Not all who say what they are, are entitled to what they claim to be even if they have been accepted by ‘Orders’ or “a directory of nobles”.
For a definitive and authentic list of Titles of Nobility granted and recognized by the Grand Masters who ruled Malta between 1530 and 1798, and their correct dates of creation and succession.
Other sporadic recognitions or successions implied by the Grand Masters are verifiable by other authentic documents from the same period.
It is not being implied that present-day claims to titles and successions which are not verifiable by either one or the other, are necessarily fraudulent or mistaken; But a higher grade of proof is expected.
There is a real risk that during the nineteenth or twentieth century someone managed to accumulate official-looking documents “validating” pretensions which would otherwise have no basis on the 1530-1798 documents. The result may not only favour someone notwithstanding the lack of basis, but may also prevent another person who has a claim based on those documents to come forward.
An underlying problem in many instances is that a publisher, institution or individual who has been deceived in this manner is not likely to wish to admit it in a public way.
The following comment to beware fraudulent or mistaken pretensions, could apply to Malta and any other country in the world.
Recent decades have witnessed an increasingly widespread interest in coats of arms and titles of nobility, especially among Italian descendants abroad, many of whom have been deceived by heraldic or genealogical research firms (some, ironically, operated by noble families) into believing themselves to be armigerous or even titled. The internet has made it easier than ever to deceive the public.
The sale of Italian noble titles is entirely fraudulent; a titled Italian cannot divest himself of a title of nobility, even with a notarised document, and under Italian heraldic law an adoptive child could not become the heraldic or nobiliary heir of his adoptive father.
Examples abound of people who – either intentionally or out of simple ignorance – claim titles to which they have no right.
This phenomenon is not unique to Italians, and in recent years a number of individuals (including some in the Americas) have even falsified lineages to successfully convince the Order of Malta or other organisations of their ancestral “nobility.”
On a grander stage stand various Sicilians who claim to be Byzantine, Norman, Aragonese or Swabian “princes” of long-extinct medieval dynasties that ruled Sicily in centuries past.
This kind of misrepresentation is nothing new, and a few of these claimants have been in business for decades; in at least two families some enterprising ancestors managed to accumulate official-looking documents seemingly recognising or “validating” their fantastic pretensions during the nineteenth century.
For a fee, these eccentric “pretenders” create titles of nobility, grant coats of arms and bestow knighthoods which, of course, are completely fake. Yet they manage to deceive otherwise well-informed people.
An underlying problem in many instances is that a publisher (of a directory of “noble” families), institution (such as the Order of Malta) or individual (the newly-ennobled “count” or “baron”) who has been deceived in this manner is not likely to wish to admit it in a public way, so the charlatans are not always identified.
In one case a Sicilian falsified several certificates of baptism and marriage to (deceptively) prove his kinship with a baronial family.
In another, a man presented to a European heraldic authority a lineal pedigree in which three successive 18th-century generations of ancestors (linking him to an aristocratic family) were purely hypothetical.
Both of these pedigrees were accepted by “experts” in the Order of Malta who should have known better.”
(source: http://www.bestofsicily.com/heraldry.htm uploaded 10 June 2011)