The Quilietti Family

Your Quilietti family heritage

SCOTS/ITALIANS

Italian Scots or Scots-Italians are an ethnic minority of Italian descent living in Scotland. These terms may refer to people who are born in Scotland and of Italian descent. It can also refer to people of both Scottish and Italian descents. A recent Italian voter census estimated that there are 70,000 to 100,000 people in Scotland of Italian descent or Italian nationals, which is up to 1.9% of the Scottish population.

The first people from Italy to reach Scotland were the Romans in and around 40 AD. The Romans left their mark on Scotland in the shape ofHadrians WallAntonine Wall and other monumental constructions. However, it was not until the end of the nineteenth century that an Italian-Scots identity really began to take shape.

The most famous Italian/Scot was Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Bonnie Prince Charlie

Bonnie Prince Charlie was a grandson of King James VII who was driven out of Britain in 1688 because of his support of the Catholic faith. Parliament had originally wanted James’ daughter Mary and her husband, William of Orange from the Netherlands, to act as regents until James’ newly born son, James Francis Stuart (Charles’ father), reached his majority (and had been raised in the Protestant faith). But William was unhappy with this arrangement and insisted on having the crown along with his wife. Parliament agreed, thus sowing the seeds of the subsequent Jacobite Uprisings (Jacobite came from the Latin word for James – Jacobus).

Of course, King James VII tried to regain his throne. But on July 12, 1690, William defeated James in the Battle of the Boyne, Ireland. King James VII died in exile in 1701. There were further Jacobite insurrections in Scotland, particularly in 1715 when James Francis Stuart (nicknamed “The Old Pretender”) landed in Scotland, some months after the Earl of Mar had conducted an ineffectual campaign. James had dithered in France about when to leave for Scotland and it was mid-winter by the time he arrived at Aberdeen on 22 December. And he did not bring the expected French military forces or any money. After two months he was advised to withdraw and left once more for France, never to return.

William and Mary died childless and her sister and successor Queen Anne also died without issue. Parliament then decided in 1714 (by a majority of one) to ask George, the Elector of Hanover in Germany to become king of Britain. George’s mother was Sophia, a grand-daughter of King James VI. Even so, the rules of succession gave James Francis Stuart a stronger right to the throne, a point not lost on the Jacobite supporters, most of whom were in Scotland.

In 1718, James Francis Stuart married Princess Clementina Maria Sobieski of Poland who was one of the wealthiest females of royal birth in Europe. Their son, Prince Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Silvester Maria Stuart was born in Rome on 31 December 1720. The Pope gave his personal blessing to the infant.

Many Italian-Scots can trace their ancestry back to the 1890s where their forefathe

Early Years
Although the Hanoverian rumour machine tried to spread stories that he was deformed and an imbecile, unbiased observers of the young Prince described him as headstrong and brave. He learned quickly and could converse in English, French, Latin and Italian (but there was nobody to teach him Gaelic). He was a good marksman with a cross-bow. It is possible that his father would have allowed Charles to be reared as a Protestant to improve his chances of inheriting the throne but this was not a viable proposition while living in Rome.

In addition to being called Prince Charles Edward, he also gained the nicknames of “Bonnie Prince Charlie” and “The Young Chevalier” (the French word for Prince). His portraits certainly show him to be a handsome young man.

Charles was treated as a Prince in Italy and later in France. The French and British were at loggerheads (as on so many occasions over the centuries) and in 1744 offered a fleet with 7,000 soldiers to help Charles restore the Stuarts to the British throne.

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Some of you may have heard of the mysterious tale of the Zeno brothers believed to have blown off course during the 14th century whilst searching for El Dorado and landed in Orkney. These pioneering Venetian sailors were taken under the wing of Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney who appointed one of the brothers Nicolo as commander of the Fleet. Charts and maps that appeared in 1558 appeared to detail that the brothers had sailed west in 1392 from the Orkneys to Greenland onto Nova Scotia and finally onto the Eastern seaboard of what is now the United States. Some believe they were hiding the treasures of the Knights Templar.

All this 100 years before Columbus was supposed to have discovered America.

