does not necessarily mean that all these outsiders settled at Mosta for there are strong indications that a considerable number returned to their native villages where they owned some property.33 This phenomenon may also be explained by the fact that the Council of Trent forbade a person to marry uncles, aunts, or cousins out to the fourth degree, although dispensations have occasionally been given by the Church. Moreover, as Mosta was relatively small the choice within the village itself was somewhat restricted.



Some examples of family units to which children were born and who appear in the birth records

(i) Jacobum HAIUS = Franciscam GALIA on 24.4.1634 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p.28) daughter of Petri and Bartolemae

Dominicus (b. 16.11.1637) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 26v)
Theramus (b. 20.10.1640) (Ibid., f. 34v)
Gratia (b. 19. 6.1642) (Ibid., f. 38v)
Domenica (b. 12.11.1646) (Ibid., f. 54r)

The following priests acted as godparents1:
Reverendus D. Theramus Galia of Man for Theramus
D. Jo:Maria Galia for Domenica.

The village of Man (or Laman or Hal Man) has now ceased to exist as it had been incorporated into the parish of Attard. According to G.F. Abela,2 Hal Man had a population of sixty-six persons in c.1647.

As a rule, only one godparent for each child is recorded in the Birth Register, but in the case of Gratia and a few others (about six) two godparents are mentioned. In his report, Duzina condemned the custom of having more than two godparents3.


  1. For the purpose of the study at Table V (i-xxxvi), only godparents, who were notaries, priests or clerics or who came from outside Mosta, are recorded.
  2. Op. cit., p. 85
  3. See p. 65.


(ii) Rafaelis HAIUS = Gratia XERRI on 25.7.1627 from Lia daughter of Pauli (M.L. I (1611-1701), p.20)

Maria(b. 6.9.1628) (D.L. I (1612-1640)1
Petrus (b. 13.11.1633) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 13v)
Jo:Paulus (b. 14.2.1637) (Ibid., f. 24r)
Dominica (b. 29.3.1638) (Ibid., f. 27v)
Margarita (b. 1.6.1641) (Ibid., f. 36r)
Clemencia (b. 30.1.1645) (Ibid., f. 46r)

1. Note: There is no pagination in D.L. I (1612-1640).

The following ecclesiastics acted as godparents.
Clericus coniugatus Joannes:Paulus Fenec of Musta for Jo:Paulus
Reverendus D. Bernardus Galia for Clemencia.

(iii) Josephum AQUILINA = Dominicam SAMUT on 31.7.1632 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 25)

Maria(b. 27.9.1636) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 23v)
Dominicus (b. 24.1.1638) (Ibid.,f.27v)
Thomas (b. 1.5.1642) (Ibid.,f.38v)


(iv) Petri ACIOPARDI = Geronima BARTOLO on 21.1.1623 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p.16) daughter of Antonii

Maria(b. 4.5.1631) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f.5v)
Clemencius (b. 27.8.1634) (Ibid., f.17r)
Innocencia (b. 28.12.1637) (Ibid., f. 27r)
Gratius (b. 7.2.1642) (Ibid., f. 37v)
Dominica (b.10.3.1643) (Ibid., f. 41r)

There may be three possible explanations why this couple had their first child after eight years of married life, when the tendency was to have a child within the first year of marriage:

  • they might have been childless in this period; or
  • their offsprings were still-born, in which case they are not recorded in the Death Register; or
  • they might have temporarily left the village.

Notary Joannes:Paulus Fenec of Mosta acted as Dominica's godparent.


(v) Geronimum BARTOLO = Catarinam FENEC on 19.2.1634 (M.L. I (1612-1701) p.28) from Attard daughter of Dominici and Margaritae

Joannes (b. 1.4.1635) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 19r)
Jo:Dominicus (b. 3.2.1636) (Ibid., f. 21v)
Julianus (b.11.4.1638) (Ibid., f. 28r)

Clericus coniugatus Jo:Paulus Fenec acted as Jo:Dominicus’ godparent.

(vi) Dominicum BEZINA = Joannellam BUSUTTIL on 5.9.1636 (M.L. I (1611-1701) p. 32) daughter of Augusti(n) and Isabellae

Joannes (b. 1.11.1639) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 32r)
Catherina (b.20.10.1642) (Ibid., f. 39v)


(vii) Julium BORG = Gratiam CAUCHI on 7.8.1633 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 26) from Naxaro daughter of Mariani and Imperiae

Ignatius (b. 25.3.1634) (B.L. II (1630-I697), f. 16r)
Jo:Maria (b.28.2.1643) (Ibid., f. 41r)
Dominica (b. 15.11.1649) (Ibid., f. 67r)
Andreas (b. 2.12.1651) (Ibid., f. 74r)
Maria (b. 20.10.1652) (Ibid., f. 77v)
Caterina (b. 25.4.1655) (Ibid., f. 86r)

Their first child was born after seven and a half months. This may be explained either that their child was prematurely born or that Julium and Gratiam indulged in premarital sexual relationships.

