Family History, Lore and Legend

Emilito's Graciani-Graziani Branches

Origin: Villabuona, Pescaglia, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Emilito (Emil Signes)
Rev 2006-12-29b

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Although Emilito's great grandmother Victorina was the last of his ancestors to bear Graciani as her primary surname ("primer apellido"), this line -- the only one that has a documented origin outside of Spain -- goes back further than any other of Emilito's lines.  It is a line whose history holds a lot of mystery -- and interest as well.

Emilito has spent many hundreds of hours researching this line, both in Italy and Spain. The introduction here is a very brief summary of the Graziani brothers Romano and Flavio and their ancestors anad descendants.  For more information, please see one of the following pages, which are long descriptions - in English and Spanish - of how Emilito researched and solved many of the Graziani mysteries (as well as finding others). 

Finding Graziani: A History of Emilito's Search for his Italian Roots:

          English - Finding Graziani

          Spanish - Buscando Graziani

Detailed descriptions of the Graziani family tree may be found, in many incarnations, on the page of family trees on this web site.  Specifically, the descendants of Giuseppe Antonio GRAZIANI and his wife Maria Lucia MARCHI, the last two members of the family to live out their lives in Italy, may be found at

Descendants of Giuseppe Antonio GRAZIANI (1754) and María Lucia MARCHI (1756)

and the first 12 generations of documented ancestors (from no surname to Gratiani to Graziani to Graciani), ending with the first generation born in Spain, may be found at

Graziani, the first 12 generations: Descendants of Giambattista (c. 1490)

In addition, a "trip report" of Emilito's first visit to Lucca -- the home of the original documented Graziani -- may be found here:  Visit to Lucca 2003.

The Graziani ancestral Italian home: Villabuona

The little hamlet ("frazione") of Villabuona, within the community of Pescaglia (Lucca), was the home to the forefathers of the Spanish Graciani for more than 300 years. See "Finding Graziani" for more details.

The immigrants: Romano and Flavio

Sometime between 1815 and 1827 the two brothers, Romano (b. 1788) and Flavio (b. 1797) GRAZIANI, left Italy - according to oral family history they were probably Carbonari who fled for political reasons and entered Spain, where they would spend the rest of their lives.  Professionally they were likely image makers, artisans that made statuettes of Plaster of Paris.  Emilito doesn't know to where in Spain they went, but he does know that Flavio's children were born in Aranjuez (encompassing at least the year range of 1828 to 1836) and that Romano's daughter Dolores was born in 1830 in Menorca and his son Francisco (Emilito's great-great grandfather) in 1832 in Alicante.

Romano married Dolores PASTOR ALIAGA, a native of Ayora (Valencia), and Flavio's wife was Paula MARTÍN [2nd surname unknown] of Aranjuez.  Although marriage information is unknown, both would have been married in the 1820s.

The death year and place of the two brothers is unknown, although based on family stories and a photograph we have of Flavio with his sons it is likely that Romano died much earlier than Flavio.

The first generation

The first generation of Graciani born in Spain comprised at least seven children: a son and a daughter born to Romano and five sons born to Flavio.

Romano's children were Dolores and Francisco (Frasquito) GRACIANI PASTOR *, born in Menorca and Alicante, respectively. 

    * We know that Francisco's mother's surname was Pastor; we're not sure Dolores had the same mother, though we assume that to be the case.

Dolores was living with her daughter Alejandrina CARO GRACIANI in 1890; very little more is known about her other than that, apparently widowed early, she lived for many years near her brother Francisco.

One story told by Dolores's great-granddaughter Janina MARTÍNEZ DELGADO to Emilito was that Dolores's husband Romano did not share any financial information with her, so that when he died suddenly, she didn't even know what bank he was using, let alone any account information.

Francisco, from what little Emilito has heard, was employed as a sculptor, contributing, according to Emilito's Aunt Betty [tía Isabel BESTEIRO GRACCIANI], to the restoration of the cathedral at Alcalá de Henares in 1862, the year of birth of his daughter Victorina.  Aunt Betty also notes that her grandfather dressed in the manner of artists of the time (from what Emlito can make of her handwriting, perhaps in Harlequin-style quartered shirts).

Flavio's children were Andrés, Antonio, Domingo, Manuel, and Francisco (Paco) GRACIANI MARTÍN. As of this date, Emilito believes that all were born in Aranjuez.

Of Andrés and Antonio we know nothing, although a June 2006 "Eureka!" may eventually shed some light on this.

Domingo was a master carpinter, apparently also an anarchist who named his children Federal and Nitroglicerina, and -- it seems -- a very interesting character. According to several family sources, he may also have been involved in the assassination of Juan Prim y Prats.  (Prim was a famous Spanish general and statesman whose 1870 assassination was never solved.)

Very little is known about Manuel, although Emilito tracked him and his family down to Madrid in 1890 and 1895 per the Madrid censuses of those years.

Paco -- an accomplished engineer in Seville -- is not only the most well-known of the siblings, but the ancestor of 90% of Flavio's line.

Lines of Descent

Interestingly, about 90% of the descendants of the brothers Romano and Flavio Graziani are descendants of the two Francisco Graciani first cousins (Romano's son born in 1832, Flavio's in 1836).

