Today’s Anniversary ~ Third Great Grandparents Francesco Antonio Ferraro and Angela Maria Delle Cave

On today’s date in 1823, my third great grandparents Francesco Antonio Ferraro and Angela Maria Delle Cave were married in San Pietro Apostolo in Talanico, Sei Casali d’Arienzo (present-day San Felice a Cancello), Caserta in the Kingdom of Naples. They were the parents of Angelo Ferraro.


Francesco Antonio was born in 1798 in Talanico to Filippo Ferraro and Giuseppa Fruggieri. Angela Maria Delle Cave was born in 1800 in Talanico to Luca Delle Cave and Olimpia Librera. They were all contadini.

Filippo had not yet become a soldier in the Terzo Cacciatori. Since Italy was not yet a unified nation, the Kingdom of Naples was half of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The Terzo Cacciatori were a branch of the army of the Bourbon King Ferdinand.

Five months after their marriage their first child was born. In order from oldest to youngest, these are the children of their union whose births I have located in San Felice a Cancello, Marcianise, and San Prisco:

Clemente (died in infancy) – born in San Felice a Cancello

Filippo – born in Marcianise

Clemente – born in San Felice a Cancello

Carmine – born in San Felice a Cancello

Maria Giuseppa – born in San Prisco

Luigi – born in San Felice a Cancello

Angelo – born in San Prisco (our ancestor)

In 1824, Francesco Antonio was listed as a soldier in the Terzo Cacciatori on Filippo’s birth record in Marcianise. In 1827, when the second Clemente was born, Filippo was listed as a contadino.

There are six years between the birth of Luigi and Angelo. I do not know where Francesco Antonio and Angela Maria were living between 1836 and 1842 (the birth year of Angelo.)


Diocese of Acerra church records at Family Search

Santa Maria Capua Vetere Tribunale records at Family Search


Immigrant #26 Gelsomina Ferraro Ciocco ~ Pasta Company Treasurer and Mother of Biostatistician Dr. Antonio Ciocco

Gelsomina is the 3rd from the top on the Lombardia’s Manifest Snippet

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.

Gelsomina and son Antonio Ciocco in her 1921 U.S. Passport Application; yes, she looks like half of the females in the family

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.

Franklin County Marriage Certificate via Ancestry.

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.

Angelo Michele Ciocco’s 1921 Passport Application Photo

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 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  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.

You can see some of Dr. Ciocco’s published works here on World Cat.

Other information is best summed up about him in his Pittsburgh Post-Gazette obituary dated January 6, 1972.  I am posting it below in chunks.



His mass of Christian burial was held at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Pittsburgh.  I found his Find-a-Grave memorial created by another user.  He is buried in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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.


Ellis Island Passenger Ship Manifests


U.S. Passport Applications via Ancestry

United States Federal Censuses

New York State Census, 1905

Columbus and Newark City Directories

Franklin County, Ohio Marriage Records

Franklin County, Ohio Birth Index

Pennsylvania Death Certificates via Ancestry

Cousin Cleonice, C. Ferraro’s Federal file

Wikipedia Subscription

United States Social Security Death Index

My email:








If Vito Barbarino and Angela Nicolino Are In Your Tree Twice It Means…Uh Oh

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.


Baptism of Giulia Barbarino, 1696, San Pietro Apostolo, Talanico, San Felice a Cancello


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!


San Pietro Apostolo, Diocese of Acerra

San Leonardo, Diocese of Acerra

San Felice a Cancello, Civil Records

Back to the immigrants.  #26.

The Gift of a Genealogy Goldmine


The gift of a “genealogy goldmine.”  When the clipped newspaper articles are practically crumbling in your hands, you are viewing photos of people born in the 19th century, and the scent of paper older than 100 years lingers in the air, you know you were gifted the “genealogy goldmine.”  That is what my mother’s cousin – a Ferraro cousin – gifted me the other day.  You probably saw the photo of Angelo Ferraro on Facebook wearing the top hat and his Italian military medals with the explanation from the Italian article describing his military campaigns.  That piece of gold and the stories she shared were the best part!