In the period 1630-1650 I came across three similar cases:

  • Joannem Galia = Catharinam Samut on 13.1.1642 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 43): Dominicus (b.17.8.1642) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 39v)
  • Dominicum Galia = Paulinam Dingli on 27.8.1644 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 47): Jo:Maria (b. 1.4.1645) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f.46v)
  • Alexandrum Mallia = Alontiam Samut on 31.10.1649 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 57): Mario and Maria (b. 30.6.1650) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 70r)

However, it is very difficult to reach any definite conclusion, especially in the first two cases, as both names and surnames were too common at Mosta at this period.


(viii) Matteum BORG = Joannellam XERRI on 1.10.1634 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 29) daughter of Antonii and Catarinae

Baldasar(b. 29.12.1636) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 24r)
Catharina (b. 29.11.1642) (Ibid., f. 40r)

(ix) Romanum BORG = Sperantiam CAUCHI on 26.1.1631 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 25) son of Joannes daughter of Mattaei and Margaritae and Joanellae

Romana (b. 1.1.1632) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 7r)
Joannes (b. 21.6.1633) (Ibid., f. 12r)
Margarita (b. 6.1.1635) (Ibid., f. l8v)
Gratius (b. 16.6.1638) (Ibid., f. 28r)
Matteolus (b. 30.5.1641) (Ibid., f. 35v)
Jo: Maria (b. 6.4.1644) (Ibid., f. 44r)
Joanella (b. 16.11.1646) (Ibid., f. 51r)
Paulina (b. 2.7.1649) (Ibid., f. 66r)
Maria (b. 15.8.1650) (Ibid., f. 70v)
Natalia (b. 20.8.1652) (Ibid., f. 77r)

The following acted as godparents:
Reverendus D. Joannes Galia for Margarita
D. Dominicus Xerri for Jo:Maria
Reverendus D. Jo:Maria Galia for Joanella
Mags. Marius Portughes of Valletta for Natalia.


(x) Dominici BUCAGIAR = Margaritam BORG on 30.1.1627 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 20) daughter of Laurenti

Dominicus (b. 30.1.1628) (D.L. I (1612-1640)
Joannes (b. 29.8.1629) (Ibid.) 
Maria (b. 23.2.1631) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 4v)
Clemencia (b. 29.1.1634) (Ibid., f. 15v)
Gregorius (b. 22.7.1635) (Ibid., f. 20r)
N. A.1 (b. 27.9.1638) (Ibid., f. 28V)
Jo:Maria (b. 5.12.1640) (Ibid., f. 35r)
Cleria (b. 14.2.1643) (Ibid., f. 4lr)
Theresia (b. 21.5.1646) (Ibid., f. 49v)
Tomas (b. 19.12.1647) (Ibid., f. 57r)
Carolus (b. 14.11.1649)| (Ibid., f. 67r)
Catarina (b. 21.4.1654) (Ibid., f. 83v)
  1. The name of this child (a girl) is not mentioned.

This was for Dominici Bucagiar his second marriage (secondo matrimonio). This is the only case which I have found recorded in the Marriage Register for the period under study.

The following acted as godparents:
Clericus Dominicus Hibeyer for Dominicus
… Cuschieri of Man for Clemencia
Reverendus Joannes Galia for Jo:Maria
Reverendus D. Dominicus Xerri for Theresia.


(xi) Jacobi BUSUTIL son of Mariani - Sperancie GATT on 24.11.1618 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 11) daughter of Joannes

Raymonda(b.15.1.1620) (D.L. I (1612-1640)
Gregorius (b. 23.3.1622) (Ibid.)
Maria1 (b. 2.2.1624) (Ibid.)
Maria (b. 25.3.1625) (Ibid.)
Jo:Maria (b. 6.2.1628) (Ibid.)
Jo:Lucas (b. 4.1.1632) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 7r)
Agnes (b. 14.1.1634) (Ibid., f. 15r)
Salvator (b. 9.3.1636) (Ibid., f. 22r)
Gratius (b.15.11.1646) (Ibid., f. 51r)
  1. Beside her name, in the margin, there is the following comment: Vide 25 Martii 1625 / alia filiam n(omen) Maria. This comment strongly indicates that the first child to be named Maria had died.

The following acted as godparents:
Joannes Xara of Valetta for Gregorius
Reverendus D. Jo:Maria Samut of Naxaro for Agnes
Antonius Samut of Naxaro for Gratius


(xii) Geronimum CAMILLERI = Joannellam GALIA on 6.7.1630 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 24) daughter of Francisci and Imperiae

Aloncius (b. 30.3.1631) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 5r)
Joannes (b. 7.7.1632) (Ibid., f. 9r)
Gratia (b. 2.9.1635) (Ibid., f. 20r)

(xiii) Jo:Pauli CAMILLERI son of Petrum = Sperancie GALIA on 29.8.1632 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 26) daughter of Orlandi and Mattiae

Maria(b. 4.9.1635) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 12r)
Dominicus (b. 27-3.1635) (Ibid., f. 19r)
Gratia (b. 8.8.1637) (Ibid., f. 26r)
Damianus (b. 27-9-1639) (Ibid., f. 31v)
Jo:Maria (b. 27-9-1640) (Ibid., f. 34v)
Blasius (b. 3-2-1643) (Ibid., f. 40v)
Nuncia (b. 26.3-1645) (Ibid., f. 46v)
Joannes (b. 29-6.1647) (Ibid., f. 53v)

The following ecclesiastics acted as godparents:
The parish-priest D. Salvator Muscat for Gratia.
Clericus Dominicus Xerri for Blasius.
Don. Jo:Maria Galia for Joannes.


