46c-D’Agosto and Carnicelli Families in America: Family and Work, Part 1

Acknowledgement

We acknowledge and thank genealogist Anthony Vermandois for the work he has done researching the families of Agropoli and other towns in Campania, Italy. The information he has gathered is presented through charts of descent at Imagines Maiorum. To access the particular charts for the families featured in posting 46c parts 1-3, click on the surnames that follow. A new screen will open and navigate to the page for that surname at Anthony’s site.

Carnicelli

D’Agosto

Romaniello

Margiotta

Comunale

Taddeo

Relationship Notes

Filomena Serrapede was the eldest sister of Sabato Serrapede who was Sammy’s father and EmilyAnn’s maternal Grandfather. She married Giuseppe D’Agosto in 1923.

This made Filomena and Giuseppe D’Agosto:

–Sammy’s paternal Aunt and Uncle
–EmilyAnn’s Great Aunt and Uncle along her maternal line.

Introduction

During our initial research about Giuseppe D’Agosto, we learned that his mother was Raffaela Carnicelli. Uncle Sammy mentioned that as he was growing up the Carnicelli family who lived on 65th Street were paesanos of our family. Since many first generation families from Agropoli settled close to each other in Brooklyn, he wondered if they were our relatives. In particular, Uncle Sammy remembered a Julia Carnicelli who he thought lived in a multi-family dwelling where the other Carnicelli paesanos lived.

This set me on a search for Julia that was almost like following a fairy as she flew here and there leading me through the garden as I gathered flowers. Only I was actually gathering data that came together to tell a story not only about Julia, but her husband, brother-in-law and Giuseppe D’Agosto. The story is in the details and there are many. To avoid overwhelming the reader we have broken the posting into three parts. Part 1 will focus on Giuseppe D’Agosto and how he was related to Joseph and Anthony Carnicelli. We will also learn about Giuseppe’s life after his marriage in 1923 to Filomena Serrapede.

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46b-D’Agosto and Carnicelli Families-Agropoli and Brooklyn

Acknowledgement

The genealogical research by Anthony Vermandois of ImaginesMaiorum-Ancestors from Campania forms the basis of this posting. We have used Anthony’s charts of descent for the following families:

Charts for D’Agosto Family Lines

Carnicelli Family http://www.imaginesmaiorum.net/surname.cfm?id=582

Taddeo Family http://www.imaginesmaiorum.net/surname.cfm?id=134

d’Agosto Family http://www.imaginesmaiorum.net/surname.cfm?id=668

Introduction

This posting serves as a bridge between our introduction of Giuseppe D’Agosto in 46a-D’Agosto Family – Giuseppe comes to America and the three part series that follows this current posting. There are two Giuseppes in this narrative as well as what appeared to be a tenuous relationship between our families through the D’Agosto matriarch, Rafaella Carnicelli D’Agosto, and our matriarch, Giuseppa Carnicelli Ruocco (part of the Muro line).

Uncle Sammy and I are glad we paused to look through all these factors because the findings enabled us to be more accurate in our three part series. It also helped us understand how easily one can mistake a paeasano (friend from the old hometown) for a cugina or cugino (cousin). We also resorted to the expedient device of calling one of the Giuseppes by his American name of Joseph since that is what he used most often for the Census interviews.  You will meet Joseph Carnicelli in the next posting.

If any confusion remains after you read this posting, please put your questions into the Comment section and we’ll add more information. Continue reading

46a-D’Agosto Family – Giuseppe comes to America

Acknowledgement

The research of genealogist Anthony Vermandois provides the basis for this week’s posting. At his website, ImaginesMaiorum-Ancestors from Campania, data from vital records is presented for inhabitants of Agropoli and other towns from the late 18th through the early 20th centuries. We have used his charts of descent for the d’Agosto family of Agropoli to present the family background of Giuseppe D’Agosto.

Giuseppe’s surname is spelled as d’Agosto at Anthony’s website.   The vital records we have obtained through Ancestry display variations. After Giuseppe came to America we see his surname spelled as D’Agosto, Dagosto or D’agosto. We are using the spelling of D’Agosto since this is the one we have seen written on the back of the photos we have and also a postcard from Giuseppe’s daughter Emilia.

The charts of descent for the D’Agosto family of Agropoli can be viewed at Imagines Maiorum.

Relationship Notes

Giuseppe D’Agosto is related to Uncle Sammy and I by his marriage to Filomena Serrapede.

