The three CUMBO brothers

Publié le 18/06/2020


You may have, like us, crossed paths with the three CUMBO brothers: Andrea, Errigo and Roggierio.

Here we will try to determine their parents as well as their respective children and thus answer the question of Giovanni ABELA, the great Maltese historian.


Giovanni ABELA

The CUMBO family is one of the families mentioned by the commandatore Giovanni ABELA (1).

CUMBO in Descrittione di MALTACUMBO in Descrittione di MALTA

He describes the judges, notaries, doctors who are part of the CUMBO family.

Paragraph 4 specifically concerns the three CUMBO brothers:

"The oldest ascendant in Malta, which we have found in the texts which have come down to us, is an Errigo Cumbo, whose brothers were Ruggieri and Andrea. He leaves his inheritance to the first of the two, by testament received by Paolo Bonello in the year 1467, in which it is said that the second had four children: Simone, Francesco, Matteo and Giovanni. And if by chance, the latter is the same as the one we said above to be the ancestor of Doctor Agostino Cumbo, we could say that Errigo's father (who lived in the fourteenth century, according to our calculation) is the strain and origin of all those mentioned above." (2).

In addition, Giovanni ABELA specifies in the following paragraph that the surname CUMBO already existed in a more distant period in the region of Calabria (in Italy therefore) by citing for example Raimondo DE CUMBIS and Pietro DE CUMBIS. But does not make any descent links between the DE CUMBIS of Calabria and the CUMBO of Malta.

So Giovanni ABELA wonders if Giovanni CUMBO son of Andrea CUMBO is the ancestor of Agostino CUMBO and then to wonder if the father of the three brothers is the common ancestor of all these people.

Goffredo ADAMI

In the ADAMI collection, we find the family tree of the three CUMBO brothers.

Please note, this tree is not contemporary with the three CUMBO brothers, it was established many generations later from the records. Mistakes may therefore have crept in.

CUMBO family tree in ADAMI

In this tree, the parents of the three brothers are unfortunately not specified.

The children of Andrea are mentioned: Simone, Matteo, Giovanni and Francesco (the same ones as mentioned by Giovanni ABELA).

And Errigo is said to be married to Francia, daughter of Giovanni VASSALLO, in second marriage.

Errigo CUMBO

Giovanni ABELA and Goffredo ADAMI provide us with good leads for research.

But only the original acts should be taken as a safe bet (and sometimes they too are not correct ...).

Errigo CUMBO will

Errigo CUMBO therefore had a will drawn up in 1467 by the notary Paolo BONELLO.

Many notarial archives have been preserved to this day, including this one.

His will appears in the ADAMI collection (3).

Retranscription of CUMBO Errigo will in ADAMI collection

The will of 1467 of Errigo CUMBO, deceased, established by the notary Paolo BONELLO, designates as universal heir Rogerio CUMBO, his brother.

This confirms the statements of Giovanni ABELA, but in the ADAMI collection, only the universal heir is specified, the nephews are not mentioned.

The original acts of Paolo BONELLO are unfortunately not available online but Stanley FIORINI (4) faithfully transcribed the acts of Paolo BONELLO including this one:

Will of CUMBO Errigo in Documentary Sources of Maltese History by Stanley FIORINIWill of CUMBO Errigo in Documentary Sources of Maltese History by Stanley FIORINI

Stanley FIORINI wrote a summary in English of the act:

"Thursday, October 29, 1467.

The last will and testament of Henricus CUMBO. CUMBO leaves his mother, brother, sister, nephews and nieces a number of plots at Qortin Sammat. It is the testator's wish to be buried in the parish church of Naxxar."

We get the exact date, but Stanley FIORINI does not go into the details of the will.

So it is necessary to initiate ourselves in the translation of the will. As for the text of Giovanni ABELA, the language used is not quite the one learned at school. With the help of two priests, we embarked on the complete translation of the said act.

