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"Counts di Beberrua"

The Coat of Arms (Deguara Caruana Gatto) in Colour was produced by Andrea Sacco-Baldacchino Cascun. (Press here for contact)

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 Case Study of the title of Beberrua.

Last Update: 01-08-2017.

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* Notary Tomaso Gatt,(Press Here to See Ancestry),  married 1717 Valletta to Rosa Maria Camilleri, with issue.

1. Uditor Francesco Saverio Gatto, married 1751 Rabat Gozo to Maria Angelica Aquilina, with issue.
1.1. Dr Luigi Maria Gatto, LL.D (1762-1825), 1st Count of Beberrua (Cr:1783) -See Below.
1.2. Fra. M'Angelo Gatto, dunm.
1.3. Vernanda Gatto, married
Marquis Girolamo Delicata, (See Ghajn Qajjed).
2. Giovanna Gatto, married 1754 Valletta to Dr Felice Ferranti JUD.

3. Dr. Federico Gatto JUD, married
Chiara Mannarino, with issue.
3.1. Rosa Gatto, married Dr Giovanni Debono JUD, with issue.
3.1.1. Federico Debono, married 1816 to Angelica Burlo, with issue. Giuseppe Debono. Edward Debono. Rosa Debono, married 1834 Valletta to Vincenzo Formosa. Giovanna Debono, married Giuseppe Cuschieri. Fortunata Debono, married Emmanuele NN. Giuditta Debono.

3.1.2.  Giuseppina Debono., married 1817 Valletta  to Salvatore Bardon.

3.2. Innocenza Gatto, married 1802 to Carmelo Camilleri, with issue.
3.2.1. Giovanna Camilleri, married (1) 1821 to
Saverio Coen., Married (2) Saverio Borg.
3.2.2. Rosa Camilleri, married 1837 Valletta to Dr. Salvatore de Salvo JUD..
3.2.3. Adelaide Camilleri, married 1844 to
Conte Alessandro Preziosi.
3.2.4. Amabile Camilleri.

3.2.5. Praxede Camilleri., married Dr Ignazio Pace Forno JUD.

3.3. Maria Giuseppa Gatto, married 1790 to Emanuele Borg Olivier, with issue.
4. Dr. Tomaso Gatto JUD.,  married 1772 to
Teresa Dandalona., with issue.
4.1. Canon Carlo Gatto., dunm.
4.2. Dr. Gregorio Gatto JUD., Deputy Lieutenant of Birkirkara (1815 -1839), married 1813 Valletta to
Agata Bonavita.
4.3. Giuseppe Gatto, dunm.
4.4. Maddalena Gatto, dunm.
4.5. Graziulla Gatto., married 1805 Birkirkara to Notary Niccolo Decelis., with issue.

4.5.1. Pietro Paolo Decelis, married 1848 Naxxar to Maria Anna Borg.

4.5.2. Lorenzo Francesco Decelis, married 1858 Birkirkara to Carola Borg.

4.5.3. Aloisio Decelis, married 1871 Birkirkara to Marianna Saydon.


* Dr Luigi Maria Gatto, LL.D (1762-1825), 1st Count of Beberrua (Cr:1783).
Married (1) 1784 to Marianna Dingli.
Married (2) 1795 to
Francesca Saveria Xerri, Daughter of Giovanni Xerri.

Footnote: The title of Conte di Beberrua was granted on the 23rd October 1783 by Grand Master Rohan to Luigi (Ludovico) Gatt, in the following terms: - Tibi tribuimus, concedimus, et fidelitate nostra donamus, ac te Comitis hujusmodi titulo decoramus et insignimus nec non ita nominari posse et debere. The terms of the grant are similar to those of the patents of the Barone diBuleben and the Marchese di San Giorgio in the sense that none of these original grants contain any provision for succession after the grantee. Such grants were by the Grand Master himself taken to be personal, and as such, they could only be extended on an application of the grantees themselves. According the 1878 Commissioners Report, no such application was ever filed.

In view of this, it follows that Luigi (or Ludovico) should be listed as the first and last count of Beberrua. In fact, according to the 1878 report, it appears that Ludovico's son (Nicolo) unsuccessfully claimed this title because the Commissioners held that concluded that the title became extinct upon the death of the original grantee Luigi, sive Ludovico, Gatt.  See: Correspondence and Report of the Commission appointed to enquire into the claims and grievances of the Maltese Nobility, May 1878, presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty (C.-2033.) (

Nicolo was born much later after the 1783 grant. In fact, Nicola was born of the grantee's second marriage, the grantee having remarried in 1795. Apart from the reasons explained in the Commissioner’s report , it is therefore unlikely that in 1783 the Grand Master ever contemplated the possibility that Ludovico was going to have any issue at all.

