Anthony Vermandois has conducted extensive research into the families of Agropoli in Campania province of Italy. The data includes vital statistics for families beginning in the late 18th century. Our Serrapede ancestors are featured on this page at Anthony’s website Imagines Maiorum-Ancestors From Campania.
We are very thankful for the resources Anthony’s research has led us to. His findings help us understand the backstory of our ancestor’s lives before they immigrated to America.
As we begin our study of the life of Gennaro Serrapede an element enters our journey that is hard to explain. It’s a sense of closeness despite the distance in time. For here we now meet one of our own family who made the long trip from Agropoli to the United States.
Neither Uncle Sammy nor I knew that Gennaro came several times to work in the U.S. We also had no knowledge of the extended network he had in the U.S. that enabled him to travel to many cities as he sought employment. We are deeply impressed with the help extended to Gennaro and thankful for the spirit of mutual assistance that comes across so strongly as we study the documentation used to create these postings.
Gennaro Serrapede was:
Review of Research Findings by Anthony Vermandois of Imagines Maiorum-Ancestors from Campania
Pedigree Chart for Gennaro Serrapede.
Gennaro Serrapede was the youngest son of Sabato and Filomena (nee Ruocco) Serrapede. He was born on February 4, 1867. When he was almost 2 years old his mother passed away. Gennaro’s father remarried 6 months later to another member of the Ruocco family.
While he lived in Agropoli he worked as a fisherman.
Gennaro married Emilia Pappalardo on February 23, 1895 in Agropoli.
Family Life of Gennaro and Emilia
Following their marriage in 1895 Gennaro and Emilia became the parents of:
Filomena (b. 1895)
Sabato (b. 1900)
Italia (b. 1904)
Luigi (b. 1908)
Anna (b. 1909)
Alfonso (b. 1913)
The first thing you’ll notice is the even spacing between the birth of Emilia’s first four children. This is in marked contrast to that of her husband’s Aunt Rosa Serrapede, wife of Gennaro’s paternal Uncle Gennaro.
Gennaro, like his cousin Sabato (son of Uncle Gennaro and Aunt Rosa), was a “Bird of Passage”. During the years Emilia was not pregnant from 1896 through 1908 he made several trips to the United States. While in the U.S. he worked a variety of jobs to send money back to his growing family in Agropoli. Immigrants like Gennaro were called “Birds of Passage” because they came here to work but not to live. When they had made enough money they returned home to Italy.
When he arrived in New York City, the first person he went to stay with was his Cousin Saboto.
Although he travelled far, there were many things about coming to the U.S. that made it less overwhelming for Gennaro. His Uncle Gennaro and Cousin Saboto had established themselves as capable of sponsoring him and through them would be able to find employment.
Before examining the ship’s passenger records and analyzing the data they contain for Gennaro’s trips, we’re going to present a very general overview of what the situation was like for the “Birds of Passage” from Italy.