Complete translation of the Errigo CUMBO will

Of Errigo CUMBO.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
In the year 1467 of the month of October, the 29th of the same month indicated, the sovereign regent and illustrious Lord Giovanni, by the grace of the famous king of Aragon, Sicily, Valencia, Mallorca, Sardinia, count of Barcelona, ​​duke of 'Athens, and Neopatria and also Earl of Russilionis and the Kingdoms of Ceritania, from the aforementioned year were successful. Amen.
We, Bernardo SALIBA, Civil Judge of the Island of Malta, Paolo BONELLO, Civil Notary of the Island of Malta and Gozo and the witnesses specially summoned to the house of the Honorable Errigo CUMBO, although still healthy in body and of spirit, I was afraid that I would not have time to draw up a will, because nothing is more certain than death. And hereby, I, the said notary, have drawn up a will containing his last wishes which is presented as follows:

  • Bequeath to the Most Reverend Lord Bishop of Malta money for the procession which will take place on the day of his death
  • Bequeath money to the chaplain
  • Order to celebrate six masses on the day of his funeral, just as much in the octave, just as much during Lent, and just as much in the year
  • Wants that four ornate wax candles be distributed on the day of his funeral
  • Wants Masses of Saint Gregory and Saint Amator to be celebrated for the soul of the testator
  • Bequeath for the remission of his sins to Sybille, young daughter of Manni BARTOLO, for the love of God and for the marriage of the said young girl a piece of land to C. Mosta, who is called Lu Inchensu, who is an area to the east and north, the south belonging to Andrea BURAS and the west to Andrea CAMILLERI
  • To be buried in the Church of Saint Mary of Naxxar
  • Establishes as particular heirs, Damiana, widow of Antonio BARTOLO, his own sister and gives her a large plot of land to Curtin Sammat
  • Institutes as particular heirs, Simone, Francesco, Matteo, Giovanni and Isabella, his nephews, of his late brother Andrea CUMBO and gives them land to Curtin Sammat
  • Institutes as universal heirs, Isabella, her mother and Roggerio, her brother, of all the rest, furniture, ..., her mother being the usufructuary until her death, all reverting to Roggerio after the death of said mother
  • Established as executor, Lorenzo BONELLO

The witnesses are Deacon Bartholomeo BORDINO, Giacobo VACCARIO, Father Pietro BORG, Bernado BIGLERA, Matteo FARRUGIA, Giovanni BURAS and Lorenzo BONELLO.

To summarize :

It is the will of Errigo CUMBO on his deathbed who bequeaths land to Curtin Samat at:

  • Universal heirs: Isabella, her mother, and Rogerio her brother
  • Particular heiress: Damiana, widow of Antonio BARTOLO, his sister
  • Particular heirs: Simone, Francesco, Matteo, Giovanni, Isabella, his nephews, of his deceased brother Andrea.

So we start to sketch our own family tree.

Tree on 2 CUMBO generations

We notice here that Errigo bequeaths nothing to a wife or any children. This is a sign that Errigo has none or no more.

According to one of the priests who helped us with the translation, the fact that the witnesses are religious indicates that Errigo, who has no family, is in fact a religious !

So the ADAMI tree, which indicated a bride seems wrong!

Others events

Unfortunately, we could not find any other acts concerning Errigo CUMBO.

We find a marriage contract at the notary Graziano VASSALLO on 1488-10-22 between Margarita CUMBO, daughter of Errigo and CAMILLERI Salvatore (5) but which takes place more than 20 years after the death of our Errigo CUMBO.

It is therefore probably a homonym.

Andrea CUMBO

Andrea is presumably the oldest of the siblings based on the fact that he is the first to die. But we will not have more indications.

In the registers, acts referring to Andrea are rare.

Universita 11

But we find it in the archives "Universita 11" (1450-1498) which Godfrey WETTINGER exploited in "Acta Iuratorum et Consilii Civitatis et Insulae Maltae" (1993).

We discover there an Andria CUMBU who is forced like other villagers of Naxxar to make a loan to buy wheat in July 1450. This could be our Andrea CUMBO.

Roggiero CUMBO

Only one "filiatory" act exists concerning Roggiero, the will of his brother Errigo.

It therefore probably has no descendants, as the ADAMI tree suggests.

But there are other documents.

For example, Godfrey WETTINGER (6) writes based on CEM AO vol. 2:

Rogelius Cumbo of Musta was very precise. He said that he had known the district for the previous eighteen years. [...]. He had himself been the tenant of the field. Petrus Cumbo, probably his brother, who had known the field for the previous fifteen years, confirmed all this, [...] 
[...] Rogelius Cumbo said that land in Malta, particularly at Musta, was dearer by about a third than what it had been worth twenty four years before. Petrus Cumbo said that he understood from what old men told him that previously land was of little account in Malta; land of two crops in safe places was worth only forty Maltese uncie a salma. He was himself only twenty-five years old. [...]

