51-Serrapede Family in America April 18, 1931: It’s a girl! (Part 1)

Introduction: Events around Brooklyn on April 18, 1931

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Close-up of page 1 of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle edition for April 18, 1931.

Weather forecast for April 18th-19th, 1931 in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

On Friday, April 18th, 1931 the Brooklyn Daily Eagle’s weather report stated that “at 8 a.m. the temperature in New York City was 52 degrees.” A milder day was ahead on Sunday, April 19th.

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Short news items from page 1 of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Page one combined headline stories such as a crisis in Nicaragua and a movement by Catalonia to separate from Spain with many short news items that were not the stuff of headline news. They provided bits of information readers could discuss with their neighbors or co-workers. In Florida, Conkey P. Whitehead was being sued by a woman claiming breach of promise. Jack Guzik, a business manager for Chicago gangster Al Capone, pleaded guilty in Federal Court to income tax evasion. And in Brooklyn, New York restaurant owner Patrick White was taken to Greenpoint Hospital after a former employee punched him in the jaw.

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Mrs. John Krall of Queens is pictured with her three sets of twins on the day her youngest ones were baptized.

Page 2 featured a photo of Mrs. John Krall and her three sets of twins. Her latest pair was baptized on April 18th. Mrs. Krall had three other children not included in the photo. She lived in Middle Village, Queens. We know a family in Bath Beach, Brooklyn who were also celebrating a happy day on April 18, 1931. Sam and Josie Serrapede welcomed their first child, a girl, into the world. This baby girl’s birth never made it to the newspapers but in our family history it was big news.

The baby Josie and Sam named Emily Leatrice grew up to be Sammy’s big sister and my Mom. Her birth certificate provides many details that enable us to create a snap shot of what life was like at the time she was born.

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50-Serrapede Family in America: Josie and Sam get married, 1930

Introduction

Around 1928, Josie Muro had to leave her hometown of Wilmerding, Pennsylvania to avoid the damage gossip would cause to her reputation and the honor of her family.  A young man named Ernest, who was already engaged to another woman, started a flirtation which Josie was reluctant to stop.  Josie’s parents met with the parents of the woman Ernest was engaged to.  All parties agreed the most expedient thing to do was send Josie to live with relatives in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.  Ernest would not know where she went and the matter would be settled.  Josie came to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn where she lived with her maternal Aunt Elisa Scotti Errico and family.

Three years earlier in August of 1925 Sam Serrapede came to America from Agropoli.  Until 1930 he lived with his sister and brother-in-law in Red Hook, Brooklyn.  Given the distance between Red Hook and Dyker Heights we will try to use the Marriage Certificate to recreate a possible scenario as to how Josie and Sam got together.  Even though Josie and Sam shared many memories and family stories throughout the years, they never reminisced about how they met, their courtship or their wedding day.

Relationship Notes

Sam (Sabato) Serrapede was the son of Gennaro and Emilia (nee Papplardo) Serrapede.

Josie Muro was the daughter of Nick (Nicola) and Letizia (nee Scotti) Muro.

Josie and Sam were:

• Sammy’s Parents.
• EmilyAnn’s maternal Grandparents.

The Marriage Certificate of Sabato Serrapede and Josephine Muro

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Marriage Certificate of Josie and Sam.

Obtaining Josie and Sam’s marriage certificate helped answer the questions we had concerning their whereabouts prior to marriage.  Sam gave his address as 2472 West Street in Brooklyn.  This is the same address where his sister Filomena and her family were living when the 1930 Census was taken.

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46c-D’Agosto and Carnicelli Families in America: Family and Work, Part 2

Acknowledgement

The charts of descent from ImaginesMaiorum-Ancestors of Campania were used to research details about families appearing in this series of postings. To view these charts please click on the surname to open a new navigation window to the site. We thank Anthony Vermandois for making this valuable data available.

Carnicelli

D’Agosto

Romaniello

Margiotta

Comunale

Taddeo

Introduction

In Part 1 of 46c-D’Agosto and Carnicelli Families in America: Work and Family we learned about the relationships between Giuseppe D’Agosto and his cousins Joseph and Anthony. They were his first cousins through his maternal line.

