We have used the research done by Anthony Vermandois of ImaginesMaiorum as the basis for our exploration of our immigrant ancestor Gennaro Serrapede. He came to the United States as a Bird of Passage. We have also used the resources at Ancestry for the ship’s passenger list presented and cited in the Resources section at the end of this posting.
EmilyAnn’s maternal line on the Pedigree Chart.
Gennaro Serrapede was:
Sammy’s paternal Grandfather
EmilyAnn’s Great Grandfather through her Mom’s side of the family
Gennaro’s Experiences with Social Capital and Chain Migration
So how does our Gennaro’s experiences with Chain Migration and Social Capital compare with the readings we have done about the typical experiences of a Bird of Passage from Southern Italy?
Gennaro’s 1909 trip is very straightforward and not too surprising in terms of his contacts in New York City. What is more interesting is that a 1913 trip to the United States involved more complex travel arrangements. In addition, the network Gennaro Serrapede had in the U.S. is wider than first indicated and the ability to get work as a result of his social capital gives substance to what we read.
This is what makes examining the actual records of his travel so important to us: now it’s not just information about immigrants, it is our immigrant ancestor whom we understand better and can almost touch through the knowledge we gain from our research.
Chain Migration: Gennaro’s 1909 Trip to New York
Since Gennaro’s Cousin Sabato and his family came to the U.S. first they acted as the link between Agropoli and New York. In an earlier posting we detailed the activities of his Cousin and extended family. Although we cannot find Cousin Sabato in any census records it seems that he had the means to provide housing and possibly work for Gennaro during the 1909 trip to the United States. There are earlier trips mentioned which Gennaro made but we cannot be sure if Cousin Sabato acted as the facilitator to bring Gennaro over for the pre-1909 trips from Agropoli to the U.S.
Passenger list of the SS Cedric, Feb. 4, 1909.
Gennaro sailed from Naples on February 4, 1909 on the White Star Line Cedric.
When he arrived in New York City on February 16, 1909 he had to answer questions before disembarking and agree to be examined by a physician.
Close-up of Gennaro’s entry on the Passenger List. He is entered as Passenger No. 24 on this page.
The information on the passenger list stated that:
Name: Serrapede, Gennaro
Age: 36 years old
Married or Single: Married
Calling or Occupation: Farm Lab (Farm Laborer)
Able to Read/Write: No
Nationality or Country of Which Citizen or Subject: Italy
Race or People: Southern Italian
Last Permanent Residence Country/City or Town: Salerno, Agropoli
The name and complete address of nearest relative or friend in country whence alien came: Emilia Pappalardo (Gennaro’s wife. Women in Italy retained their maiden names.)
State: New York City or Town: Brooklyn
Whether having a ticket to such final destination? Yes.
By whom was passage paid? Self.
Whether in possession of $50 and if less how much? $14 Whether ever before in the U.S. and if so, when and where? Yes
Year or Period of years: 1905-06
Where: New York
Close-up of entry on page following the Passenger List.
Whether going to join a relative or friend and if so what relative or friend and his name and complete address: My cousin, Sabato Serrapede, (address looks like) 66 14th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Height: 5’ 6” Color of Hair/Eyes: Brown
Place of Birth: Salerno, Agropoli
Discussion with Uncle Sammy, April 26, 2015 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
We looked up maps to see if there is or ever was an address such as 66-14th Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.
A search through Google maps and close-up viewing of photos of 14th Avenue show that it begins at 35th Street at the intersection of Church Avenue and Dahill Road. It extends up to 86th Street.
The addresses along 14th Avenue follow the numbers of the streets each part of the avenue falls between. There is no such address as 66-14th Avenue. We believe that Gennaro’s Cousin Sabato was living in the vicinity of 66th Street and 14th Avenue. This makes the most sense to us since after their marriage Josie and Sam Serrapede (Sammy’s parents and my maternal grandparents) lived on 66th Street between 12th and 13th Avenues. Many other relatives and friends from Agropoli had settled there by 1930. Gennaro’s presence and Sabato’s residence in the area now show us that our family was in Brooklyn earlier than previously known.
In the 1900s and all through the 1910s, a movement out of Lower Manhattan began to take place. Many Italians, as well as immigrants from other countries, settled or came to live in various parts of Brooklyn. They hoped to see an improvement in the quality of their lives as they left the crowding of Lower Manhattan behind.
Passenger List for the SS Cedric saling from Naples on February 4, 1909
Year: 1909; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 1201; Line: 24; Page Number: 144
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Google Maps 14th Avenue