Here, Rogelius CUMBO evaluates the price of a land and Petrus CUMBO confirms its price.

Godfrey WETTINGER assumes it is his brother but Pietro is in fact his little nephew, the son of Giovanni, son of Andrea. This information is important because it allows you to start sketching offspring for the three CUMBO brothers.

CUMBO ascendants

After having studied all the acts referencing the three brothers, we thus obtain their mother: Isabella.

Andrea CUMBO has respected the tradition by naming her daughter with her mother's first name.

It is likely that he did the same with his father's first name.

His father could therefore be named Simone or Francesco or Matteo or Giovanni.

CUMBO descendants

Errigo and Roggiero not having had children, it is on Andrea that rests all the weight of the inheritance.

Among his children, he therefore had Giovanni CUMBO.

Giovanni CUMBO

Giovanni CUMBO is considered an honorable person. Many documents refer to him (documents from Mandati, Universita, notarial acts) but these are documents relating to his professional life.

There are no documents that can link his ancestry to his descent.

For his descendants, Giovanni ABELA refers to a certain Agostino, son of Giacomo, son of Giovanni who has Agostino, Giovanni, Vincenzo and Imperia as a child.

This tree exists in the ADAMI collection:

Tree of CUMBO Giovanni in ADAMI

Is this Giovanni CUMBO, husband of Venera, really Andrea's son?

For Giovanni ABELA, the question remains unanswered.

For Goffredo ADAMI, the two trees are linked because in the tree of the three brothers, he also added Venera as Giovanni's wife. So for him, Agostino CUMBO has indeed for ancestor Andrea CUMBO.

It seems difficult to us to have such a clear opinion given the lack of documents that can attest to this filiation.

Pietro CUMBO, one of Giovanni's sons, seems to match with the Pietro CUMBO quoted next to Roggerio CUMBO by Godfrey WETTINGER (6).

Which would tend to think that this Giovanni is indeed Andrea's son since his son Pietro has a blood tie with Roggerio.


After much research and debate, we come to the following conclusions:

  1. Thanks to the original documents, we were able to obtain the first name of the mother of the CUMBO brothers: Isabella.
  2. We have seen that no link between the CUMBO (from Malta) and the DE CUMBIS (from Calabria) could be established.
  3. Is Agostino CUMBO descended from Andrea CUMBO? It seems so by linking one of Andrea's grandsons to his brother Roggiero. We cannot be 100% sure.

Tree on 5 CUMBO generations

Notes :
  1. Della Descrittione Di Malta Isola Nel Mare Siciliano, Giovanni ABELA, 1647, p. 479-480.
  2. Translation from the original text written in archaic Italian mixed with Sicilian and some lexical, phraseological and grammatical regionalisms, Louis du Fil d'Ariane, 2020.
  3. Libr. AD. 51 - Notarial records - C, Goffredo ADAMI, p. 1484.
  4. Documentary Sources of Maltese History, Stanley FIORINI, 2005, p. 94-95.
  5. Libr. AD. 51 - Notarial records - C, Goffredo ADAMI, p. 1494.
  6. Donna Simona Caruana alias de Baldes: twice married and twice widowed, Godfrey WETTINGER, 2001.

  1. Maltese surnames, Joëlle Pawelczyk
  2. Aspects of maltese surnames, Mario CASSAR
  3. Weddings in Malta in the eighteenth century, Aurore Verié
  4. Le sultan Djem et sa prétendue descendance maltaise, de Nicolas VELIN
  5. Le légendaire Eugène Matteo d'Armenia, de Loïck PORTELLI
  6. Jacques et Marguerite de Pellegrino, de Loïck PORTELLI
  7. Headquarters Gozo in 1551 and repopulation of the island (excerpts), Stanley Fiorini
  8. Marriage in Malta in the late eighteenth century (excerpts), Frans CIAPPARA
  9. The three CUMBO brothers, by Georges GANDER and Nicolas VELIN
  10. Nicola SOLTANA, the founder, by Nicolas VELIN
  11. Le maréchal Davout est-il Maltais ?, de Loïck Portelli
  12. Qui est Marguerite d’Aragon ?, de Loïck PORTELLI
  13. Les Racines Maltaises de Gérald DARMANIN