In 1925 Joseph appears as a member of Giuseppe D’Agosto’s family who lived in an apartment in Brooklyn. Joseph’s marital status is entered as “Married” but no wife appears with him in the census record. Initially Uncle Sammy and I thought that Joseph’s job as a shoe shiner may not have enabled him to support a family. We wondered if his marriage suffered some financial strain.

Further research at ImaginesMaiorum provided details into the pain and loss Joseph Carnicelli suffered during the years of his first and second marriages.

Personal sadness: Losing a spouse in 1919 and again in 1924

Joseph’s first marriage was to Anna Communale. She was born on June 3rd, 1890 to Costabile and Giovanna (nee Ruocco) Comunale. There is no date for the marriage. Joseph and Anna’s son Saverio was born in 1914. Anna died in Agropoli on June 21, 1919. We do not know the reasons why baby Saverio does not appear with Giuseppe’s other children in the records of his second marriage.

Francesca Margiotta was Joseph’s second wife. She was born on April 1, 1895 to Luigi and Anna (nee Ciao) Margiotta. Francesca had three children by Joseph: Vincent (b. 1921), Anna (b. 1923) and Raphael (b. 1924). She died on December 15, 1924.

The 1925 New York State Census page on which Joseph Carnicelli appears as a member of the D’Agosto household was dated June 1, 1925. His marital status is entered as “M” for married. Given that Francesca died on December 15, 1924 we think that Joseph did not observe the traditional period of 1 year of mourning before marrying again. He had three young children to care for. We think at the time of the New York State Census, Joseph’s third wife was in Agropoli waiting to come to America.

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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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44-The Errico Family: From Wilmerding to Brooklyn, 1920-1925

Acknowledgement

We have used the charts of descent for the Scotti family available at ImaginesMairoum, the site presenting the genealogical data compiled by Anthony Vermandois. This data has been collected from Agropoli and other towns in Campania province, Salerno.

For the other documentation used please see the Resources section at the end of this posting.

Introduction

In our last posting we introduced Josie Muro. She was the eldest child in a family grew in size to 11 children by the early 1930s. Variations of a family story recounting why Josie left Wilmerding, Pennsylvania at the age of 18 or 19 to come to Brooklyn, New York provided a bare minimum of details. By using the census records and ships passenger lists for other relatives we are gaining insights into what happened to facilitate Josie’s move up to Brooklyn.

We will turn our attention to the contacts the Muro family had in Brooklyn who, we are certain, helped Josie in the very quick move her parents had her make from Wilmerding to Brooklyn. The story gets more interesting as the details fall into place.

Josie’s Zia Elisa

Josie’s mother, Letizia passed away in 1921 when Josie was 12 years old. We think Letizia was a weakened by an accident in the previous year plus the frequency of her pregnancies. Nick Muro, Josie’s father, married Rose (Rosina) Aiello Marasco in late 1921 – early 1922. We know from Josie’s own discussions with us that she had many chores and errands to perform each day to help Rose with the household.

Letizia’s two sisters, Concetta and Elisa, also lived nearby in Wilmerding. The Scotti family remained close to Letizia’s children during the lifetimes of the first generation of our family in America. Josie enjoyed long phone calls with Elisa. I remember during the times we visited, that even if she were cooking in the kitchen, she’d take time out to sit down and listen to what her Aunt was calling about.

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43-Muro Family in America-Nick, Rose and Family 1922-1930

Relationship Notes

Josie Muro was the daughter of Nick and Letizia (nee Scotti)  Muro.  She was:

–Sammy’s Mother
–EmilyAnn’s maternal Grandmother

Elissa Scotti Errico was:

–Letizia’s youngest sister
–Wife of Vincenzo Errico
–Josie’s maternal Aunt

Rosina Aiello Marasco was known as Rose by the family after her immigration to America.  We will use that name in this and future postings.  Nick Muro married Rose about late 1921-early 1922 after the death of his first wife Letizia.

