Maria Carolina Colangeli and Daughter Maria Giuseppa Marcella ~~ Grandpop’s Nonna and Zia


The Marcella Filatori and One of the Midwives~ Maria Carolina Colangeli and daughter Maria Giuseppa Marcella~ Several generations of Farindola and Montebello di Bertona women helped support their families in the profession of spinning. They were filatori – women who spin fibers into thread. Being a filatrice was a recognized female profession in Italy. They may have sold it to support their families, wove it, or knitted it to keep their families warm. The women in the mountains were most likely spinning wool for clothing and weaving, meaning that their husbands owned sheep and this was a means of supporting their livelihoods. They could also have spun cotton for lace. The women in Farindola had to weave their own sheets for bedding (according to a great aunt.)


 Maria Carolina Colangeli and the Filatori

The mother of Filippo Marcella (from this post) Maria Carolina Colangeli*, was a filatrice, who learned the skill from her mother and grandmother, also filatori. *So, if you are descended from Maria Giustina Marcella, Domenico Marcella, or Filippo Marcella, Maria Carolina Colangeli is their mother. The easiest explanation of Maria Carolina Colangeli is that she is the 3 x great grandmother of the writer.


Filatrice Maria Carolina Colangeli, was born on June 18, 1817, in Farindola, Pescara, Italy, to Berardino Colangeli and Anna Giuseppa Antonacci, from Montebello di Bertona, Pescara. Montebello is a smaller neighboring village. In what was probably an arranged marriage, Anna Giuseppa Antonacci was listed as a filatrice on record for her marriage to Berardino Colangeli. Data on the record also said Maria Carolina’s grandmother on her father’s side, Maria Carmina Crocetta (Bernardo Colangeli’s mother) was also a filatrice. Colangeli or Colangelo are the same surname – as they spell it varyingly in the 1810s and the 1820s in Montebello and Farindola. The record also reflected that Anna Giuseppa Antonacci’s mother was deceased. There was a lot of data received from that marriage document.

On November 21, 1840, Maria Carolina Colangeli married Massimo Nicola Marcella, son of Giuseppantonio Marcella and Maria Domenica Sciarra, in San Nicola di Bari, Farindola. They had 10 children, including two sets of twin girls. The first set of twin girls did not survive to adulthood. 8 of their 10 children were born in Trosciano, Farindola. As for the other remaining two, one was born in Casebruciate, Farindola (in the home of an in-law) and the other in the village. Probably for land reasons, at some point after the birth of all of their children, and in the years between 1857 and 1869, Maria Carolina and Massimo Nicola moved their farm from Trosciano to Casebruciate, Massimo Nicola’s birth place.

Maria Carolina and her daughters continued spinning in Casebruciate. According to the wedding records of Maria Carolina’s daughters, all were professional filatori by the time of their marriages and would have continued to spin like their mother, grandmother, and great grandmother to support their families.   Maria Carolina died on October 8, 1894, in house #65, Casebruciate, Farindola, at the age of 77.

The Children of Massimo Nicola Marcella and Maria Carolina Colangeli, 7 of which survived to adulthood:

Children 1 and 2 (Twins) born August 13, 1841 in Trosciano:

-Maria Domenica – death August 13, 1852

-Maria Giustina – death September 6, 1842

Child 3:

Maria Giustina Marcella, filatrice – born April 14, 1843 in the village – died January 10, 1912

Married Panfilo Zenone, foundling, parents of at least 6 including Giuseppe Zenone.

Child 4:

Filippo Marcella, contadino – born September 19, 1884 in Trosciano – died April 20, 1916 – married Mariantonia Lacchetta and Elisabetta Rossi. Father of at least 15 including Cesidio Marcella. 

Child 5:

Maria Giuseppa Marcella, levatrice and filatrice – born January 29, 1846 in Trosciano – died November 1, 1918 in Casebruciate. Married Giovanni Costantini, son of Domenico and Annantonia Falconetti, and had at least one child.

