Immigrant Angela Maria Ferraro Valerioti was a younger sister of my great grandfather Carmen (Carmine) Ferraro. Because she was the oldest daughter, Angela Maria was named after her paternal grandmother Angela Maria Delle Cave. She was born about 1881 in Naples and came to America with her mother and sisters to meet Angelo Ferraro, on April 28, 1904. Like her father Angelo, she was detained at Ellis Island, as indicated by the “X” next to her name. Unlike Angelo, we know the reason for her detainment. By scrolling to the detained passenger listing at the end of the manifests in the archive’s batch, it was written that she was detained because Angelo was late picking all of them up. As soon as he arrived they, they were released to go with him and live in Brooklyn.
By 1905, Angela Maria, or Maria as she was called, had married immigrant Gerardino (Jerry) Valerioti and had her first child, Albert in New York City. I found Jerry living in Waterbury, Conn. in 1904. He was employed as a barber. By 1907 Maria and Jerry had moved to Columbus, Ohio where he was employed as a masseur. She stayed close to her parents and siblings who also were living in Columbus. Her daughter Margherita was born in Ohio.
From there, in 1908, Maria and Jerry had moved to Chicago where they had their son Umberto and Jerry once more found employment as a barber. Again, Maria and her brother Carmen appear to be in close contact, because at this time, Carmen had also moved to Chicago, was working as a language instructor in Chicago, and was getting married to Helen. Maria had two more children in Chicago – Angelo and Celestino Vincenzo (Charles) before moving.
By 1913, like Carmen, Maria and Jerry were back in Columbus where Jerry continued his profession as a barber. By 1918, Maria and family had moved to the Bronx and that is where we pick up Jerry having to complete his World War I draft card. According to the card, he was employed in his own business at that time – wine dealer at Monte Vesuvio Cellar Company. I still haven’t been able to find Jerry’s entry into the country but am aware the surname isn’t common. Censuses say he entered the US between 1894 and 1899 and was naturalized about 1908. A few Valerioti are present in Naples today and the rest are present in Calabria. Seeing the name of his own wine dealing company, I suspect he was as Neapolitan as Maria. But am not entirely convinced of that yet.
In 1919, Maria passed away in NYC and was buried in Calvary Cemetery. In 1920 Jerry was employed as a salesman for a steamship company. In 1925 he was involved in selling real estate. According to the 1930 Census, he was a laborer in construction, and also in 1930, he was on Carmen’s letterhead as “Representative” in the International Opera Association Company Carmen had based in Chicago. That fact makes it clear that Jerry seemed to be in contact with his brother-in-law Carmen after his wife’s death. Jerry re-married to a woman named Mary by 1925, and it is apparent that he adopted her son Michael. She died at some point before 1928, because he then married Immaculata Rongo. He also adopted her daughter Gloria.
I traced Maria’s children. Umberto was deceased by 1925. Her daughter Margherita appears to have died in Las Vegas in 1976. I couldn’t determine whether or not she ever married. Charles (Celestino) and Angelo both married Italian-Americans and stayed in New York and raised families there. Charles Valerioti was a president of a refuse company called C.A. Refuse Company based in Mount Vernon, New York. An article posted below from Tarrytown, NY has a mention of his refuse company as well as a grand jury proceeding.
Charles was never charged with anything and didn’t appear to be involved in the Mount Vernon incinerator issue that brought about the inquiry.
The oldest child of Maria, Albert, was in the newspapers too. An article about private investigators featured in articles across the country said he was a former New York City Police Officer. It also stated he was the head of the United Stated Army Security Office on Long Island during WWII, but I have found no proof he was ever in the military. So I am not clear what that exactly means. He ran a business called the United Service Detective Bureau on Broadway. The company was formed in 1954 and closed in 1983.
In 1959, Albert was elected President of the International Council of Investigators at the Waldorf-Astoria. This council is still in existence today. Albert took all kinds of cases, some involved background checks, some involved security for royalty, some involved investigating murders for rich murder defendants, etc. The picture below comes from the newspaper. Unfortunately we have no photos of Maria.
Is that the Ferraro chin? Was his investigatory nature inherited? Was it a Ferraro trait?
I have not found any Find-a-Grave memorials online for any of Maria’s descendants. I also never found Jerry after the 1930 census. Charles and Albert and their families were mentioned in Carmen Ferraro’s Farewell program at Carnegie Hall from 1962. How many of my cousins reading this met the Valeriotis? I am going to keep looking for obituaries for Maria and her children and will try to determine what happened to Margherita.
As for Maria’s children – WOW. You never know what you will find in online newspapers articles.
Waterbury, Columbus, Chicago, and New York City Directories
Cook County, Illinois Births
New York Death Index
Reclaim the Records
United States Censuses
Social Security Death Index
1925 New York City Census
International Council of Investigators