We have used the charts of descent for the Scotti family available at ImaginesMairoum, the site presenting the genealogical data compiled by Anthony Vermandois. This data has been collected from Agropoli and other towns in Campania province, Salerno.
For the other documentation used please see the Resources section at the end of this posting.
In our last posting we introduced Josie Muro. She was the eldest child in a family grew in size to 11 children by the early 1930s. Variations of a family story recounting why Josie left Wilmerding, Pennsylvania at the age of 18 or 19 to come to Brooklyn, New York provided a bare minimum of details. By using the census records and ships passenger lists for other relatives we are gaining insights into what happened to facilitate Josie’s move up to Brooklyn.
We will turn our attention to the contacts the Muro family had in Brooklyn who, we are certain, helped Josie in the very quick move her parents had her make from Wilmerding to Brooklyn. The story gets more interesting as the details fall into place.
Josie’s Zia Elisa
Josie’s mother, Letizia passed away in 1921 when Josie was 12 years old. We think Letizia was a weakened by an accident in the previous year plus the frequency of her pregnancies. Nick Muro, Josie’s father, married Rose (Rosina) Aiello Marasco in late 1921 – early 1922. We know from Josie’s own discussions with us that she had many chores and errands to perform each day to help Rose with the household.
Letizia’s two sisters, Concetta and Elisa, also lived nearby in Wilmerding. The Scotti family remained close to Letizia’s children during the lifetimes of the first generation of our family in America. Josie enjoyed long phone calls with Elisa. I remember during the times we visited, that even if she were cooking in the kitchen, she’d take time out to sit down and listen to what her Aunt was calling about.
Elisa comes to America
Elisa was the youngest daughter of Carmine and Maria Giovanna (nee di Giaimo) Scotti. She was born in Agropoli on September 4, 1891.
Passenger List of the SS Stampalia.
Close-up with entries for Raffaele, Concetta and Elisa.
The earliest record we have for Elisa’s arrival in America is the passenger list of the SS Stampalia which sailed from Naples and arrived in New York City on December 2, 1912. Travelling with Elisa were her brother Raffael and her sister Concetta. Raffael’s had worked as a shoemaker in Italy. Elisa and Concetta gave their profession as “housewife”. Elisa and Concetta had stayed with their parents in Agropoli before sailing on the SS Stampalia. Raffaele had been with his wife Carmela. From the passenger list we also learned that Raffael and Elisa could read and write while Concetta could not. They were close in age so I found it curious that Concetta had not had the same opportunity to learn as her sister did. We plan to check the 1930 and 1940 Federal Census records to see if there is any variation there about Concetta’s ability to read and write.
Answers to the questions asked by the Immigration Officer in New York.
The page following the passenger list records the answers given to the Immigration Officer when the ship docked in New York. We learn that the final destination was their brother Mariano Scotti’s residence in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania. Mariano may have been a bird of passage because no other evidence has surfaced to show he stayed in the US after 1912. Anthony Vermandois found records of his death in Agropoli during the late 1960s.
Was Elisa’s husband named James or Vincenzo?
Hunting down Elisa and her family in the census records was not easy at first. Many transcription errors occur in the original census records. Elisa was entered as Alice or Alcea or Elizabeth! What we found unusual is that in 1920 and 1925 her husband told the census enumerators his first name was James. Relatives who knew him in their childhood have told us that he was always known as Vincenzo. Why he decided to be entered as James in the census is not known. Uncle Sammy, another relative and I were able to ascertain that we had found Elisa and Vincenzo by checking the names of their children and dates of birth. The addresses in the 1920 Federal Census and 1925 New York State Census agreed with what we knew.
In 1920, the Erricos lived in the house they owned at 174 State Street. Vincenzo was employed as a machine hand in a machine shop which had to be Westinghouse Air Brake Company (WABCo.) The children born to Elisa and Vincenzo were:
Teresina (Teresa), 6 years old
Concetta, 4 years, 9 months
Antoinette, 4 years old
Matteo, 1 year old
The Errico Family comes to Brooklyn, NY
Close-up of the headers for the 1925 NYS Census page on which the entries for the Errico family appear.
Close-up of the 1925 NYS Census entries for the Errico family. Note: Vincenzo is entered as James. Elisa appears as Elizabeth.
Sometime between 1920 and 1925 the Errico family purchased a two family house in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, New York. The 1925 New York State Census provides the information that helps bridge the years after Letizia’s death and before Josie’s departure from Wilmerding. According to the Census, James now worked as an auto mechanic. There was also another child in the family, Frank who was 5 years old.
Vincenzo’s brother Frank and his family rented the other apartment in the two family house. He, too, worked as an auto mechanic.
Elisa was the only immediate relative Josie had who lived in Brooklyn at that time. We now think that when Nick and Rose hurried Josie out of Wilmerding and up to Brooklyn, they entrusted her to the Errico family since they had their own home. Having Josie stay with them was a wise move. Other close friends from Agropoli lived in Brooklyn that would play a part in helping Josie transition from life in a small town to life in a bustling borough of New York City. Having her stay with immediate family was an important move. In the eyes of the immigrant community, a young single woman was not permitted to move out on her own. She remained with her family until she got married.
Discussion with Uncle Sammy on Sunday, November 1, 2015
Uncle Sammy asked me what the address of the Errico’s house was in the 1925 NYS Census. When I confirmed that it was 1170-65th Street he told me that we had the right family. This is where Josie’s Zia Elisa lived since he had visited the Errico family at this house during the 20+ years the Serrapede family lived on 65th Street. He also confirmed that the names of all the Errico children were correct. We had the right census entry and another entry to our timeline.
Uncle Sammy also shared some other interesting details about 65th Street as he remembered it during the late 1940s and early 1950s. To the left of the Errico’s house was an open lot where a construction company kept its trucks and equipment. To the right was a one story building which had office space on the first floor. The office had a large window through which people passing by could view what was going on. This was the Law Office of Charles Graham. My Mom worked their part-time during high school and full-time after she graduated. Uncle Sammy used to wave hello to everyone in the office as he went up and down the block. He also visited Zia Elisa and Vincenzo. The house was well-kept and the family was gracious. Uncle Sammy doesn’t know how Vincenzo came to be known as James. All the relatives in Brooklyn called him Vincenzo.
Passenger List SS Stampalia
Immigration Form-SS Stampalia
1920 Federal Census
1925 New York State Census