Dolores GRACIANI PASTOR (30 known descendants).  Her lines include a series of famous Spanish actors, including her daughter Alejandrina CARO GRACIANI, also married to two famous actors - first the Cuban Paulino DELGADO SUÁREZ and second the Spaniard Ángel SALA LEYDA.  Alejandrina's daughter Julia DELGADO CARO was a very famous actress in her day, both in Spain and throughout Latin America (as was Alejandrina), and Alejandrina's sons by Ángel -- Fernando and Salvador -- were also actors.

Julia's son Fernando DELGADO became a famous actor known throughout Spain, and his son Alberto DELGADO  is currently acting, both on stage and in television.

Salvador SALA CARO's daughter Pilar SALA LÓPEZ played the role of Rosa in the opening of Antonio BUERO VALLEJO's "Historia de una Escalera," one of the most well-known plays of the mid-20th century. (Julia DELGADO and  her son Fernando were also in this play.)

Francisco GRACIANI PASTOR (303 known descendants).  Frasquito married Joaquina LORENZO BLAS of Villar del Cobo (Teruel).  As far as we know, they only had two children, Joaquin and Victorina.

Francisco's son Joaquin fathered three children, Emilio, Joaquîn, and Manolita GRACIANI SÁNCHEZ, all of whom moved to Cuba around 1920. Later Emilio - another actor in the family - moved on to Chile and then Ecuador. Both his children and their families now (2006) live in Ecuador -- Emilio GRACIANI PALMA and his famiy in Guayaquil and Inés GRACIANI ENCALADA and her husband in Quito - Emilito believes the children of Inés and Bolîvar, however, are now all in the US.  Manolita's daughter Alicia, granddaughter Roxana, and great-granddaughter Jonathan all live in Havana.  Joaquín died young in Havana in 1931 with no offspring.

Francisco's daughter Victorina was the matriarch of 282 of Francisco's 303 descendants. Specifically, she is the mother of the five BESTEIRO GRAC[C]IANI children:

Domingo BESTEIRO GRACIANI emigrated to Cuba where he married Mercedes LORET DE MOLA BETANCOURT and where all their children were born.  With the great dispersal of Cubans following Castro's revolution, his descendants are now scattered among Cuba, Florida and Venezuela.

Josefa BESTEIRO GRACIANI, Emilito's grandmother, also emigrated to Cuba, but moved to the USA shortly afterwards with her children.  All her descendants (with her husband Antonio LAGOS TOLEDO) currently live in the US.

Emilio BESTEIRO GRACIANI is the only one of Victorina's children to never leave Spain.  He was executed by unknown murderers in the first month of the Spanish Civil War.  There are many descendants of his adopted son Teodoro LANCHA RODRÍGUEZ, all of whom live in Spain.

Jorge BESTEIRO GRACCIANI [sic] went to Cuba with his mother but returned to Spain to marry his childhood sweetheart, Elisa ASENSIO LÓPEZ.  They had nine children and they and their descendants all live in Spain.

Isabel BESTEIRO GRACCIANI [sic] went to Cuba with her mother and stayed there till she died in 1978.  Although she, her husband Mario GARCÍA GONZÁLEZ, their daughter Nena and Nena's family remained in Cuba, her son Pepe moved to Puerto Rico with his family after the Revolution.  Pepe's family is now split between Puerto Rico and Florida.

Andres GRACIANI MARTÍN (0 known descendants).

GRACIANI MARTÍN (0 known descendants).

The above numbers may change; in June 2006 Emilito found a family that almost certainly belongs to one of the above brothers.  It will take another trip to Madrid, however, to figure this out.

GRACIANI MARTÍN (19 known descendants).  Domingo and his wife Manuela GARCÍA LÓPEZ had two children, of whom it appears only one -- Segundo -- lived to have children of his own.

It is not yet proven, but it may well have been Domingo that introduced the double consonant, as in "Grazziani," into the family in the late 1800s.

GRACIANI MARTÍN (30 known descendants).  Very little is known of Manuel, other than that he was living in Madrid in 1890 and 1895, with his family: his wife Josefa PEÑASCO HERNÁNDEZ and their five children.  His descendants are all in Spain.

GRACIANI MARTÍN (476 known descendants).  The most prolific of all the first-generation Graciani, Paco and his wife Nicolasa VARELA LÓPEZ had eight children.  Although only three were men, those three had 326 descendants including 10 sons that fathered children.  This helps to account for the large number of people in Spain with the surname Graciani.

Although most of Paco's ancestors still live in Spain, several grandchildren -- mainly the children of his son Bernardo GRACIANI VARELA -- moved to South America and today there are Graciani descendants in at least Venezuela and Brazil.

Location of Graziani descendants.  We know that the descendants of Romano and Flavio descendants, today, inhabit at least the followingn countries:  Spain, USA, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Brazil.  There may be more.

Additional information

More information can be found in the family tree section of, and a detailed story of how all this information was discovered can be found at ["Finding Graziani" (English), and "Buscando Graziani" (Spanish)].

Emilito has put together an entire page on Victorina GRACIANI LORENZO, the matriarch of the Lagos-Besteiro branch as well as all the descendants of the BESTEIRO GRAC[C]IANI siblings.

The first six links - and some others - on the page introducing Emilito's family histories all refer to descendants of Romano/Ramón Graziani/Graciani.

Chapter END

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