The claimant Dr. Nicolo Gatt pursued his claim to the title which was granted to his father, and in 1883, a Committee of five Titolati (namely Ciantar, Apap Bologna, De Piro, Manduca and Delicata) recommended to the British Secretary of State for the Colonies that Our opinion is that the title at the death of the grantee vested in Conte Nicolo Gatt LL.D., the only surviving son of the person first ennobled, and that it should continue to descend, de primogenito in primogenitum in infinitum, to the male descendants of the grantee. Under these circumstances we consider this title fully deserving the grace and favour of recognition from the Crown, that the bearer may have his name duly entered in the official list of Titolati. This recommendation was accepted by the Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Thus the adjusted succession as per the 1883 decision of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, allows Nicolo (or Nicola) Gatt to succeed Ludovico Gatt as the 2nd Count of Beberrua.,

In terms of the Committee's recommendation and decision of the Secretary of State, the title albeit extended to Nicolo, could only be succeeded by the male descendants de primogenito in primogenitum.

Nicolo, in turn, did not have any descendants; nor did he have any brothers. However, he had a sister married to a Dr. G.S. Caruana and their son Antonio Caruana Gatto claimed the courtesy title of Conte di Beberrua.

A question therefore arose whether the son of a female descendant could be called to the succession of this title, that is to say artificial agnation. As a rule, succession is considered in the light of the terms of the grant, original or amended. However, in this particular case, the grant excluded succession and the title was only extended by a decision of a mere Secretary of State and the aforesaid question was considered in the light of such decision only.
According to the general rule (when considering a grant), it is a settled point of jurisprudence that the appellation of male descendants includes not only the sons issuing from the male line (masculi ex masculis), but also those issuing from the female line (masculi ex foeminis), when, however, some other expression occurs in the deed of grant which controls the meaning of that term, as for instance when the grantor limits his grant to such among his male descendants as should belong to the male line (descendentes masculi ex linea masculina), or when he employs other words which clearly show that he contemplated the grantee’s agnatio, in such case, the effect of the disposition is limited to the male line, and on the failure of males issuing from that line the grant becomes extinct, the male issue of daughters not being called into succession.
. It is clear that the 1883 decision did not make any such limitation. The fact that the Secretary of State was not a fons honorum appears to have been overlooked in determining this question.

An uproar arose in December 1886, when Antonio Caruana Gatto (not Caruana Gatt but Caruana Gatto) formally enquired about the seating arrangements on the occasion of a dinner in honour of HSH the Duke of Edinburgh. Caruana Gatto was incensed by the fact that he, the nearest and dearest to Nicolo, was informed that he was not entitled to be seated amongst the heirs apparent. The organizers persisted in their decision and the seatless Antonio filed a petition on the 26 January 1887 to the Committee of Privileges of the Maltese Nobility saying that the organizers had committed a great error for having done what they did. - The committee convened a sitting on the 27 January 1887 and declared and decided that Caruana Gatto was entitled to the designation of Contino di Beberrua. In reaching its decision, the Committee of five Titolati (namely Ciantar, Apap, De Piro, Delicata and Testaferrata Olivier) invoked the terms of Government Notice No. 63 of the 27 August 1881, published in Government Gazette No. 2918. and tactfully cited in its decision the entire text of that notice with the exception of the last proviso. The correspondence relative to this incident is found in Copies or Extracts of Further Correspondence with reference to the Maltese Nobility (In continuation of [C-4628a] May 1886 presented to both houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty August 1888 [C5490], pages 3-8.  That report also notes that all three of the documents said to have been filed together with Caruana Gattos petition were in fact never received by the Committee.

It appears that following this incident, the title of Conte di Beberrua was thereafter considered as transmissible through artificial agnation and ulterior enumeration follows what it may be today.

1. (Second Marriage) Nobile Dr Nicola Gatto, LL.D, 2nd Count of Beberrua (by 1883 decision of the Secretary of State for the Colonies) -See Below.

2. Nobile Giuseppe Gatto., dunm.
3. Nobile Angelica Gatto, married 1830 to
Dr G.S. Caruana, LL.D, with issue
3.1. Nobile Dr Antonio Caruana Gatto, LL.D, 3rd Count -
See Below.

3.2. Nobile Francesca Caruana Gatto, (1835-), married Saverio Giappone.

3.3. Nobile Caterina Caruana Gatto, (1838-), married Carmelo Cilia.

3.4. Nobile Nicola Maria Caruana Gatto, (1841-1923 Darwin Australia), Migrated after his marriage in 1880, married to Marchesa Carmela dei Marchesi Testaferrata, with issue.

