We acknowledge and thank genealogist Anthony Vermandois for the work he has done researching the families of Agropoli and other towns in Campania, Italy. The information he has gathered is presented through charts of descent at Imagines Maiorum. To access the particular charts for the families featured in posting 46c parts 1-3, click on the surnames that follow. A new screen will open and navigate to the page for that surname at Anthony’s site.
Filomena Serrapede was the eldest sister of Sabato Serrapede who was Sammy’s father and EmilyAnn’s maternal Grandfather. She married Giuseppe D’Agosto in 1923.
This made Filomena and Giuseppe D’Agosto:
–Sammy’s paternal Aunt and Uncle
–EmilyAnn’s Great Aunt and Uncle along her maternal line.
During our initial research about Giuseppe D’Agosto, we learned that his mother was Raffaela Carnicelli. Uncle Sammy mentioned that as he was growing up the Carnicelli family who lived on 65th Street were paesanos of our family. Since many first generation families from Agropoli settled close to each other in Brooklyn, he wondered if they were our relatives. In particular, Uncle Sammy remembered a Julia Carnicelli who he thought lived in a multi-family dwelling where the other Carnicelli paesanos lived.
This set me on a search for Julia that was almost like following a fairy as she flew here and there leading me through the garden as I gathered flowers. Only I was actually gathering data that came together to tell a story not only about Julia, but her husband, brother-in-law and Giuseppe D’Agosto. The story is in the details and there are many. To avoid overwhelming the reader we have broken the posting into three parts. Part 1 will focus on Giuseppe D’Agosto and how he was related to Joseph and Anthony Carnicelli. We will also learn about Giuseppe’s life after his marriage in 1923 to Filomena Serrapede.
Our decision to use the Americanized names of Giuseppe’s Cousins
There are two Giuseppe’s in this story. By now you have read about Giuseppe D’Agosto and know him by that name. We will, therefore, continue to use the Italian version of his first name. Giuseppe’s first cousin was named Giuseppe Carnicelli. By 1940 the English version of his name, Joseph, was appearing in the Census and other records. Giuseppe Carnicelli had a younger brother named Antonio who appears as Anthony Carnicelli in the 1940 Census. To make things easier for the reader we decided to use the English version of the Carnicelli brothers’ first names. In this series, therefore, the focus is on:
Giuseppe D’Agosto and two first cousins along his maternal line:
The Carnicelli Connection
Chart of Descent for the children of Giuseppe Carnicelli and Maddalena Taddeo (from Imagines Maiorum).
Giuseppe D’Agosto’s mother was Raffaela Carnicelli, daughter of Giuseppe and Maddalena (nee Taddeo) Carnicelli. She had one brother named Saverio Carnicelli.
Saverio was born circa 1863 in Agropoli. He worked as a fisherman and married Maddalena Giordano on November 1, 1886. They had 9 children. Saverio and Maddalena’s oldest son Joseph and youngest son Anthony immigrated to the United States.
Joseph Carnicelli was born in 1888. He was 19 years old when Anthony was born in 1907. They each came to America separately at different times. Joseph’s story in America intersects with Giuseppe D’Agosto’s so we will focus on their relationship first.
Giuseppe and Cousin Joseph: Roommates or neighbors in Lower Manhattan in 1919?
According to Anthony’s research, in 1917 Joseph Carnicelli lived at 72 Baxter Street in Lower Manhattan. The Index record for Giuseppe D’Agosto’s Naturalization Petition shows that when it was filed in 1919 he was living at 72 Baxter Street. Paesanos and cousins helped each other find employment and lodgings. It’s possible Joseph Carnicelli might have helped his cousin Giuseppe get a place to stay in this building.
Next Stop: Brooklyn, 1925
Headers for 1925 NYS Census page where the D’Agosto family and Cousin Joseph appear.
Entries for D’Agosto family and Cousin Joseph.
Giuseppe returned to the United States with Filomena after their marriage. The 1925 New York state Census records the family as living at 35 Avenue U in Brooklyn where they rented an apartment. Giuseppe was 30 years old and still employed by the Department of Sanitation.
Filomena was 27 years old according to this census entry but the year of birth on other documents is 1895. The census records a 23 month old daughter named Lena. This is another transcription era in the original record. The D’Agosto’s eldest daughter was named Lillian.
Cousin Joseph Carnicelli is also entered as a member of the household. He was 38 years old, a citizen and had been in the U.S. for 18 years. He was self-employed as a shoe shiner. His status is entered as “M” meaning he was married but no wife appears in this census.
Many first generation Italian immigrants left lower Manhattan to move to Brooklyn in the late 1910s-early 1920s to escape the overcrowding. Also, as the young immigrants married they wanted to give their children a better quality of life. Lower Manhattan was crime infested, dirty and overcrowded. In contrast Brooklyn was like a suburb in some areas with spacious homes with gardens and back yards and tree lined streets.
The 1925 New York State Census presents a very modest look into the family’s life. Giuseppe D’Agosto as a city employee for 5 years seems to be settling in for the long run with his job. We would think that as a shoe shiner Cousin Joseph was a hard working man struggling to make a living. That may have been the case in his early years but the 1940 Federal Census provides us with an opportunity to see how Joseph Carnicelli worked to achieve the American Dream. The data available at ImaginesMaiorum gives us the chance to glimpse into the losses he suffered, too. There is something touching and inspiring about Joseph Carnicelli’s life after 1925 that shows us why America was called “The Land of Opportunity” at that time. We will focus on the highlights of his personal losses, financial gains and professional development in Part 2.
Discussion with Uncle Sammy on Sunday, December 6, 2015, 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Giuseppe and Filomena (nee Serrapede) D’Agosto provided the means for Sam (Sabato) Serrapede, Sr. to come to America. In 1927, Sam left Agropoli with the resolve to never go back to Italy. Sam was Filomena’s younger brother. She provided the continuity he needed to successfully transition to life in America. Filomena also helped her younger brother Alfonso get settled in America. Alfonso (a/k/a Funzie) and Sam looked up to Filomena. She was, as Uncle Sammy always tells me, the Grand Matriarch of the Serrapede family in America. She was concerned about her brother’s well-being. When Funzie was still a bachelor in his early 40s Filomena began the search for a compatible woman who would meet Funzie’s expectations as a wife,companion and homemaker.
Uncle Sammy and I look forward to sharing more stories about Filomena, Sam, Sr. and Funzie as the narrative of their lives in America unfolds.
New York, New York County Supreme Court Naturalization Petition Index, 1907-1924
Operations IncPublisher Date2000
Publisher Location Provo, UT, USA
NYS Census 1925
New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 60; Assembly District: 16; City: Brooklyn; County: Kings; Page: 59