Introduction 

Josie Muro is not recorded as a member of the Muro household in the 1930 Federal Census.  In the late 1920s she went to live in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, New York and got a full-time job.  Uncle Sammy and I were never sure who Josie stayed with during this time.  We reviewed the earliest photos we have of Josie, as well as the 1930 Federal Census entries for our relatives in Brooklyn.  Through our discussions we were able to create a timeline that helps us narrow in on who Josie stayed with and an estimation of what year she came up to Brooklyn. 

The timeline provides the backdrop which validates two family stories about Josie which I have been told.  The version my Mom told me differs only slightly from the one my Uncle shared with me.  Postings number 43, 44 and 45 will present the story as we go through the timeline.  Preparing this series has helped me finally make sense of both versions of the story.  I’ll wait until posting number 45 to let you know which one I now believe is the correct version. 

The Muro Household 1922-1930:  A growing family 

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Close-up of the 1930 Federal Census entries for the Muro household.

According to the 1930 Federal Census, Nick now owned the building where the family lived.  This was the property Nick received as a settlement after the death of his son Ernest.  The building, which had a store on the ground floor and an apartment above it, was located at 298 State Street.  In 1930 it was valued at $4,000. 

We don’t know what caused the Census Enumerator to list Nick’s wife as Lucy instead of Rose but we’ve entered a correction at Ancestry.  Another error which made it hard to find this record was an error in the data entry to Ancestry’s database.  The surname Muro was misspelled Mino.  Thanks to the help of Ancestry forum participants we finally found the record. 

Between 1923 through 1925, Rose had three children by Nick.  They were: 

Raymond (Raymie), born October 14, 1923
America (Igo), born October 20, 1924
Albino (Beno), born November 26, 1925 

With three children so close in age, Rose needed the help of the oldest daughter in the household.  This is where Josie’s assistance with housework and babysitting were necessary.  By 1930 the family totaled 11 people.  Josie is not one of the household members listed since she was already in Brooklyn by this time.  In addition to Nick and Rose the household in 1930 consisted of: 

Peter 17 yo
Louis 15 yo
Philomena 13 yo
Rosa (Rosie) 10 yo
John 14 yo
Raymond 6 yo
Americo 5 yo
Albino 4 yo

Philip Gimelko, a 31 year old tinsmith, living with the family as a boarder.  

Nick worked as a machinist for Westinghouse Air Brake Company.  Since he was employed full-time we are not sure who was minding his grocery store during the day.  Rose would not have time since there were too many children to care for. 

Josie Muro:  The earliest photos we have

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Josie Muro circa mid-1920s.

Josie wrote the date and location where a photo was taken on the back of many later photos.  She did not do this for the earliest photos which made it hard for me to figure out where they were taken.  I had never seen these photos until my Mom told me about them shortly before she passed away.  At first I did not recognize my Grandmother in many of the earliest photos.  This showed me how narrow my outlook was when it came to the older generations of our family.  I didn’t think about my Grandmother’s life as a young woman.  Yet here she was, smiling and looking at me in what I believe were her late teenage years.  Uncle Sammy and I think this photo was taken while Josie still lived with her parents in Wilmerding.  When we looked at the houses in the background and compared them to photos of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn in the early 1930s most of the homes in Brooklyn were brick and of uniform shape and height.  

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Josie Muro, circa mid-1920s.

We also date this photo to the mid-1920s and think the location looks more like Wilmerding than Dyker Heights.  In the section of Brooklyn where the Muro sisters came to live and settle, each one or two family home had a stoop that was level with the sidewalk.  The steps leading to the front door were usually straight up from the stoop.

Another indication of the time is how understated Josie’s appearance is.  There is no indication of the fashionable woman Josie would be when she posed for a studio portrait in 1929 and also took photos at a location we can identify in Brooklyn.

Josie had an appreciation for fashionable clothes and accessories.  Her favorite designer was Coco Chanel.  She loved perfumes and pearl necklaces.  As I view the photos of 1929 I understand why she did not want to stay in Wilmerding and continue helping Rose with the younger children.  All these things are communicated in the studio portrait which is part of a future discussion and posting.