(xiv) Leonardum CATANIA son of Lucae, from Zebbug = Joannellam BARTOLO on 1.8.1630 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 24) daughter of Antonii and Mariettae

Salvator(b. 7.8.1631) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 6r)
Margarita (b. 5.6.1642) (Ibid., f. 38v)
Mattias (b.21.9.1644) (Ibid., f. 44v)

For a possible explanation of the gap between the births of Salvator and Margarita, see comments at Table V (iv), p. 20.

(xv) Mattei CAUCHI son of Andrea and Vincentia(?) = Gratie SAMUT on 17.9.1617 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 9) daughter of Leonardo and Paulae from Naxaro

Dominica(b. 24.9.1618) (D.L. I (1612-1640)
Martinus (b. 10.11.1620)(Ibid.)
Clemencia (b. 13.3.1623) (Ibid.)
Je:Dominions (b. 12.3.1629) (Ibid.)
Matteola (b. 23.9.1631) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 6r)
Maria (b. 1.11.1634) (Ibid., f. 18r)
Dominicus (b. 26.10.1636) (Ibid., f. 23v)

The following acted as godparents:
Joannes Deboni(?) of Balzan for Martinus
The parish-priest D.Salvator Muscat for Jo:Dominicus


(xvi) Jacobi CHETCUTI = Margeritam DIGOVARA on 13-9-1620 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 12) daughter of Berti

Maria (b. 8.8.1621) (D.L. I (1612-1640)
Dominicus (b. 14.1.1624) (Ibid.)
Dominicus (b. 12.7.1625) (Ibid.)
Dominica (b. 12.3.1628) (Ibid.)
Angelica (b. 7.7.1630) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 2v)
Gratia (b. 15.8.1632) (Ibid., f. 9r)
Gratia (b. 3.10.1633) (Ibid., f. 13v)
Maria (b. 8.6.1636) (Ibid., f. 22v)
Catharina (b. 24.2.1638) (Ibid., f. 27v)

The duplication of the names Maria, Dominicus and Gratia within the same family probably indicates that the first children to be so called had died. However, it is very difficult to verify this for no records of infant deaths seemed to have been kept at Mosta in the period 1630-1650.

The following acted as godparents:
The parish-priest D.Salvator Muscat for Dominicus
Joannes Cusceri de casali Man for Gratia (b.15.8.1632).


(xvii) Josephum CIOPARO son of Laurenti from Naxaro = Joannellam Fenec on 6.9.1630 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p.24) daughter of Mariani and Antonellae

Angelus (b. 22.10.1633) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 13v)
Jo:Maria (b. 9.10.1638) (Ibid., f. 28v)

(xviii) Georgii CUSCHIEHI from Birchircara = Justine CALLEJA on 13.2.1634 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 28) daughter of Dominici and Margaritae

Laurencius (b. 26.11.1634) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 18v)
Dominicus (b. 14.4.1638) (Ibid., f. 28r)
Marius (b. 2. 3.1640) (Ibid., f. 32v)
Dominica (b. 21.4.1646) (Ibid. f. 48v)
Gratia (b. 26.4.1647) (Ibid., f. 52v)
Gratia (b. 2. 7.1650) (Ibid., f. 70r)
Catarina (b. 26.11.1653) (Ibid., f.81v)

The name Gratia appears twice in this family. See comments at Table V (xvi), p. 28.

D. Bernardus Galia acted as Marius’ godparent.


(xix) Therasmum HIBEJER son of Marii = Gratiam XERRI on 6.10.1630 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p.24) daughter of Antonii and Chatarinae

Maria(b. 24.8.1631) (B.L. II ( 1630-1697), f. 6r)
Joannes et Maria (b. 20.1.1633) (Ibid., f. 10v)
Clemencia (b. 9.4.1634) (Ibid., f. 16v)
Gregorius (b. 13.3.1637) (Ibid., f. 24v)
Laurencius (b. 10.8.1641) (Ibid., f. 36v)

Besides Joannes and Maria Hibejer, I came across three other cases of twins, namely Gratia and Agnes Scembri (b. 19.1.1639) (Ibid., f. 29v); Maria and Marcellus Chaber (b. 21.4.1650) (Ibid., f. 69r); and Mario and Maria Mallia (b. 30.6.1650) (Ibid., f.70r).


(xx) Mtvo(?) Leonardi GAT from Zebbug = Dominica BUSOTTIL on 23.11.1614 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 5) daughter of Mariano and Caterina

Joanella(b. 26.6.1616) (D.L. I (1612-1640)
Gregorius (b. 17.11.1618) (Ibid.)
Chaterina (b .24. 8.1620) (Ibid.)
Gratia (b. 22.12.1622) (Ibid.)
Publius (b. 26.1.1625) (Ibid.)
Clemencia (b. 2.5.1627) (Ibid.)
Matteola (b. 21.9.1629) (Ibid.)
Barbara (b. 9. 3.1632) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 8r)
Geronima (b. 13.2.1638) (Ibid. f. 27v)
Agustina (b. 28.8.1641) (Ibid. f. 36v)

The following acted as godparents:
Clericus(?) Bernardo Galia for Joanella
D. Joannes Galia for Gregorius
Marcus … from Birchircara for Chaterina
J.U.D.(?) Jo(ann)es Luca Ninisdonia(?) for Publius
Clericus Dominicus Mallia for Clemencia
D. Bernardus Galia for Geronima.