  • Scotland (Caledonia) was the Roman Empire’s furthest flung outpost yet it was never fully conquered. Agricola, the Roman governor of Britannia managed to secure much of the south in AD83 though encountered stiff opposition from the Caledonian Tribes and the equally unforgiving landscape and conditions. Indeed it was Calgacus, the leader of the Ancient Picts of Caledonia in light of the Roman presence who  announced ‘We are the last people on earth, the last to be free.” In 84AD an estimated 10,000 Caledonians were lain to the sword in the Battle of Mons Graupius at Bennachie by the marching Roman Army and Cavalry, who relied on tactics and cunning to win, they needed to, they were outnumbered four to one.The Romans left Caledonia before this though around 410AD – nearly 360 years since they first landed on British soil. Much of this was due to the resistance from the Pict and Celtic tribespeople, whose persistence finally paid off. However the remnants of this extended stay was that a distinct Romano-British flavour influenced descendants.
  • During the 19th Century lots of Italians came to the UK for trade reasons: as craftsmen, artists and performers. The Unification of Italy in the mid 19th Century saw a breakdown of the feudal land system which actually left many poor people without any land. Catholic Emancipation had freed many Italians. Craftsmen were allowed to build churches and many were hired to take on this type of specialist work in the UK. Some never left. Italians gained a reputation for craftsmanship in sculpture and design and also in the creative perfoming industry such as singing.In the late1880s many Italians came to the UK to escape poverty in rural Italy as a temporary measure. Many brought with them a desire to set up modest businesses such as ice cream parlours, barber shops and fish ‘n’ chip shops. All were poor and had to work very hard to make a modest living. Many came to Scotland to find even more opportunities awaiting them.
  • Unfortunately many Italians were recruited as cheap labour by unscrupulous agents in London and found themselves exploited, working long hard hours for little pay. Many were also sent to the North of the UK and in Scotland as ice cream vendors in the street. In 1901 the Commissariat of Emigration was created which outlawed and controlled the unscrupulous practices involving Italian immigration.
  • http://hubpages.com/politics/a-history-of-italians-in-scotland
  • Wonder if  any of our generation of Scots-Italians were brushing up on their home language.   Here is a few wee phrases for you
Parla Inglese? Do you speak English?
Grazie Thank You
Prego You are welcome
Per favore – Per Piacere Please
Buon Giorno Good Morning – Good Afternoon
Buona Sera Good Evening
Buona notte Good Night
Come sta? (singular) How are you?
Come state? (plural) How are you?
Mi scusi / Scusi Excuse me
Ciao Hello / Goodbye
Quanto costa? How much does it cost?
Arrivederci Goodbye
Dov’è ….? Where is …?
Gabinetto/Bagno Lavatory/Toilet
Mangiare To eat (verb)
Stazione Train station
ristorante restaurant
francobollo stamp
busta envelope
cartolina postcard
Dove posso trovare un…/ Where can I find a…
Ho una prenotazione / Abbiamo una prenotazione I have a booking/we have a booking
Vorrei qualcosa da mangiare I would like something to eat
Vorrei qualcosa da bere I would like something to drink
Come posso andare a… How can I go to….
Qual’è la strada per… Which way for…
Accettate carte di credito? Do you accept credit cards?
Posso pagare in anticipo? May I pay in advance?
Posso pagare al check-out? May I pay at check-out?
C’è la connessione ad internet nella stanza/hall/albergo Is there internet connection in the room/lobby/hotel
How much does it cost? / How much does this costdomenica—Sunday
lunedì—Monday
martedì—Tuesday
mercoledì—Wednesday
giovedì—Thursday
venerdì—Friday
sabato—Saturday
gennaio—January
febbraio—February
marzo—March
aprile—April
maggio—May
giugno—June
luglio—July
agosto—August
settembre—September
ottobre—October
novembre—November
dicembre—December

OK then we can only but wonder you know how these Italian immigrants managed to get their tongue around our language.   Especially the words with the double meanings, the double whammy words

Here are some “ordinary” words and phrases which can be used colloquially in Scotland to mean something entirely different!