3.4.1. Nobile Godfrey Caruana, (1882 Darwin - 1965 Darwin), De Jure 7th Count of Beberrua, married 1917 Darwin to (Met while in Malta) Nobile Esther Vassallo dei Baroni di Bauvso, with issue. Nobile Rev. Michel'Angelo Caruana, (1923- 1968 Malaysia), dunm. Nobile Catherine Caruana, (1926-1978). "Nun". Nobile Virginia Caruana, (1929-64), married 1946 Darwin to Jacob Elisemann, with issue. Nobile Charles Caruana, (1932-44), killed in the bombing of Darwin, dunm. Nobile Thomas Caruana Gatto, (1935-2016). (Placed an extra Surname of Gatto to himself and descendants on 2000), De Jure 8th Count of Beberrua, married 1954 Darwin to Elisa Cassimatis, with issue. Nobile Geoffrey Caruana Gatto, (1955-., (Rightful heir to the title of Counts of Beberrua as 9th Count,), married 1974 Darwin, NT to Jane Worth, with issue.  Nobile Tom Caruana Gatto, (1976-, Contino di Beberrua, married 2000 Katherine NT, Australia (Div 2015) to Stacey Longsworth, with issue. Nobile Jack Caruana Gatto, (1998-. (Child born with Natasha Robertson) Xan Tomas Caruana Robertson, (2016 Darwin, NT, Australia -. (Child born with Natasha Robertson) David Vincent Caruana Robertson, (2017 Darwin, NT, Australia -. Nobile Rachelle Caruana Gatto, (2000-. Nobile Nathan Caruana Gatto, (2004-. Nobile Dean Caruana Gatto, (2008-. Nobile George Caruana Gatto, (1979-, married 2015 Katherine NT, Australia to Lisa Smith, with issue. Nobile Christabel Caruana, (2016-. Nobile Mary Anne Caruana Gatto, (1983-, married 2014 Katherine, NT, Australia to Roderick Burgess, with issue. Gavin Keith Burgess, (2016-. Nobile Georgiana Caruana, (1958-., married 1985 Darwin NT to Wally Selwood, with issue.

3.4.2. Nobile Bianca Caruana, (1884- 1903 Darwin), married 1902 Darwin to Henry Leonard Smith, with issue.

3.4.3. Nobile Victor Caruana, (1886-1944), dunm. "left illegitimate issue in Darwin as Carwana". (Illegitimate from an Aboriginal lady called Sissy) Harold Carwana, (1919 Darwin NT - 1953 Katherine NT), had many children from various women unrecorded.. (Illegitimate from an Aboriginal lady called Sissy) Eddy Carwana, (1920 Darwin NT - 1982 Darwin NT), had many children from various women.. (illegitimate from an Aboriginal lady called Sissy) Eve Carwana, (1922 Darwin NT - ), married with various Aboriginal men. (illegitimate from an Aboriginal lady called Sissy) Charlie Carwana, (1924 Darwin NT - 1943), Served for Australia in WWII, also had a child. (illegtimate from an Aboriginal lady called Jane) Catherine Carwana, (1944 Katherine NT -) Adopted out, unknown..

3.4.4. Peter Caruana, (1887-1944), dunm. "left illegitimate issue as Carwana" - Noted that the various children were adopted so all unknown.

4. Nobile Eugenia Gatto, married 1819 to Giuseppe Bonici-Mompalao, with issue. 

5. Nobile Caterina Gatto., dunm.


* Nobile Dr Nicolo Gatto LL.D (1800-91), 2nd Count of Beberrua, (by 1883 decision of the Secretary of State for the Colonies) dunm.

* Nobile Dr Antonio Caruana Gatto, M.D. (1839-1919), 3rd Count of Beberrua, (first acknowledged by Committee of Privileges of the Maltese Nobility as Contino di Beberrua, January 1887)
Married 1867 to
Vincenza Formosa Montalto de Fremaux dei Conti di Santa Sofia, with issue

1. Nobile Dr Alfredo Caruana Gatto, LL.D, 4th Count -See Below.
2. Nobile Rev. Mgr. Roberto Caruana Gatto, 6th Count -See Below.
3. Nobile Dr Federico Caruana Gatto, LL.D, 5th Count -See Below.
4. Nobile Maria Caruana Gatto, (1879-1952), married to Nicodemo Gandolfo, dsp.
5. Nobile Giuseppina Caruana Gatto (1884-1939), Married 1922 to
Paolo Nicolo Apap Bologna, 5th Marquis di Gnien-is-Sultan, Hereditary Noble of Hungary..



* Nobile Dr Alfredo Caruana Gatto, LL.D ( 1869-1926), 4th Count of Beberrua,
Married 1902 to Assiminia Roncali (Daughter of Dr. Zaccaria Roncali, LL.D, Puisne Judge of Malta) and Dsp.

* Nobile Dr Federico Caruana Gatto, LL.D, (1873-1934), 5th Count of Beberrua, and dunm.  

* Nobile Rev. Mgr. Roberto Caruana Gatto, (1871-1941), 6th Count of Beberrua, dunm  

Footnote: This lady is recorded as having succeeded the title as “7th Countess”. In doing so, it must be assumed that yet another adjustment must have been effected to the remainder of the 1783 grant, because tenure by a female is contemplated by neither the 1783 grant, nor the 1883 decision of the Secretary of State, nor by the Committee decision of 1887. To date, published sources are not helpful in this regard.



Titled, De Jures and Heirs.

* According to the letters patent: Extinct, unless there are descendants of Emmanuele Caruana Gatto in the male line.
Though if the title was limited to male descendants, then I would suggest the title should be in the hands of Paul Deguara Caruana Gatto. His brother Henry as his heir.
* Heir: male descendants of Emmanuele Caruana Gatto.

Other Links:

1. Count Luigi Maria Gatto ancestors.

2. Francesca Xaveria Xerri Ancestors.



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