61-Muro and Carola Families in America-Assimilation and Acculturation


Acculturation occurs when an immigrant community begins to adapt some of the behaviors of the majority, mainstream culture.  Many of the traditions the community brought with them to America remain in force.  What takes place is a blending of the cultures so that there is a bi-cultural aspect in the lives of the immigrants and their descendants.  The cultural identity of the ancestral country is retained.

Assimilation is a by-product of acculturation.  It occurs when members of the immigrant community accept the values of the mainstream culture to such an extent that they no longer bear the cultural identity which once differentiated them.  The characteristics of the culture from which the family originated are replaced by those of the majority in their new homeland.

We used the 1940 Federal Census entries for the Muro and Carola families to see if we find acculturation and assimilation occurring in the lives of the second generation of these Italian-American families.

Relationship Notes

Sam and Josie (nee Muro) Serrapede were Sammy’s parents and EmilyAnn’s maternal grandparents.

Peter Muro was the younger brother of Josie Muro Serrapede.

Angie Carola Muro was Peter’s wife and mother of Nick, Robert and Peter.  Angie’s name appears as Mary Angela Carola on her marriage license.  In some Federal Census records it appears as Angeline.  She was the daughter of Guy and Rose Carola.  Angie’s siblings were Raffaele, Nicola (Nick), Christina, Antoinette, James, Ralph and George.

Family of Peter and Angie Muro in the 1940 Federal Census

1940 Federal Census with entries for the family of Peter and Angie Muro.

Peter Muro answered the questions for his household when the enumerator visited to record his entry for the 1940 Federal Census.  Peter and Angie had a 1 year old son named Nick.  The family was living at 246 Albermarle Street in Baltimore, Maryland.  Peter was working as a laborer in an aircraft company and had made $500 in 1939.  He’d only worked 20 weeks that year.  Rent on the apartment in Maryland was $12 a month.

In columns 17-20 the census enumerator had to enter where the family lived as of April 1, 1935.  The answer recorded for Peter and Angie is “same place” meaning they were in the same house in Baltimore since 1935.  This is incorrect because in 1936 we know Peter was working in Brooklyn, NY (link to Bergen Beach posting).  When Peter and Angie applied for their marriage license in 1937 both lived in Wilmerding.

By accepting work out of state and in a different industry, Peter was no longer following the pattern of traditional behavior observed by the first generation.  Peter was not working at Westinghouse Air Brake Company like his father did and he did not work in his father’s grocery store.  He also did not stay in the same town after his marriage.  By moving out of state with his wife and child Peter was adapting to life in America.  We do not know if there were relatives in Baltimore but if not that was another change in lifestyle.  Usually the second generation retained close ties to their relatives and paeasni.  The social capital of a network of friends and relatives to secure employment and housing may or may not have remained strong.  With the economic necessity to secure any kind of work as the Depression continued into the late 1930s, it was essential to put aside old world customs in favor of what was most expedient to secure a livelihood.

Continue reading “61-Muro and Carola Families in America-Assimilation and Acculturation”

Springtime Greetings 2019

“Spring Quiet”

by Christina Georgina Rossetti

Gone were but the Winter,
Come were but the Spring,
I would go to a covert
Where the birds sing;

Where in the whitethorn
Singeth a thrush,
And a robin sings
In the holly-bush.

Full of fresh scents
Are the budding boughs
Arching high over
A cool green house:

Full of sweet scents,
And whispering air
Which sayeth softly:
“We spread no snare;

“Here dwell in safety,
Here dwell alone,
With a clear stream
And a mossy stone.

“Here the sun shineth
Most shadily;
Here is heard an echo
Of the far sea,
Though far off it be.”



The Graphics Fairy
Colorful Vintage Floral Card Image
Public Domain
Poem Hunter
“Spring Quiet”
by Christina Georgina Rossetti
Public Domain

Created in:  Gutenberg Editor
Formatting:  Classic Block

The New Public Site for the Muro and Serrapede Family History Project

I have set up a public site that provides information on the family history project and the guidelines for participation.  There are no postings or discussions at the site, only information about the family history project  This site is used as a starting point for potential subscribers to contact me using the email form at the site..