(xxi) Paulum GILESTRI from Birchircara = Angelicam BUSUTTIL on 30.6.1630 (M.L.I (1611-1701), p.24) daughter of Mariani and Catharinae

Jo:Maria (b. 22.6.1631) B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 5r)
Dominicus (b. 14.10.1635) (Ibid., f. 20v)
Margarita (b. 9.8.1643) (Ibid., f. 42r)
Josephus (b. 9.11.1646) (Ibid., f. 50v)
Petrus Paulus (b. 29.6.1648)(Ibid., f. 59v)

It may be assumed from a study of the godparents that the Gilestri family was quite influential in those days. Their first child was baptized by D. Mario Greco, cappellano di Lia, with Signor Dottor Joanni Idoneo medico of Lia as godparent. The other godparents were the following:
Reverendus D. Joannes Galia for Dominicus
Notary Jo:Paulus Fenec for Margarita
Reverendus D. Joannes Maria Galia for Josephus
Maria Schebri of Valletta for Petrus Paulus.

Petrus Paulus was probably so named as he was baptized on the Saints’ feast day, traditionally known as L-Imnarja

(p.33) The choice of godparents may also reflect the importance attached to patronage. During the period of the Knights and even until very recently, it was held that all advancement stemmed from the Grand Master via some influential Grand Cross, the Grand Prior or from the British Governor or his immediate entourage. Thus access to influential people was accepted as the normal method of achieving a desired post, appointment or preferment (E. Brockman, Last Bastion (London 1961), pp. 19-20.)

(xxii) Jo:Paulum MANGION = Mariam BORG on 9.10.1633 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 27) daughter of Michaelis and Catarinae

Catarina (b. 22.3.1636) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 22r)
Joannes (b. 21.1.1638) (Ibid., f. 27r)
Jo:Maria (b. 19.10.l641) (Ibid., f. 37r)
Salvator (b. 19.3.1645) (Ibid., f. 46v)
Clemens (b. 15.10.1647) (Ibid.,f. 54v)

The following priest acted as godparents:
D. Bernardus Galia for Joannes
Reverendus Salvator Fenec for Salvator.


(xxiii) Michaelem MIFSUD from Birchircara - Joannellam CALLUS on 16.8.1632 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 26) daughter of Alonti

Imperia(b. 1.8.1633) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 12r)
Clemens (b. 24.11.1640) (Ibid., f. 35r)

(xxiv) Alberti PORTELLI = Antonine FENEC on 21.11.1629 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 23) daughter of Angeli and Margaritae

Paulina(b. 26.1.1631) (B.L. II (1630-1697) f. 4v)
Clemens (b. 29.10.l633) (Ibid., f. 13v)
Dominica (b. 19.4.1635) (Ibid., f. 19v)
Jo:Maria (b. 10.10.1638) (Ibid., f. 28v)
Dominicus (b. 7.9.1641) (Ibid., f. 36v)
Gratia (b. 16.5.16) (Ibid., f. 44r)

The following acted as godparents:
Clericus Dominicus Xerri for Dominicus
Aloysius Corcep of Singlea for Gratia.


(xxv) Damiani PORTELLI = Angelie FENECH on 14.2.1621 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 13) daughter of Angeli

Jo:Paulus (b. 16.1.1622)| (D.L. I (1612-1640)     
Gratia (b. 14.1.1624) (Ibid.) 
Angelus (b. 17.2.1629) (Ibid.) 
Joannes (b. 22.11.1631) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f .6v)
Maria (b. 19.10.1634) (Ibid., f. 18r)
Angelus (b. 21.5.1637) (Ibid., f. 25r)
Dominicus (b. 1.4.1640) (Ibid., f. 34r)
Petrus (b. 28.2.1643) (Ibid., f. 4lr)
Gratia (b. 15.8.1647) (Ibid., f. 53v)

For a possible explanation for the duplicated names of Angelas and Gratia in the same family, see comments at Table V (xvi), p. 28.

Reverendus Theranms Galia de casali Laman acted as Angelus' (b.17.2.1629) godparent.


(xxvi) Joannes PULIS from Naxaro = Catharinam SAMUT on 7,10.1640 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 39) daughter of of Jacobi and lmperia

Dominica(b.11.8.1641) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f.36v)
Maria (b. 4. 1.1643) (Ibid., f. 40v)
Paulina (b. 21.6.1648) (Ibid., f. 60r)

Paulina was baptised at the parish church of Naxxar by D. Dominicus Azzopardi vice parocho of Naxxar, Her godparent was Signora Maria wife of Dottor Bartolomeo Mifsud. Clericus Dominicus Xerri acted as Dominica’s godparent.

