32b-Father’s Day, June 19th, 2016

“The Emigration Scheme” by James Collinson

In honor of the patriarchs of all our direct lines.  In memory and thanksgiving for those who bore the past hardships in Italy.  In memory and thanksgiving for those who had the foresight to bring their families to America so they and their descendants would have a better life.  We dedicate this posting to you all on Father’s Day 2016.

Our Patriarchs

Muro Family
Giuseppe di Giaimo
Francesco di Giaimo
Aniello Scotti
Francesco Scotti
Carmine Scotti
Luigi Serrapede (b. 1800)
Gaetano Ruocco
Nicola Ruocco
Nunziante Muro
Pietro Muro
Nicola “Nick” Muro

Serrapede Family
Alessandro Patella
Antonio Pappalardo
Nicola Pappalardo
Vincenzo Ruocco
Luigi Serrapede (b. bef. 1815)
Sabato Serrapede (1834-1893)
Gennaro Serrapede (b. 1867)
Sabato “Sam” Serrapede (1900-2002)


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31c-Bella Italia in 1976: Positano

Our last week in Italy 1976. Third stop: Positano

Route from Amalfi to Positano.

Some facts about Positano

  • Ancient legends related that Positano was established by the sea god Neptune for the nymph Pasitea.
  • Positano is sometimes called the “Gem of the Divine Coast.”
  • Tourism increased after WWII.
  • The town continues to preserve its distinctive appearance created by the many buildings layered into the hillside.
  • The town is known for the high quality clothing made and sold in the many small local boutiques.

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23-The Muro Family in Agropoli: Nunziante and Anna Maria


Thanks to the extensive research done by Anthony Vermandois of Imagines Maiorum-Ancestors from Campania, the American descendants of the Agropolesi who immigrated to America are now able to learn about their roots. Anthony has compiled the vital statistics for families in Agropoli which we use as the basis for the exploration into the earliest known ancestors in our direct line and branch families.

In addition to Agropoli, other towns are being added to his site. Please visit this page for a complete listing.  For this posting we have used the charts of descent for the Muro family in Agropoli.

Relationship Notes


 Uncle Sammy’s pedigree chart.  His Muro ancestors come through his maternal line and are marked off by the black borders.

In posting no. 21-Scotti Family in Agropoli-Carmine and Maria-Years of hardship, Years of Good-byes we introduced Nicola Muro as the man who married Letizia Scotti.  Together with their baby daughter Giuseppa, they immigrated to the United States after 1909.

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

We are going to go back as far as Anthony’s research has taken him to learn more about Nunziante and Anna Maria (nee Monzillo) Muro, the earliest Muro ancestors in our direct line.

Nunziante and Anna Maria Muro were:
-Sammy’s 2nd Great-Grandparents
-EmilyAnn’s 3rd Great-Grandparents

Our ancestors from Agropoli were all Roman Catholics. The faith was so interwoven in every level of daily life that almost every name given to a child was not just in memory of an ancestor but also carried a meaning connected to the religion.  We’ll consider some of these names as we begin our study of the Muro family.

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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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22-Station Break: Out and About in Rome, 1976


We’ve completed the postings on our Scotti ancestors in Agropoli.  Before beginning the series on the Muro family we wanted to take a break and share photos of Rome.  They were taken during the vacation Grandma Josie and Grandpa Sam took me on in 1976.

Our Vacation to Italy Summer of 1976:  Our first week in Rome

Our first week of sightseeing in Rome went by very quickly.  Italia and Stefania guided us through the most important sites of Rome.  Since Stefania was just 9 years old Italia did not want to be out for hours in the hot sun waiting on long lines for admission to churches or museums.  We went sightseeing early in the mornings ending each of our expeditions with a long and leisurely lunch at one of the small, out-of-the way places Italia knew.

On other mornings we went shopping at small boutiques that sold exquisite leather handbags, shoes and clothing.  We’d follow-up with a visit to an Italian Gelateria which Stefania selected.  She sure knew her ice cream!  I remember one Gelateria was an oasis of cool and quiet.  The marble topped tables were such a contrast to the formica topped tables of ice cream parlors back in Brooklyn.  An added treat was getting a tiny scoop of lemon ice on top of the vanilla ice cream I ordered.  The contrast in flavors was very enjoyable.  Italian ice cream is rich and smooth.  The vanilla swirled ice cream with chocolate sprinkles from the Mister Softee truck back in Brooklyn did not cross my mind at all once I developed a liking for gelato.