You are free to give the URL out to anyone interested.  The blog is called The Muro and Serrapede Family History Blog.  The link is:


60-Carola Family in Wilmerding, 1920-1930 Changes in work and family life


The first generation of the Muro and Carola family in America continued to observe the traditions and patterns of behavior that shaped and defined their lives in Agropoli. Although Wilmerding had a diversified mix of European ethnicities as the dominant groups in the community, it was rare for single people in the first generation to marry out of the Italian community. Marriages in the second generation often happened amongst the children of the paesani who knew each other in Agropoli. Many second generation Italian-Americans lived with or in the same town as their parents.

As the process of Americanization took hold, however, forces beyond the control of parents and community came into play. These forces were the ones that exposed the second generation to a broader education, greater choice of friends to socialize with and a choice of profession. We’ll look at how some of these patterns of behavior persisted in the first generation and then gradually began to change with the second generation.

Relationship Notes

Josie Muro Serrapede was Sammy’s mother and EmilyAnn’s maternal Grandmother.

 Guy and Rose (nee Di Luccio) Carola’s daughter Angie married Josie’s younger brother Peter Muro.

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

James Lawrence Carola was Angie’s younger brother. His wife was Mary Inez (nee Gilmartin).

Carola Family in 1920 Federal Census

In the 1920 Federal Census Gaetano and Rosa’s names were Anglicized to Guy and Rose. We have found that many census enumerators entered the names of our relatives this way. Yet when we speak to family members today, the Italian version of their name is still used.

Close-up of 1920 Federal Census.

Guy was 48 years old and Rose 44 years old. When they left Italy in 1900 they had two children, Nicola and Rafael. In 1920 Nicola was called Nick. He was now 19 years old. The elder Rafael is not listed in this census. The children born after Guy and Rose settled in Wilmerding were:

Name         Age in 1920

Christina         11 y.o.

Antoinette         9 y.o.

Angeline*………..7 y.o.

James ……………..5 y.o.

Ralph…………………2 yrs. 3 mos.

George … ………… 6 mos.

*(also called Mary Angela, “Angie”)

When a child died it some families used that child’s name again when a new baby was born. The choice of the name Ralph indicates that the older Rafael born in Italy may have died before Ralph was born.

Guy could read and write according to the Census. The Census does not specify English but that must be what is meant. In contrast, Rosa is entered as not being able to read and write. This leads one to believe that many of the wives of our ancestors and their paesani were illiterate. But this is often not the case. After the Unification of Italy schooling was mandatory up to the 4th grade. The women would have had an ability to read and write in basic Italian.

Guy worked as a bricklayer in a forge shop while Nick worked as a machinist. These job descriptions appear over and over for residents of Wilmerding. When the employer is specifically named it is always Westinghouse Airbrake Company.

From the 1920 Federal Census we can see that many customs from life in Italy continued such as:

  • Naming a child after a sibling who passed away while still young.
  • Grown children who were not married lived at home with their parents.
  • Father and son worked in the same factory or the same line of work.

Continue reading “60-Carola Family in Wilmerding, 1920-1930 Changes in work and family life”

Welcome back to our family history blog

Thank you to all new and long-time subscribers responding to the invitations to re-subscribe to our blog.  All features remain the same except for the removal of the “Like” button.  If there are any posts you like please respond with a comment.

The move to a private, by invitation only blog lessens the need for me to continually put up pages with guidelines for subscribers.  Since this group is now closed I do not think these pages are necessary since there were never any difficulties originating with the core followers and subscribers.

Posting will continue on the new schedule of twice a month.  To prevent postings from losing their appeal I am now putting the complete posting each time rather than break it into parts.  With the reduced schedule readers will have more time to absorb the more involved ones.

Thank you for your continued support. 

Going forward new subscribers will be accepted on recommendation of an existing member of this blog. 

59b-Carola family of Agropoli: Carola Hotel in Summer of 1976


This posting is created using a story I attached to the Serrapede-Torregrossa family tree in 2014.  I am sharing it again here at WordPress because of the relationship to the Carola family.   Please note that moving forward I will be more involved at my job as we begin new projects.  I will not be on WordPress everyday.  Comments may have to wait for approval.  I will catch up with blog friends and their postings as time permits.  I appreciate your understanding for the gaps in time and my inability to follow anyone’s blog on a consistent basis.

Photos of the Hotel Carola from early 20th Century

These photos are from the family tree of Ancestry Member donandjan1.  Jan replied by email in 2014 that she does not have the name of the book where they came from.

59b-Carola Hotel from Ancestry DonJan
View of the Carola Hotel from the street.

Continue reading “59b-Carola family of Agropoli: Carola Hotel in Summer of 1976”