(xxvii) Benedictum SAPIAN from Dingli = Gratiam HIBEIJER on 26.6.1633 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p.26) daughter of Geronimi and Joannellae

Clemencia(b. 12.2.1641) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 35r)
Joanella (b. 2.3.1644) (Ibid., f. 43v)
Doainicus (b. 21.10.1647) (Ibid., f. 54v)

The Illustrissimus Ono. Cornelio Caxar of Notabili served as one of the marriage-witnesses for Benedictum and Gratiam; while D. Bernardus Galia and Maria Schebri of Valletta acted as godparents for Clemencia and Dominicus respectively.

See comments at Table V (iv), p. 20, for a possible explanation of the gap of eight years between the date of marriage of Benedictum and Gratiam and the birth of Clemencia.


(xxviii) Jacobua SCIHICHA = Angelicam FENEC on 2.10.1644 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 48) daughter of Jacobi and Mariettae

Dominica (b. 13.8.1645) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 47v)
Jo:Luca (b. 6.4. 1647) (Ibid., f. 52v)
Dominica (b. 3.3.1650) (Ibid., f. 68v)
Dominicus (b. 25.3.1657) (Ibid., f. 94r)
Jo:Maria (b. 17.6.1659) (Ibid., f. 100r)

The name Dominica appears twice in the same family. See comments at Table V (xvi), p. 28.

Luca Muscat of Lia acted as Jo:Luca's godparent.

(xxix) Filippum VASSALL0 = Joannellam VELLA on 20.6.1632 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 25) daughter of Alexandri and Franciscae

Margarita (b. 30.4.1633) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 11v)
Maria (b. 27.10.1635) (Ibid., f. 20v)
Dominicus (b. 14. 4.1641) (Ibid., f. 35v)
Michael (b. 21.6.1642) (Ibid., f. 39r)
Dominica (b. 24.4.1644) (Ibid., f. 44r)
Bartolomeus (b. 25.8.1649) (Ibid., f. 66r)

The following priests acted as godparents:
Reverendus D. Joannes Gaglia for Dominicus
Reverendus D. Joannes Maria Galia for Bartolomeus.


(xxx) Jo:Pauli VASSALO = Agnetam GALEA on 1.7.1629 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 22) daughter of Salvi and Linozzi

Dominicus(b. 2.6.1630) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 2r)
Blasius (b. 27.3.1633) (Ibid., f. 11r)
Linora (b. 1.3.1634) (Ibid., f . 16r)
Maria (b. 23.6.1635) (Ibid., f. 20r)
Salvator (b. 7.5.1638) (Ibid., f. 28r)
Salvator (b. 14.6.1644) (Ibid., f. 44r)

As for the duplication of the name Salvator, see comments at Table V (xvi), p.28.

The following acted as godparents:
Clericus Jo:Paulus Fenec for Linora
Reverendus D. Bernardus Galia for Salvator (b. 7.5.1638)
Reverendus D. Joannes Galia for Salvator (b. 14.6.1644)


(xxxi) Bartholomeum XEBERRAS from Naxaro = Joannellam AQUILINA on 27.1.1635 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 30) daughter of Laurentii and Agatae

Gratius (b. 29.2.1636) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f.21v)
Joannes (b.19.3.1637) (Ibid., f. 25r)
Clemencia (b. 1.5.1638) (Ibid., f. 28r)
Gratius (b. 12.5.1641) (Ibid., f. 35v)
Matteolus (b. 4.1.1644) (Ibid., f. 43r)
Clemencia (b. 6.6.1646) (Ibid., f. 49v)
Maria (b. 25.7.1648) (Ibid., f. 61r)
Theresia (b. 29.1.1651) (Ibid., f. 72r)
Catarina (b. 24.6.1652) (Ibid., f. 76v)
Jo:Maria (b. 5.7.1655) (Ibid., f. 87r)
Salvator (b. 8.6.1659) (Ibid., f. 100r)

The names of Gratius and Clemencia appear twice in this family. See comments at Table V (xvi), p.28.

The following acted as godparents::
Clericus Dominicus Xerri for Clemencia (b.1.5.1638)
Florius Magro of Naxaro for Gratius (b.12.5.1641)
D. Jacobus Chetcuti for Maria
Maria de bono of Valletta for Theresia
Magnificus Marius Portues of Valletta for Catarina.


(xxxii) Dominicum XIBERRAS son of Antonii and Angela from Naxaro = Valentiam GALIA on 24.7.1633 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 26) daughter of Vincentii and Vincentiae

Clemens(b. 20.5.1634) (L.B. II(1630-1697), f.16v)
Maria (b. 26.4.1636) (Ibid., f. 22r)
Gratia (b. 17.11.1638) (Ibid., f. 29r)
Matteola (b. 24.2.l640) (Ibid., f. 32v)
Pasqua (b. 6.4.1643) (Ibid., f. 41v)
Vincencius (b. 16 .4.1646) (Ibid., f. 48r)

The following acted as godparents:
Joseph Tanti of Zebug for Gratia
Reverendus Dominicus Xerri for Vincencius.


