THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JEAN BAPTISTE BEZONA (BISOGLIO)
Part One of Four
FAMILY SURNAME MYSTERY SOLVED
Over decades, several Bezona family members diligently researched family history and genealogy. A few of the intrepid “Bezona Bunch” researchers include David H. Bezona; Fred Kenneth Bowen; David G. Burt; Marianne Purdy, the late Dr. Evelin (Eve) Kinney and others. Each searcher found different pieces of information and sometimes drew different conclusions based on their research. Various speculations about the original family name undulated throughout the research.
Census records, researched by Fred Kenneth Bowen, state that John Baptiste BEZONA (BEZONI), affectionately referred to as JBB, could not read nor write. That being the case, the census takers must have been attempting to use a phonetic spelling of his family name based on what they heard from JBB himself. One may also question the education of the census takers of his time. His family name has been written many ways: Besogno. Bisogna, Bezoni, Bezona, Bezoilo, Besolio, Besoglio Bisoglio and Bazonian. His first name in different languages sounds like “John” when spoken. For example: Jean is French and Gian is Italian. JBB was born in the area of Alessandria, which was held by France in his time. Yohon [sic. Johann] is German and was the name his wife, who came from a German heritage, called JBB. The “Bezona Bunch” spiritedly debated the mystery of JBB’s true Italian family name for many years!
David Henry Bezona steadfastly believed the original family name was BISOGLIO.
He made multiple trips to Italy to find members of the BISOGLIO family who might assist him in confirming his belief. David succeeded in his quest to verify the original Italian name / ancestry of John Baptiste Bezona. David and Dr. Jura Roberto Bisoglio of Casale, Italy participated in DNA testing to substantiate the original Italian origins of Jean/Gian Baptiste Bezona (JBB). In May 2011, that testing confirmed a 99.93% likelihood that the two men descended from the same paternal line ancestry. Now with DNA confirmation, of BISOGLIO as the family name, the mystery of JBB’s true name is solved. (Click here for DNA results.)
Avidly pursuing further research into the Italian Family History, David Henry Bezona will be completing further research during the summer of 2011. He plans to search the baptismal records for JBB in the Dioceses of Monferrato, Italy. Records have not been catalogued for the early date of 1785 attributed as JBB’s birth date.
As early as 1808, Napoleon required that all births and deaths be registered. The independent country of Savoy/Savoia (Italy) was not brought into a unified Italy until 1861. With a supposed birth date of 1785, the birth of JBB must be searched by hand through the various churches’ baptismal records. Such records are buried somewhere in the basement of Casale /Monferrato. The diocesan secretary is a cousin, Maurizio Bisoglio, so perhaps it will be accomplished!
(Editor’s Note: In French and Italian, the “i” is pronounced “e”; the “z” and “s” sound similar. If one adds the missing “g”, the name becomes BISOGLIO. One separates the syllables pronouncing the name: Bi-so-gli-o. BISOGLIO has been verified by DNA results as JBB’s family’s surname.)