The next thing we had to clarify was who Josie stayed with when she came to Brooklyn.  This is where her Auntie Elisa Scotti Errico plays an important role.  In our next posting we’ll focus on Elisa and her husband Vincenzo.  They moved from Wilmerding to Brooklyn shortly after Letizia passed away. 

Discussion with Uncle Sammy on Sunday, November 1, 2015

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The corner building became the site of Grandpa Nick’s grocery store and home in the mid-late 1920s, after he fixed up the property.  The store was on the ground floor.  The family lived upstairs.  Photo courtesy Fran Marasco. 

Uncle Sammy and I do not know how Nick got the grocery store up and running during the early years of his marriage to Rose.  He worked full-time in a machine shop at Westinghouse Air Brake Company according to the 1920 and 1930 Federal Census entries.  The reason we ask this question is that we want to create a time-line of developments within the family history.  Since official records cannot always offer all the details we need it becomes necessary to mine the information available through family stories and memories.  While this is not always a sure and certain method, at least we collect what is available and have a starting point for further research and reflection. 

In the late 1940s and through the 1950s, Uncle Sammy spent 4-6 weeks every summer in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania.  He stayed with his Uncle Peter and Aunt Angie.  Peter was his mother’s younger brother.  Uncle Peter and Aunt Angie had three boys:  Nicky, Robert and Petey.  He was closest to Robert and Petey.  Since Nicky was older he had his own friends and went to different places.  Uncle Sammy, Petey and Robert loved to go to the playground up the hill from Nick’s store on State Street. 

Uncle Sammy said that in some years Nick was not working at Westinghouse Air Brake Company.  He’d be at the store full-time.  When Nick and Rose’s daughters Sylvia and Susie were old enough they sometimes helped in the store, too. 

Uncle Peter had his own shoe repair shop downstairs from the home he owned.  He worked there after coming home once his shift at Westinghouse Airbrake Company was completed.  Uncle Peter worked at his shoe repair shop from 3-7 p.m. Monday through Friday.  We think that Nick may have run the grocery store along the same lines.  If so, the store assured Nick of a livelihood during the Great Depression since there were many lay-offs or slowdowns at the plant during those years. 

Resources 

1930 Federal Census for the Muro Family

40-Muro Family in America-The Ethnic Mix on State Street

Introduction

As a child I thought my Grandmother and Mother grew up in neighborhoods where the entire community was Italian-American. I was very scared about going to kindergarten. Some of our neighbors told me that the children of servicemen stationed at Fort Hamilton would be amongst my classmates. These children had travelled to different countries in Europe or different states in America. Some of their mothers were from different countries. Instead of looking forward to making new friends I became unsure of myself. I told Grandma Josie and my Mom that I didn’t want to go to Public School. Instead I wanted to attend St. Bernadette where the student body consisted solely of children from Dyker Heights.

Mom and Grandma Josie shared stories of their childhood and adolescence with me in an effort to show me that they never lived in the strictly Italian-American world my 4 1/2 year old imagination created. I was told that sooner or later the bigger world would call out for me to participate in it. Going to kindergarten was the first big step I had to take.

Uncle Sammy and I decided to check out the stories Grandma Josie shared with me and compare them with the ethnic mix as recorded in the 1920 Federal Census for the Muro family in Wilmerding, PA. We then compared our own experiences of growing up in Dyker Heights and the ethnic mix we encountered throughout our school years. This exercise showed us that official records can be used to check the veracity of the family stories. In the case of the examples my Mom gave, we learned how important it is to collect as much material on a topic from each generation as possible. This personal history is sometimes never entered to published works on a community since they can be written by people who have not grown up or experienced the life of members of the community. For this reason, we believe that researchers do a great service to the genealogical community and amateur family historians when they include interviews with the people from the community they are writing about.

Relationship Notes

Josie Muro Serrapede was:

  • Emily Leatrice Serrapede’s Mother
  • Sammy Serrapede’s Mother
  • EmilyAnn’s maternal Grandmother

Emily Leatrice Serrapede was:

  • Sammy’s Sister
  • EmilyAnn’s Mother

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