Someone in the family kept clippings, pictures, and programs related to these early Italian immigrants in my ancestry.  I am guessing this collection of memorabilia may have been started by my great grandmother Helen and continued by one of my great aunts after she passed.  There are many names in the “goldmine” I have heard, but can now put into context in the music industry.  Not to mention, there is another little mystery surrounding Immigrant #3 ~ Retired Army Captain and Merchant Angelo Ferraro and who he may have been working for in New York City before he passed away in Ohio in 1926.  More on that later after I sort it out.

Do you remember Immigrant #5 ~ The Disappearing Antonio Ferraro, brother of Carmine?  Well, I found a clue about Antonio, Gerry Valerioti (the husband of Angela Maria Ferraro), and Angelo Scarnecchia (husband of Elena Ferraro).


In 1910, my great grandfather and 6 other Italians apparently formed the Italo-American Forwarding Company in Chicago.  The description of the company in the torn pages from a publication we will never be able to name describes it as an import/export business that specifically specializes in Italian, French, and Spanish goods.  They claimed to have a New York office.  In the 1910 Chicago Census, Carmine was listed as a fruit broker.  Perhaps the Italo-American Forwarding Company imported produce.  You can see Gerry Valerioti and Angelo Scarnecchia were members of the incorporation and Antonio Ferraro is the Vice President!  Could Antonio have been in charge of the New York part of this enterprise?  Maybe he really spent time in Chicago?

Antonio is the Vice President of the company

Another clue I found on Antonio was a translated copy of a letter Carmine wrote to Antonio on February 1, 1948 that was sent to the “Augustinian College” at Santa Rita del Carmine, in Aversa, Caserta.  Was Antonio really the religious brother then?  What does this mean then about abandoning wife Elisa?  Below is a current photo of the Complesso del Carmine in Aversa.

ComplessoThe Augustinians left in 1959 and the complex closed in 1980 after it was damaged by an earthquake.  If you are wondering where Aversa is, it is a town about 5 miles outside of Napoli.

So now we know where Antonio was in the 1940s.  Did he have a family in Italy?  What was going on with this guy?  We now know he lived until at least 1948.  Could unraveling the next little mystery about my second great grandfather Angelo Ferraro lead us to another clue on Antonio in New York City?  Maybe.

The discoveries in my cousin’s gift continue!



Immigrant #9 ~ Carmine A. Ferraro, Priest and Maestro

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.


Market today at Pignasecca, Montecalvario, Napoli


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.

Papa 1900 Caserta Italy
Photo labeled 1900, Caserta


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.

1907 Columbus Directory, Editor L’Eco di Columbus Publishing Company

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.

The Mahoning Dispatch, August 30, 1912, p. 3

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.

In 1916, the family was living in Warren, Ohio and my great grandfather was doing what he built his later career on, according to the Warren City directory.  He was a vocal teacher.  In 1917 they were back in Chicago at the time of the World War I draft: Documental Unearthings Weekend: Carmen Ferraro’s Traveling Opera Business.

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.


Here he is posing in Naples at the Museo San Martino

My great grandparents and family were living in Youngstown, Ohio when Carmen’s father Angelo died there in 1926 according to the Youngstown Directory, and his occupation was listed as music teacher.  However, he was back in Chicago in 1927 owning and running the International Opera Association and Music School in Chicago when my great grandmother Helen died.  Great Grandmother Helen: Witness in the 1906 Murder Case of Mrs. Louise Gentry. Helen Kirsch Ferraro (1887 – 1927) – Find A Grave Memorial. He wrote a song dedicated to her memory in the 1950s.

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.

His business card

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.


Campanian Archives

Ellis Island

Columbus, Chicago, Warren, and Youngstown City Directories

Federal Censuses

Chicago Tribune

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

Teatro Colon

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 #3 ~ Retired Army Captain and Merchant Angelo Ferraro

Immigrant Angelo Ferraro, my great great grandfather, sailed from Napoli to Ellis Island in 1903.  As I have repeatedly written here, a seemingly harmless 61 year old retired Italian Army Captain was detained and held for special inquiry when he arrived.  As I have also revealed here, the reason for his detainment is not listed at the end of the batch of ship manifests for that day that are held at the National Archives.  The above photograph on the left is likely a photograph from Italy before his immigration.  The photograph on the right is likely a photograph taken in Ohio after his immigration.

