75a-Serrepede, D’Agosto and Muro Families in the 1940s

Introduction

Starting with this posting we will present photos of the extended family from the collection Josie left us.  We have a nice selection that will enable our readers to put a face to the names you’ve become familiar with.  Now you can meet the relatives and cousins who played a big part in Sammy and Emily Leatrice’s childhoods and teen years.  A photo completes the word portraits we have done our best to create of the first and second generation members of our Serrapede and Muro families.  It also gives all the readers a chance to see how well cared for Emily and her cousins were.  And in the backgrounds there are sometimes glimpses of the homes or neighborhoods where the photos were taken.

We begin by recapping the events in the life of Giuseppe and Philomena D’Agosto from 1940 through 1943.  After this we share photos of Philomena and her children.  A few highlights from their lives during and after the 1940s are also presented.

As we analyzed the photos little details began to come to the fore causing us to dig a little deeper into the stories behind these photos.  This led to some enjoyable evenings spent researching these details.  At the end, our findings led to some new things we learned about the time period in which the photos were taken.  Uncle Sammy and I hope this approach helps other researchers who are looking to build a story around the photos left to them when there are only scant details provided.

Relationship Notes

Josie and Sam Serrapede were:

  • Sammy’s parents
  • EmilyAnn’s maternal Grandparents

Filomena’s Serrapede D’Agosto was Sam’s eldest sister.  In 1923 Giuseppe D’Agosto returned to Italy to marry Filomena.  They returned to the United States and raised their family in Brooklyn, NY.  They had 4 children:

  • Frank
  • Lillian
  • Martha
  • Emilia

Recap of the D’Agosto Family 1940-43

Giuseppe D’Agosto had been living in the United States for 27 years when the 1940 Federal Census was taken.  He was still working as a truck driver for the New York City Department of Sanitation, a position he had for almost 20 years.  His income for 1939 was $1,872 which placed the D’Agosto family into the middle class.  In 1940 a yearly salary of $1,000 per year was average for those who lived a modest lifestyle and were considered part of the middle class. 

Giuseppe and Filomena rented an apartment in a 2 family house at 1170-65th Street.  The house was owned by by Frank Errico, the brother-in-law of Elisa Scotti Errico who also lived on 65th Street.  Elisa was the favorite Auntie of Filomena’s sister-in-law Josie Muro Serrapede.  The ties of kinship between the Errico family and the Muro family began in Wilmerding and remained in force when the families moved up to Brooklyn.  This relationship extended outwards to include the D’Agosto family.  The ties of kinship and blood were at work in the second generation as well.  The children of these families played and went to school together.  They weren’t just cousins to each other, they were best friends, too.

Continue reading “75a-Serrepede, D’Agosto and Muro Families in the 1940s”

Status Update

Greetings! I send a “Thank you!” to new and long-time subscribers. The stats show a small, but steady number of viewers each day. Knowing this family history continues to hold an appeal to a diverse readership keeps me motivated.

There are several decisions I have made for the family history project. I have greater responsibilities in real time. I am happy with these changes and meeting the challenges they bring. In order to keep this blog and family tree up-to-date the following changes are in effect:

  • As of November 20, 2020 all research on the immediate and branch families is concluded.
  • Anyone needing research or look-up requests must use the public family tree to obtain the documentation or search for info they need.
  • No introductions will be made between relatives whether immediate or distant.
  • Events and accomplishments previously featured in “Our Family Circle” will no longer be covered.

The effects of COVID-19 continue to create challenges and changes in everyone’s working and personal lives. That is the case for me and that is why these changes are being made. Without them I will not have enough time to keep the blog postings on a consistent basis.

Moving forward my Uncle and I are switching to a memoir-type of format. This change will come once we complete presentation of the 1940s research. Memoir is proving a much easier vehicle. With it I am able to present a more intimate family history based on our personal memories, the history of each decade and pop cultural elements that worked their way into our locale and lives.

As for holiday celebrations, I will no longer be sending paper greeting cards or year end letters. There will not be any holiday greetings here connected to religious celebrations, either. Quarterly greetings associated with the changing seasons and a short message for New Year’s are part of our new approach. In my personal life, I am no longer doing phone visits or go-to-meetings in relation to Ancestry or Family History Project. If you want to get in touch, a short email will work.

Any information a relative needs will have to be obtained from Ancestry on one’s own effort. That will mean getting a membership, making connections through the Ancestry email system and pursuing the responses directly.

Your understanding regarding these changes is much appreciated.

75-The Serrapede Family in Brooklyn-End of WWII, Part 6

Content Warning

This posting mentions some examples of the Nazi concentration camp atrocities, the Nuremberg trials and executions of war criminals.  If such material upsets you, please do not read this posting.

Introduction

At the end of WWII our family experienced a complex series of responses.  There was relief that the War was over.  Soldiers coming home related their stories first hand.  Our relatives and neighbors gained greater insight into the horrors of the battlefield and concentration camps as never before.  There was also the adjustment the men and women who served our country had to make as they returned to civilian life.  Pressure was exerted upon men and women to resume the roles and lifestyles that were in place before the war.  On the surface the increase in marriages, children born to young couples, a growth in the number of homeowners and families moving to the suburbs lent an appearance of prosperity and gradual transition back into routine life.  Under the surface, as I learned from my parents and Grandparents, this wasn’t really the case.

Relationship Notes

Sam and Josie Serrapede were my maternal grandparents.  Their daughter Emily Leatrice was my Mom.  Their son, Sammy, is my dear Uncle, co-contributor to the family history project and my go-to person for good advice and encouragement.

My father was the late Frank Jesse Terry.  He was born in Brooklyn and served our country stateside in the Navy during WWII. Terry is the anglicized version of the family name used for professional and social purposes. I use it in all postings as a way to distinguish my father’s line from the family my paternal Grandfather was born into. I will not use the actual surname because my paternal Grandfather’s family treated my paternal Grandmother poorly. They tolerated but never accepted her. Grandma Blanche Terry was raised by Orthodox Jewish parents from Galicia. She was disowned by her family upon marriage to my paternal Grandfather. Her in-laws couldn’t look past her former faith, never looking at the unending support she gave my grandfather in all his business ventures and social networking. Never looking at the good mother she was, the four children she raised or showing sympathy for the miscarriages she suffered in-between the births of her four healthy children.

The Serrapede Family’s Memories about the end of WWII

My Mom had told me that the full extent of the suffering and evil perpetrated by the Germans upon the prisoners in the concentration camps could not be fully comprehended by many Americans until after the war.  She said that she never saw any newspaper reports which provided any great detail about the starvation, torture and mutilation perpetrated on the Jewish people and others interred at the camps. 

After the war, as the soldiers who liberated those interred in the camps told their stories, the grisly details made known the extent of the evil that the Allies had been fighting against.  In the post-war period some veterans wrote their memoirs about their life in the service.  Their stories brought an immediacy to the American public that the newspaper reports of the war years did not fully convey.

Continue reading “75-The Serrapede Family in Brooklyn-End of WWII, Part 6”