Who is the rightful Count of Senia? .
Who is the rightful Count of Senia? This title was created 6 June 1795 with remainder to all descendants. It is a Rohanite title and therefore not regarded as part of the old Nobility of Malta.
A Commission of 1878 avoided the question of the terms of succession but in 1887 a Committee ruled that it was transmissible by primogeniture. This decision was communicated to Governor Simmons who forwarded the decision to Secretary of State for the Colonies Henry Thurstan Holland who in turn opined the decision may be accepted without prejudice to any decision of a competent court of law.
Roger Messina Fontani succeeded as 5th count in 1933. He was descended in the primogenital line from the original grantee and Roger’s predeceased father was the eldest male amongst his siblings. Then something happened, one source says Roger was “assassinated in Algeria shortly after the end of the second World War”.
It appears nothing more was heard of Roger Messina or his family, at least in Malta.
Life carried on and some 40 years after Roger’s assumed death, the title was in 1983 “awarded” by a private committee, even though it was already illegal to have such associations, to Roger’s kinsman: The kinsman was Roger’s grandmother’s sister’s younger daughter’s grandson.
According to another source (Gauci, 1993) “On the 31st October 1990 the Magistrates Court of the Republic of Malta confirmed the (kinsman) in his possession of the estates of Senia which are also known as ta l’ erba’ qaddisin.” Given the disparity in dates, it is clear the property tenure established in 1990 was not a factor in the private committee’s “award” of 1983 and the decision must have relied only on the purported senior descent from the original grantee.
Now, it has been discovered Roger’s uncle Umberto Messina had children and grand children of his own. One of the descendants would like to have the record corrected.