Because I have written before on Angelo here and on his life here, I will instead note what still can be found on Angelo.  I have also written about the place our Ferraros came from in this older blog post: Ferraro di Talanico, San Felice a Cancello, Caserta, Campania, Italia. The surname is present in that Casertan town back to the 1400s.  So far I have only been able to trace our direct line back to 1590.  I have no doubt the tangle of church records could take it back to the 1400s.

The following puzzle pieces can be focused on for further exploration of this immigrant’s life:

*Finding the marriage record of Angelo and Filomena Napolitano.  That record could be found after the civil records of the Archives of Napoli are added to Antenati in the future.  The marriage record should have data about his profession and the professions of his parents.  It could contain military service information.  The record should seemingly be in the town of Filomena’s birth – Nola.  Maybe writing to Nola is in order.

*If the aforementioned civil records are added to Antenati, clues could be gleaned about Angelo from the records of his children’s births.  While we do have the birth record of my great grandfather, Angelo and Filomena had 5 other children.

* keeps adding more newspaper collections.  I  have to keep checking to see if there is information about him in the Ohio newspapers.  I love

*The possibility of the digitization of historic Italian-American newspapers.  After all, Angelo’s son, my great grandfather, was the Publisher and Editor for one in Columbus, Ohio.  What a gold mine those could contain on all of my Italian immigrant ancestors.

*Angelo’s father was a soldier in the Terzo Cacciatori, which was a regiment in the Army of the Bourbon King of Naples in the 1820s.  If a military record is ever retrieved from Italy (I am still trying), it could aid in the Angelo research.

*Speaking of military service, I have requested Angelo’s pension from Caserta.  I think they may be sending what I already have. We will see.

*Last, but not least, the Board of Special Inquiry case file.  We are entering the 9th month of waiting for this file to be found by the USCIS.  At this point, is there any hope left the genealogical request to that government agency will be fulfilled before a professional Philadelphia team wins another championship?  Villanova does not count.  Do I have to be a famous person on Who Do You Think You Are for them to pull and copy it for me?  As of ten minutes ago, the search request that required a $25.00 fee before they would even start looking, is STILL listed as active.  Once, I asked my congressperson for help getting a federal file on one of my ancestors and it didn’t even help.  I refuse to go this route again.  Sigh….I am not a fan of my congressperson either…

Next Immigrant:  Anne Marie Aloisia Heinzen Kirsch from Switzerland





My 2017 Genealogy Resolutions

Happy New Year!  Feliz Anno Nuovo!  Frohes Neues Jahr!

new years.PNG

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!









On this day in 1903, immigrant Angelo Ferraro arrived at Ellis Island


The S.S. Lombardia


“Our ancestors…possessed a right, which nature has given to all men, of departing of the country which chance, not choice, has placed them. – Thomas Jefferson.

Ellis Island – On this day in 1903, immigrant Capitano Angelo Ferraro arrived at Ellis Island from Naples on the S.S. Lombardia.  He was detained for special inquiry for reasons still unknown. He would have had to attend a hearing to see if he could stay.  My great great grandfather was 61.


Capitano Angelo Ferraro (apologies for the poor quality)


On his ship manifest he said he was a barber. That was crossed out and marked “merchant.”  They also crossed out the amount of money he said he had with him.  $60 for “$680.00”.  I think that amount today is close to $18,000.00.  I assume it was his life savings but that he left money behind in Naples for Filomena and their daughters.  He stated he could read and write.  That would have been essential since he was an officer in the Italian Army.


The first red arrow points to “SI” for Special Inquiry and the second point to “merchant” written above a crossed out “barber”

As of this date, I am still waiting for a response to a June 5, 2016 request to obtain a Board of Special Inquiry Hearing file that was filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services .  Our case request status as of November 23, 2016 is listed as “active.”

