Italian American and German American Heritage Months


Italian American Heritage Month is October.  German American Heritage Month is September 15-October 15.  These months were created to celebrate the many achievements made by the successes of Italian Americans and German Americans.  Coincidentally these months overlap each other on the anniversaries of several of the dates that my Italian and German ancestors became Naturalized Citizens of the United States.

-2nd Great Grandfather Johann Leies, naturalized in Ohio on October 4, 1867.

-Great Grandfather Cesidio Marcella, naturalized in Queens County, New York on October 4, 1929.

-2nd Great Grandfather Fritz Eckebrecht, naturalized in Chicago on October 5, 1888.

-Great Grandfather Carmine Ferraro, naturalized in Chicago on October 27, 1911.

What is it about October and Naturalizations?

Because we only have Johann Leies’s naturalization date and not his record, the oldest Naturalization Record we have is from 1888 and it is.  It belonged to Fritz Eckebrecht and came from Frank Eckebrecht who researched his family with Uncle John for decades.


Click to enlarge


A Little Bit about German Americans and Italian Americans

Germans brought the Christmas tree to America while the Italians brought their food and family-centered culture to America.  Our country is named after an Italian.  German Americans are the largest ancestry group in America today and the largest number of German Americans live in Pennsylvania today.

Most of the Germans in Pennsylvania are descendants of the Germans from the Palatinate (or Pennsylvania Dutch).  Not until I started genealogy did I know that the German language of the Palatinate is that of the Pennsylvania Dutch.  My 100% German American grandmother had 50% Palatinate ancestry.  She never lived in Pennsylvania.  She was born in Chicago at a time when Germans made up the largest ethnic group there.

Grandma said she remembered anti-German sentiment after World War I.  Some Germans Americanized their surnames and were forced to purchase war bonds to prove American support.  Another fact that I didn’t know until I started doing genealogy was that German Americans were detained and placed in internment camps during World War I and World War II.  Italian Americans were placed in internments camps during World War II.  I am not sure if either group ever received a formal apology from the government.  I am happy to report that this did not happen to any of my ancestors.  Even so, it is a struggle to obtain government records on an Italian in my tree between the World Wars where I believe someone was a victim of anti-Italian sentiment.  You can read more about German Americans and their heritage through Wikipedia here.

Italian Americans are the fourth largest ethnic population in America.  Besides their food and family-centered culture, they brought opera, bocce, and Montessori schools to America.  Philadelphia has the second largest Italian American community in the country.  You can read more about Italian Americans and their heritage here.

I think I will pack an Italian hoagie for lunch.  Later I will make some stick to your ribs Pennsylvania Dutch chicken corn soup for dinner.  Next: Brick Wall Wednesday









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