My great grandfather Carmine Ferraro had 5 siblings and they all immigrated to the United States. Unfortunately, there is very little known about his last sibling Giovania, his youngest. At present, Giovania is only found in two records in America. The first is in the 1905 New York State Census by name and age, and the second is in the 1932 Leavenworth prison file as a reference. There is no oral history on this sibling either.
Giovania was not on the 1904 passenger manifest of her mother and sisters. Since her mother and sisters were detained, the tally of detained and released passengers at the end of the roll of records from the National Archives specifically divulges 3 children over the age of 1 were released with mother Filomena Napolitano. Giovania would have been about 14 at that time. I plainly do not know when Giovania got here. I cannot figure out how or with whom Giovania came to America period.
In 1905, Giovania was living in Brooklyn with her three sisters and parents, according to the New York State Census. That record showed she was born in Italy, 15 years old, and did housework. This is the only record I ever found that gave an idea of her name and an approximate year of birth. Ancestry indexers incorrectly transcribed her name as Guarania!
Carmine’s Leavenworth prison file references the fact, in his social interview, that he was 1 of 6 children and only 4 were alive. The current residence of each of his siblings was listed. By my research, Angela Maria Ferraro Valerioti was deceased. Giovania Ferraro had to have been the other deceased sibling.
I could not find Giovania in the New York City Municipal death index, nor anywhere in Columbus, Ohio where parents Angelo Ferraro and Filomena Napolitano had moved by 1907. She would only have been about 17 at that point. To give you my honest opinion, I think her first or last name was corrupted on an American record, possibly in the above census, and any further proof of her in the United States may be impossible right now until more records become available. I hope I am wrong about the corruption of her name. Technically her name should be Giovanna, right?
I have no idea why Giovania would not be on any passenger manifest. She definitely didn’t come to America with her father Angelo in 1903. Also, it just is not possible for me to find her birth record in Naples at this time since 1) I don’t know her birthday and can’t write to Naples for it without it; and 2) Births of the Commune of Naples post 1865 are not online anywhere for researchers.
Could she have gone by a different first name? Yes, and obviously the common last name poses some search issues as well. Giovania, what happened to you?
Giovania is the last of Carmine’s siblings whose stories were told here. The rest can be found in these previous posts:
As of 11:00 am on August 26th, 2017, any available genealogical records from Italy (save for the Heinzen’s ancestors, the Gentinetta of Bognanco, and Naples births post 1865 for Carmine’s siblings) that I need to access to research either Italian side of my tree will no longer have to be ordered on microfilm! Any records that aren’t on Antenati San Beniculturali from Italy were made available for viewing on the Family Search website. Some of those can only be viewed at a Latter Day Saints Center until Antenati in Italy publishes them for viewing online worldwide. This includes Castiglione Messer Raimondo and Castelli in Teramo, Fara San Martino in Chieti, Nola and Sirico in Napoli, and San Felice a Cancello/Sei Casali d’Arienzo and San Prisco in Caserta. Farindola and all of Pescara have been on Antenati for years and is accessible in every home. Since Nola is now available to help identify more ancestors there, I have a feeling that part of the tree will grow to aid in finding relatives of Filomena Napolitano in America.
Ellis Island Passenger Manifests
NY State Census of 1905
Federal records obtained from the National Archives in Kansas
More in the Leies – Bold branch, including the Leies family that went to New York City and the Leies family that beat all of the others here by arriving in 1848. The immigrants are about halfway complete.
Immigrant Gelsomina Ferraro Ciocco was born in 1884 in Naples and came through Ellis Island in 1904 with her mother, Filomena Napolitano, and siblings Angela Maria Ferraro Valerioti,Elena Ferraro Scarnecchia, and Carmine Ferraro, my great grandfather, when she was 19. She was the mother of well – known biostatistician Dr. Antonio Ciocco. Like her mother and sisters, she didn’t speak English, and was detained for a simple reason. Her father, Angelo Ferraro, was not on time to collect the women to take them to Brooklyn. The passenger manifest was marked that she could read and write in her native tongue. She was my great grand aunt and the only sibling of my great grandfather that we have a photo of.
One year later Gelsomina was residing with her parents when they lived in Brooklyn. By 1907, Angelo and Filomena had moved to Columbus, Ohio. That is where Gelsomina likely met her future husband Angelo Michele (Michael) Ciocco. They were married in early 1908 by Father Sovilla in St. John the Baptist Church.
Michael (Angelo Michele) Ciocco was born at #289 Via Borga, Guardialfiera, Campobasso, Molise, Italy on May 30, 1883 to Antonio Ciocco, a pasta maker, and Rosaria D’Onofrio. His birth record (#41) via Antenati.
Gelsomina’s son Antonio Ciocco was born May 1, 1908. Michael was naturalized in 1916 in Franklin County, Ohio.
When Michel’s parents brought the family to America, they ran an Italian bakery in Columbus. Michael worked there and was also able to graduate high school.
Gelsomina went by Jessie in “American.” I was glad United States Passport Applications up to I think, 1925, are on Ancestry and we have those photos of Gelsomina, Antonio, and Michael from 1921. It gave me a hint about where Gelsomina had lived in America up until that point. She stated she lived in Brooklyn, Chicago, and Columbus. Oh, and she was also apparently 5’5″!