Angelo was going to meet his son Antonio who lived at 156 Navy Street, Brooklyn.  He would have to move the next spring when his wife and children arrived.  They must have let him stay because when his wife and children arrived, he met them at the immigration center (although he was late and they were also detained).  In 1911 he returned to Napoli with his wife and daughter to visit someone who lived at 22 Via Montesanto, Montecalvario and did not encounter any issues re-entering the country.





We can’t forget where we came from.  Happy Thanksgiving! -A

Documental Unearthings Weekend: Carmen Ferraro’s Traveling Opera Business


1924 United States Passport Application Photos


Chicago, Youngstown, and New York – The paper trail left behind in America by Carmine Ferraro has been incredible.  If I could only find an obituary!  Anyhow, the documents and records I find have to be shared with family.  So today I share a few.

From what I can approximate in these documents and based on the birthplaces of his seven youngest children, Carmen Ferraro was an opera singer in a traveling troupe in what may have been a period of approximately ten years around 1915-1925.  We all knew he was a traveling opera singer already but we didn’t have the actual specifics.  After his naturalization in Chicago, Carmen moved his family to New York, then to Ohio, back to New York, then to Chicago around 1918, back to Ohio, then on again to New York, and finally back to Chicago again in 1927 where wife Helen passed away.

Below is his 1918 World War I draft registration card from Chicago.  Note his present occupation written as GRAND OPERA SINGER and business address written as TRAVELS.


The back of this draft registration card gives a short physical description of our great grandfather:

World War I.2.PNG

Below are the two pages of his 1924 passport application, the original passport in question being in possession of his living family today.  He needed this passport to visit Europe with his traveling opera troupe on a tour and my grandfather got to travel with him.


Page 1

See that he stated, as we know, that his father Angelo Ferraro was born in San Prisco, Italy.  Take a look too to see that he stated he was going to Europe for the  following purpose:  Professional Business for Metropolitan Grand Opera House, Metropolitan Opera House, New York City.  He was going to visit Italy, France, and England for business.

I would like to draw your attention to the name of the  individual on the second page of this application.  Michael Ciocco.  He was a naturalized citizen like Carmen and was stating that Carmen was who he said he was and he had known him for 15 years.  Michael was the husband of Gelsomina, Carmen’s sister.  He was born Michele Ciocco in Guardialfiera, Campobasso, Italy and according to other paper records we have obtained, Michael Ciocco was involved in Carmen’s related opera businesses for a long time.  On this paper he states he is his business representative. 


You can read great grandfather’s physical description in 1924 at the top of this second page


Carmen in Naples on the tour


There are many many more documents and certificates pertaining to my great grandfather that must be shared in the future here!

Finally, I am looking for any descendants of Michael Ciocco and Gelsomina Ferraro.  Feel free to leave a comment or email at

Or just drop an email if you are my relation and want a better copy of these documents! Have a great weekend.


Next – Brick Wall Wednesday!







Ferraro di Talanico, San Felice a Cancello, Caserta, Campania, Italia


Santuario di San Michele, San Felice a Cancello


After a long search I finally found where our Ferraro ancestors were from.  Our Ferraros were from frazioni Piedarienzo, Talanico, and San Felice in San Felice a Cancello, Caserta, Campania.  Carmine Ferraro’s ancestors lived there for hundreds of years (at least back to 1590) before Francesco Antonio Ferraro left in 1824 with wife Angela Maria Delle Cave.  I was also right – Francesco Antonio Ferraro’s father WAS Filippo and Francesco Antonio did name his oldest son after his father.  I had to search for the marriage of Francesco Antonio Ferraro and Angela Maria delle Cave for over a year to discover this information.  It led me to the place where the Ferraros lived before Francesco Antonio joined the army of the Bourbon king of Naples, Ferdinand IV, and raised his family and my g g grandfather Angelo Ferraro in Santo Prisco, Caserta!