  • “Back” – when someone says they will see you “at the back of five” they mean roughly 5.15. There is no equivalent “front of five” for 4.45!
  • “Ball’s up on the slates” – plans have come apart.
  • “Bite someone’s ear” – long before Mike Tyson, this phrase was used to describe speaking nicely to someone to gain a favour.
  • “Blue nose” – not someone who is feeling the cold but a supporter of Rangers football club (whose main team colour is blue).
  • “Body swerve” – means to dodge or avoid something as in “The wife wanted me to go to see her mother but I managed to give it a body swerve”.
  • “Bubble” – means to weep, as in “What are you bubbling for?” Sometimes used to describe some who is sulking as in “Stick, bubbly!”
  • “Bucket” – a good quantity of alcohol, as in “Her husband takes a right bucket!”
  • “Check” – to look, often with astonishment, as in “Check the new jacket!”
  • “Chin” – used as a verb, it can mean to go to someone to complain (perhaps sticking your chin out in the process).
  • “Click” – establish a relationship with the opposite sex, as in “Jimmy was the only one with a click after the jigging” (“jiggin” is dancing).
  • “Close” – not the verb to shut but the open entrance-way and common stair to a block of flats (tenements in Glasgow). In Edinburgh, it is applied to a narrow lane or passage from the main street. The word can also be applied to weather which is warm and muggy.
  • “Desperate” – if someone says they are “desperate” they are trying to tell you that they are in urgent need of the toilet!
  • “Don’t act it” – don’t behave in a deliberately misleading way, as in “If he says he didnae ken about it, he’s acting it!”
  • “Dot” – means to go somewhere quickly as in “I’ll just dot into the paper shop”.
  • “Drawing in” – as in “The nights are drawing in” means that the days are getting shorter and darkness is falling earlier as we head into autumn and winter.
  • “Duster” – as in “he went his duster” meaning that he worked hard.
  • “Hammer” – if someone asks you to “Give the TV the hammer” don’t take it literally – they just want you to switch it off!
  • “Heavy” – in a bar, you may hear someone ask for “A pint of heavy” which is a heavier beer than lager and is roughly equivalent to the English “bitter” beer. “Export” is an even stronger and darker beer. Although originally brewed for sale abroad, it is nowadays found on draught in most public houses.
  • “Hems” – not the stitched edge of a cloth, but if you “put the hems on” someone you have forced them to behave or restrained them as in “He couldnae go tae the pub, his wife put the hems on him.”
  • “Hen” – not a farmyard animal but a friendly way of addressing a girl or a woman, often when you don’t know their name. For example “Can ye tell me when the next bus will be, hen?”
  • “Jag” – in addition to the usual meaning of pierce, the word also can mean an injection as in “The doctor gave the kid a jag.” Not to be confused with “The Jags” who are the Partick Thistle football (soccer) club.
  • “Jotters” – not a school writing book but a worker’s employment documentation which has come to mean the sack, as in “Ah goat ma jotters and signed on at the burroo” (the employment exchange).
  • “Keys” – when said with thumbs raised, this is the traditional way in which children withdraw temporarily from a game, as in “I’m keys!”
  • “Kilt” – if you hear someone in Glasgow say that “Ah wis nearly kilt” it has nothing to do with Highland dress but is the local pronunciation for “killed”.Augusto and Emilio Quilietti
  • “Knock” – a euphemism for stealing as in “Hughie knocked a motor car.”
  • “Lend” – no borrowing involved here. If you “take a lend” of someone you take advantage of their gullibility.
  • “Lose the rag” – can mean to lose your temper.
  • “Mask” – to “mask the tea” is not to hide it but to wait until it has infused.
  • “Messages” – if someone is “going the messages” they are going to the local shops.
  • “Mince” – while finely chopped minced beef is a popular dish in Scotland the word has also come to mean rubbish or nonsense as in “He was talking a load of mince.” and someone who is as “thick as mince” is extremely stupid.