Child 6:

Antonio Marcella – born August 11, 1847 in Trosciano – died September 7, 1851

Child 7:

Domenico Marcella, contadino – born October 28, 1849 in Trosciano – died May 7, 1908 in Casebruciate. Married Maria Carmina Basilavecchia, daughter of Nicola Basilavecchia and Elisabetta Falconetti, and had at least 7 children including Gaetano Marcella.

Child 8:

Nicolantonio Marcella, contadino – born November 21, 1851 in Casebruciate – died ?

Married Maria Giuseppa Della Valle, daughter of Giacomo Della Valle and Angela Dea Falcucci, children?

Children 9 and 10 (Twins) Born April 17, 1854 in Trosciano:

-Serafina Marcella, filatrice, married Antonio Di Francesco, son of Luigi Di Francesco and Anna Emidia Lucerini. Antonio Di Francesco is the brother of Biagio Di Francesco who is the father of Paolo Di Francesco. Serafina and Antonio have a least one child.

A brief synopsis of Paolo Di Francesco’s ancestry:


Child 10: Maria Domenica Marcella, filatrice, married Vincenzo DiSilvestri, son of Domenicantonio DiSilvestri and Annantonia Viola. Children ?


Their surnames:

According to Cognomi Italiani, Antonacci is a diminutive of Antonio and is specific to Abruzzo. Colangeli/Colangelo is the shortened version of the male name Nicolangelo. Crocetta comes from the medieval Croce which is said to have come from the Greek equivalent Stavros!

Backtracking for the younger generation-

There are four main Farindola ancestral lines-Merlenghi, Marcella, Massei, and Di Francesco:

Cesidio Marcella married Serafina Merlenghi and had Nonno.   Paolo Di Francesco married Luigia Maria Massei and had Nonna.

The ladies in this post were the Farindola filatori. At this point in the research, they were the only women in Farindola spinning in their lifetimes. There are a couple more in the Pennesi Mincarelli line of the main Massei line – direct ancestors of Luigia Massei.


The records linked into this post from Antenati are:

Montebello Matrimoni 1815, #5 Colangelo – Antonacci

Penne Nati 1843, #238, Panfilo Zenone

Farindola Nati 1894, #70, Maria Giuseppa Marcella

Farindola Nati 1895, #20, Cesidio Marcella


Angelo Ferraro

Capitano Angelo Ferraro

Ferraro Surname

The word ferraro means blacksmith in Italian. It is an extremely common name in Italy and the United States. Only those that come from the Province of Caserta, near the birthplace of Angelo Ferraro, could even be considered to be a distant relation.


Capitano Angelo Ferraro

If you are descended from Carmine Ferraro, Angelo Ferraro was his father. Angelo Ferraro was born on March 30, 1842 in Santo Prisco, Caserta, Terra di Lavoro (present day Campania) in Regno Delle Due Sicilie (Italy) to Antonio Ferraro and Angela Maria Della Cava/o. San Prisco is a village about 15 miles north of Naples. Despite the commonality of the surname Ferraro, it is not common in the Comune di San Prisco so it was easy to find all of the Ferraros in their civil records.  Province of Caserta


Antonio Ferraro was a contadino. Specifically, bracciale, a hired farm-hand and his age at the time of the birth of Angelo makes him born around 1801. Across all of the records that Antonio Ferraro is recorded in Santo Prisco, he is a contadino. Angelo’s mother was born in Arienzo, about 3 miles away and was by occupation a filatrice – spinner.  Arienzo


If you can read the data in the picture, which is of a portion of Angelo’s birth act cited in the Registro degli atti dello stato civile, his father is simply Antonio Ferraro, bracciale. The birthdate listed on his American death record is only off by one day. There is the only one Angelo Ferraro born in that village in 25 years searched. In several American records, Angelo’s birthplace is declared as San Prisco, Caserta.

