51a-Serrapede and Muro Families in America: How a baby book started the family history project

Introduction

Greetings to all. It is good to be back after Summer Break. Thanks to Michael Muro, Giuseppe and Vincenzo Carnicelli, the family of Antonio Eugenio and Aldisa Aiello, and the Dell’Amore family for the enjoyable entries they contributed to during June through August.

With this posting, Uncle Sammy and I begin a shift in the presentation of the Muro and Serrapede family history. While we still have official documentation to draw on, we realize that after the 1940 Federal Census there needs to be other sources of information that will add to or verify the narrative.

We are taking a creative approach by combining family stories, local history, news coverage, pop culture, and personal history. With all the resources available through the internet the possibilities are dazzling. To start, we won’t aim for dazzling or sparkling but hope you will enjoy this story about how the family history project got its start. If it touches the heart and warms the spirit that will be more than enough feedback for us.

EmilyAnn’s story: The Our Baby Book

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Cover of Our Baby, A book of Records and Memories.

I didn’t know what to make of Mom’s idea to use the “Our Baby, A book of Records and Memories” as a starting point for writing down her childhood memories. She bought this book while working at Brooklyn Union Gas during a long term temp assignment in the early 1990s. She said it put her into a cheerful frame of mind and provided the prompts she needed to recall specific times in her childhood. There were other journals and memory books on her bookshelf that she used to record other periods in her life. The end goal was to collect all these brief entries into a collection of vignettes and anecdotes about her life from childhood to young adulthood.

In the early 1990s through 1996 the internet was not part of our lives yet. I had taken creative writing courses in college but it was for the most part tedious and heavy handed. We read selected samples of different styles of writing. Then based on the sample we had to create something like it. There was no free writing, no prompts, nothing that got the creative juices going to take us on a journey into the flights of fancy creative writers can experience today. Thanks to the internet there is a wealth of techniques and exercises available. And then there are wonderful writing tools like 750words.com that keep one disciplined in their daily output. I’ve no idea where Mom got her unique approach to writing but it was working out well for her. As I watched the small collection of memories take written form, I thought there was something to the free form process she took using only illustrations to get started.

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Links to postings with photos of 1976 trip to Agropoli

One of our blog subscribers, Amy, asked about photos of the Carola Hotel which was featured in a family story in the previous posting.  I’m sorry to say that during my move into my current apartment things got lost including those photos.  The rest of the photos from the trip to Agropoli were included with the very earliest postings to this blog.  My Uncle and I decided to use them as a starting point for presenting different members of our family past and present.

I have compiled a list of all the postings that contain the photos.  It is not necessary to read through each posting since each photo has a caption that tells you where the photos were taken and who is featured in the photo.

I know this is a lot of clicking and scrolling but if you have the time you can take an armchair journey back to the Agropoli of 1976 when convenient to you and at your own pace.

3-The Byzantine Gate 1976
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/3-beginnings/

4-Agropoli Through the Centuries
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/4-agropoli-through-the-centuries/

5-The Serrapede Family in Agropoli:  Luigi and Angela Maria
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/5-the-serrapede-family-in-agropoli-luigi-and-angela-maria/

6-Serrapede Family in Agropoli:  Sabato and Filomena
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/6-serrapede-family-in-agropoli-sabato-and-filomena/

7a-The Serrapede Family in Agropoli:  Gennaro and Rosa
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/7-the-serrapede-family-in-agropoli-gennaro-and-rosa-part-1/

30b-Muro Family in Agropoli-The house where Josie was born
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/30b-muro-family-in-agropoli-the-house-where-josie-was-born/

31a-Bella Italia in 1976:  Paestum
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/31a-bella-italia-in-1976-paestum/

31b-Bella Italia in 1976:  Amalfi
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/05/18/1258/

31c-Bella Italia in 1976:  Positano
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/31c-bella-italia-in-1976-positano/

31d-Bella Italia in 1976:  Gaeta
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/31d-bella-italia-in-1976-gaeta/

31e-Our last week in Italy, July 1976:  Back to Rome
https://throughthebyzantinegate.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/31e-our-last-week-in-italy-july-1976-back-to-rome/

 

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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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.

 48-conte20verde20immigration20officer20questions20192520close-up_zpsalumtap5
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 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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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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