12b-Serrapede Family in Agropoli: A Letter to Great Grandmother Emilia (1 of 3)

Photo taken while visiting Great Aunt Italia in Agropoli, Summer of 1976.  When I look at it I think of Great Grandmother Emilia. 


In January of 2015 I spent time in recollection of the trip to Italy I made with my maternal Grandparents in 1976. Combined with reflections on the life of my Great Grandmother Emilia, I decided to express the resulting thoughts in the form of three letters to her. This posting consists of the first letter.

Continue reading “12b-Serrapede Family in Agropoli: A Letter to Great Grandmother Emilia (1 of 3)”

12a-Serrapede Family in Agropoli: Great Grandmother Emilia


Genealogist Anthony Vermandois has done extensive research into the families of several towns in Campania, Italy.  He presents the vital statistics and dates for marriage at his website Imagines Maiorum-Ancestors from Campania.  This week I have used the charts of descent for the Serrapede and Papplardo families of Agropoli.

Relationship Note

Pedigree chart for EmilyAnn’s maternal line showing descent from Nicola and Theresa (nee Patella) Pappalardo.

Emilia Pappalardo Serrapede was EmilyAnn’s Great-Grandmother along her maternal line.

Introduction to this series

My maternal Great-Grandmother Emilia Pappalardo Serrapede was born on December 20, 1872 in Agropoli.  She was the daughter of Nicola and Teresa (nee Patella) Pappalardo.

Great Grandmother Emilia’s Maternal Line

Pedigree Chart for Theresa Patella d’Alessandro.

Emilia’s mother was Teresa Patella, born in 1845 to Alessandro and Giovanna (nee Battista) Patella.  Alessandro was born before 1800.  His occupation was marinaro (fisherman).  In some records at Anthony’s site, Teresa’s name appears as heresa Patella d’Alessandro which signifies that she is the daughter of a man named Alessandro.

Teresa’s siblings were:  Giacomina, Giuseppe, Luigia and Ciro.

Continue reading “12a-Serrapede Family in Agropoli: Great Grandmother Emilia”

11g-Back in New York City-Did Cousin Sabato Serrapede become businessman Sabato Sarrapere? (part 2)

We continue our investigation into what happened to our Cousin Sabato Serrapede after he came to New York.  For the background please see part 1 of this posting.  With the discovery of the naturalization papers of a Mr. Sabato Sarrapere we have to consider if these are two different people or if Cousin Sabato changed his surname after coming to New York…

Sabato Sarrapere:  The story contained in his Naturalization papers

Complete Petition for Naturalization for Sabato Sarrapere.

Close-up of the top of Sabato’s Petition for Naturalization.

Close-up of the Petition for Naturalization with the story of the fraudulent certificate.

The Petition gives an estimated Date of Birth for Sabato of September 27, 1868.  He was born in Agropoli and came to the United States on the SS Brittania on September 27, 1888.  Although this date differs from the Britannia Passenger List our search turned up we think it is a mistake on the Petition.  Sabato’s date of birth is also entered as on or about September 27, 1868 which differs slightly from the date of September 16, 1868 which appears at ImaginesMaiorum.

The story of the fraudulent Certificate of Naturalization states that:

“This petitioner was in possession of a fraudulent certificate of naturalization purporting to have been issued by the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, October 27, 1893.  Said paper was surrendered and duly cancelled October 27, 1903, and this petitioner is permitted to reapply for naturalization by an order signed and entered, on notice to the United States District Attorney, in the office of the Clerk of the District Court of the United States, Southern District of New York, March 1, 1907.”

I held hope at this point that there might still be more factual data available to find a link between Cousin Sabato Serrapede and Sabato Sarrapere.

Overview of Sabato Sarrapere’s life

According to the Petition for Naturalization, in 1907 Sabato Sarrpere was living at 43 Mott Street with his wife Arcangela (nee Aloise) Sarrapere.  Their children were:

Rosina, Sept. 30, 1898
Carmela, Aug. 9, 1900
Gennaro, Nov. 29, 1902
Ronato, May 7, 1904
Giuseppe, Sept. 13, 1906

All the children were born in New York City.

1905 NYS Census.

Two years earlier, the NYS Census enumerator visited the Sarrapere family.  Again the name is misspelled, this time as Sarrapieda.  The family had a boarder named Antonio Corrento living with them.  Sabato’s profession is described as laborer.

Our next breakthrough came with the discovery of Mr. Sarrapere’s real estate transactions.

Note:  Uncle Sammy said that the Correnti family of 1166-65th Street were friends with the first generation of the Serrapede family.  The name Corrento, however, is not familiar to us.

Continue reading “11g-Back in New York City-Did Cousin Sabato Serrapede become businessman Sabato Sarrapere? (part 2)”

11g-Back in New York City-Did Cousin Sabato Serrapede become businessman Sabato Sarrapere? (part 1)


We have used the database at ImaginesMaiorum to investigate the lineage of the Serrapede family.  Genealogist Anthony Vermandois created this database and website to present the data on families he has researched who lived in the Campania region between the late 1790s to early 20th century..

The Search for Cousin Sabato Serrapede

Sabato Serrapede,, son of  Gennaro and Rosa (nee Scotti) Serrapede, is one of those elusive relatives who appear and disappear as searches take place for other relatives in our family line.

The discovery of Sabato’s trip to New York City in 1897 revealed that he was already a U.S. Citizen, as noted on the ship’s passenger list.  This makes him the earliest Serrapede within our extended line that was in the United States.  He also appears as the host of two other relatives within our line.  Then after 1909 he disappears without a trace.