What a painful challenge Family Search’s San Felice a Cancello civil records gave me.  Family Search has early 1800s through 1900 available.  They were photographed in the 1980s and put on microfilm.  They were missing years and lablled incorrectly by village.  Researchers can’t avoid ordering the incorrect films because of that.  Anyone researching towns in this area of Italy using the Family Search records probably want to pull their hair out!  So a friend told me to get the Marcianise records where Francesco Antonio’s son Filippo was born to at least give me a clue about the Ferraro.  I did.  It gave me the important detail that Antonio Ferraro was not just Antonio.  He was FRANCESCO ANTONIO.  What a gigantic clue that was.  By pure chance, after discovering that, I was able to locate his marriage record in his wife’s birth town of Sei Casali D’Arienzo, which was, again, labeled incorrectly at Family Search.  Francesco Antonio Ferraro was also born there according to the record!  (Sei Casali d’Arienzo is now known as San Felice a Cancello and Arienzo is a separate comune.)

Unfortunately, the attached marriage documents were supposed to be available on another film, also incorrectly labeled, and to my disgust, once that filmed arrived, that too was labeled incorrectly.  Then I discovered that the 1824 marriage documents for San Felice a Cancello WERE NOT FILMED at all!  More headaches.  The Caserta archives told me they didn’t have them either.  So any information that could be gleaned from them about Francesco Antonio’s military service in the Terzo Cacciatori is not available for us there.

Angelo Ferraro
Angelo Ferraro, 2 x ggfather, Captain in the Royal Army, son of Francesco Antonio Ferraro and Angela Maria delle Cave


As of the date of this post, Caserta records are not on the glorious Italian archival site Antenati San Beniculturali.  I have not heard rumors they are close to being up there either.  Something about a backseat to Napoli records…I am sure Caserta is next after Piemonte’s records…rolling eyes…

After previously mentioned roadblocks, and maybe because the San Felice a Cancello records were a labeled incorrectly, I discovered that Family Search filmed the Diocese of Acerra church records which included present-day San Felice a Cancello and made all of those church records available for viewing online at Family Search.  How lucky!!!!!!  .

There are six parishes in historic San Felice a Cancello, a.k.a. Sei Casali D’Arienzo (it’s historic name).  If you know your Italian you know “six” was in the historic name.  The town was originially 6 separate hamlets, all with their own parish, but not united until the last part of the 18th Century.  One of these parish’s records go back to the 1500s in San Felice a Cancello and, the surnames in our tree, including Ferraro, are visible in the 1500s in that parish. The current tag photo at the top of the blog is the ruins of a castello in present-day San Felice a Cancello.

san felice a cancello
Present-day San Felice a Cancello, Caserta


The bulk of our Ferraro lived in Casale Talanico before Francesco Antonio and wife Angela Maria left and their parish was San Pietro Aspostolo.  Before that it was Casale San Felice in the parish San Leonardo.  Before that it was in Casale Piedarienzo and the parish Sant’Agnese.  One of the hamlets of San Felice a Cancello is Cave.  The delle Cave in the Ferraro tree either take their name from the hamlet or the hamlet is named after them.  Delle Cave appears in the parish records in San Felice a Cancello in the 1500s.  I wonder which is older – the surname or the hamlet?  In the late 1600s the Barbarino and Nicolino surnames in our tree left nearby Rocca Rainola, Napoli and made their permanent residency in Casale San Felice.  The ancestors of Angela Maria delle Cave named Olimpia Librera and Sandra Dragone, may have blood from Rocca Rainola, Napoli where some Dragone in San Felice a Cancello came from. Dragone – I love that name. Sandra Dragone’s mother was Artemia.  I love that name too.

These are some of the surnames in the Ferraro Caserta branch: Dragone,  Librera, de Lardo, Fruggiero/Fruggieri, Iaderosa, Barbarino, Nicolino, Bonnillo/Bionillo, Ventura, Gammella/Gammelli, Papa, Paciello (peace of heaven), D’Ambrosio, Bernardo/Benardo, Martenisi/D’Addico, Magliulo, Gerardo, Porrino, Piscitella, and now Cioffi.  In newer records Iaderosa became just ‘de Rosa.’  In our tree it was always Iaderosa.


