Back in 2003, while researching the Waldenses of Piedmont online, I came across a web book called, “The Search for Jean Cardon,” by Marriner Cardon. On the second page of this web book was a portion of a map of Piedmont showing the Valley of Luzern, and I was surprised to also see a location for La Combe there as well!
Not realizing what a major discovery this was, I casually saved a copy of the map to my computer, added it to my website, and then moved on to other research.
About two years later, I get an introductory email from a distant cousin, Quincy Abbot, who was absolutely elated to see the map on my website. He inquired about the source of the map, which led me to try and scour the internet to find the web book that it came from.
Fast forward to 2007. After searching off and on almost a year, I finally found the web book that contained the original map. I emailed the author of the web book, to see if he could share the map source with me. I wasn’t sure if he would even email back. However, two days later, I get an email from Marriner Cardon with wonderful news – not only a source for the map, but also a current day map showing the location of La Combe!
Thanks for your letter. I enjoyed a visit to your web-site.
That map is a portion of a fold-out map I found in the front of The Waldenses or Protestant Valleys of Piedmont, Dauphiny, and the Ban de la Roche (“The Waldenses” for short) by William Beattie, M.D. published in London by George Virtue in 1838.
Among my older books, I found another map showing the site of la Comba. This is a fold-out map in a book entitled A Tour in the Valleys of Piedmont, by Noel. I’m guessing this was published sometime in the later 1800s. The title page is missing or perhaps never existed as the page following the map is headed: “Notes of a Tour in the Valleys of Piedmont, in the Summer of 1854.” The author’s name does not appear in full anywhere in this copy. I have attached the map as Noel-Piedmont.jpg. HereIa Comba appears south and somewhat west of the summit of Mt. Vandalino. The name apparently has a topographical connotation but not exactly as you indicate on the web-site.
In “The Names of Families of the Valle Valdesi” (referred to in Search…) Osvaldo Coisson doesn’t mention any Larcoms, but he does have this to say about the family name Comba [also Combe, Cumba Combo and Combat]: [My very rough translation] “…In the 16th century there were as many C.s in Val Luserna as in Val San Martino, and also among the Calabrian Vaudois. In topography comba or cumba means a depression, basin or narrow valley and therefore is a very common term in our Valleys. Thus some locations have the name because of (topographical) position or perhaps because the inhabitants are of that family name. The surname derives certainly from topography in the sense of ‘inhabitants of a comba’.”
You will note on the Noel-Piedmont map a stream called “Combe des Charboniers” in the lower left portion of the map, and also a stream called “Comba” flowing into the Torrente Angrogna north of the Pra del Tor.
I’m also attaching a scan from a modern (c. 1985) topo map I purchased in Torre Pellice. It is from a map titled “MONVISO”, No. 6 in a series of topo maps published by Instituto Geografico Centrale in Torino. If you look just north of Villar Pellice on this map you will note a cluster of buildings called “Comba”. Also, further north and west, just off of footpath #129 (footpaths are in red) you will find a few buildings with the name “Pra la Comba” (Pra meaning meadow or field).
I hope this is helpful.