Anthony Vermandois of Imagines Maiorum-Ancestors from Campania, has compiled vital statistics for the families of our ancestral hometown of Agropoli, Salerno, Campania Italy. His research beings around the 1790s and covers the entire 19th through early 20th centuries. This week we have used his data on the Ruocco and Serrapede families to become more acquainted with the lineage of Giuseppa Ruocco, one of the matriarchs in our direct bloodline.
Chart for Giuseppa Ruocco.
Giuseppa Ruocco was the daughter of Nicola and Clarice (nee Serrapede) Ruocco. Her entry to our blood line brought the Serrapede DNA into Sammy’s maternal line, the Muro family. Since Sammy’s paternal line is also from the Serrapede family questioned how close the relationship was in our last posting. We also learned much about Giuseppa’s family in the process.
Giuseppa’s granddaughter Josie Muro Serrapede was named after her. Since Josie is very dear to us we have decided to spend some extra time getting to know her namesake. Josie was Sammy’s Mother and EmilyAnn’s maternal Grandmother.
Pedigree chart for Uncle Sammy showing descent from Giuseppa Ruocco and Pietro Muro.
Giuseppa Ruocco Muro was:
–Sammy’s Great Grandmother
–EmilyAnn’s Second Great Grandmother
Giuseppa’s Maternal Line: Clarice Serrapede
Clarice was born circa 1820 to Luigi and Carminela (nee Cavollo) Serrapede. There currently isn’t any information at Anthony’s site to determine if the Cavollo family was from Agropoli.
What caught our attention was Clarice’s name. There is no other female with this name in the Serrapede families Anthony has researched. There are recurring names such as Rosa and Carmela along with their variations. But only one Clarice. Since children were usually named after a relative in their father’s line it is possible the name Clarice could have been the name of Luigi’s mother. This name has not been used in our direct line since the first Clarice entered our family history.
Clarice’s father worked as a “bracciante” which means “laborer”, “hired hand”, “day laborer” and was used in connection with agricultural work.
Clarice has two sisters: Michela (born circa 1821) and Carmela (born circa 1822). Anthony has a question mark after Carmela’s entry to denote his is not sure if Luigi and Carminela were her parents.
All three sisters married into the Ruocco family. Anthony has no information prior to 1800 for the husbands of Clarice and Michela. Neither Carmela nor her husband Raffaele Ruocco appear in the listings of the extended Ruocco family. We do not know if the three sisters married three brothers or just married into different branches of the Ruocco family.
Clarice Serrapede Ruocco: Surviving the epidemic, living through the losses
Clarice married Nicola Ruocco who was born before 1825. Anthony questions if he was the son of Gaetano and Giuseppa (nee Carnicelli) Ruocco. We do not know what his occupation was. Clarice and Nicola had four children:
Giuseppa, born circa 1844
Giovanna, born circa 1846
Raffaele, born circa 1854
Gaetano, born circa 1856
Clarice’s sister Michela married Giuseppe Ruocco who was born before 1830. His parentage is not documented at Anthony’s website. They were the parents of:
Pietro, born circa 1849
Francesco, born circa 1853
Caterina, born circa 1855
Anna, born circa 1859
Carmine, born circa 1859
Concetta, born circa 1865
Carmela Serrapede, the youngest sister of Clarice, married Raffaele Ruocco. Anthony’s website does not list the births of any children.
Clarice lived through the Cholera Epidemic of 1866 but her sisters and a nephew did not. How sad and what a loss for her! Her sisters and nephew died as follows:
–Carmela died on October 28, 1866.
–Michela’s son Carmine died on October 30, 1866.
–Michela died on November 1, 1866.
Clarice passed away in Agropoli on February 25, 1882. We do not know when Nicola passed away
Giuseppa’s Paternal Line: Nicola Ruocco
Anthony has not posted any new findings on the lineage of Nicola Ruocco prior to his parents’ generation.
The only child of Nicola and Clarice Ruocco for whom Anthony records a health issue is their daughter Giovanna (born circa 1846).
Giovanna married Leopoldo di Pasquale and had one daughter for whom a birth is recorded. That daughter was Annunziata, born in 1875. The family immigrated from Naples to the United States in 1909. On the ship’s passenger list Giovanna’s health condition is listed as “senile”.
Discussion with Uncle Sammy, May 17th 2015
Health issues in our family
The illnesses associated with aging, mental or physical decline which we have seen in our family are not, to the best of our knowledge, genetically linked.
Josie Muro Serrapede passed away in 1995 after suffering a stroke in 1992. She began to exhibit signs of Alzheimers as early as the late 1980s in a very mild form but the manifestation quickened as her physical condition deteriorated.
Emily L. Serrapede, Sammy’s sister and my Mom, was diagnosed with Parkinsonism in 2007 after a long period in which the illness slowly became noticeable in late 2006. Parkinsonism is sometimes thought to be genetically inherited but at this date research is not conclusive. There have been no prior occurrences within our immediate or extended family.
In our immediate line the descendants of the Muro and Serrapede immigrant generation have experienced health issues common to other Americans such as high cholesterol or hypertension.
In the case of Giovanna Ruocco de Pasquale it is not clear if the condition of senility was due to the difficult life and times Southern Italians experienced at the time she lived or if there were other causes at work. Rosa Scotti, mother of our Cousin Sabato Serrapede, was also diagnosed by the Doctor at Ellis Island as being senile when the family arrived in New York in 1897.
Family and Community Attitudes about health issues
Uncle Sammy and I never heard the older family members ever mention any issues related to mental or emotional health in our line. It was a common practice not to mention such conditions in the family. It was something that was kept private and not even the children within a family group might know if a relative were having problems. Society was not open about health issues since the emphasis was on conforming to outside norms. We do not believe the families wanted neighbors and community to perceive any weaknesses within the family structure. However, to very close neighbors and relatives these things would not be hidden. Yet even then there was little talk about it in front of the children within the family. If it was discussed the health issues were glossed over if the children were present or else the conversation shifted into the dialect of Agropoli. I remember such instances between my Mom and maternal Grandmother Josie. Even though I had taken Italian in Junior High school and High School the language of Roman Italian was very different from that of Agropoli so most of it went right by me.
Clarice Serrapede Ruocco
What struck Uncle Sammy and I were the losses Clarice suffered when the Cholera Epidemic of 1866 took her little nephew and two sisters. The shock of this great loss she experienced gave us time to feel for Clarice despite the distance in time. We have set up a memorial page for our ancestors and for all the residents of Agropoli who died during the Cholera Epidemic of 1866.
Translation of “bracciante”