(xxxiii) Josephum XEBYRAS son of Jacobi and Dominicae = Paulinam SAMUT on 13.11.1633 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p.27) daughter of Marini and Chatarinae

Gratia (b. 1.10.1637) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f.26v)
Maria (b. 20.9.1639) (Ibid., f. 31v)
Dominicus (b. 14.4.1642) (Ibid., f. 38v)
Jo:Maria (b.14.8.1643) (Ibid., f. 42v)
Dominica (b. 26.9.1644) (Ibid., f. 44v)
Michael (b. 8.10.1647) (Ibid., f. 54r)
Petrus (b. 23.12.1650) (Ibid., f. 71v)
Michael (b. 11.1.1652) (Ibid. , f. 74v)
Petrus (b. 4.3.1654) (Ibid. , f. 83r)
Jo:Maria (b. 11.1.1656) (Ibid., f. 89r)
Joannes (b. 3.1.1658) (Ibid., f. 95v)
Maria (b. 13.8.1659) (Ibid., f. 100r)

The names of Maria, Jo:Maria, Michael and Petrus are each repeated twice in the family. See comments at Table V (xvi), p. 28.

The children's godparents included:
Clericus Dominicus Xerri for Jo:Maria (b. 14.8.1643)
Paulus Mifsud of Rabato for Dominica
Marius Portughes of Valletta for Petrus (b. 23.12.1650)
Reverendus D. Simon Bartolus for Michael (b. 11.1.1652).


(xxxiv) Stafani XERRI from Naxaro = Agnetis BORG on 3.5.1629 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p.22) daughter of Vincentii

Jo:Maria(b. 9.6.1630) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 2r)
Clemens (b. 30.10.1632) (Ibid., f. 9v)
Catharine (b. 6.1.1636) (Ibid., f. 21r)
Jo:Paulus (b. 17.1.1639) (Ibid., f. 29v)
Maria (b.11.3.1640) (Ibid., f. 34r)
Jo:Paulus (b. 8.4.1647) (Ibid., f. 52v)
Hieronymus (b. 18.5.1651) (Ibid., f. 72v)

The name of Jo:Paulus appears twice. See comments at Table V (xvi), p.28.

The following acted as godparents;
Reverendus D. Jo:Maria Bezzina of Naxaro for Jo:Maria
Reverendus Jo:Paulus Fenec for Clemens
… of Naxaro for Catharine
Michael and Maria Cumbo of Notabile for Jo:Paulus (b. 17.1.1639)
Filippus Samut of Naxaro for Maria
Three of the godparents came from Stafani's birthplace i.e. Naxxar.


(xxxv) Francisci ZAMIT from Attardo = C'ncione FENECH on 29.6.1623 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 16) daughter of Dominici

Chaterina (b. 9.6.1631) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. 5v)
Clementia (b. 3.12.1633) (Ibid., f. 15r)
Gratius (b. 25.9.1636) (Ibid., f. 23r)
Petrus (b. 19.10.l637) (Ibid., f. 26v)
Gratia (b. 21(?).1.1640) (Ibid., f. 32v)
Dominicus (b. 24.9.1641) (Ibid., f. 37r)
Margarita (b. 30.1.1644) (Ibid., f. 43r)

The same comments at Table V (iv), p. 20, may be applied to explain the gap of eight years between the date of marriage and the birth of the first child.

Clericus coniugatus Jo:Paulus Fenec acted as Clementia's godparent.


(xxxvi) Filippo ZARB son of Thomasio(?) from Nasciaro = Dominica SAMUT on 20.8.1617 (M.L. I (1611-1701), p. 9) daughter of Mario and Joanna

Maria (b. 29.7.1618) (D.L. I (1612-1640)
Joannes (b. 24.7.l620) (Ibid.)
Petrus (or Petrus Paulus) (b. 7.2.1624) (Ibid.)
Maria (b. 17.6.1626) (Ibid.)
Chaterina (b. 2(?)4.5.1629) (Ibid.)
Thomas (b. 7.3.1634) (B.L. II (1630-1697), f. l6r)
Margarita (b. 18.1.1639) (Ibid., f. 29v)
Gratia (b. 30.1.1642) (Ibid., f. 37v)
Gregorius (b. 24.2.1645) (Ibid., f. 46r)

The name Maria appears twice in this family. See comments at Table V (xvi), p. 28.

The following ecclesiastics acted as godparents:
The parish-priest D. Salvator Muscat for Joannes
Reverendus D. Bernardus Galia for Maria (b.17.6.1626)
Reverendus D. Joannes Galia for Thomas
Clericus Dominicus Xerri(?) for Gratia.



