50a-Serrapede Family in America: Family and Match Making

Introduction

After the posting of 50-Serrapede Family in America: Josie and Sam get married, 1930 I heard from Cousin Michael Muro. He sends his regards to Uncle Sammy and our readers. Michael has spent the last three months hosting Giuseppe Carnicelli of Agropoli during his stay in the United States. Michael has travelled with Giuseppe from Pittsburgh to New York, Florida and other locations. Giuseppe has also been studying English conversation and reading during this time. Michael and Giuseppe will return to Italy after the July 4th holiday.

Michael shared with me additional information about his own family’s connections with Josie and Sam. Based on these relationships Michael offers up some scenarios that expand the possible ways in which Josie and Sam were brought together.

Relationship Notes

50a-michaels20pedigree20chart_zps4cza8w2vPedigree Chart for Michael Muro with maternal and paternal lines.

50a-emilyanns20pedigree20chart_zpsvqpheu0pPedigree chart for EmilyAnn Frances May showing her maternal line only.

Michael and I share Nicola “Nick” Muro as our common ancestor.

Nick Muro was:

–Michael’s Grandfather along his paternal line.
–EmilyAnn’s Great Grandfather along her maternal line.

Michael’s maternal Grandparents were:

–Raffaele (Ralph) and Pasqualina (nee Camperlingo) Di Fiore

Michael’s paternal Grandparents were:

–Nicola “Nick” and Rose (nee Rosina Aiello Marasco) Muro 

Michael’s parents were:

–Raymond (Raimie) and Frances (nee Di Fiore) Muro

Some background on Michael’s Maternal Line: Fiore/Di Fiori

Michael’s parents were Raymond and Frances (nee Di Fiore) Muro. Frances’ ancestors appear at ImaginesMaiorum-Ancestors from Campania with name variations. For some the surname is spelled Fiore and for others Di Fiori or Di Fiore. Michael explained this to me in his email:

“The name became DiFiore when my grandparents arrived in America. Just like many other names the custom officers made mistakes on the spelling. Or sometimes they wrote down the names as what they heard. Also spelling was changed because the Italian alphabet and the English alphabet pronounce the letters differently. So they hear it in Italian but write it down in English. For example the Italian letter i is pronounced like the English letter e.” 

Matchmakers in the family: Some other possibilities for how Josie and Sam met

Michael reviewed the data on Josie and Sam’s Marriage Certificate and noted the address Sam was living at when he and Josie applied for the certificate. It turns out that Michael’s maternal grandparents, Raffaele and Pasqualina Di Fiore, were living on the same block. From here it is easy to consider the possible scenarios Michael suggests for how Sam and Josie were introduced to each other.

Supporting documentation: Josie and Sam’s marriage certificate plus Google Maps

50-josie20and20sam20marriage20certificate_zpsyn9eiqj9

Sam and Josie’s marriage certificate. Sam was living at 2472 West Street, Brooklyn, NY before his marriage.

50a-247220west20street20google20maps_zpsvz2wlzsxGoogle Maps-Location of 2472 West Street between West and West 1st Streets and Avenues X and Y. Sam was living at this address before his marriage.

50b-243820west20street-google20maps_zpshoaencqrGoogle Maps-Location of 2438 West Street where Michael’s maternal Grandparents, Raffaele (Ralph) and Pasqualina Di Fiore lived.

The section of Brooklyn shown on both maps is Gravesend.

Michael’s scenario for how Josie and Sam may have been introduced

“Grandpa Nicola Muro was first cousin to my grandmother Pasqualina, my mother’s mother. My grandmother Pasqalina’s mother was Rose Muro who was the aunt of Grandpa Nicola.

“I can relate to you some of the things my mother told me. Grandpa Nicola would come visit [Brooklyn] from Pittsburgh sometimes. Also grandpa Nicola’s children would visit sometimes.

“I know that Uncle Peter Muro and Aunt Rose Muro stayed with my grandparents.

“My grandparents lived at 2438 West Street in Brooklyn. In the blog you said your grandfather Sam lived at 2472.

“That’s the same block between Avenue X and Ave Y. There are a lot of possibilities here:

  • “Maybe Grandpa Nicola knew your grandfather from Agropoli and he introduced him to your grandmother Josie when he came to New York to visit.

 

  • “Maybe your grandmother Josie met Sam when she went to visit my grandmother Pasqualina. Remember my mother’s parents both came from Agropoli so maybe they helped your grandparents to meet.

“As far as Angelo Coppola [the Best Man at Josie & Sam’s wedding}:

  • “My grandfather Ralph [Raffaele] Di Fiore was cousins with the Coppola family from Agropoli. I remember Nicola Coppola lived on West 1st Street between Ave X and Ave Y.

 

  • “I know Nicola Coppola had brothers and they visited my grandparents when I was young. I don’t remember the brothers names. I remember Nicola Coppola because he lived close to us and I saw him often.

“I hope this information helps you and cousin Sam to understand how we all fit together. Talk to you soon. And Thank you because of your blog I’m getting to remember many happy times with the people from my childhood.”

Discussion with Uncle Sammy on Sunday, July 2, 2017, 11:00 – 11:30 a.m. 

Uncle Sammy and I agree that:

  • By 1929-1930, Sam’s sister Filomena Serrapede D’Agosto would have been anxious for him to settle down. Sam lived with her and her family from some time in 1926 or 1927 after arriving in New York.

 

  • It was imperative that Josie settle down into married life after her departure from Wilmerding when her parents learned that her flirtation with a young man named Ernest was the cause of another young woman’s heartbreak. The other woman was engaged to Ernest. To avoid gossip, Nick and Rose sent Josie to live with her Auntie Elisa Scotti Errico in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.

 

  • It was not considered healthy for a single man and woman to live a solitary life or remain dependent on their siblings and relatives for lodging. Such arrangements were meant to be a help in eventually moving on towards full-time employment and marriage. After marriage the young woman was to become a full-time housewife and mother.

Uncle Sammy never heard Josie and Sam relate how they met. They never shared any details about their courtship either. As I was growing up Grandma Josie and Grandpa Sam shared more details about my Mother’s engagement and wedding with me but none about their own.

Since we do not have any family stories about whether or not relatives acted as matchmakers for Josie and Sam all we can do is consider possibilities. All the information Michael provided works out well and gives us broader picture of the extensive relationships at work in the lives of the immigrants from Agropoli.

My own awareness has greatly increased since this family history project started. Before this I only saw our relationships in a straight line that ran from Dyker Heights, Brooklyn to Wilmerding, PA. Now I realize how much more spread out those lines were going to Gravesend, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, and as the process of assimilation took hold to other states as well.

What has happened by the third and fourth generation, though, is that the network is no longer vital and strongly connected. That closeness and sense of community ties have dissipated. This is part of the process of assimilation and individuality that is part of becoming American. In other ways, though, I think some of us would prefer if that closeness was still present. A certain identity and quality of life is lost and will never come back because of assimilation.

 

Resources

Marriage Certificate of Josie Muro and Sam Serrapede
N.Y. Municipal Archives

Google Maps-2472 West Street, Brooklyn, NY

http://tinyurl.com/yc7cn5aq

 

Google Maps-2438 West Street, Brooklyn, NY

http://tinyurl.com/y7avu8ho

 

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