  • “Miss yourself” – you missed having a good time as in “You missed yourself last night – we all got blootered.” (“blootered” means “drunk”).
  • “On the bell” – when someone says that they are “On the bell” or “It’s my bell” it means that they acknowledging that it is their turn to buy the drinks.
  • “On the Panel” – absent from work. The “panel” is also a Scots legal term meaning the accused in a criminal trial.
  • “Piece” – a sandwich, which could be the classic “jeely piece” of bread and jam.
  • “Plank” – nothing to do with wood, but if you plank something, you hide it somewhere safe so that it can be used at a later time.
  • “Refreshment” – a well known euphemism for any alcoholic drink.
  • It’s like “Sauchiehall Street” – it is very busy (as in this Glasgow street, before the days of pedestrianisation).
  • “Special” – used to describe a strong beer as in “McEwan’s Special”
  • “Scratcher” – another name for a bed as in “I couldnae get oot ma scratcher.”
  • “Shed” – the side or middle parting of the hair as in “Is my shed straight?”
  • “Shy” – the throw-in from the touchline in a game of football (soccer).
  • “Steaming” – one of the (many) words to describe someone who is drunk.
  • “Supper” – not a meal at the end of the day but anything served with chipped potatoes in a fish and chip shop is a “supper”. So haggis and chips served at lunchtime is a “Haggis supper.”
  • “Tank” – to beat the other team soundly as in “Scotland tanked Spain 48-0 in the rugby game today.”
  • “Waste of space” – describes someone who is proving to be worthless or useless.
  • “Well on” – what happens when you have imbibed too much “refreshment” and become a bit drunk.
  • “Winch” – this word is used to describe a romantic involvement with someone, as in “Are ye winchin?” The origins of this word come from “wench”, the old fashioned word for woman.
  • “He looks like a half shut knife” – describing someone who looks depressed.
  • “Am Ah right, am Ah wrang” – literally “Am I right or am I wrong” but usually said in a rhetorical fashion which is really expecting agreement.
  • “Punny eccy” – used by school children to describe a punishment exercise or written piece of work for wrong-doing in class.
  • “Polomint city” – the slang name for East Kilbride, one of the first “new towns” built outside of Glasgow. The planners provided many, many traffic roundabouts – which looked like a well known circular, mint “sweetie”
  • “Hameldaeme” – at first sight, not a phrase, but pronounce it more slowly and you will see/hear it stands for “Hame will do me” – once a popular response to the question “where are you going for your summer holidays?” before half of Scotland went to Spain for their holidays (sorry, “vacation”).
  • “Mak a kirk or a mill o’ it” – make a kirk/church or a mill of it, or “the choice is yours”.
  • “Steps and stairs” – a large family, evenly spaced out, so that when a family photo is taken with the children sequenced by age, they look like a set of stairs.
  • “Doon the Dee on a digestive” – this is the Abedonian equivalent of “Do you think I came up the River Clyde on a banana boat?” in other words, do you think I’m daft?
  • “Auld claes and cauld porritch” – when you are out of money, particularly after spending a lot on Christmas or a holiday, it’s back to basics with “old clothes and cold porridge”.
  • “Days here and there” – people who could not afford to go away on their summer holiday/vacation would often have odd days here and there.
  • “Dinna droon the miller” – don’t put too much water in the whisky (the miller being the supplier of the grain which went in the whisky).
  • “By-the-way” – Billy Connolly has made this Glaswegian addendum to sentences well known around the world. “That wis a right stupid thing tae dae, by-the-way” or indeed any other comment or observation can have this phrase added to it. So much so that other parts of Scotland sometimes refer to Glaswegians as “By-the-ways.”