Date of Marriage Names
19.1.1630 Dominicum Borg from Attard = Mariettoni Mifsud
30.5.1632 Petrum Borg from Lia = Victoriam Galia
10.9.1633 Florium Borg = Magdalenam Cauchi
16.10.1633 Dominicum Bucagiar from Naxaro = Geronimam Busuttil
30.10.1633 Dominicum Portelli from Lia = Margaritam Borg
20.11.1633 Matteolum Hajus from Balzano = Paulinam Cachia
21.7.1634 Angelum Fenec = Mauritiam Portelli
28.8.1634 Martium Samut = Margaritam Galia
14.10.1634 Marium Cauchi from Naxaro = Joannellam Gat
16.9.1635 Alexandrum Fenec = Andreanam Frendo
23.9.1635 Dominicum Borg = Margeritam Galia
27.7.1636 Josephum Callus from Crendi = Bernardam Bartolo
15.8.1636 Thomam Mifsud = Mariam ...
5.10.1637 Benedictum Gauci = Margaritam Borg
26.12.1638 Dominicum Calleja from Birchircara = Margaritam Butigieg
30.1.1639 Marcum Psaila from Curmi = Lauricam Galia
6.3.1639 Dominicum Ciantar from Sigievi = Mariam Cauchi
24.7.1639 Bartolomeum Galia from Naxaro = Sperantiam Galia
31.7.1639 Josehum Samut from Naxaro = Filippam Bucagiar
11.9.1639 Jo: Paulum Fenec from Naxaro = Dominicam Mifsud
29.10.1639 Josephum Scembri from Naxaro = Catharinam Busottil
26.4.1640 Aloisium Vella from Singlea = Bartolomean Frendo
23.9.1640 Gregorium Mifsud from Rabato = Catharinam Galia
11.11.1640 Leonardum Cuschieri from Rabato = Catharinam Dimech
1.5.1641 Dominicum Borg from Balzano = Geronimam Borg
30.6.1641 Thomam Cortis = Catharinam Borg
25.7.1641 Joannem Zarb - Angelicam ...
1.9.1641 Dominicum Calleja from Lia = Margaritam Fenec
21.9.1641 Consales Taliana from Rabato = Joannellam Galia
30.11.1641 Salvum Samut from Lia = Mariam Borg
12.1.1642 Filippum Zirafa from Atardo = Matteolam Galia
15.8.1642 Laurenticum Mangion = Mariam Portelli
15.8.1642 Ferdinandum Carocia = Flaminiam Camenzuli
5.10.1642 Dominicum Galia = Gratiam Portelli
27.10.1642 Joannem Attard from Atardo = Agatam Fenec
18.10.1643 Natalem Galia = Mariam Galia
31.10.1643 Blascum Spiteri from Rabato = Mariam Busottil
21.9.1644 Paulum Mifsud from Rabato = Clementiam Busottil

1. It is assumed for the purpose of this analysis that couples with no children recorded after 1650 were childless or had left the village. The analysis in Tables VI, VII, VIII was extracted from A.P.M., M.L. I (1611-1701).



Date of Marriage Names
26.7.1631 Antonium Fenec = Chatarinam Sciricha
3.10.1631 Lucium Galia = Scolasticam Camilleri
5.2.1634 Vincentium Galia = Catarinam Samut
9.9.1635 Joannem Darmanin = Bernardam Bartolo
19.9.1636 Augustinum Portelli = Andreanam Calleja
21.9.1636 Leonardum Xeberras from Gregorio = Gratiam Aquilina
3.10.1636 Michalem Vella from Rabato = Gratiam Fenec
1.8.1637 Lucam Mifsud from Rabato = Dominicam Fenec
30.1.1638 Josephum Mifsud from Naxaro = Mariam Fenec
26.6.1639 Marinum Vassallo = Matteolam de Armenia
27.7.1639 Josephum Portelli = Veneram Bonnici from Attard
15.8.1639 Thomam Bartolo = Angelicam Cauchi
15.8.1639 Joannem Cauchi = Mariam Bartolo
27.8.1639 Silvestrum Haius = Mariam Cardona
3(?).9.1639 Dominicum Calleja = Mariam Fenec
2.9.1640 Antonium Galia = Mariam Mifsud
7.10.1640 Vincentium Cauchi = Dominicam Camilleri
26.4.1641 Gregorium Scicluna from Rabato = Cleriam Portelli
6.10.1641 Petrum Micallef from Naxaro = Clementiam Cauchi



