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…


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