Remember in 1908 she married Michael? In 1910 Michael was living with his parents and working at their bakery with Gelsomina and son Antonio nowhere in sight. So I wondered if she was living in Chicago because Michael’s passport application stated that he had only lived in Columbus since he came to America. Could she have been living near my great grandfather, her brother, in Chicago? Or near Angela Maria Ferraro Valerioti her sister in Chicago?
Maybe Gelsomina was living with her parents in Columbus. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find them on the 1910 Census. In 1912 she traveled to Naples with her parents and visited 22 Montesanto Naples. There is a monastery on Montesanto today, although not at the same address. When her mother Filomena passed away in Columbus in 1914, Gelsomina was the informant on her death record.
In 1920, Gelsomina was living with her husband according to the Federal Census. She was the bookkeeper for his pasta business – Columbus Macaroni Company.
Gelsomina returned to Naples two more times in the 1920s. The 1925 return passenger manifest showed Gelsomina and Michael lived at 101 Thompson Street in New York City.
In 1927 and 1928 I found Gelsomina and Michael in the Newark, NJ City Directory. Gelsomina was the Treasurer of their company Ciocco Macaroni Company, Inc.
Like Gelsomina’s sister Angela Maria’s husband Jerry Valerioti, Michael Ciocco appears on the letterhead of my great grandfather’s opera school, the International Grand Opera Association in Chicago. Michael Ciocco was listed as “press agent.”
Michael Ciocco’s parents continued to have their Italian bakery business in Columbus while continuing to speak their native tongue, according to the census records I found on them, and nobody suffered for it. Michael’s father passed in 1932 and his mother passed in 1936.
Dr. Antonio Ciocco – Gelsomina Ferraro’s Son
Gelsomina only had one child – Dr. Antonio Ciocco and he was extremely important to health research in Pennsylvania, if not to the nation. To discover where Gelsomina and Michael went after retirement from pasta manufacturing, I had to search for information on my 1st cousin two times removed Dr. Antonio Ciocco. By 1935, Gelsomina and Michael had moved to Baltimore Maryland, where they lived with their son Antonio who was employed by the Federal Government at the United States Department of Health as a statistician.
I found a newspaper article on newspapers.com stating that Antonio was the chief of the Hagerstown, Maryland Field Station of the U.S. Public Health Service. They likely moved to Pittsburgh with Antonio, because, in 1957, Michael Ciocco passed away in Pittsburgh, and in 1958, Gelsomina Ferraro passed away outside of Pittsburgh in New Brighton, Beaver County. Antonio was the informant on both death records and signed his name as Dr.
Gelsomina was laid to rest at St. Joseph’s cemetery in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband.
Dr. Antonio Ciocco held science degrees from the University of Naples and Johns Hopkins. The latter was likely the reason for his previous Baltimore address.
Articles referencing Antonio’s work in Pittsburgh starting around 1950 fill newspapers.com. He conducted many studies, including some on cancer statistics, and is most well-known for his study on the effects of pollution in Donora, Pennsylvania that was published in coordination with another researcher in 1948. The deadly and historic wall of polluted fog is also called the Donora Smog. In four days in October 1948, it killed 20 people and is believed to be the cause of death for at least 5 others.
I tried finding information about Michael and Gelsomina’s pasta companies but I didn’t turn up anything. The Campobasso ancestry of Angelo Michele Ciocco and his parents can very easily be traced on Antenati.
Who do you think Great Grand Aunt Gelsomina resembles the most?
My immigrant great grandfather has one more sister – Giovannina Ferraro.
Talanico, San Felice a Cancello, Caserta, Campania – When Vito Barbarino and Angela Nicolino are appearing in your pedigree twice as your forebears, you know two people in your Ferraro ancestry must’ve been related. It turns out that great great grandfather Immigrant #3 ~ Retired Army Captain and Merchant Angelo Ferraro‘s parents were related because Vito Barbarino and Angela Nicolino from Roccarainola are in his ancestry on both sides of his family. They were his great great grandparents twice through their daughter Giulia Barbarino – the ancestress of Angelo’s mother Angela Maria Delle Cave and Giovanna Barbarino – the ancestress of Angelo’s father Francesco Antonio Ferraro.
Giulia and Giovanna Barbarino were sisters, both daughters of Vito Barbarino and Angela Nicolino.
This all makes the parents of Angelo Ferraro third cousins.
Vito Barbarino and Angela Nicolino began to appear in the Talanico, San Felice a Cancello’s San Pietro Apostolo’s church records around 1690, with the notation that they were from a parish of Roccarainola, which is about 5 miles from the ancestral town of Angelo’s parents, San Felice a Cancello.
What can be gleaned from the online church records from the Diocese of Acerra concerning the Barbarinos is that their son Giacomo Antonio was at one point contributing the largest amount of tomolo of grain in tithes to the parish of San Leonardo in San Felice a Cancello. Tomolo is an old Southern Italian measurement.
You can see the from pedigree of both parents of Angelo that, yep Barbarino and Nicolino are indeed in each one.
