53b-Serrapede Family in America-Emily Leatrice’s Baptism, December 1931

Relationship Notes

Emily Serrapede is featured in this posting. She was the daughter of Sam and Josie (nee Muro) Serrapede, older sister of Gerald and Sammy, and EmilyAnn’s Mother.


In 1930 Sam and Josie were married at the Church of St. Rosalia. The church was built on 14th Avenue and 65th Street. When their daughter Emily Leatrice was born in 1931 they were living in the Bath Beach section of Brooklyn. Six months later she was baptized at St. Rosalia’s Church where the family moved before  Emily was Baptized. As young parents, Sam and Josie needed the help and companionship of their relatives and paesanos, most who lived in Dyker Heights. This was a good move. Their daughter grew up in the company of her cousins, many who became her best friends.

The Baptismal Certificate

53b-Mom Baptism Cert 5

Baptismal Certificate for Emily Serrapede.

Although her birth certificate had her official name as Emily, the Baptismal Certificate bears her name in Italian. Emilia Pappalardo Serrapede was her paternal Grandmother. This might have been a custom observed in the immigrant community. The official record has the English version of the name and the baptismal name is in Italian. Josie and Sam followed this practice with their son Jerry.

The Godfather and Godmother

53b-ELS Godmother Theresa

Theresa Errico in 1930.

Emily’s Godparents were Angelo Coppola and Theresa Errico. Josie lived with the Errico family after she left Wilmerding and came up to Brooklyn in the late 1920s. Theresa was her first cousin, the younger daughter of her maternal Zia (Auntie) Elisa and Uncle Vincenzo. Theresa was born 1914 in New York City. In 1930 she worked as a stenographer in the radio industry. She lived with her parents at 1170-66th Street. Elisa was the Maid of Honor for Josie and Sam’s wedding in 1930.

53b-ELS Godfather Angelo

Angelo Coppola in 1930.

Angelo Coppola was the best man for Sabato and Josie when they married in 1931. The Coppola family Angelo was descended from were paesanos of the Serrapedes.

Where was the Serrapede family living in December 1931?

Josie and Sam lived on Benson Avenue in Bath Beach when Emily was born. When she was baptized on December 6, 1931 they had moved to Dyker Heights. In order for a child to be baptized at a Roman Catholic Church, the family must live within the parish. Where were they living? The Baptismal Certificate did not provide any clues. We turned to the Brooklyn City Directory for 1933.

1933 Brooklyn City Directory Listing for Sam Serrapede

53b-1933 Brooklyn Ctiy Directory Sabato

Close-up of Sam’s entry in the 1933 Brooklyn City Directory.

Sam is listed in the 1933 Brooklyn Directory. Josie’s name appears after his in parenthesis. This signifies she was his wife. The City Directories served many purposes. They let you know a person’s profession, the members of the household, their marital status and profession. Sam’s entry reads as:

–Serrapede Saml (Josephine) shoe shiner H   1075 66th

The “H” means the address is for the house he lives in. The Errico family lived just one block down at 1170 66th Street. This house was located between 11th and 12th Avenues. Josie and Sam lived between 10th and 11th Avenues. The world their daughter Emily described when she shared all her memories of her childhood and adolescence was slowly taking shape.

Telephones were still a luxury item and not many homes had one. By the late 1930s the City Directories co-existed with the Telephone Directories until telephone service became more affordable and was used in more homes.

Discussion with Uncle Sammy, Sunday, February 14, 2016 11-11:35 a.m.

In Posting no. 49-Serrapede Family in America: The Little Church in Dyker Heights, 1930 we learned about the important role St. Rosalia’s Roman Catholic Church played in the lives of the Italian immigrant communities of Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Borough Park. The church is located at the corner of 63rd Street and 14th Avenue in Brooklyn. Why then, does a location for St. Rosalia’s at 12th Avenue and 65th Street appear on Emily’s Baptismal Certificate?

Uncle Sammy knows that the parish began buying property on 65th Street between 12th and 13th Avenues with the intention of eventually building a bigger church on those grounds. In 1930 the structure on 65th Street and 12th Avenue was part of St. Rosalia’s Parish. The church known today as Regina Pacis Basilica was not built on that site until after World War II. The Italian American community still worshipped at St. Rosalia’s on 14th Avenue and 63rd Street until construction on Regina Pacis was completed in 1951.

St. Theresa’s Chapel, where Josie and Sam’s son Gerald was baptized, was located within St. Rosalia’s Church on 14th Avenue. I have not been able to find out exactly what function the building at 12th Avenue and 65th Street served. Was it another chapel? Did it serve as the Rectory? Any Brooklyn or Parish Historians are welcome to provide this information in the Comments section of this posting.

Please note the Diocese closed St. Rosalia’s Church in February 2017 . The building is no longer in use as a house of worship.


Baptismal Certificate of Emilia Serrapede
Dated December 6, 1931
arish of St. Rosalia’s R.C.C.

1930 Federal Census
Theresa Errico

Marriage Certificate of Josie Muro and Sam Serrapede
No. 3212 Dated March 2, 1931
NY Municipal Archives

Photos of Angelo Coppola and Theresa Errico

Screen shots from the Wedding Photo of Sam and Josie Serrapede, March 1930.

Links to other postings about the Errico and Coppola families

19c-Coppola Family: Our Paesanos and Cousins in Agropoli and America


The Church of St. Rosalia-Regina Pacis


6 thoughts on “53b-Serrapede Family in America-Emily Leatrice’s Baptism, December 1931

  1. It’s good to read one of your family history posts! Hope you had a good break. It’s interesting that they used an English name on the civil records but Italian on the religious—similar to Jews having both an English name and a Hebrew name.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent point, Amy. Yes, my Grandma Bessie’s family had similar practices. Tracing them in the census was very difficult. For example. Grandma’s sister was called Belle by the family. On the census she appeared once as Becky and another as Rebecca. Belle’s daughter told m that her Mom’s Hebrew name was Rivka.

      I’m on the mend and happy to know you’re enjoying the postings.

      Liked by 1 person

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