Anthony Vermandois has conducted extensive research into the families who lived in Agropoli from the late 18th century through the early 20th century. The data from local documents include dates of birth, death and marriage. There is also data on immigration for those who immigrated to the United States to work and/or live. Please visit Anthony’s website Imagines Maiorum-Ancestors from Campania. The information which provides the discussion material for this weeks posting came from the research done for the Cuoco-Cucco family of Agropoli.
Using the data for Saverio Cuoco which Anthony details at his website enabled us to retrieve the WWI and WWII Draft Registration Cards for Saverio.
Why is Saverio Cuoco of interest to us?
Carmela Serrapede Scotti was our First Cousin 3x removed. She came to New York with her husband Carmine Scotti circa 1910.
Saverio Cuoco lived with Carmela and Carmine as recorded in the 1915 New York State Census. At the time he was 18 years old and working as a boot black. Saverio was very young to be in New York on his own. His presence in the household of Carmela and Carmine shows us how the extensive support network amongst families worked to ensure such necessities as employment and lodging when they came to America. It also guaranteed the company of familiar relatives or friends from the hometown of Agropoli back in Italy.
It speaks on many levels of the sense of family and responsibility that developed over the centuries in Agropoli. The movement Saverio had from one state to another as he lived and worked in the U.S. was enabled by this network that extended from Agropoli to the United States.
Pedigree chart for Sammy showing his descent from Nicoletta Cuoco Marino.
Nicoletta Cuoco Marino is the earliest matriarch Anthony has found for the paternal bloodline of Emilia Pappalardo. Emilia was the wife of Gennaro Serrapede. Emilia was:
Sammy’s paternal Grandmother
EmilyAnn’s Great Grandmother
We have not found a direct link between our Nicoletta and Saverio’s family line. However, given the intricate relationships between families in Agropoli we decided to research Saverio’s background because it shows how important extended family relationships were to building a support network in America.
A brief overview of Saverio’s lineage
Saverio was born on January 16, 1896 in Agropoli. His father was a fisherman named Gaetano Cuoco who was born circa 1853. Saverio’s paternal Grandparents were Arcangelo and Maria (nee Scotti) Cuoco.
Saverio’s mother Carmela was born circa 1860. She was the daughter of Federico and Carolina (nee Botti) Giordano.
Saverio’s siblings were:
Maria, b. 1881
Arcangelo, b. 188z
Francesco, b. 1887
Angela, b. 1889
Francesco, b. 1892
Saverio Cuoco’s network with the Scotti and Serrapede Families
Carmela Serrapede was connected to the Cuoco family through her mother Rosa Scotti. Her maternal Aunt Caterina married Francesco Cuoco on January 20, 1866. Caterina was Rosa’s sister.
With the relationships created by marriage and bloodline, Saverio had families he could rely on to be part of his network in addition to his own family. Now we have a glimpse into the dynamics which were at work when Carmela and Carmine took in the young Saverio as a lodger in 1915.
Saverio’s life on the move
WWI Draft Registration Cards for Saverio Cuoco.
Saverio appears to have lived a life on the go. His draft registration for World War I occurred in Pennsylvania on June 5, 1917.
The address given is 134 Middleton Avenue in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania. His employer is listed as “W.A.B. Co.” We know this means Westinghouse Air Break Company because in one way or another many of our own direct line ancestors were employed there. In two years he had gone from being a boot black to a laborer in a factory.
Saverio was living with one of his brothers, either Luigi or Arcangelo. He was still an alien at this time and notes that he requests exemption because he has to support his mother and father.
WWII Draft Registration Card for Saverio Cuoco. He was living and working in Brooklyn when he registered in 1942.
Neither Anthony nor I could locate any Federal Census entries for Saverio for 1920, 1930 or 1940. The next record where his name appears is on his World War II draft registration card. Now he was living in Brooklyn. His brother Louis is listed as an emergency contact. Saverio gives a different address for his place of residence. Further research is needed to determine if he finally rented an apartment on his own or if he was staying with other relatives or friends.
A memorial at FindAGrave exists for a Saverio R Cuoco. A look-up at the cemetery database does not bring back burial with a spouse. Further documentation needs to be obtained to support whether or not this interment in a New Jersey cemetery is for the Saverio Cuoco who lived with our Cousin Carmela in 1915 in New York.
Discussion with Uncle Sammy about Networking Agropoli Style on Sunday, April 27, 2015 11 a.m. to
Based on the findings so far it appears that Saverio spent his life going to live wherever a job existed for him. As stated in his WWI draft registration, he might have continued to be a source of financial support for his parents in the years after 1917. This might explain why he and his brother Louis remained single. The responsibility to support their aging parents required that they live wherever employment was available. Such a lifestyle might have made marriage unappealing to them.
At first we thought that Saverio sent his money back to Italy. A review of postings for the Cuoco family at Ancestry turned up information that might provide proof that Saverio’s parents also immigrated and settled in the United States. A descendant said he had the death certificate for a Carmela Giordano Cuoco from Pennyslvania. I plan to reach out to this member to see if we can get further information about Saverio’s life here in the United States.
This kind of networking between cousins by blood and marriage played an important role in the life of Gennaro Serrapede, our direct line ancestor. Thanks to the assistance provided by his cousin Sabato Serrapede and other relatives our Gennaro Serrapede was able to work as a Bird of Passage and send money back home to his growing family in Agropoli.
As direct line descendants of Gennaro Serrapede we now include our thoughts and prayers of thanksgiving for the support our extended family members gave that helped lay the foundation for the lives we live today.
Sammy’s paternal Grandfather
The next series of postings about our Gennaro have been a great learning experience for us. We were able to find reportage of the immigrant situation and the lives of Birds of Passage during the time Gennaro came here to work. It is our hope that this original material gathered from publications of the 1910s will provide thoughtful consideration on issues such as immigration, Southern Italians and the difficulties immigrants face as they live and work in a host country. Gennaro came here legally yet the environment he faced was hostile despite the fact that like other immigrants of his time, he performed work the descendants of earlier immigrants no longer wanted to do.