Giulia Barbarino married Lorenzo Delle Cave in 1721. Giovanna Barbarino married Leonardo De Lardo in 1716. Descendants of both sisters married approximately 100 years later and had Angelo Ferraro.
So. They were related. At least they weren’t 1st cousins HA!
Filomena Napolitano was born in 1845 in Nola, Campania and immigrated to the United States, through Ellis Island in 1904 with her daughters and second son, my great grandfather Carmine Ferraro. The title of this posting uses her husband’s last name after Napolitano because it was used on her death record in Columbus. Had she stayed in Italy, she would have always been known as Filomena “Napolitano” because Italian women never change their surnames. In fact, Filomena arrived at Ellis Island as Napolitano as you can see on the Lombardia’s passenger manifest from April 28,1904.
A post about the two headstones associated with her in the Mount Calvary Cemetery is here. In case you are wondering, the cemetery still has no explanation on why she has two and why they are in separate places in the cemetery. This is her Find-a-Grave Memorial.
The following posts have already been written on her immigrant children:
For approximately the past six months I have been researching Filomena’s mother’s interesting family, the Sabatinos from Sirico (now Saviano), Napoli, Campania, Italy. They have been extremely easy to research, especially because Sirico was such a small town and appeared to have some money. I literally have binders and files and piles of records from the microfilmed Sirico records from the Naples State Archives. Filomena’s mother was Maria Michela Sabatino, born in 1809 in Sirico on Strada Napolitano, and at the time of her birth, her father Giaocchino was a sartore or tailor and was literate. No, there is likely no connection between the Strada Napolitano and Maria Michela’s future husband – a Napolitano. The surname is incredibly common in Campania. Maria Michela’s mother was Santa di Conza and she was from Salerno. I am patiently waiting for Salerno records to be put on Antenati. Maria Michela appears to be the oldest of their eight children.
In the 1810s Giaocchino moved to being a vendittore di Piazza (seller on the Piazza), a tavernaro (tavernkeeper), and a bottegaro (shopkeeper).* By 1822, Maria Michela’s father Giaocchino was a possidente or wealthy property owner. He always seemed to be hanging around weddings in the town too signing as a witness where I found out about his wealthiest profession – possidente. The signature of the man Giaocchino Sabatino was the same signature on his 1810s children’s birth. I have an entire file of records that contain his signature. One more thing I noticed in Sirico, all the literate Sabatinos of Sirico, too, spelled their surname with ONLY ONE ‘b’ when they signed their names. ANNNNDDDDD, at one point in Sirico’s history, there was a Strada Sabatino according to the records.
Giaocchino Sabatino’s parents were Bartolomeo, a maestro sartore or master tailor, and Cecilia di Falco, an ostetrice or midwife. That makes Filomena’s great grandmother from Sirico a midwife. Giaocchino’s younger brother Lorenzo Sabatino was also a possidente and was Il Sindaco or mayor of Sirico from 1860-1861.
From what I could find, Giaocchino only had brothers and from what I can surmise from viewing the town records, they were literate and educated like Giaocchino. Their names and professions are as follows:
Federigo-calzolaio-shoemaker, vendittore di vino, industriante-trader m. Maria Felicia Ambruscino
Allesandro-sartore m. Domenica Vardolo
Giuseppe-sartore m. Marta D’Avella
Lorenzo-sartore, industriante, possidente, Il Sindaco m. Maria Giuseppa Tuzzolli
As for Cecilia di Falco, she was born around 1763 in Sirico and I found many records about her and the babies she delivered. She is the first midwife on my mother’s side. Therefore, there will be more on the Midwife of Sirico as a later date…
Immigrant Elena Ferraro Scarnecchia was born in 1886 in Montecalvario, Naples and came to America in 1904 with her mother and sisters. She was my great grand aunt, for she was the younger sister of my great grandfather Carmen Ferraro. Carmen had five siblings: Antonio, Angela Maria Ferraro Valerioti, Gelsomina Ferraro Ciocco, Elena, and Giovania. Elena was the second youngest.
I found Elena on the 1905 Census in Brooklyn still living with her parents Angelo Ferraro and Filomena Napolitano. Neither she, nor her 3 sisters were working outside the home. Same for their parents.
By 1907, Elena’s parents Angelo and Filomena were living in Columbus, Ohio. Elena was also likely in Ohio, because by 1908, she had married an Italian immigrant Angelo Scarnecchia and had given birth to their oldest, Armando Scarnecchia.
Elena’s husband Angelo Scarnecchia, according to the 1900 census, came to the United States at age 7 around 1890 and worked as a clerk in his father’s confectionary store. His father was a confectioner in Warren, Ohio.
A Little Bit on Scarnecchia
Angelo Scarnecchia was born in 1883 in Barrea, L’Aquila, Abruzzo to Orazio Antonio Scarnecchia and Cleonice Santa D’Aquila. Because I love the Italian records site Antenati, I traced the Scarnecchia’s back to the late 1700s in Barrea, L’Aquila to the great grandparents of Angelo Scarnecchia named Clemente Scarnecchia and Maria Loreta Vecchione. They were farmers. I stopped there even though it could have been possible find two more generations.
