59a-Carola family of Agropoli-Hoteliers, Coachmen and Shopkeepers, Part 1


What started out as a simple addition of some family members to the family tree of Mary Angela (Angie) Carola’s branch turned up some possible connections between her maternal line and Uncle Sammy’s maternal line. We also gained some insights into the business activities of the Carola family. Since most of our direct line and branch families made their living in agriculture or from the sea we spent time discussing some of the possibilities that offered the Carola family the opportunity to open their own hotel in Agropoli during the late 19th-early 20th century.

We acknowledge use of the research of Anthony Vermandois of ImaginesMaiorum in the preparation of this posting. Please see Resources section for links to the charts of descent for the Carola and branch families mentioned in this posting.

Relationship Notes

Mary Angela Carola lived on the same block in Wilmerding as Peter Muro did. The Muro and Carola families were from Agropoli in Campania Province, Italy. Mary Angela and Peter married in 1937. Everyone called Mary Angela “Angie”.

Peter Muro was the younger brother of Josie Muro Serrapede. Josie was the wife of Sam (Sabato) Serrapede and mother of Sammy, Gerald and Emily.

Angie and Peter were Sammy’s maternal Aunt and Uncle.

They were EmilyAnn’s Great Aunt Angie and Great Uncle Peter but because these terms were never used I called them my Aunt and Uncle, too. So you will find this manner of addressing them used in the posting and the discussion.

Tracing back the earliest mentions of the hotel

The only way to trace the evolution of the family’s entry to the hotel business was to examine what the occupations of the men were in Angie’s family line from the earliest ancestors Anthony Vermandois has researched. As we entered each family member into her pedigree chart we used online dictionary Reverso (see Resources section) to find the English equivalents of the Italian words used for the occupations. At first nothing seemed to come together until we completed entering Angie’s parents to her chart. There were certain occupations that struck us because of their relationships to each other. We will put those particular ones into bold font. The children in each generation who are part of Angie’s direct paternal line appear in italics. Let us know if you begin to make the associations we did as we progress through Angie’s family line.

59a-Angie's paternal line
Angie’s Paternal Line.

Aunt Angie’s Paternal 2nd Great Grandparents

Ignazio Carola and Anna Pirro. No other information is available except that Anna was from the town of Prignano Cilento.

Aunt Angie’s Paternal Great Grandparents

Ignazio and Anna’s son Gennaro Carola was born in 1801. He married Gabriella di Lembo, born in 1798 to Pasquale di Lembo and Rosa Cincio in Prignano Cilento.

Gennaro worked as a blacksmith (fabbro ferraio). With Gabriella he had four children for whom Anthony found birth dates:

Rosa born circa 1827
Nicola born circa 1830
Alfonso born circa 1835
Raffaele born circa 1844
Gennaro died in Agropoli on January 28, 1866.

Angie’s Paternal Grandparents

Gennaro and Gabriella’s son Raffaele married Cristina Vitagliano di Giuseppe. They were the parents of:

Nicola b. April 20, 1868
Gabriela b. 1866
Gaetano b. February 15, 1870
Mariangela b. 1872
Alfonso b. 1874
Rosa b. 1877

According to Anthony’s research Raffaele worked as a coach driver or a coachman (vetturino). Raffaele passed away in Agropoli on January 5 1879.

Angie’s Father

Raffaele and Cristina’s son Gaetano was born on February 15, 1870. He married Rosa di Luccio in Agropoli on January 18, 1896. Before they immigrated to America Raffaele and Cristina became parents of:

Raffaele 1897-1916
Nicola b. 1900

While he lived in Agropoli Gaetano worked as a fisherman (marinaro). He was also a landlord or landowner (possidente).

Raffaele and Cristina had more children after immigrating to the U.S. They were:

Christina 1910-2003
Antoinette b. 1911
Mary Angela October 12, 1913-October 24, 1978
James 1915-1998
Ralph b. 1918
George 1920-1967

Things are looking very interesting when you consider the possibilities:

  • Angie’s Great Grandfather Gennaro was a blacksmith. His customers would include people with horses that they rode or used to pull carriages or coaches.
  • Angie’s Grandfather Raffael was a coachman or a coach driver. It’s possible that he got this position through one of Gennaro’s clients. Raffael may have been exposed to working with and handling horses from an early age and so came recommended for a position as a coach driver.
  • Gaetano, Angie’s father, did not work with horses or carriages but is mentioned as being a landowner or landlord while the family still lived in Agropoli. So where did the connection to the hotel come in and how do these pieces come together? It became necessary to look at the professions of Gaetano’s brothers and we found what we believe completes the answer to our question as to possible ways in which the family got into the hotel business.

Meet Mary Angela’s Uncle Nicola of Agropoli

59a-Nicola Carola chart
Pedigree Chart of Nicola Carola.

Nicola Carola was the older brother of Angie’s father Gaetano. Anthony’s research turned up four occupations attributed to Nicola Carola:

  • albergatore (hotelier, host)
  • pescatore (fisherman)
  • bettoliere (inn keeper)
  • possidente (landlord or landowner)

It is possible that since Nicola and Gaetano’s father worked as a coachman or coach driver he had knowledge and contacts with inns and hotels in Agropoli and wherever his route took him. His sons would be exposed to not only the work which coachmen did but which inn keepers did. This was still a period in Italy where boys took on the occupations of their fathers. If not they did not the family and paesani in Agropoli would network to secure the young man a position. This might be how Nicola got started in the business of owning or operating an inn or hotel.

Gaetano was also a landlord or landowner. It may have been a different piece of land/building or the same as his brother Nicola’s. The land/building could act as collateral for a loan used to start the hotel. The land or building might also have been the one which was used for the Carola Hotel. This would make the brothers partners in the business. The hotel was successful and in operation until the later part of the 20th century.

Nicola Carola married Francesca Scotti in 1893. Their children were:

Cristina, b. 1893
Giulia, b. 1896
Gaetano b. January 1, 1898
Raffaele, b. 1899
Vincenzo, b. 1901
Anna b. 1903
Maria, b. 1905
Giuseppe, b. 1908
Rosaria, b. 1910
Flora b. 1917

Nicola died in Agropoli on December 7, 1922. It’s interesting to note that Nicola’s son Gaetano worked as a commerciante which translates as trader, dealer, shopkeeper. As the eldest son he did not exactly follow his father’s profession but did remain in a white collar profession instead of working in agriculture or as a fisherman.

(To be continued…)

Note:  This posting was created using the Classic Block in the Gutenberg WordPress Editor.  All screen shots should appear centered with captions centered below.  Please report any irregularities to EmilyAnn at her email address.  Follow-up with WordPress is the next step.  Your participation in getting the irregulatities of the Gutenberg editor corrected is greatly appreciated.

3 thoughts on “59a-Carola family of Agropoli-Hoteliers, Coachmen and Shopkeepers, Part 1

  1. Your thought process makes a lot of sense to me, seeing how the family could go from blacksmith to coach driver to hotelier. Very interesting!

    And your captions look fine! I guess you are adjusting to the blocks.

    1. Thanks, Amy. Although this is just a journey into the realm of possibilities, it’s a process that brings the ancestors a little closer.

      Thanks for the feedback on the formatting. As far as blocks go I’m still not enthusiastic about it.

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