Date of Marriage Names
30.6.1630 Paulum Gilestri from Birchircara = Angelicam Busuttil
6.7.1630 Geronimum Camilleri = Joannellam Galia
1.8.1630 Leonardum Catania from Zebbug = Joannellam Bartolo
6.9.1630 Josephum Cioparo from Naxaro = Joannellam Fenec
6.10.1630 Therasmum Hibejer = Gratiam Xerri
19.1.1631 Gregorium Fenec = Baptistinam Galia
26.1.1631 Romanum Borg = Sperantiam Cauchi
20.6.1632 Filippum Vassallo = Joannellam Vella
31.7.1632 Josephum Aquilina = Dominicam Samut
16.8.1632 Michaelem Mifsud from Birchircara = Joannellam Callus
29.8.1632 Jo: Paulum Camilleri = Sperantiam Galia
26.6.1633 Benedictum Sapian from Dingli = Gratiam Hibeijer
24.7.1633 Dominicum Xiberras from Naxaro = Valentiam Galia
7.8.1633 Julium Borg from Naxaro = Gratiam Cauchi
9.10.1633 Jo: Paulum Mangion = Mariam Borg
26.10.1633 Valerium Galia = Isabellam Portelli
13.11.1633 Josephum Xebyras = Paulinam Samut
19.2.1634 Geronimum Bartolo from Attard = Catarinam Fenec
24.4.1634 Jacobum Hajus = Franciscam Galia
21.5.1634 Joannem Vella from Rabato = Joannellam Vella
9.7.1634 Dominicum Samut = Catharinam Ajus
12.9.1634 Dominicum Samut = Joannellam Galia
1.10.1634 Matteum Borg = Joannellam Xerri
27.1.1635 Bartolomeum Xeberras from Naxaro = Joannellam Aquilina
7.10.1635 Franciscum Vella from Rabato = Dominicam Ceculi
5.2.1636 Lucium Cardona from Gozo = Sperantiam Camenzuli
2.8.1636 Marcum Xicluna from Rabato = Dominicam Samut
5.9.1636 Dominicum Bezina = Joannellam Busuttil
7.9.1636 Gregorium Galia = Paulinam Galia
14.9.1636 Josephum Xiberras = Paulinam Cardona
3.10.1636 Jacobum Samut = Paulinam Hibeijer
5.10.1636 Petrum Galia = Mariam Samut
7.2.1637 Dominicum Galia = Dominicam Frendo
13.9.1637 Valerium Seichel = Aluntiam Busottil
5.3.1639 Vincentium Samut = Catharinam Galia
23.7.1639 Jo: Mariam Hajus = Gratiam Borg
7.8.1639 Joannem Galia = Catharinam Xerri
2.10.1639 Dominicum Xiberras = Catharinam Fenec
25.1.1640 Ambrosium Bonello from Rabato = Romanam Cauchi
28.4.1640 Simonem Hibeijer from Lia = Mariam Galia
15.8.1640 Paulucium Vassallo = Paulinam Camenzuli
2.9.1640 Matteolum Camilleri = Evangelistam Frendo
7.10.1640 Joannem Pulis from Naxaro = Catharinam Samut
21.10.1640 Dominicum Portelli = Veronicam Galia
12.2.1641 Jo: Paulum Camilleri = Agatam Galia
15.8.1641 Franciscum Psaila from Curmi = Joannellam Agius
9.11.1641 Geronimum Galia from Bordi = Geronimam ...
24.11.1641 Antonium Grima from Atardo = Gratiam Vella
26.11.1641 Casparem Fenec = Angelicam Samut
13.1.1642 Joannem Galia = Catharinam Samut
28.4.1642 Julium Galia = Margaritam Bezina
12.10.1642 Josephum Hajus from Lia = Catharinam Cachia
14.10.1642 Lucam Vassallo from Naxaro = Gratiam Caber
1.11.1642 Dominicum Tonna = Catharinam Fenec
19.7.1643 Jo: Paulum Vella from Lia = Mariam Zarb
4.10.1643 Andream Grima = Catharinam Fenec



1612-1629 1630-1650
Year Total Year Total
1612 8 1630 8
1613 5 1631 4
1614 2 1632 6
1615 7 1633 10
1616 6 1634 12
1617 6 1635 7
1618 4 1636 14
1619 6 1637 4
1620 8 1638 3
1621 8 1639 17
1622 8 1640 13
1623 8 1641 15
1624 5 1642 11
1625 12 1643 10
1626 3 1644 7
1627 8 1645 13
1628 3 1646 13
1629 12 1647 14
1648 5
1649 10
1650 8
  1. See A.P.M., M.L. I (1611-1701).



Village/ Hamlet Number
Naxaro 24
Rabato 20
Lia 9
Attard 8
Birchircara 4
Gozo 4
Gregorio (Gargur) 3
Dingli 2
Balzano 2
Curmi 2
Zebbug 1
Crendi 1
Sigievi 1
Singlea 1
Bordi 1
Total 83 Males
Total Number of Marriages 204
  1. See A.P.M., M.L. I (1611-1701).


  1. See Table I, p.10.
  2. J. Cassar-Pullicino, op. cit., p. 24.
  3. On 11th May 1526t the Captain of Arms Gerolamo Campo was accused of negligence during the raid and dismissed. The Viceroy of Sicily appointed Giovanni Ribes in his stead (See G.A. Vassallo, Storja ta’ Malta (Malta 1948), p. 74.
  4. G.F. Abela, op. cit., p. 83.
  5. P. Cassar, Medical History of Malta (London 1964), p. 170.
  6. E.B. Vella, op. cit., p.69.
  7. J. Cassar-Pullicino, op. cit., pp.28-29.
  8. See p. 13.
  9. According to Abela-Ciantar, ‘Malta Illustrata’ (Malta 1780), Lib. I., Not. VIII, pp. 272-273, the population figures of Naxxar and Mosta in c.1780 were the following:
    Naxxar: 1,947 persons living in 518 households,
    Mosta: 2,126 persons living in 535 households.
  10. See Tables III and IV, pp. 14, 15.
  11. See Table V (xvi), (xviii), (xxv), (xxviii), (xxx), (xxxi), (xxxiii), (xxxiv), (xxxvi), pp. 28, 29, 35, 37, 38, 39, 41, 42, 44.
  12. P. Cassar, op. cit., pp. 358-359.
  13. See below, pp. 18-44.
  14. See Tables VI, pp.45-47.
  15. See Table VII, p. 48.
  16. B.Blouet, op. cit., p. 96.
  17. See Tables IX and X, pp. 52, 53.
  18. See Tables VI and VII, pp. 45-47, 48.

Other Chapters from this Dissertation

Bibliography, Chapter: I - Background, (II - Population Growth), III - Economy, IV - Socio-Religious Life, V - Names / Surnames Analysis, VI - Conclusion.