Back to my great grand aunt…In 1909, Elena and Angelo had their second son, Orazio (John Horace Sargent) in Wheeling, West Virginia. Angelo’s parents were also living in Wheeling at the time. By 1917, Elena and Angelo had moved back to Warren, Ohio, and had their only daughter, Cleonice Elena (Henriksen). Angelo was working in his own company at this time, according to his World War I draft registration card – Foreign Exchange/Real Estate which also appeared on the 1920 census. They had two more sons, Angelo and Robert.
My great great grandfather Angelo Ferraro was living with the Scarnecchia’s in Ohio at the time of his death in 1926. In fact, Angelo Scarnecchia bought the plot to bury Angelo Ferraro in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Youngstown. He is the only person in the unmarked plot. Margerita Valerioti also lived with Elena (her aunt) and her family after her mother Maria Angelia Ferraro Valerioti died in 1918.
In the early 1930s, Angelo Scarnecchia was working as a clerk at Warren State Bank. I found a couple of newspaper references to Angelo Scarnecchia in Ohio. In this Akron Beacon clip from May 1930, there was a reference two incorporations bearing his money and name in Warren, Ohio:
I found another reference to these incorporations as Scarnecchia and Orlando. Angelo Scarnecchia died in Los Angeles in 1956.
When I was researching Elena’s children, I lost track of Armand after he appeared to marry in New York City to Ethel DeNaro. With the number of Angelo Scarnecchias living in the Warren area of Ohio, I also had difficulty tracing that son. Daughter Cleonice moved to New York City and was a singer like my great grandfather. I confirmed that sons Orazio and Robert used and/or changed their surname to Sargent. Robert and his wife Elizabeth were actors in Italian theater that toured the country and played to largely ethnic audiences.
BUT! Robert was also listed as Scarnecchia in the Social Security Death Index. Before he was in acting, he enlisted in the United States Navy as a junior grade Lieutenant during World War II. He died in Nevada in 1996. His son Bobby Sargent was a comedian who says he shortened his Scarnecchia name to Sargent when his surname got “too big for marquees” according to this clipped article I found from May 31, 1974 in the Reno, Gazette – Journal, in which he says Harpo and Chico Marx were his teachers:
Elena Ferraro Scarnecchia outlived all of the Ferraros in my ancestry that came to America from Naples in 1903 and 1904 and stayed. She died in Los Angeles in 1964, a few short months after my great grandfather.
Ellis Island Passenger Lists
New York State Census
New York City Marriage Index
Social Security Death Index
U.S. Navy Enlistment Records
Nevada Death Index
California Death Index
National Archives – CF files
Next immigrant: Great great grandmother Emilia Bold – the one with a German Junker ancestor, French ancestors, and Swiss ancestors.
On this day in 1842…Carmine Napolitano and Maria Michela Sabatino were married in the Cattedrale di Nola, Campania. Who are they? They are the parents of my 2nd great grandmother Filomena Napolitano, who came to America in 1904 at age 59. Filomena Napolitano is the mother of Carmen Ferraro.
In 1842, Carmine Napolitano was a blacksmith, age 37, and the widower of Giuseppa Manna, the mother of his first born – Carmela. Giuseppa Manna died in 1841 and Carmine was left without a mother for his young daughter so a marriage was arranged. Carmine’s parents were Antonio Napolitano, a master tailer, and Rosa Marotta, both from Nola. Carmine’s mother was already deceased at the time of his marriage to Maria Michela Sabbatino. He lived on Strada Sant’Anna in Nola.
Maria Michela Sabatino was 33 in 1842. She was born in nearby Sirico, which is now part of the town of Saviano. She lived on Strada Sant’Antonio in Nola at the time of the marriage. Maria Michela’s family was affluent in Sirico. Her father, Gioacchino Sabatino, was literate, and a man of wealth. On the record above, his profession is listed as bettoliere = tavern owner. In the Sirico records he went from being a tailor, like his father, to vendor on the piazza, tavern keeper, tavern owner, wealthy landowner = possidente, and at the time of his death in a hospital in Naples, back to tailor again. Gioacchino’s brother Lorenzo was the Mayor of Sirico from 1860-1861. Maria Michela Sabatino’s mother was named Santa di Conza and she was not from Sirico. She was born in San Valentino di Sarno, Salerno.
More on the easy to research Sabatinos at a later date…
The marriage of Maria Michela Sabatino and Carmine Napolitano produced at least 3 children. Son Antonio Napolitano was born in February 1843, next Filomena was born in 1845, and Giuseppa in 1847. A copy of the only photo we have of Filomena Napolitanois at the top.
Immigrant Carmine Costantino Girolamo Angelo Ferraro was born in 1878 in the Montecalvario neighborhood of Naples Italy and came to America as a Franciscan priest in 1904. He was my great grandfather. Montecalvario is a northern neighborhood in the Quartieri Spagnoli, an infamous section of neighborhoods created in the 16th century by the Spanish rulers. In short, they housed the troops that controlled the populace and crushed rebellions. It is a neighborhood known for high crime and unemployment.