Angelo had one sibling, a sister named Maria Giuseppa who was nine years his senior. She was widowed by Stefano Ferraro of nearby Casagiove and married a second time to Vincenzo Vitale. Yes a Ferraro married another Ferraro. She had at least two children with Stefano.  She too married contadini and was noted as contadina in the records. With some hope, perhaps correspondence to the Archivio di Stato di Caserta can help locate information on the parents of Maria Giuseppa and Angelo.

In 1862, Angelo Ferraro entered the army in Italy’s first mandatory draft class. All 20 year old males had to report for service. On December 3, 1862 he reported to nearby Santa Maria Capua Vetere, kind of like the county seat, and was examined and declared able to perform military duty. He was put into the cavalry. The Caserta Archives located his draft record. They explained that more thorough military records of service started to be kept later. We don’t know yet when he was discharged.

Make no mistake, this draft does not confirm anything about Angelo Ferraro fighting in the battles during the unification of the country.   Also, there is no way at all that he was some kind of volunteer for a Northern Italian military leader, if he did indeed engage in battles during unification. You can read more on Italian military history here. Again, this March 30, 1842 birth date on the draft record is confirmed by the commune’s birth record.  This is likely the same man. In the obituary written by his son, Angelo was termed a Retired Army Captain.

Angelo’s mother died in 1881 in San Prisco. Her age was recorded as 81 at the time of death, as having been born in Arienzo, and the daughter of Luca Della Cava. At the time of her death, Angelo’s father Antonio was still alive. Maria Giuseppa had married her second husband Vincenzo Vitale in San Prisco and Angelo was married to Filomena Napolitano and living in Montecalvario Naples. He was already the father of two sons: Antonio, born in 1876 and Carmine, born in 1878. (More on Filomena and all of her children in later posts.)

Backtracking a few years, by 1878, according to Carmine’s birth record, Angelo was recorded on his son’s birth record as Angelo Ferraro, negoziante (merchant.) The verbal history says the shop was an olive oil and cheese store. At this time Angelo was 39.

What was Montecalvario? The city of Naples is so large it is separated 30 neighborhoods or quarters. Montecalvario is in the tip of the Quartieri Spagnoli (Spanish Quarters) containing several neighborhoods. To read more about Montecalvario and the Spanish Quarters, click here and here. Since Angelo and his family lived at 16 Pignasecca, Montecalvario, they lived on the side of the Via Roma containing historic buildings. Even so, it is unfortunate that bad foreign rule created such a place that gave a reputation to the other side of Via Roma that has not changed since the Spaniards conquered Naples in the 16th Century.   Today, Via Roma is a touristy avenue.

Angelo decided to leave for America when he was 61. After a two week voyage, on November 11, 1903, Angelo Ferraro arrived at Ellis Island to meet up with his oldest son, Antonio, residing on Navy Street in Brooklyn on the ship SS Lombardia. We don’t know how long Antonio had been in America. Hopefully Angelo’s passport information is available from the archives in Italy.

Unfortunately, 61 year old Angelo was detained at Ellis Island. This is the information originally written in for Angelo Ferraro on the ship manifest at Line 28:

Age: 61

Gender: Male

Married: M

Calling or Occupation: Barber

Able to Read/Write: Yes

Nationality: Italy (South)

Race or People: Southern Italian

Last Residence: Napoli

Final Destination: NY

Whether having a ticket to final destination: Yes

By whom passage was paid: himself

Whether in possession of at least $50: $80

In the United States before: No

Whether going to a friend or relative and complete address: Son, Antonio, NY, 156 Navy Street, NY

These were the additions:

The word barber was crossed out and the word MERCHANT was written in.

$80 was crossed out and $680.00 was written in. That is roughly $17,000.00 today.

A note was added to Antonio’s address: Brooklyn.