-Filomena Serrapede was:
–the eldest sister of Sammy’s Dad, Sam Serrapede.
–Sammy’s Paternal Aunt
–Emily Ann’s Great-Aunt (along her maternal line)

Introduction

In Posting 45-Muro Family in America: Josie comes to Brooklyn we traced the series of events which forced Josie Muro to leave her hometown of Wilmerding and come to Brooklyn sometime in late 1928 or early 1929.

Josie was introduced to her future husband Sam Serrapede after she came to Brooklyn. According to the records we have so far, Sam was living with his sister Filomena and her husband Giuseppe D’Agosto after he arrived in the United States. The relationship between Sam and his sister Filomena remained loving and strong from childhood onwards. Uncle Sammy and my late Mom grew up enjoying the company of their D‘Agosto cousins, Aunt and Uncle. The narrative of Filomena and Giuseppe’s lives and their coming to America is an important part of the relationships detailed in subsequent postings. We will, therefore, focus on Giuseppe D’Agosto’s early years in America. Like many young patriarchs of the immediate and extended family in the first generation, he emigrated from Italy when he was single. Giuseppe obtained employment and filed his naturalization papers before returning to Italy where he married Filomena before bringing her to America.

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35a-Robert and Claudia Muro

 

This week I’ve had the pleasure of working with Claudia Lane Muro on creating a page for this blog.  Claudia is the wife of Robert Muro.  He is a grandson of Nick and Letizia Muro and the nephew of my late Grandma Josie.

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Claudia and me at Becco in 2014.

Claudia has been very helpful in filling in the blanks for information on the Muro family when I first started researching my maternal line.  She has written a very heartfelt and lovely piece about what she has learned about life in an Italian-American family setting.

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Robert and me at Becco in 2014.

Robert’s parents, Peter and Angie (nee Carola) Muro will be featured in a series of postings later in 2016-early 2017 as we continue the story about the lives of the second generation of the Muro family in America.  Please visit Claudia and Robert’s page for a photo and the memories Claudia so kindly shared with us.

32a-Muro Family in America: A new life awaits

Introduction

Nicola Muro travelled to and from America during the period 1900 to about 1909.  He networked with friends and relatives from his hometown of Agropoli to secure employment and familiarize himself with the best place to settle prior to his marriage in 1909.  On August 9, 1912 Nicola’s wife Letizia and daughter Giuseppina landed in New York.  They then travelled to Wilmerding, Pennsylvania where a new life awaited them with Nicola.

For this posting we focused on the conditions in Italy and Pennsylvania during the period 1911-1912.  This informal overview gave us some insights into the circumstances that were in play during the time the family decided to immigrate.  Although this was an informal process we gleaned enough information to better appreciate the willingness the family had to make a new home for themselves in America.

We have pulled information from a wide variety of sources since each one vividly conveys the mood and impression of what was going on in Italy and America at the time.  This is followed by our discussion notes that include our insights from this week’s readings.

Relationship Notes

Nicola and Letizia Muro were Sammy’s maternal Grandparents and EmilyAnn’s Great-Grandparents.

Giuseppina Muro married Sabato Serrapede in 1930.  She was Sammy’s Mom and EmilyAnn’s maternal Grandmother.

Americanization of the Italian birth Names

Beginning in this posting, we will start calling our family members by the names they used in America.  We believe it is in keeping with the new life and identity they made here.  These are also the names everyone knew them by.

Nicola became Nick Muro.
Giuseppina (a/k/a Giuseppa in Italy) was always known as Josie after coming to the U.S.

Overview – Italians in Pennsylvania

• The earliest Italian immigrants to Pennsylvania came from Northern Italy in the late 17th-early 18th centuries.  Many settled in the Philadelphia area.

o The Northern Italian immigrants were well-educated and from the middle and upper classes.

• In the 1860s, Americans supported the struggle of the Risorgimento movement in Italy.  The Risorgimento, under such leaders as Giuseppe Garibaldi, sought the unification of Italy into one nation.  America was in the midst of the Civil War at this time and understood the spirit Garibaldi represented.

• After Unification, Southern Italians were worse off than before.  The new Italian government favored the industrialized North.  As a result immigration from Southern Italy to the U.S. increased after 1870.

• The Southern Italian immigrants followed a different pattern of settlement than the Northern Italians.  Some did go to Philadelphia to work or live.  But many more headed to Pittsburgh and the smaller industrial towns in the Pittsburgh area.