When my great grandfather was born, his father was a merchant and his parents named him after his mother Filomena Napolitano’s father Carmine, in the Italian naming tradition. Carmine was the second son, and would therefore be named after his maternal grandfather. The family lived on Via Pignasecca, #16. See: On This Day in 1878. Carmine was one of 6 children. The others were in order of birth: Antonio (oldest child), Angela Maria, Gelsomina, Elena, and Giovania.
Late in life, my great grandfather wrote an essay on the state of opera in America published in Who’s Who in Music in 1954. At the back of the book was his biography, written by him. He put in there that he attended high school at the Naples Royal Military College/Reale Accademia Militare. It is also known as Nunziatella. This is a link to the English Wikipedia entry on Nunziatella. He also put in there that he attended the Naples Conservatory of Music Naples at San Pietro a Majella. You can read about that conservatory at this Wikipedia link. One more note about his Naples education in the biography was that he had a Ph.D in Literature and Romance Languages. Since his father was a retired military officer, Capitano Angelo Ferraro, I can see he might have attended the Nunziatella, but of course, we don’t know if he attended for a few years or just one year.
By 1899 he was in the Italian Army for two years as a Lieutenant. He stated later in a federal file I obtained here that his Italian military service was completed in 1901. That would have made him 23. He is the only great grandfather I have that I cannot obtain his military record from Italy. The Archives of Naples claims the draft year he belonged to was destroyed by allied bombing in WWII. I wonder if that is really accurate.
In 1904 he acquired a passport to come to America as a Franciscan Priest at the Questura in Naples. When did he have time to study the priesthood? That is a very good question. My grandmother had a letter from him stating he did missionary work in Peru as well. This had to have happened before he first came through Ellis Island. In my previous post about the first time he put his foot on U.S. soil: On this day 112 years ago… he traveled to America with his mother and sisters (excluding Giovania) to meet their father Angelo and brother Antonio in Brooklyn. Carmine was NOT detained at Ellis Island.
By 1906, according to the word of mouth of my forebears, Carmine had left the priesthood. There are conflicting stories on where he was a priest. I have heard NYC and all of the towns in Ohio that begin with a “C.” I did check with the archival center for the Diocese of Columbus to see if he was a priest there. Why Columbus? Because that is where I found him in the 1907 Columbus Directory living with his parents at 394 Goodale. Whatever happened to made him leave is no bother to me, and since I have no document or record to say why he left, you are just going to have to use your imagination. They couldn’t find anything on a priest with his name.
It is my understanding that at that time, if you can believe the librarian at Columbus, Columbus had the largest little Italy second to NYC, so it is natural that they had the Italian language newspaper L’Eco there.
In 1908, Carmen married Helen Kirsch before a Justice of the Peace in Chicago. I would like to take this opportunity to remind my cousins that Carmen and his brother-in-law Jerry Valerioti seemed to move to the same places during this time period. Jerry and Carmen’s sister Angela Maria were detailed a few weeks ago here: Immigrant #2: Angela Maria Ferraro Valerioti – Mother of a Renowned NYC Investigator and a NYC Refuse Company President. Approximately one month before the birth of my grandfather, also named Carmen, in May 1909, my great grandfather filed his Declaration of Intention to become a citizen of the United States with an occupation recorded as “teacher of foreign languages.” In the 1910 census I found what I thought was the incorrect people or was another case of an indexer on Ancestry making the census 1910 census entry whatever they wanted like when they called Fritz Eckebrecht “Grity” Eckebrecht. But the name of the spouse, Helen, and child incorrectly spelled Carmein, and birthplaces of the parents, even though it should say Switzerland for Helen’s mother, was too coincidental. See for yourself-
And I was also thrown off by my great grandfather’s occupation/industry:
The “W” next to fruit stands for “working on his own account, not an employee or employee.” Hmmm…Helen must have been pregnant at the time of that census because their son Angelo was born that year. When he was naturalized in 1911 his occupation was listed as “broker.” Then I knew for sure that was my great grandfather. Also in 1911, Helen and Carmen welcome their oldest daughter Philomena Mesta. Not only was she named after her paternal grandmother Filomena Napolitano, but her maternal great grandmother in Switzerland was named Regina Anna Maria Catharina Josepha Philomena Gentinetta.
Back to that biography he wrote for Who’s Who in Music with a mention of his Chicago education. He stated he had a D.O. from Chicago Medical University. Hmmm….
The family moved 4 times in the following years until 1920, moving between Ohio, New York, Chicago, and back to Ohio and had four more children: Louis, Anna, Helene, and Victor. Before a 1914 move to New York I found an odd newspaper article that referenced C. Ferraro from Youngstown, Ohio in 1912. At that time my great grandfather’s sister Elena was living in there with her husband Angelo Scarnecchia. I am not positive it is my ancestor but below is the article regardless.
That article is another one that goes into the “Hmmm category” isn’t it? There was no opera singer named Armanno Vittorio though. I tried to find him. Nor was this tenor in anymore newspaper articles from this time period. But there was and still is a Colon Theatre. It is called Teatro Colon. You can just draw your own conclusions this article because I just don’t know if it means anything or not.
We also have a photo of my great grandfather that I tried to date to the 1910s. He was posing with what looked like a gavel, white gloves, a mantle, and an apron. For a while I thought that was the photo at his naturalization until a friend of mine showed it to her husband, a Mason, and he explained that was a Masonic mantle and with the white gloves it meant he was the Grand Master. I don’t know what town or state it was from.
