46f-Serrapere Family of Pittsburgh-What’s new with Antoinette Serrapere

46f-Ryder Jacob Warren
Ryder Jacob Warren

Exchanging holiday emails, or sending and receiving cards by snail mail, is a wonderful way to keep in touch. Not only do you receive a greeting in return but very often updates on the lives of those you often think about but do not always have the time to keep in touch with on a more regular basis.

Easter greetings exchanged with our Guest Contributor Antoinette Serrapere brought back a cheerful email filled with good news about what is happening in her life. Here are some of the updates…


  • Antoinette became a Grandmother for the first time on January 27th when her grandson Ryder Jacob Warren was born to her son and daughter-in-law.


  • Jamie, Antoinette’s daughter, recently visited her fiancé who lives in England. They are planning to get married in the U.S. in the Spring of 2018.


  • Antoinette plans to travel to Italy with Jamie and her new son-in-law after the wedding in 2018. There are plans to have a small ceremony and celebration in Italy, too!


We wish Antoinette and her family all the best in all ways for always. Plus we look forward to updates and photos about the wedding and the trip to Italy!


You may learn more about Antoinette Serrapere and her family history by visiting her Guest Contributor page where links to her previous postings are listed.






22a-Serrapere family of Wilmerding: The Anniversary Photo at Angie’s Pizzeria

22a-Angies Pizzeria

Cosimo and Anna Maria Serrapere at their 50th Wedding Anniversary dinner in 1959.

Have you ever gone to an old school luncheonette, family owned restaurant in the neighborhood or a famous eatery where photos of families and celebrities from yesteryear hang on the walls?  As a child I sometimes wondered who these people were.  It was easy to identify the famous people because they always autographed their photos.  Since most of the other photos lacked any captions my curiosity was never satisfied.  I wanted to know the story told by the photo and why the people in it looked so happy.  Of course once the meal was brought to the table, I forgot all about things like that since I got caught up in the present, the good food and the conversation going on around me.  If I persisted in being a pest about the photo, an Aunt or Grandparent would give me a nickel or a dime so I could busy myself with selecting a song from the jukebox.

Antoinette Serrapere has shared a family photo with me from her Grandparent’s Wedding Anniversary celebrated in 1959.  The family got together at Angie’s Pizzeria in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania for an afternoon dinner.  Mr. and Mrs. Serrapere gave a copy of the photo to the original owner of the Pizzeria.  When Angie sold the establishment to the current owners, the photo remained on the wall.  It is still there today.  I thought it would be good to share the photo with our blog readers.  Every picture tells a story and so does this one.  Thanks to Antoinette’s help the story behind the photo and details about some of the family members appear in this posting.

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19d-Growing up Italian-American: Halloween through the generations

Illustration from “Tippety Witchit’s Halloween” originally appearing in “My Book House” ed. by Olive Beaupre Miller.


Uncle Sammy, Antoinette Serrapere and I share our experiences of celebrating Halloween as we grew-up in the Italian-American communities of our home towns.  This holiday is of Celtic origin and was not celebrated by our ancestors in Italy.  However, as the descendants of Italian immigrants grew-up in America they participated in the Halloween festivities through school and community sponsored activities.  The preparation of this posting offered us an opportunity to see how the participation has changed with each generation.

For children, Halloween is a point during the year when anything and everything can happen.  Ghosts might walk through the house.  The departed might appear in their dreams.  A generous neighbor might put $1 in each goodie bag.  The big kid who loves to scare the younger children might be waiting around the corner ready to shout “Boo!”  We shared expectations similar to these.

The celebration of Halloween has not remained fixed throughout the decades since our ancestors came to the United States.  By recording our memories of this holiday we found that it continues to grow and change.  The ways in which it does reflect the times we live in.  As an example, it was more common for children to go from house-to-house with their friends in the 1960s.  Today many children are accompanied by their parents to go trick-or-treating at planned get-togethers with neighbors or friends.  This development has arisen out of concerns for child safety.

Relationship Notes

Josie and Sabato Serrapede were the parents of Sammy (Sabbatino) and Emily Leatrice Serrapede.

EmilyAnn Frances May is their granddaughter through Emily Leatrice.  Sammy is her maternal Uncle.

Antoinette Serrapere is a member of the Serrapede family from Agropoli.  She is the daughter of Nicholas and Rosemary (nee Calhoun) Serrapere.  Her Grandparents Cosimo and Anna Marie (nee Botti) Serrapere immigrated to the U.S. from Italy in the early 20th century.  Antoinette’s family lived in Wilmerding as she grew up.