• The social identity and culture of Italian immigrants were defined by the town in Italy from which they came.

o If many immigrants from the same town settled in an area they could become a self-sustaining “Little Italy” in a bigger city.

o In the smaller industrial towns there might be some isolation which heightened the feeling of separation from mainstream American life.

o The smaller towns also had a diverse mix of other Europeans.  Unless the Italian immigrant had family or paesani from the same village living close by they would have a more difficult time adjusting.

• Italian immigrants in big cities and small towns banded together to form fraternal societies.  They offered a limited form of life insurance, health insurance, death benefits and job search assistance.

o In time the members of these mutual aid societies joined forces with organized labor as more Italian immigrants went to work in the factories where labor organizing took place.

• The Catholic Church was another important part of the Italian immigrant’s life.

o The Italian immigrants did not want to worship at churches where Catholic Irish priests ministered due to the cultural and linguistic differences.

o This led to establishment of parishes focused on the needs of the immigrants.  These were called nationality parishes.

• In an effort to help Italians form their own unique identity in America, the fraternal societies organized celebrations commemorating the feast days honoring patron saints of the hometown where the immigrants came from.

o There were also parades honoring notable Italians such as Christopher Columbus as a means to foster cultural pride and a positive image of the emerging Italian-American.

• Of all Italian immigrants who came to Pennsylvania during the period 1870-1914 71% settled in the small towns rather than the large cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

o These smaller towns were called company towns because they grew around a factory or mine that was the main source employment.

• Italian immigrants avoided programs run by outside organizations that offered assistance accompanied by efforts to “Americanize” them.  They turned instead to family, paesani and the fraternal societies within their own communities.

We will see some of these factors at work as we begin our journey into the early years of the Muro family when they settled in Wilmerding, PA.

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31e-Our last week in Italy July, 1976: Back to Rome

Route from Gaeta to Rome.

 Our Vacation in Italy 1976: Remembering our last day in Rome

It was a hot day when we left Gaeta for the two hour drive back to Rome. At night we enjoyed the coolness of Italia and Antonio’s apartment, sleeping very well. The next morning it felt as if New York City had already rung the doorbell and entered the room, ready to claim her residents and bring them back home. Breakfast was a hurried affair as was getting dressed and doing our last minute packing.

I looked out the window and considered the bird bath in the garden of the apartment building where Italia and Antonio lived in Rome. There weren’t any birds playing in the water. The scene was so still in the bright summer sun.

I thought about Dyker Heights back in Brooklyn. In eight weeks Autumn would begin. The oak trees would change color as the season progressed. The sparrows would still be twittering each morning and I’d awaken to hear the leaves rustle if the wind was blowing. Thoughts of home began to tug at my heart again. I felt the desire for a donut and cup of coffee from Chock Full o’Nuts on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge. I wanted to kick-off my new wedgies and put my flats on and walk up to Woolworths’s on 86th Street. As I packed my clothes and souvenirs for the family I started going over all the memories of the past three weeks. During the years I took care of my Mom as the Parkinsonism she suffered with advanced, I often remembered these days in Italy. In quiet times from 2002 through 2007, I looked at the photos so I could touch these places in spirit. I never thought that they would help me connect our ancestral past and the present. That has happened now that Uncle Sammy and I are working on our project for the Muro and Serrapede Family History.

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31a-Bella Italia in 1976: Paestum

Introduction

The focus of our family history blog will be changing as we complete our study of the lives and times of our ancestors in Agropoli.   Uncle Sammy and I thought this is the appropriate time to present the remaining photos and memories of the trip I took to Italy with Grandma Josie and Grandpa Sam in July 1976.  This series of postings called “Bella Italia” will consist of those photos and reflections.  After this we will share what we are learning about the Muro and Serrapede family members after they settled in America.

Our last week in Italy 1976:  A day trip to Paestum

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 The route from Agropoli to Paestum.

A few facts about Paestum

• There are three temples in an excellent state of preservation.  These were dedicated to the deities Hera, Poseidon and Athena.

• Paestum was near a swamp.  Travelers had to use small boats to cross the swamp to get to the town.

• The site became a breeding ground for malaria leading to a decline in the population.

• Rising water levels eventually submerged the town for over 900 years.

• The remains of the three temples and parts of the city were discovered when a road was being build in 1748.

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