By 1920 he was living in Warren, Ohio again and told the census taker he was a grand opera singer. In 1921, Carmen was the Director of the Youngstown International Glee Club in addition to his traveling opera singer business. According to that biography I have mentioned, he wrote that he was an opera conductor since 1922. They had their daughter Gloria in Ohio before moving back to Queens, NY where their last was born in 1924, Romauldo. That should be 9 total children. Also in 1924, my great grandfather toured Europe and took my grandfather along.
One more note about the biography – he wrote he was awarded the Order of the Crown of Italy in 1920. He wrote that title given to him was “chevalier” and that is FRENCH! It should be “Cavaliere!” I have never found anything to prove this or disprove and quite frankly I have no idea where to find out if this Order of the Crown award was given to him.
At this point, my great grandfather didn’t go anywhere for a few years and ran his music school. In October 1931 he married Natalie Schinitz. The following week he was arrested on suspicion of alien smuggling and ended up serving a prison sentence in Leavenworth for 1 count of mail fraud. This is the Chicago Tribune link to the article about his arrest. Basically he took money from people to bring their relatives into the country. He was a model prisoner, worked in the prison infirmary, and was released after serving only 1 year of his 2 year sentence. The only objection to his being paroled came from his brother-in-law, Helen’s brother, Albert Kirsch. Yep.
His 9 children were split between three homes while he was in prison. Two daughters when to live with a niece in New York (probably Margherita Valerioti, I have no proof), the oldest boys, including my great grandfather, went to live with my great great grandmother Anna Heinzen Kirsch, and the youngest stayed with Natalie. While he was in prison, there is a bit of evidence that Natalie divorced him, so I believe then the youngest children would have gone to live with their grandmother Anna Heinzen Kirsch. I have no proof of that though.
By 1940 he had moved back to Brooklyn and was living with two of his daughters. He began using the name Mario Carmen and was listed as vocal instructor with the industry “opera” in the 1940 Federal Census under the name Mario Ferraro. He taught singing until he suffered a heart attack in 1962. He passed away on September 5, 1963 and the name Mario was used on his death record with Carmen.
Final Thoughts on this Posting
There are a ton of oral stories associated with my great grandfather. I only stuck to what was found in the paper trail he left in Italy and across the country. It was very easy to find records about him and to locate articles about him. I have no doubt that I haven’t found everything yet-this includes all of the articles about my great grandfather’s federal case in the Chicago newspapers and also one from the New York Times. You may be reading this and think I should have included more of them. Maybe you are right.
I have a story about trying to get his birth record from Italy the same time I was trying to get a copy of his case file from the Department of Justice by filing a Freedom of Information Act Request. The Department of Justice told me I couldn’t have the United States Attorney’s file on a man born in 1878 because: 1. I hadn’t proven he was dead, even though he was born in 1878; and 2. They weren’t positive I was a United States citizen.
So I appealed their decision on my Freedom of Information Act Request. That same day that I mailed my appeal to Washington D.C., which is about two hours away, I mailed my request off to the Commune of Naples, in Campania, Italy. It was October 31st. Naples is a place that is over the ocean on another continent and stuff… Two weeks later to the day I had my great grandfather’s birth record in my United States mailbox. Then on December 27th, I received a letter from the United States Department of Justice that they were reviewing my appeal. It is easier to get records from Italy you see. I never got the case file from the Department of Justice.
Columbus, Chicago, Warren, and Youngstown City Directories
The New York Times
Wikipedia and Various Travel Websites
Cook County Birth, Marriages, and Death Records
Warren County Death Records
New York City Death Records
Who’s Who in Music, 1954
Family photos, memorabilia, documents, and letters
The nice people at the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Diocese of Columbus
next immigrant: My other immigrant great grandfather
Immigrant Antonio Ferraro was the oldest child of Angelo Ferraro and Filomena Napolitano. We don’t know when he got to America or when he left. He abandoned his immigrant wife. He was the first Ferraro in my great grandfather’s immediate family in America. We don’t even know what he did for a living when he was here. His common name makes the search for him all the harder.
I found his name appearing on five records in America:
Angelo Ferraro’s 1903 ship manifest – because he is going to live with him in Brooklyn.
Filomena’s 1904 ship manifest – because she is going to live with husband Angelo and son Antonio at 197 Navy Street, Brooklyn.
The 1906 NYC Marriage Index, when Antonio marries Elisa Peluso, an immigrant from Palma Campania, Napoli. She was only 19 when she married Antonio. According to the 1905 Census, she and her sister worked to support the family, as there was no male head of the household. Elisa worked at a silk mill.
The June 3, 1937 Petition of Naturalization of Elisa Peluso. Elisa stated she gained an Enoch Arden Divorce from Antonio in Brooklyn in 1920. The law was enacted to allow a spouse to legally divorce a missing spouse after a specific amount of time so they could then re-marry. In New York today, that is a period of 5 years. His birthdate was listed as April 5, 1876.
During an interview with a federal official in 1932, the brother of Antonio, my great grandfather, stated he had a living brother in Naples named Anthony.