When you examine passenger manifests for arrivals at Ellis Island, the list of detainees, reason for detaining, and release or deportation listing are located at the end of arrivals for each day. There is either a page missing because, those singled out on his ship to be detained are not on that listing for November 11th, or they changed their mind. Which is highly doubted. Short video on detainee conditions here.

Six months later, his wife and at least 3 of his daughters joined him in Brooklyn. Filomena’s and the manifest of her children will be explored in her post because she too was detained.

One year later, at the time of the New York State Census in 1905, Angelo, Filomena and all of their daughters are residing at 22 Havemeyer Street, Brooklyn. Navy Street at that time was apparently a rough place to reside if you care to google it – so it was probably a good thing he moved. In that 1905 Census he is listed as head of household and his work is “at home” meaning retired. Also according to this census, there is a Giuseppe Ferraro and family living down the street from them. Maybe he was a relation.

By 1907 Angelo and Filomena were living at 394 West Goodale Street, Columbus, Ohio. In 1908 they had moved to Collins Avenue, Columbus.

In September 1911 he visited Naples. Specifically 22 Via Montesanto, Montecalvario. There is a monastery on that street but not at that address. Upon return in May 1912 he declared he had been living in Columbus. He is not listed as naturalized.

After Filomena passed away in 1914, Angelo went to live with his daughter Elena and her husband Angelo Scarnecchia in Warren, Ohio. In the 1920 Census his resident status in their home on North Ave in Warren is listed as Alien and at the time he answered that he could not speak English or read and write. He lived there with Elena his daughter, Angelo Scarnecchia, his son-in-law, their three sons-Armand, Orazio, and Angelo, and their daughter, Cleonice. Also residing with them was the daughter of Angelo’s oldest daughter Maria Angela Ferraro Valerioti and Al Valerioti – Margherita Valerioti. As in the other censuses for Angelo, he is not working.

There are some stories about special photos of Angelo and his wife in Italy. Unfortunately they are not in the possession of this branch of the Ferraro descendants.


On October 10, 1926, Angelo A. Ferraro passed away at age 85 in Warren, Ohio. According to the death certificate, his body was released to be buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Following research, it was found that he is buried in an unmarked plot owned by Angelo Scarnecchia in that cemetery. His grave is the only grave in the 4 grave plot. His Italian military medals passed to his granddaughter Cleonice Scarnecchia.

If you would like a picture of the large draft record, impossible to include here, let me know. If you desire a copy of the S.S. Lombardia’s manifest, a younger photograph of Angelo taken in Italy, or his obituary please contact me.

Finally, the research on Angelo’s parents is not easy to locate like the other Italian ancestors. Twenty years of marriage records were searched in San Prisco for their wedding and was not located. Therefore, they were married in a different commune. Since Angelo’s mother was born in Arienzo, they may have been married there. There is also the possibility Antonio was born elsewhere too because the surname Ferraro is not common in San Prisco.

If you have more to add, please do…remember the facts stated here can change as new information is found…

Claiming Immigrants

~ The First Italians, First Swiss, and First Germans ~ This week you can’t escape the media coverage about the EU and their refugee crisis.  It was hard to not think of the original immigrants in my ancestry.   Mine obviously left for opportunity.  A few left to avoid impending civil war.  It is a mystery why the Neapolitans left.  And the Swiss one left to follow love.  So, not trying to diminish the perils, prejudices, and problems the migrants and refugees face in Europe today, these are the deceased European immigrants I claim.

The Marcella Side:


Serafina Merlenghi, first woman in her family to arrive and live on American soil. Mother of 4.

Arrived April 13, 1948 at age 51.

She was born June 1, 1896 in Macchie, Farindola, Pescara to Cesidio Merlenghi and Maria Michela Cirone.

Never naturalized. Died in Italy.


Cesidio Marcella, construction worker, plastering business. Italian Army Veteran of World War I.

Arrived September 19, 1923 at age 28.

