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.


3 thoughts on “Claiming Immigrants

  1. Sandy September 9, 2015 / 12:50 pm

    Great detail! Can’t wait to read more!


    • AC September 9, 2015 / 12:54 pm



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