We can assume that Antonio likely disappeared from Elisa’s life by 1915. They no children.
I thought perhaps that Antonio followed Jerry Valerioti and my great grandfather to Ohio and Chicago, but I couldn’t find him there. Still, I looked for the Americanized Anthony. Nope. His entry into the country remains a mystery. If you look at the father of Angelo, he was named Francesco Antonio but went by Antonio and Antonio was likely named after him. I searched for a Francesco Ferraro who came to America and none of them worked out to fit the age or time frame for Antonio. Could he have gone by the name Frank? It is a bit of a stretch…Tony? Nope, that didn’t work either…
Lastly, if you would like to believe a family story that can’t be proved or disproved, he died in a monastery in Naples!
Next two immigrants: Anna Liesbeth (No last name known) and Augusta Eckebrecht
Happy New Year! Feliz Anno Nuovo! Frohes Neues Jahr!
Will it be this year? Will the USCIS fulfill my request for Angelo’s Board of Special Inquiry hearing file in 2017? Will it happen this year?
It is the start of a new year and time to make our firm oaths of intent to better ourselves in the coming year. So I ate the lentils to ensure wealth this year. In the genealogy world that means I resolve to spend less money on genealogical research. I resolve spend more time sorting and organizing records (yeah right!), maybe have the cash to join a genealogy society or two, including one that concentrates on Italian-American research, and going forward this year in my family history research I prudently resolve to do the following:
In my Swiss German line ~ ~
Finish reading the books I already have on Bernese Anabaptists from Masthof Press before I try to get my hands on more. Gerichtsshoffe Balthasar Rubli’s parents were banished from the Emmenthal Valley in Canton Bern by the Swiss government sometime between 1675 and 1689. They left with no possessions and walked for two weeks with the clothes on their backs with hundreds of other refugees towards the promise of religious freedom in the German Palatinate where they raised Balthasar, my 6th great grandfather. He left the Anabaptist faith and married into a Catholic family.
The story of the persecution of the Rubeli or Rubli appear in these two books:
The Rubeli are also in the Palatinate Mennonite Census of the late 1600s and early 1700s. My ultimate goal is to find the first Swiss Anabaptist in this line.
In my German lines ~~
For Johann Schuttler, my first American ancestor, I am proud he made wagons for the Union Army. I resolve to never again ask a descendant of his son if they took an Ancestry DNA test, knowing Johann’s second wife, and the son’s mother, was 7 months pregnant when Johann married her, and knowing they had to swear out an affidavit to have him buried in the Schuttler cemetery plot when he died. Now I know why I never heard from that researcher again! I just wish I could find the names of Johann’s parents and will not pay a researcher in Germany to do that.
If possible this year, I resolve to fill out more family in the line of the Schultheiss (Mayor) Johann Valentin Helfrich. He was my 8th great grandfather. His family appears in their own section in this free history book downloadable from the town of Leimen:
Valentin’s ancestors appear in another German language publication called Die Helfriche im Grafensteiner Amt that a distant cousin was nice enough to email to me in spurts because neither his nor my email could support it in all in one email. Valentin descends from a German Junker. That is a minor nobleman – something like a squire. Junker Helfrich was born around 1430 and is my 15th great grandfather. The book says he was from Leinengen, Germany. I offered to translate some of the book for my distant cousin. I don’t know what I was thinking. It takes me at least two hours to translate one page and there are about 75 pages in the book!
In another German line I resolve to begin research on Marie Louise Koppel, my 3rd great grandmother, mother of the Fritz Eckebrecht from Thuringen. I would like to work on her ancestry, not the Eckebrechts which dear cousin Frank already researched. She owned a mill according to Frank.
She is the woman seated in the center in this photo:
In my French lines ~ ~
There is a 9th great grandfather of mine named Gall Budel. He was a miller with a first name I have never encountered before. There is an odd rumor floating around the French-speaking internet that he was also Maire or Mayor of Haspelschiedt, Moselle, France. I cannot confirm that and resolve to research that.
In my Italian lines ~ ~
I resolve to request the pension record of Angelo Ferraro and to figure out a way to push for Francesco Antonio Ferraro’s military record for his service in the Bourbon Army.
I resolve to continue to search for descendants of Angelo and Filomena in America while waiting for Caserta and Napoli records to go on Antenati.
I resolve to continue to add more ancestors in my Farindolesi and Pennesi tree because it is so simple to do with the records Antenati has online for Pescara.
Speaking of the Farindolesi tree, because my combined trees approach 3000 individuals, and I don’t believe it has been done before with the any of these Italian lines, I resolve to work towards preparing at least one of my trees put into the next new thing in genealogy sites on the world wide web, my own database. I think it will make researching easier for those that ask me which Antonio Cirone in my tree is theirs because I have at least 5 Antonio Cirone in my tree. I have used these databases when I work on trees for my relatives, but, none of my ancestors are in one of those.
Finally, when I get the genealogy attention deficit disorder problem I usually get every two weeks or so, while working on any resolutions above, I resolve to finish my cousin’s tree and finish the other tree of a relative who descends from the Soderini of Florence are the subject of this book that I was able to find used for a cheap price:
Yes, his ancestors were right there with the Medici. Happy ancestor hunting!
