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Antonio Benjamino Notardonato (1883-1946)                                                       

The Italian connection.                                                                                              












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Antonio was the Italian gentleman who married Emily Grace Eastland, John's 2 x Great granddaughter. This man started out with nothing, made ice cream for King George V and disappeared in mysterious circumstances.


Father: Alfonso Notardonato.

Birth: 6 October 1843, Castellone al Volturno, Campobasso, Molise, Italy.

Marriage: 21 December 1870, Castellone al Volturno, Campobasso, Molise, Italy (Alfonso was 27 years old).

Occupation: Organ Grinder.

Death: c1922, Brighton, Sussex (Alfonso was around 79 years old).

As an organ grinder, Antonio's father would have earned a subsistence level income, and as such his family are likely to have been impoverished. Organ grinders were musical novelty street performers prevalent in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The grinder would crank his organ in public, moving from place to place after collecting a few coins, in order to avoid being arrested for loitering or being chased by persons who didn't appreciate hearing a single tune over and over again. Brighton with its large number of tourists and day-trippers was a perfect location for an organ grinder. This activity blended in perfectly with the novelty fairground rides, Punch and Judy shows and other seafront attractions.


Mother: Maddalena Di Cicco:

Birth: 6 June 1850, Castellone al Volturno, Campobasso, Molise, Italy.

Death: c1926, Brighton, Sussex (Maddalena was around 76 years old).


Birth: 16 June 1883, Castellone al Volturno, Campobasso, Molise, Italy.

Antonio was the fifth of nine children born to his parents. In 1887/1890, Antonio emigrated from Italy to Britain with his parents and sister Maria. His family heralded from a commune in central, southern Italy. The capital of the region is the city of Campobasso, located in the high basin of the Biferno river, surrounded by the Sannio and Matese mountains around 142 miles south east of Rome.


Marriage: 1908, Isle of Wight, Hampshire (Antonio was 25 years old).


Spouse: Emily Grace Eastland:

Birth: 1881, Ashburnham, Sussex.

Death: 27 October 1961 (Emily was 80 years old).

Probate: DONATO, Emily Grace, of 14, Norman Road, Saltford, Somersetshire, widow, died 27 October 1961. Administration, Exeter, 29 November 1961 to Hilda May Davison (wife of Ivor Willis Davison). Effects 2,587 4s 9d £47,993 today).


Child: Hilda May Notardonato:

Birth: 7 June 1909, Cowes, Isle of Wight, Hampshire.

Death: 2003, Torbay, Devon (Hilda was 94 years old).


Occupations: Organ grinder (1886-1908) and confectioner/restauranteer (1908-1943).

Antonio established himself as restauranteer on the Isle of Wight at 25, High Street, Cowes. This property still exists today as the 'Pier View Hotel', and is situated close by the 'Cowes Yacht Club'. On 28 June 1919, During Cowes Week, Reginald Hayward from Little Thorness Farm, in Thorness Bay, supplied daily a half gallon of cream to make the pure ice cream for the Royal Yacht. The cream was delivered daily to Antonio by 4:00 pm. This was then made into ice cream for the 8:00 pm dinner on the Royal Yacht, for King George V during his visit to Cowes Week.


Death: Declared dead 29 November 1946. No formal death registration (Antonio was 63 years old).


Probate: DONATO, Anthony, of 208, Park Road, Cowes, Isle of Wight, died on or since 29 November 1946 at a place unknown. Probate, London, 19 November 1948, to Emily Grace Donato widow. Effects £3,197 4s 3d (£96,962 today).


Cause of death: Mysterious disappearance.


Note: If you'd like to know more than has been summarised on this website or have information that improves this history, we'd love to hear from you.

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