Serrapere is a variation of the surname Serrapede.

Dyker Heights:  1930s

  • My Mom, Emily L. Serrapede, never spoke at great length about Halloween.  She did mention that when she was growing up the emphasis amongst the first generation of Italian immigrants was on All Saints Day (November 1st) and All Souls Day (November 2nd).  She remembered that November 2nd was a day when many people went to church to light a candle for their departed relatives and friends.
  • The three holidays were not observed in the Serrapede household when Mom grew up.  The family visited the cemeteries and took care of the graves of their departed relatives as time and weather permitted.  Prayers or devotions were offered up for the departed on the anniversary of the person’s passing.

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15c-Serrapere Family in Wilmerding: Holiday Dinners and Favorite Foods

Antoinette’s Memories of Holiday Time in Wilmerding

Italian-American traditions like holiday dinners have changed over time. Part of this is due to the local environment where our ancestors settled. The availability or scarcity of certain food items caused them to adapt their cuisine and celebrations. Another factor is that as the descendants intermarry with members from other communities the cuisine is sometimes altered and changed to suit the tastes of the current generation.

On Sunday, September 13th, 2015 Antoinette and I discussed some of her memories of holiday gatherings and foods used in her family. While there are some similarities to the way our branch of the Serrapede family celebrated in Brooklyn, as described in Posting 15a, there are also many differences. Here are some of the ways Antoinette’s family celebrated the holidays.

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15b-Serrapere Family in Wilmerding: Pleased to meet you!

Connecting with the Antoinette Frances Serrapere

I am always amazed at how the Internet is making the world much closer.  Through this blog I have connected with a member of another branch of the Serrapede family from Agropoli.  Last week I received two comments from Antoinette Frances Serrapere letting me know her grandfather was Cosmio Serrapede from Agropoli!  I let my Uncle Sammy know and he encouraged me to follow-up on the contact.  We both were very excited about the connection.

Antoinette’s grandparents were Cosimo and Anna Marie (nee Botti) Serrapede.  The family name changed to Serrapere after Cosimo immigrated to the U.S. in 1902.  Her father Nicholas was born and raised in Wilmerding.  He married Rosemary Calhoun from Monroeville, a nearby town.  Rosemary’s parents were of Scotts-Irish descent.

Antoinette works as a hairdresser and is known as Toni Warren by all her clients.  She now lives in North Versailles with her daughter Jamie.  When we had our first telephone visit on Sunday, August 23, 2015 Antoinette shared many memories of growing up in Wilmerding during the 1970s.  I am very happy to say that Antoinette (I love using her full name!) will be a guest contributor to our blog posts about Wilmerding in the coming months.  The addition of her memories and family stories will broaden our scope of the town and surrounding area.  After the start of the 1980s Uncle Sammy and I no longer went to Wilmerding.  Uncle Sammy eventually relocated for employment and I became caretaker/companion to my Mom.  Antoinette’s input will bring us closer to current times so we can see the changes that have taken place since our ancestors lived and worked in Wilmerding.

Cosimo Serrapede was the character witness for Raffaele Mattarazo’s Declaration of Intent.  Like many of our grandfathers or great-grandfathers he worked at Westinghouse Air Brake Company.  Raffaele was a cousin by marriage to my great-grandfather Gennaro Serrapede.  Antoinette’s family also knew the Mattarazzo family.  Some of them came to her wedding.  The ties from Agropoli continued through to her generation.  My first cousin 1x removed is Nicky Muro, the son of Peter and Angie (nee Carola) Muro formerly of State Street.  Nicky was a high school teacher Antoinette remembers because she was one of his students!  Peter was my Grandma Josie’s younger brother.  Angie’s father was Gaetano Carola, a businessman from Agropoli.

I took many notes during our call and will be adding Antoinette’s contributions to the postings that will be part of the series for future postings about the Muro and Serrapede families in America.  Antoinette has visited the website ImaginesMaiorum.net  She told me many of the surnames for families like Rizzo and Botti are familiar because she knew the descendants who settled in Wilmerding.  It’s going to be great to add her knowledge to the postings.  We hope you will enjoy the added personal touch her contributions will bring.

Further reading from this blog

Cosimo Serrapede/Serrapere

Posting:  10c-Cousin Raffaele of Wilmerding, Pennsylvania in 1920


Imagines Maiorum-Ancestors from Campania

The website of genealogist Anthony Vermandois.  His database contains the names of families from Agropoli and nearby towns.