    Emilio Quilietti

     

  • “Furryboots are ye fae?” – this is an Aberdonian phrase, by-the-way. Translated, it means “Where abouts are you from?” It is so identified with Aberdeen that Aberdonians have been known to be called “Furryboots.”
  • “Keep a calm sooch” – the ‘ch’ in sooch is pronounced as in ‘loch’ and the word “sooch” means “wind”. So the phrase is used to encourage someone to keep calm or hold their tongue.
  • “Away in a dwalm” – a ‘dwalm’ is a daydream so someone who is away in a dwalm is certainly not concentrating on the job in hand!
  • “He’s awa on the ran-dan” – having a riotous night out on the town.
  • “Twa bubbles aff the centre” – derived from the bubbles on a spirit level, someone who is “twa bubbles aff the centre” is regarded as a bit simple or stupid.
  • “He wis fairly gaun his dinger” – he lost his temper
  • “Ahm spewin’ feathers” – I’m very thirsty
  • “He’s goat mair degrees than a thermometer” – he’s very clever (and has the “varsity” or university degrees to prove it)
  • “You’re at yer auntie’s hoose” – help yourself and tuck in
  • “Whit are ye mollachin aboot” – why are you wandering about aimlessly? Said to derive in the North-East of Scotland from the mole, the animal whose mole-hills pop up in random places.
  • “Haud up yer heid like a thistle” – hold up your head like a thistle – and be a proud Scot!
  • “Ah couldnae care a docken” – although a docken (a broad-leaved weed) is useful for reducing the effect of stinging nettles, anything which is “nae worth a docken” is said to be worthless.
  • “It’s not worth a tinker’s curse” is another phrase describing something which is of no value.
  • “A tongue that would clip clouts” – literally speech which would leave a cloth in tatters, describes someone who is very abrasive and gives a good account of themselves in an arguement.
  • “Awa ye go” – not really telling someone to go away but used to register disbelief.
  • “Hale jing bang” – everything, the whole lot.
  • “A fly cup of tea” – in this case “fly” means illicit or surreptitious. On the other hand, if you are “fly for” someone, you are too wise to be taken in by them. Occasionally, the word reverts to its meaning as an insect as in “Let that fly stick tae the wa'” – say no more about a topic.
  • “There’s aye a something” – a phrase which is frequently used in the North-East and indicates an acceptance of adversity. Recount a catalogue of disasters and tragedy to someone in that part of Scotland and a response of “There’s aye a something” is quite likely.

italians, like the Scots in many respects, have been renowned for migrating to all corners of the earth, often through necessity rather than choice.

This can be traced back as early as medieval times (even earlier if you count the Romans) when the great maritime states such as Genoa, Pisa, Naples and Venice freely traded with the rest of Europe.

The migration of Italians to the America’s and beyond is often recounted in books, films, television and countless newspaper articles.

It’s a different story entirely when we talk of migration to Scotland and the Scotsitalians* themselves.There really is very little material and information out there.

Consequently, much of the content of this website comes to you from word of mouth and we rely on your help to ensure its effectiveness and ability to offer and insight into Scottish Italianness or should that be Italian Scottishness?

*Scotsitalians are also sometimes referred to asItalo-Scots .Scotsitalians can be found in all manner of professions, with many excelling in their field.

AMERICAN/ITALIANS

Many of today’s Scotsitalians can trace their history directly back to the mass migration of the late 1800’s where their forefathers escaped famine, drought and poverty in their homeland for a better life here in Scotland.

Scotsitalians are proud of their heritage, and justifiably so, as their ancestors worked hard to settle in their new home, overcoming problems of integration and the distance from their loved ones.

Legend has it that the great great nonni who arrived at the turn of the 19th century to Scotland mistook the ports of Greenock and Leith for New York and Boston and as their boat sailed West they were left full of dreams and ambition in Scotland instead.

Today,

talian Immigration

An Italian Antipasti served at Castelvecchio Pascoli

More Italians have migrated to the United States than any other Europeans. Poverty, overpopulation, and natural disaster all spurred Italian emigration. Beginning in the 1870s, Italian birthrates rose and death rates fell. Population pressure became severe, especially in Il Mezzogiorno, the southern and poorest provinces of Italy. As late as 1900, the illiteracy rate in southern Italy was 70 percent, ten times the rate in England, France, or Germany. The Italian government was dominated by northerners, and southerners were hurt by high taxes and high protective tariffs on northern industrial goods. Southerners also suffered from a scarcity of cultivatable land, soil erosion and deforestation, and a lack of coal and iron ore needed by industry.

Unlike the Irish Catholics, southern Italians suffered from exploitation by people of the same nationality and religion. Rather than leading to group solidarity, this situation led to a reliance on family, kin, and village ties. Life in the South revolved around la famiglia (the family) and l’ordine della famiglia (the rules of family behavior and responsibility).

