The Italian Job

How many different nationalities can you count on your tree?

We all will probably have a mixture of English, maybe some Scottish, throw in a bit of Welsh maybe and a possible Irish connections and that’s probably it for most of us.

I am proud of my English, Irish and Scottish roots, my wife is also descended from a real “old Scottish family’ and I count myself part Welsh, for following a Welsh Football team (don’t ask that’s another story!), thats a loose connection I admit!

The difference from the norm in my family is my “Italian Connection” via my 3 x Great Grandfather, Dominic Stampa, who was born approx. 1765 in Como, Italy.

The first reference for Dominic that I can find, courtesy of my Australian Cousin, Eleanor, is Dominic’s arrival from Como in Italy, in 1798. Dominic arrived in Dover, according to the Register of Aliens in July 1798, his final destination being Leith Street in Edinburgh, he was a Print Seller by trade.

There are another three people, on the Register of Aliens, who share the same surname and profession.

Luigi Stampa, 30, Milan Italy to Dover 1784, Leith Street, Barometer Merchant. Born approx. 1754
Valentino Stampa, 42, Milan Italy to [port not mentioned] 1797, Leith Street, Barometer merchant. Born approx. 1755
Charles Stampa, 32, from Como Italy to Yarmouth 1798, 14 Leith Street, Carver, gilder and looking glass maker. Born approx. 1766

The Stampa’s from Italy are a fine bunch of master craftsmen, specialising in barometers and various other forms of fine craft and printing. Some of the Stampa barometers and clocks are still changing hands today at auction for several thousand pounds.


One of Dominic’s Barometer’s is on display at the home of a prominent home Edinburgh.

Dominic established his business in Leith Street in Edinburgh and he was involved with various trades that were listed in the Scottish Trade Book Index: looking glass manufacturers, carver, gilder and print seller.

The National Library of Scotland hosts the Scottish Trade Book Index, which specialises in the printing industry pre 1850. This encompasses printers, publishers, booksellers, bookbinders, printmakers, stationers and papermakers. The following entries were taken from the editions of the Edinburgh Directory

Scottish Book Trade Index:
STAMPA, Dominick printseller from Italy, Endinburgh and Leith
14 Leith Street 1796-99
D. C. & L Stampa and looking-glass manufacturers same address 1800-1802 Dominick Stampa same address 1803
D. Stampa carver, gilder and print seller same address 1804
14 Terrace 1805-09
Stampa and Galleti, Foot of the Shore, Leith 1809-11
4 Shore, Leith 1813-17
D. Stampa 69 Princes Street, Edinburgh 1820
6 St David’s Street, Edinburgh 1821
18 Carlton Hill New Dir 1824
Stampa 54 Leith Street 1825
Stampa & Co carvers and gilders same address 1826
60 Leith Street 1827-29
‘from Italy’ Edin Dir
Edin Dir

Addresses in Edinburgh for Dominic include:

1804 – 14 Leith Street, Edinburgh

1805 – 14 Terrace, Edinburgh

1820 – 69, Princess Street, Edinburgh

1821 – 6, St.David’s Street, Edinburgh

1824 – 18 Calton Hill, Edinburgh

1825 – 54, Leith Street, Edinburgh

1827 – 60 Leith Street, Edinburgh

At some point whilst Dominic was setting up his various businesses in Edinburgh, he met and married his wife, Mary Hair, Mary was 19 years younger than Dominic. They went on to have a total of seven children, the youngest of which, Nicolina Elizabeth Stampa, is my 2 x great-grandmother.

Nicolina - photo

Dominic lived a relatively long life and died on 7th may 1848 and is buried in the South Leith Cemetery, buried at the old ground, close in front of Exchequer tomb, his cause of death is decay of nature.

I am very proud of all my ancestors, as ultimately they make me who I am today, the fact that I have some Italian ancestors, adds to the make up and makes me feel proud and thankful for Dominic and all that he achieved.

Thanks to my cousin’s Eleanor and Carol who have helped contribute to Dominic’s story.

Please see my regular blog for Family Tree Magazine  Here

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