The database at ImaginesMaiorum, where Anthony Vermandois has compiled the vital statistics of families from Campania, does not have a date of death for Cousin Sabato.  Recent searches have brought back many documents gathered over several sessions at Ancestry.  At first it seemed as if we were back on the trail to finding Cousin Sabato.

Here’s what happened….

Continue reading “11g-Back in New York City-Did Cousin Sabato Serrapede become businessman Sabato Sarrapere? (part 1)”

11f-The Italian version of “Cinderella”

Cinderella and the Birds”
English painting circa 1868
Public  Domain

“Italian Popular Tales”
by Thomas Frederick Crane, A.M.
Macmillan and Company, London, 1885
Transcribed from the original text available at Google Books


Note:  The Wikispaces version of the Italian Cinderella story mentions an evil step-mother.  The siblings are described as step-sisters.  I have located the original source from which the Wikispaces version is drawn and transcribed it. , There is no mention of either a step-mother or step-sisters. It is possible that later editions added the wicked step-mother in.  There are some interesting possibilities and explanations hidden inside of this story that give it a deeper meaning than you get upon first reading.  I have not been able to locate a 19th century painting of Cinderella by an Italian artist.  The one used here is by an English artist who I think captures the Cinderella of this tale.


Once upon a time there was a man who had three daughters.  He was once ordered to go away to work and said to them:  “Since I am about making a journey, what do you want me to bring you when I return?”  One asked for a handsome dress; the other, a fine hat and a beautiful shawl.  He said to the youngest:  “and you, Cinderella, what do you want?”  They called her Cinderella because she always sat in the chimney-corner.  “You must buy me a little bird Verdelio.”  “The simpleton! she does not know what to do with the bird!  Instead of ordering a handsome dress, a fine shawl she takes a bird.  Who knows what she will do with it!”  “Silence!” she says, “it pleases me.”  The father went, and on his return brought the dress hat, and shawl for the two sisters, and the little bird for Cinderella.  The father was employed at court, and one day the King said to him:  “I am going to give three balls; if you want to bring your daughters, do so;  they will amuse themselves a little.”  “As you wish,” he replies, “Thanks!” and accepts.  He went home and said “What do you think, girls?  His Majesty wishes you to attend his ball.”  “There, you see, Cinderella, if you had only asked for a handsome dress!  This evening we are going to the ball.”  She replied:  “It matters nothing to me!  You go; I am not coming.”  In the evening, when the time came, they adorned themselves saying to Cinderella:  “Come along, there will be room for you, too.”  “I don’t want to go; you go; I don’t want to.”  “But,” said their father, “Let us go, let us go!  Dress and come along; let her stay.”  When they had gone, she went to the bird and said:  “O Bird Verdelio, make me more beautiful than I am!”  She became clothed in a sea-green dress, with so many diamonds that it blinded you to behold her.  The bird made ready two purses of money, and said to her:  “Take these two purses of money, enter your carriage, and away!”  She set out for the ball, and left the bird Verdelio at home.  She entered the ballroom.  Scarcely had the gentlemen seen this beautiful lady (she dazzled them on all sides), when the king, just think of it, began to dance with her the whole evening.  After he had danced with her all the evening, his Majesty stopped, and she stood by her sisters.  While she was at her sisters’ side, she drew out her handkerchief, and a bracelet fell out.

Continue reading “11f-The Italian version of “Cinderella””

11f-Agropoli-A Mother in Heaven and another Mother on Earth-Antonia Ruocco Serrapede


Anthony Vermandois has researched the families of Campania in Southern Italy and compiled a very impressive collection of data at his website ImaginesMaiorum-Ancestors from Campania.  We have used the genealogical charts of descent from his website to research the following families for this posting:




Relationship Notes

Sabato Serrapede and his first wife Filomena Ruocco were presented in posting no. 6.  Filomena passed away when their youngest son, Gennaro, was two years old.  Six months later, Sabato married Antonia Ruocco.  With the research we have available so far we do not find that Antonia and Filomena were from the same bloodline in the Ruocco family.

Sabato was the son of Luigi and Angela Maria (nee Borrelli) Serrapede.  He was:

Sammy’s Great Grandfather
EmilyAnn’s Second Great Grandfather

Gennaro Serrapede was  Sabato and Filomena’s son.  He was:

Sammy’s paternal Grandfather
EmilyAnn’s Great Grandfather along her maternal line

The Step-Mother and Step-Sisters in the Italian version of “Cinderella”

In an effort to find some material about step-mothers in Italian culture we first reviewed how they were depicted in 19th century Italian children’s stories.  At Wikispaces (see link in Resources section) the Italian version of “Cinderella” mentions a very wicked step-mother and two wicked step-sisters at the beginning of the tale.  But after this perfunctory introduction the step-mother plays no active part in the story.  Cinderella’s step-sisters are selfish and taunt her yet this seems mild in comparison to the way in which the Step-Mother and Step-Sisters are portrayed in the Disney version of this fairytale.  In fact, Cinderella’s father had offered to buy her a gown at the start of the story but she asks for a pet bird instead.  The bird turns out to have magical powers and grants Cindrella’s wishes to be made dazzlingly beautiful when she goes to the ball.  Although the step-mother is not actively portrayed in the Italian version of the fairytale, she is still described as “evil”.

Continue reading “11f-Agropoli-A Mother in Heaven and another Mother on Earth-Antonia Ruocco Serrapede”