The Capelin Line

Linda Spinaze's Father's Mother's Line

This is the index for a number of pages on the Australian Capelin family.
It also provides background to the family name, which has some complexity to it.

The 'Upper Capelin' page provides information on the Perin/Capelin family of Veneto, a little east of Conegliano,
The page currently covers the period c. 1810 to c. 1880.

The 'Middle Capelin' page is about Lorenzo Perin / Capelin (1837-1915).
The page also includes information about his two wives:

  1. Catterina Cescon (1842-1881)
  2. Maria Tome, nee Lucon (1847-1945)

The 'Lower Capelin 1' page is about the 2 surviving children of Lorenzo and Catterina.
Those 2 were prolific, delivering 23 grandchildren and many further descendants.

The 'Lower Capelin 2' page is about the 5 children of Lorenzo and Maria, Linda's great-grandparents.
Their 3rd child, another Maria, was Linda's father's mother.
Those 5 produced 17 grandchildren and many further descendants.

The related 'Upper Tome', 'Tome' and 'Tome-Lucon' pages are about Maria Tome's first family.

See also Steve Capelin's substantial Capelin page.

Explanatory Note re the surnames Perin and Capelin

The family's surname when they lived in Veneto, i.e. until 1880, was Perin. Perin sounds unusual for an Italian surname. But a neighbour of ours, who taught English in and around Sassuolo (nr Modena) for 20 years, told us that Veneto is an exception to the all-but rule that Italian names don't end in consonants.

The family has been called Capelin since it arrived in what was then N.S.W., in early April 1881. Lorenzo used the Perin name a single time on (what was to become) Australian soil. That was at his marriage to Maria, in late April 1881 (and the notary mis-spelt it as Peri, although the confusion was understandable given the language barrier).

I originally postulated that the Capelin surname may have been invented on arrival in N.S.W. by that colony's equivalent of Ellis Island, perhaps based on a hat – a capellini. But Steve Capelin and Barry Sommerlad both found evidence of a far more convincing explanation. Barry wrote in 2013: "Peter Bortolin, who lives in Lismore, first alerted me to the origin of Capelin as a soprannome of Perin, during a working-bee at New Italy at least 5 or 6 years ago". The Perin clan in Veneto was large, and hence a family-level nickname would have been useful within the family, in order to distinguish lines. (Steve's page has more on that aspect. Search for <sopranome>).

Barry Sommerlad also wrote in 2013 that "Peter Bortolin, who lives in Lismore [said that] the Bortolins came from the same area in Austria as the Perins/Capelins". However, things may have changed in the 130 years since the family migrated, in that:

The Capelins in the 21st Century

In late 2012, the (Australian) White Pages showed 14 Capelins:

They are the descendants of:
Domenico Capelin (1872-1946), NNSW (in which case they are half-cousins), with at least 7 extant late in the 20th century
Lawrence Capelin (1884-1964), Sydney, with at least 10 extant late in the 20th century
John Capelin (1889-1963), family locus uncertain, with at least 2 extant late in the 20th century

We've not at this stage discovered any evidence of any other migration of Perin/Capelins from Veneto to Australia; so all would appear to be Linda's and her siblings' 2nd cousins (if born 1930s-40s), and 2nd cousins once-removed (if born later) = Kasia and Russell's 3rd cousins.

In February 2014, the name Capelin was not found in the Italian whitepages. A single instance was evident in the French whitepages – Marcelle Capelin of rue Gave 64270 Lahontan (a small village 60km inland from Biarritz in SW France). In France, similar surnames include Capelain, Cappelin, Chapelin and Chaplin (which is common). No Capelins were found in the Austrian whitepages, although there were two instances of Caplin, with the given names Marcel and Cyril (Cyril in particular is unusual in Austria).

As a commonly-used surname (as distinct from a nickname / sopranome), Capelin may be all-but-unique to Australia and to this family.


These Capelin pages were originally established on the basis of the records of Ray Spinaze (1914-2006).

A great deal was added once Steve Capelin tracked me down and pointed me to his substantial Capelin page.

Further information was acquired:

This page also draws heavily on the following publications:

Harrigan R. (2006) 'They Were Expeditioners: The Chronicle of Northern Italian Farmers – Pioneer Settlers of New Italy' Rosemary Harrigan, Werribee VIC 3030, April 2006, 188 pp.

De Stefani H.T. & Craven S.M. Eds. (1980) 'Our Italian Heritage' Centennial Celebration Committee, 1980, 263 pp. (popularly referred to as 'The Stud Book')

Thompson A.-G. (1980) 'Turmoil – Tragedy to Triumph: The Story of New Italy' International Colour Productions, Stanthorpe Qld 4380, 1980, ISBN 0 86774 000 0, 56 pp.

See also:

'New Italy Settlement', Heritage Council of NSW, version of Aug 2011 mirrored here

This a page within Linda Spinaze's Family Web-Site

Contact: Roger Clarke and Linda Spinaze

Created: 27 April 2011; Last Amended: 15 Feb 2014, 12 Dec 2020 (extra Tome link)