If it is not too much to ask, I would like Babbo Natale or La Befana to put more Campania records on Antenati San Beniculturali, for Sinterklaas to put more German Lutheran records on Archion.de, and for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to find Angelo’s Special Inquiry Hearing case file. I would love to find those missing marriage documents in Caserta and see the military documents relating to Francesco Antonio Ferraro!
Last year I heard ALL of Napoli would be on Antenati this year. HA! Or should I say “ho ho ho!” Nola, Caserta, Salerno, Chieti, Novara how I wish you were on Antenati too!
Antenati is the Italian Archives record repository. It translates as “Ancestors.” It is free. The images are downloadable and clearer than microfilm and of course, enlargeable. Once you have the name of the province your ancestor came from, you can check to see if the archives from that province have been added to Antenati by the Italians. Eventually Italy will have all archives uploaded to the website. The newest added archives are mentioned at the bottom of their homepage under “latest news” or on the news button at the top of the page. And oh YES, on that homepage, if you cannot read Italian, click the Union Jack in the upper left corner!
There are three ways to take you to the archives to look at the civil records. Let me explain the first way. You can click Regions and Sources on the homepage. See the picture below. I selected Regions and Sources and this is the page it took me to: Regions and Sources (Territorio e le fonte)
When I get to this page I clicked on the map of Italy in the Piemonte Region at the top of the boot to see if Verbania records have been added. I got the message that the “images not yet available” for this province. But by hitting Verbania, or any other province listed for Piemonte, Antenati gave me the email address of their archives. Note the three tabs that can be clicked at the bottom of the left half of the image for Information, Civil State, and Military drafts. Important information is listed telling a researcher what is available and where it is available if it is not online. If I am checking for Torino, look at all of the information it gave to me, expecially on how to find military records in English:
Torino even has a fourth tab where links for other sources can be found. Very, very nice Torino researchers. I am jealous! If I was looking for records in Torino on Antenati I would hit “Browse civil state records.”
The second way to get to where I want to browse records of my ancestors is by selecting the blue wording “State Archives” on the home page. I would be taken to a page listing all of the State Archives available for browsing on Antenati, to this page. One does not need to go to the first option if they know their archives are on Antenati. I like this way most of the time because I know that I am usually heading to the Archives of the Province of Pescara. At this point now, if looking at the records on Antenati, English is of no use. All of the browsing I do in the records on this website will be in Italian.
After I hit my selection of “Archivio di Stato di Pescara” I am taken to a page that looks like this:
Most state archives on Antenati have this same setup or will have the same setup once all civil records are added to Antenati.* In Pescara, and other states that were once part of the Kingdom of Naples, the years for each designation of records listed above is this:
Stato Civile Napoleonico: 1809-1815
Stato Civile della Restaurazione: 1816-1860
Stato Civile Italiano: 1861-1930ish (note that birth records won’t go past 1910 because of privacy laws)
In some of the northern states, the Napoleonic records start earlier. Indexes made by the town scribe for each year of records are either at the beginning or end of the records in Pescara. But remember if you are searching the 1809 records in Pescara, there are not many indexes in any of the record batches. Town officials didn’t keep them yet. You will have to read each record to look for your ancestor. If you are searching a town with indexes for 1809 in Pescara you are very lucky.
After you decide what time period to search you are taken to an alphabetical listing of all of the communes in that archives. From there you are taken to the list of records available for the commune.
*Some archives on Antenati have church records in the database. I think I saw one the other day going back to the 1400s. The Archives of Rome do not resemble the Pescara setup above either. The Comune of Naples is setup by its quarters and contains few indexes.
The Third Way to Access the Database’s Records:
At the home page, at the top you could have clicked “Browse.” Don’t worry, just hit the Union Jack in the top right corner again if the site has reverted back to Italian. It would have taken you to a page that looks like this:
The only thing you need to fill out is the place and the year fields. Hit “Search.” After a few searching moments a page will appear with the archival holdings available in the database. To browse the desired records you will need to hit the word “Apri” on the left next to the records. This way has the same desired affect as the first method I told you about. Once again, everything beyond the word “apri” will be in Italian.
The final feature of the website to tell you about is the “Browse Names” option on the home page. If you click that option on the homepage you will be taken to this page where you can search indexes done by volunteers. Below is an image of the page.
The area pointed out in red tells you which archives on Antenati have been already been indexed. The fields are self-explanatory but I give a warning. Only a few archives have been indexed so far AND in Pescara, particularly in Penne and Farindola, the indexes aren’t complete. One should search for their ancestors B/M/D the old fashioned way- by browsing the indexes done by the town officials yearly at the beginning or end of each year of records.
This is a quick example: I typed in my great grandmother’s last name in the Cognome field: Merlenghi. I know she was born in Farindola so I put that in the field for place (Comune/Localita). I decided to not fill in anything else because Farindola is small and I hit search. She is right at the top of names as you can see below.
I hit “Apri” under the names of her parents. It takes me to this page and there is her birth record!
One more tip when searching in Italian civil records: The additional marriage documents you need in the allegati or processetti are numbered and match the same number at the top of the marriage act. Good luck!