Born February 11, 1895 in Casebruciate, Farindola, Pescara to Filippo Marcella and Elisabetta Rossi from Baccuco.

Naturalized citizen.

Grandmom and Grandpop

The Ferraro Side:

Carmine Costantino Girolamo Angelo Ferraro, Italian army service, priest, editor of L’Eco di Columbus, foreign language instructor, fruit broker, operatic tenor, opera school director, conductor.

Arrived April 28, 1904 at age 25.

Carmen Ferraro

Born November 20, 1878 in Montecalvario of the Spanish Quarter, Naples to Angelo Ferraro and Filomena Napolitano.

Naturalized citizen.


Filomena Napolitano, blacksmith’s daughter, mother of 6.

Arrived April 28, 1904 at age 59 and was detained at Ellis Island with her daughters.


Born February 10, 1845 in Contrada Dell’Arco, Nola, Campania to Carmine Napolitano, a master tailor’s son and Maria Michela Sabatino, a tavernkeeper’s daughter from Sirico (Saviano).

Never naturalized.

Angelo Ferraro, retired Italian Army captain, merchant.

Arrived November 24, 1903 at age 61 and was detained at Ellis Island.


Born March 30, 1842 in Santo Prisco, Caserta, Campania to Antonio Ferraro, a contadino, and Angela Maria Della Cava, a spinner/lace-maker from Arienzo.

Never naturalized.


Anne Marie Aloyse Heinzen, owned a boarding house, dressmaker.

Arrived March 25, 1885 at age 22.

Born September 2, 1862 in Lingwurm, Brig, Valais, Switzerland to Anton Joseph Heinzen and Regina Anna Maria Gentinetta.  Was of Swiss German and Northern Italian descent.

First female ancestor to become a naturalized citizen.

Louis Kirsch, chef, Palmer House and Lakeside Club.

Likely arrived between 1884 -1885.  He was not on Anne Heinzen’s ship.  Last residence before Chicago was Brig, Switzerland.

Born November 19, 1862 in Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany to William and ?

Naturalized citizen.

great grandmother Helen

Helen Kirsch, daughter of Louis and Anna Heinzen

Emilie/Emilia Bold, farmer’s daughter.

Arrived about 1867 with her parents and siblings.

Born April 12, 1843 in Nunschweiler, Rheinpfalz, Germany to Francis Jacob Bold and Elisabeth Schaid.

Women did not naturalize when she arrived.


Johannes/John Leies, tavern/boarding house owner, piano maker and store owner.

Arrived 1867 at age 24.

Born April 22, 1843 in Nunschweiler, Rheinpfalz, Germany to Adam Leies and Magaretha Pfeiffer.

Naturalized three months after arrival.


Alex Leies, son of John Leies and Emilie Bold.

Fritz/Frederick/Freidrich Eckebrecht, carpenter, butcher shop owner, speaker of a Comanche tongue.

Arrived May 25, 1866 with his parents and siblings at age 18.


Born January 18, 1848 in Schwarzburg, Thuringia, Germany to Quirinus Eckebrecht, a baker, and Marie Louise Koppel from Koerner, Thuringia.

Naturalized citizen.


Louisa Gerbing, cholera victim.  Mother of first ancestor born on American soil.

Sailed for Quebec City on May 1, 1852 from Hamburg Germany with parents and siblings at age 16.  Born August 19, 1835 in Vieselbach, Prussia to Freidrich Gerbing, a bricklayer, and Marta ?  Her brother was a Chicago police sergeant.

Louisa Gerbing is my 3 x great grandmother.

The first – Johann/John Schuttler, company foreman at Peter Schuttler’s Wagon Company.

Arrived 1849 at age 19.

Born September 26, 1829 in Wachenheim, Rheinpfalz, Germany to ? ?

The first to naturalize and the first to vote.

John Schuttler is my 3 x great grandfather.