48-Sabato Serrapede comes to America: First stop, Red Hook

Introduction

Gennaro and Emilia (nee Pappalardo) Serrapede’s daughter Filomena married Giuseppe D’Agosto in Agropoli during the summer of 1923.  When the New York State Census was taken in 1925 Filomena and Giuseppe were living in Brooklyn.  Their first child, a girl named Lillian, was 23 days old when the census enumerator visited in June.  Two months later, Filomena’s younger brother, Sabato Serrapede immigrated on the Conte Verde to America.  He departed from Naples on August 21, 1925 aboard the Conte Verde and arrived in New York City on August 31, 1925.

Sabato was called Sam after his arrival in America.  His entrance into the narrative of the family history marks a special point in time for us.  Sabato was Sammy’s father and EmilyAnn’s maternal Grandfather.  Finding the passenger list for the ship Sabato came over on brought all the months of research on our ancestors right into the flow of our own life stories.

 

Sailing from Naples

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Passenger List of the Conte Verde, the ship Sabato Serrapede came to America on.

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Close-up of the Passenger List.  Sabato Serrapede was passenger No. 7.

The passenger list contains some information we think is inaccurate.  Sam’s profession is entered as “sailor.”  We never heard him talk about a time in the Italian navy or working professionally aboard a ship.  One of the trades he learned in Agropoli was that of the marinaro, a fisherman.  He knew all about the care of a boat, how to assess the weather and tides, and how to fish as well as repair nets.  We think that this may have been a misunderstanding on the part of whoever added Sam’s information to the list.

For the questions concerning ability to read and write in Italy, the answers are “Yes.”  This is correct since after the Unification of Italy education for all children was mandatory up to the 4th grade.  The passenger list also states that before coming to New York Sam lived with his father Gennaro in Agropoli.
Arriving in New York

 

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 Complete list of answers given by passengers to the questions asked by the Immigration Officer.  Passengers had to answer these questions before being allowed to disembark.

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Close-up of the States Immigration Officer At Port Of Arrival page that follows the passenger list.  Sam’s answers appear on row 7.

The answers Sam provided to the Immigration Officer tell us that Sam:

• Paid for his own ticket.
• He was never in the U.S. before this trip.
• He planned to live in the U.S. permanently.
• He was going to stay with his sister Filomena Serrapede in Brooklyn.

In Italy, women do not change their surname after marriage.  This is why Filomena’s name appears as Filomena Serrapede and not Filomena D’Agosto.  Sabato answered the question the way he would have if he were still in Italy.

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47-Giuseppe D’Agosto in New York-A young man with a job and a passport

Acknowledgement

The chart of descent for the D’Agosto family, available at ImaginesMaiorum, Ancetors from Campania, was used to provide information about the date of Giuseppe D’Agosto’s marriage. We thank Anthony Vermandois for making the results of his genealogical research available at his website.

Introduction

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Close-up of Giuseppe D’Agosto’s photo affixed to the application for a passport in 1923.

Giuseppe D’Agosto is related to Uncle Sammy and me by marriage. He was the husband of Filomena Serrapede D’Agosto. Filomena was the elder sister of Sabato Serrapede who was Sammy’s Dad and EmilyAnn’s maternal Grandfather. This makes Giuseppe and Filomena D’Agosto:

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

In this posting we share the discovery the 1920 Federal Census brought us once we learned who Giuseppe was working for. Of all the relatives we’ve studied so far he is the first we know of who became a civil service employee. He achieved much and went far in the 7 years after he came to the United States in 1913.

What was the DSC?

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Close-up of 1920 Federal Census entry for the Gibaldi family.

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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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45-Muro Family in America: Josie comes to Brooklyn, 1929

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Josie Muro in 1929.

Introduction

Josie Muro was the daughter of Nicola and Letizia (nee Scotti) Muro. She was born in 1909 in Agropoli and came to the United States with her mother in 1912. Her father came a few years earlier in order to secure work and a place to live. The family settled in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania.

Josie came up to Brooklyn, NY sometime between 1928 and 1929. My Mom told me of the events leading up to it in a general way but without too many details. As a child, Uncle Sammy learned of a similar version of the story.

The information obtained from our reviews of the 1920 Federal Census in Wilmerding and the 1925 New York State Census entries for Brooklyn, NY helped fill in the spaces that existed in our knowledge regarding the story of Josie’s coming to Brooklyn. We shared what we knew. Then using the factual evidence from the Census records created a time line that provides us with a framework to better understand events that were in place before, during and after Josie’s move to Brooklyn.

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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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39d-Muro Family in America-Interment customs in the Italian immigrant community

Introduction

The official records state that Letizia Scotti Muro passed away from Lobar pneumonia in 1921. She was 32 years old and left behind a husband and five children. According to the death certificate, Letizia was interred two days after she passed away. Our relative has provided some of the stories about Letizia’s wake that were handed down in his family.

Uncle Sammy and I compare Letizia’s wake to one held in our immediate family 22 years after her passing. Our goal is to find what patterns persisted in Wilmerding, PA and Brooklyn N.Y. that have survived, changed or fallen out of use.

Relationship Notes

Letizia Scotti Muro was:

–Sammy’s maternal Grandmother
–EmilyAnn’s maternal Great-Grandmother

Letizia’s Wake in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania

What follows is a retelling of the events shared by one of our relatives who got the story from his mother…

The family held the wake for Letizia in the apartment which the Muro family rented. The body was cleaned, dressed and laid to rest in a casket which was placed on top of a table. Chairs were brought to the place where the casket was. Relatives came to visit in the evening and some stayed throughout the night.

There were many bouquets and wreaths near the coffin. One little girl wanted to see Letizia and walked up to the coffin. She remembered being over powered by the fragrance of the flowers. The memory of the funeral came back anytime she was near a very fragrant bouquet or garden. Because the memory associated with the fragrance of flowers was not a happy one, the girl grew up to dislike bouquets of fragrant flowers.

Funeral Customs in the Italian Immigrant Community

This summary is based on our readings about Italian-American funeral customs described in “Funeral Customs” in The Italian-American Experience: An Encyclopedia and a research paper entitled “The Italian-American Funeral: Persistence through Change.” The links are given in the Resources section.

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31d-Bella Italia in 1976: Gaeta

Our last week in Italy 1976. Fourth stop: Gaeta

Route from Positano to Gaeta.

Some facts about Gaeta

  • One of the most stunning attractions of Gaeta is the Montagna Spaccata.
    • The mountain has deep crevices that create a natural sea grotto.
  • The waters around the coastline of Gaeta appear a deep turquoise blue and provide a stunning contrast to the countryside.

Our Vacation in Italy 1976: Remembering Gaeta

Grandpa Sam’s nephew Gennaro Serrapede and his family hosted us while we stayed in Gaeta. Gennaro love to go diving and showed us many fragments of ancient pottery he found during his dives. I found these object fascinating. On one of them, the handle of an earthenware pot was covered with many tiny shells. Others had deposits built up on them that formed an ornamental scrollwork.  Gennaro displayed these finds on shelves throughout his apartment.

We went for a drive along the coastline, stopping to take photos of the narrow inlets and beaches below the highway. Each view was more beautiful than the next.

The last days of our travels were very hot and lazy. I remember falling into a deep sleep the night we were in Gaeta. I could hardly believe we would be returning to Rome the next day. Three weeks felt like three months. I wondered if I could get back into the faster-than-fast tempo of life once we got back to New York.

From Our Photo Album

Grandpa Sam, his nephew Gennaro, Grandma Josie and Grandpa’s niece Italia. Summer of 1976 in Gaeta.

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