Sunday, March 01, 2009
Among my ancestors in the lower Rhine area there is a lineage of people with the Italian sounding name of “de la Strada”, sometimes also written Delastrata, de la Strather, etc. As the name is extremely rare north of the Alps, I am suspecting there may be connections to historic Strada families, such as those at the court of emperor Rudolf II. I'm not trying to bask in reflected glory here, just following an ancient scientific tradition -- the drunkard's method of searching the key underneath the street light, where one can see it better than in the dark alley where one probably lost it! Here are the pieces of the jigsaw which don’t fit together yet: Johannes Baptista de la Strada, born Diez, oo 7.1.1728 to Anna Katharina Jacob at Nievern. Their son Philipp, (1742-1802) eventually moved to Krefeld, where there have been quite a few de la Stradas in the 19th century. We believe Johannes Baptista de la Strada is the son of Johann de la Strada (estimated time of birth around 1680) who was employed as a gardener at Schloss Oranienstein, Diez from 1712 – 1724. Word of mouth passed down the generations suggests that one of the de la Strada ancestors working as a gardener came from the island of Capri originally, which belonged to the kingdom of Naples (under Spanish rule 1504-1707, except for a very short-lived republic 1647-48). Find a MISSING LINK (or 3) here ?! We suspect there may be a link to the Strada family that served the Habsburg emperors Ferdinand, Maximilian II and Rudolf II over generations (see, for instance: R.J. W. Evans, Rudolf II. and his world, and numerous articles by Dirk Jacob Jansen). The main representatives are: Jacopo Strada, born Mantua 1507, died Prague 1588. Art buyer for the Habsburgs and the Bavarian court, artist, architect, writer, numismatist. Subject of a famous portrait by Titian. I’ll post a detailed biography separately (so far, only biographies in German are available on Wikipedia etc.). Jacopo’s children: Paulo, Octavio, Martino, Lavina, Sicilia, Tobias. Octavio Strada (1550-1606) followed in his father’s footsteps and served as art buyer to Rudolf II. Also subject of a portrait, by Tintoretto. However, Jacopo’s testament (available on http://documenta.rudolphina.org/ disinherits Octavio in favour of the much younger illegitimate son Tobias Strada. Octavio’s children (Jacopo’s grandchildren): Anna Maria, also known as Katharina Strada (1579-1629), mistress to Rudolf II., Carolus, Octavianus Junior. Octavio Junior ended up in France where he married Catherine Hoeufft, daughter of Dutch engineer Christophe Hoeufft, and their descendants became quite successful in France, where the male line were later known as the "Marquis de Strada d'Arosberg". Another MISSING LINK … Oh, and if we want to go really crazy we can try to incorporate Giovanni da Strada, from the village of Strada, near Florence, who was young Boccaccio’s tutor, and Giovanni’s son: Zanobi da Strada (1312/15 – 1361/64) poet laureate, professor of grammar at Florence, moved to Naples, then to Avignon in the service of the Pope during their exile. and / or: Filippo della Strada, a writer and calligrapher in Venice at the end of the 15th century, famous for being very rude about this new-fangled printing technology. I'm also wondering where the jesuit and historian Famiano Strada (1572-1649) fits in. Which is to say, if anybody has any information about Strada people living in the 17th century or earlier, I’d be very grateful for a hint.