Ancestry of Francesco Antonio’s mother Giuseppa Fruggieri

What do I know about these branches of ancestors?  From what can be gleaned from Francesco Antonio’s and Angela Maria’s marriage record, Filippo Ferraro, wife Giuseppa Fruggieri, Luca delle Cave, and wife Olimpia Librera’s occupations were farm workers.  I read a blurb in a google book that in 1822 the Terzo Cacciatori were selected from the sons of the nobles in Campania.  I don’t know if this applied to Francesco Antonio.  The marriage record definitely said his father Filippo was a farm worker.

Because their marriage documents aren’t available for researchers at this time I went to the marriage documents of siblings of Francesco Antonio to get information on the Ferraros and Fruggieri.  Filippo’s father was Salvatore and Olimpia’s father was Gennaro.  Those names helped me trace back in all of their lines to the late 1500s and early 1600s.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find the marriage documents for any of Angela Maria’s siblings and refuse to go through more of the ordeal of ordering the incorrectly labeled film to get them.  Family Search is slowly making them available for viewing online at a Family History Center.  We can wait.

Direct back to 10 ggmother in the line of Angela Maria delle Cave to Aurelia Ferriello


Another graph showing the ancestry of Angela Maria delle Cave’s mother Olimpia Librera

Anyway, I was able to trace back to 10 x ggparents in Angela Maria delle Cave’s mother’s lines, part of which is pictured above in the descendancy graph.  Directly back in the Ferraro name I was able to trace back to a couple who are likely our 11 x ggparents named Santillo Ferraro and Pordenzia Cioffi living in Casale Pierdarienzo in the late 1500s.*  They would have been born in the mid-1500s.  My 10 ggfather was born in 1590.  He appeared to be a twin.  Santillo later appeared to remarry to a Cecilia.**

Baptismal records of Giovan Battista (10 ggfather) and Giuseppe Ferraro, May 18, 1590 from Sant’Agnese in Pierdarienzo


Filippo Ferraro Ancestry.PNG
Filippo Ferraro’s (father of Francesco Antonio) Ancestry Part 1


Part II of Filippo Ferraro.  The last name of Vincenzo Ferraro’s wife Angela isn’t readable

Or another descendancy graph below:

Direct back in the Ferraro surname to Piedarienzo


What else do I know about these branches besides baptism, marriage, confirmation, and some death dates?  The parish of San Felice’s tithe records f0r 1698-1740 were included in these online church records.  Silvestro Ferraro (7 ggfather) and the uncle of Andrea Ferraro’s wife (Giacomo Antonio Barbarino) were big contributors to the church.  Sometimes Silvestro Ferraro gave the most to the church in a year and later it was his second son.  Another big contributor was a Dragone.  I have not been able to establish a relationship between our Dragone and him though.

Not much else is known but names, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and death dates.  The records of Sant’Agnese are numerous and may also contain tithe records.  Some Stato D’Anime have also been thrown in with these filmed church records!  You have to leaf through every record to find them.  Stato D’Anime are census records kept by local parish priests.  I will continue to look for a few marriages to see if they name parents and also continue to double-check relationships at the 10th ggparent levels in the tree.

*Cioffi, according to Cognomi Italiani, means ruffian, silly, and thief in some Southern dialects.

**I am confident Santillo Ferraro and Pordenzia Cioffi are ancestors.  At 11 ggparents that is the furthest I have researched in any tree.  I want more proof they are the right people.  A marriage record or death record would help and it takes time to leaf through all the records as the Family Search photographer wrote different numbers on the pages than were originally indexed by the priests who wrote them.

This post updates these previous posts:

Origins of our Ferraro Ancestry?

A Great Twist in the Bumbling – FRANCESCO Antonio Ferraro was in the Royal Army of King Ferdinand IV

Angelo Ferraro

For more reading on San Felice a Cancello check out the Italian Wikipedia entry on the commune and follow San Felice a Cancello, Caserta news online. It seems a world away from the town I am used to researching – Farindola.