Natural disasters rocked southern Italy during the early 20th century. Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried a town near Naples. Then Mount Etna erupted. Then in 1908 an earthquake and tidal wave swept through the Strait of Messina between Sicily and the Italian mainland, killing more than 100,000 people in the city of Messina alone.

talian Immigration

More Italians have migrated to the United States than any other Europeans. Poverty, overpopulation, and natural disaster all spurred Italian emigration. Beginning in the 1870s, Italian birthrates rose and death rates fell. Population pressure became severe, especially in Il Mezzogiorno, the southern and poorest provinces of Italy. As late as 1900, the illiteracy rate in southern Italy was 70 percent, ten times the rate in England, France, or Germany. The Italian government was dominated by northerners, and southerners were hurt by high taxes and high protective tariffs on northern industrial goods. Southerners also suffered from a scarcity of cultivatable land, soil erosion and deforestation, and a lack of coal and iron ore needed by industry.

Unlike the Irish Catholics, southern Italians suffered from exploitation by people of the same nationality and religion. Rather than leading to group solidarity, this situation led to a reliance on family, kin, and village ties. Life in the South revolved around la famiglia (the family) and l’ordine della famiglia (the rules of family behavior and responsibility).

Natural disasters rocked southern Italy during the early 20th century. Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried a town near Naples. Then Mount Etna erupted. Then in 1908 an earthquake and tidal wave swept through the Strait of Messina between Sicily and the Italian mainland, killing more than 100,000 people in the city of Messina alone.

Italian immigrants established hundreds of mutual aid societies, based on kinship and place of birth.

Many Italian immigrants never planned to stay in the United States permanently. The proportion returning to Italy varied between 11 percent and 73 percent. Unlike most earlier immigrants to America, they did not want to farm, which implied a permanence that did not figure in their plans. Instead, they headed for cities, where labor was needed and wages were relatively high. Expecting their stay in America to be brief, Italian immigrants lived as inexpensively as possible under conditions that native-born families considered intolerable.

Italian immigrants were particularly likely to take heavy construction jobs. About half of all late 19th century Italian immigrants were manual laborers, compared to a third of their Irish and a seventh of their German counterparts. Contracted out by a professional labor broker known as a padrone, Italians dug tunnels, laid railroad tracks, constructed bridges and roads, and erected the first skyscrapers. As early as 1890, 90 percent of New York City’s public works employees and 99 percent of Chicago’s street workers were Italian. Many Italian immigrant women worked, but almost never as domestic servants. Many took piece work into their homes as a way of reconciling the conflicting needs to earn money and maintain a strong family life.

For many Italian immigrants, migration to the United States could not be interpreted as a rejection of Italy. In reality, it was a defense of the Italian way of life, for the money sent home helped to preserve the traditional order. Rather than seeking permanent homes, they desired an opportunity to work for a living, hoping to save enough money to return to a better life in the country of their birth.

Historians use the phrase “birds of passage” to describe immigrants who never intended to make the United States their permanent home. Unable to earn a livelihood in their home countries, they were migratory laborers. Most were young men in their teens and twenties, who planned to work, save money, and return home. They left behind their parents, young wives, and children, indications that their absence would not be long. Before 1900 an estimated 78 percent of Italian immigrants were men. Italian Bread Peddlers, Mulberry Street, New York, circa 1900

Many of them traveled to America in the early spring, worked until late fall, and then returned to the warmer climates of their southern European homes winter. Overall, 20 to 30 percent of Italian immigrants returned to Italy permanently.

The same forces of population pressure, unemployment, and the breakdown of agrarian societies sent Chinese, French Canadians, Greeks, Japanese, Mexicans, and Slavs to the United States. Yet while these migrants tended to view themselves as “sojourners,” as temporary migrants, most would stay in the United States permanently.


5 Responses to “SCOTS/ITALIANS”

  1. web3d says:

    I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your site. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Fantastic work!

  2. Billy McKirdy says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article Helen, every day is a new discovery on this site for me, you make me so proud of my heritage with every new lesson learnt about the ancestors and their journeys, thank you 😀

  3. Marie FRANCHI says:

    I was raised in the east end of glasgow. It was rough my parents were holy and very hard working we had no other relatives. We I feel were the best immigrants to Scotland

  4. Helen says:

    Yes you had to be tough to get through the last century. We, and I was born in 1953, don’t really know what hardship was

  5. sivana politi says:

    Very well done Helen.

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