Of all the sites we visited in Rome, the ones that left the deepest impression on me were St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square.  I share these memories along with photos from the trip.  After the photos comes a section with some factual data that is sure to add to the appreciation of these important sites.

From Our Photo Album

Italia, Stefania, Grandma Josie and me visited the Spanish Steps first.  As we approached the top I was reminded of many fairytales I’d read as a child.  The site that greeted us reminded me of a palace where a beautiful Queen and handsome King lived.

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12c-Serrapede Family in Agropoli: A Letter to Great Grandmother Emilia (2 of 3)


This letter continues the series of postings about reflections on my Great Grandmother which started in posting 12b.  In the second letter I consider the kindness shown to me by Great Aunt Italia.

Relationship Notes

Emilia Pappalardo Serrapede was the wife of Gennaro Serrapede. She was my maternal Great Grandmother.

Great Aunt Italia: Daughter of Emilia and Gennaro. Mother of Cousin Italia. Sister of Grandpa Sam.

Cousin Italia: Daughter of Great Aunt Italia. Niece of Grandpa Sam. Wife of Antonio. Mother of Stefania. She is my First Cousin 1X Removed.

Great Aunt Filomena: Emilia’s oldest child and the favorite sister of Grandpa Sam.

Grandpa Sam (Sabato): Son of Emilia and Gennaro. Brother of Great Aunts Filomena and  Italia. My maternal Grandfather.

Grandma Josie: My maternal Grandmother.

Uncle Sammy (Sabbatino): Son of Grandpa Sam and Grandma Josie. My maternal Uncle.

Second Letter

January 8, 2015
6:39 p.m.

Dearest Great Grandmother Emilia:

I love to look at the photos of the vacation in Agropoli so long ago.  They bring back memories of the sunlight shimmering over the sea while we walked to Great Aunt Italia’s in the freshness of early morning.  Grandpa Sam stayed behind on the day Cousin Italia, Grandma Josie and I went to visit members of the Scotti family in the Old Town.  It was on that morning I saw the house where Grandma Josie was born.

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11b-Gennaro Serrapede: To my Great-Grandfather

11b-WABCo 1906 LOC

By 1920 Gennaro’s cousin Raffaele Mattarazzo was working in a machine shop at the Westinghouse Air Brake Company in Wilmerding, PA.  This photo shows a machine shop circa 1905.

Dear Great Grandfather Gennaro:   Did you have books in the house while your children were growing up?  If you couldn’t read did your oldest daughter Filomena help you when you had to prepare your documents to travel to the United States?

I thought about all this while searching for a magazine from 1913 or 1914. I wanted to read a publication from the time period during which you travelled in America.  This was one of the surest ways to get a direct encounter with the public mood towards immigrants.   I was able to locate “The World’s Work” Vol. XXVIII May to October 1914.  Two articles in this volume were about immigration.  As I read them I could sense the effort it took for the writers to stay objective.  The first one achieved a sense of balance.  The second one descended into a scathing critique of why the immigration of Southern Italians to America had to be stopped.  The author of the article stated that immigrants were coming over in too great a number to be properly assimilated and learn American ways.

The May, 1914 issue had an article entitled “Controversies of Race and Religion”.  The author emphasized how the number of immigrants in the winter of 1913 exceeded the number of jobs available.  He also voiced the concern that Americans needed those jobs.  There was no mention of whether or not Americans wanted to do the heavy manual labor involved in building roads, working in the mines or in the factories.  No study was done either as to why employers sought out the immigrants in the first place.  In 1914, the concern was that the increasing waves of immigrants would not learn what the established society expected them to be like and that there would be trouble further down the road.

Great-Grandfather Gennaro, it was the article from the August 1914 issue of “The World’s Work” that hit me in a way I did not expect.  It was entitled, “To Keep Out Southern Italians”.  At first this article presents data and statistics in an attempt to come across as being a well thought out piece.  It states that between 1910-13, 821,000 Italians emigrated to the U.S.  Most were from Southern Italy.  The author wastes no time attacking them for what he perceived as a lack of intelligence, manners and the ability to be educated.  Aside from the statistic given for 1910-1913, the rest of the piece reads more like a combination of personal hatred and fear.  The article ends with the prediction that the United States will end up becoming more paternalistic if the number of Southern Italian immigrants increased since they are incapable of taking care of themselves.  When I thought about you in relation to this article I thought how wrong this author was!  You most certainly did not fit this description at all.  You came here to work not to have a vacation.

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