Geneablogy: An occasional Journal about our experiences exploring our heritage

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Oh, one more thing about Laura's de Rosas: I mentioned a couple of posts ago about a gentleman in Arizona who has about 5500 people from Calitri on his web page. Giovanni de Rosa and Lucia Nannariello appear on his page. So much of this research may have been done already.

Posted at 7:20:40 PM Link to this entry


I believe I've found Laura's great-grandmother Franceschina de Rosa on the Ellis Island site, as well as her sister Mariantonietta and parents (this is new), Giovanni de Rosa and Lucia Nannarielo. I started on the Calitri Connections web site, in their "They Came By Ship" section. They've got a number of transcriptions of ships' manifests that had people from Calitri on them (well, just the Calitriani, not the whole ships), and they've got many of them indexed alphabetically. When I looked at the page for surnames beginning with D, I found an entry for Maria Antonia de Rosa on the SS Lahn, leaving Naples on 16 Oct 1902, arriving in New York later that month. She was listed as going to Paterson, NJ. Right above her was an entry for Lucia Nannariello, also going to Paterson. Rosie had said that Mariantonietta's mother's name was Lucia, or "Mama 'Cia", as they called her. This page says Lucia was going to join her aunt, Giovanna de Rosa. That's a mistranscription from the ship's manifest.

I didn't have any luck finding this record through the Ellis Island search interface, so I went to Stephen Morse's excellent alternate interface for the site. There I was able to enter the name "de Rosa", the year, and, importantly, the ship name. In the results of that search was an entry for one Ma/Antonia De Rosa Mannascella of Calitri. Looking at the scan of the manifest reveals that Ma Antonia De Rosa is shown as the daughter of Lucia Mannascella, which is their mistranscription of Nannariello. It's always an adventure finding people on the Ellis Island site.... In fairness, the entry on the manifest is pretty difficult to read, and it would probably take someone familiar with the surnames of Calitri to get it right.

Among the information on the manifest was the fact that Lucia and Maria Antonia were going to join their husband and father, respectively, Gio. De Rosa on Market Street in Paterson. So that gave me Maria Antonia and Franceschina's father's name, as well as a clue that he came to America before 16 Oct 1902. So I went back to Stephen Morse's search form and looked for Giovanni de Rosa, coming to America between 1892 and 1902. At number 6 in the search results, there was Giovanni de Rosa of Calitri, age 41, arriving in America on 19 June 1900 on the Karamania from Naples. When I looked at the manifest itself, I found to my joy that accompanying him on this trip was his 19 year old daughter, Maria Francesca, and that they were going to join their son and brother, respectively, Raffaele, at 39 Cross Street, Paterson, NJ.

I still haven't singled out Raffaele. There are eight possibilities in 1900 or before. One of the towns looks like Calitri, but that Raffaele's destination is Mt. Vernon, New York. There's one from D'Avellino, and Avellino is the province that Calitri is in. His profession is given as watchmaker, but his destination is Montclair. I know there was a Raffaele de Rosa in Paterson later on who was a watchmaker, but I don't know if that was the right Raffaele. So this bears further searching.

I figure finding the parents' names and when they came was pretty good, though, for one evening's work.

Incidentally, you can ignore the links to Ellis Island from the entry of October 24, below. It's pretty clear now that those are wrong, and that these are the correct people.

Posted at 7:11:31 PM Link to this entry


Tuesday, October 30, 2001

I was searching for pages about Faicchio, where Laura's great-grandfather came from, and instead came across a bunch of information about Calitri, where her great-grandmother comes from. One person from Arizona has his genealogy database of about 5500 people online, containing people from both Faicchio and Calitri, which is how I made the connection. Interestingly, there are 27 de Rosas from Calitri in his database. He had links to a couple of pages, including one called Calitri Connections, but those links were broken. So I searched for Calitri on Google, and came across the Calitri mailing list. When I searched for "de Rosa" there, one of the things I found was the new home of Calitri Connections. It looks like there's a ton of information out there about Calitri. This will prove very useful once we start looking at Laura's Calitri ancestry in earnest.

Posted at 10:47:47 PM Link to this entry


Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Speaking of how easy it was to find records from San Potito, I've been in contact with others researching the village (who found me through this web site), and there's a wealth of information out there, most of which I either had no idea existed, or knew of but figured I wouldn't see any time soon.

Lawrence and William Sennello have been researching their family (Sanillo) from San Potito for almost ten years. They've been there, and have made some very valuable contacts that have given them access to some excellent sources of information. For example, I had no idea that there were Censuses carried out of the town in 1802 and 1806. But the Sennellos did, and they've provided me with extracts they have of some of the names they're interested in, some of which overlap with my family. These Censuses include exact birthdates for many of the people, dates which predate the records the Mormons have, which only go back to 1809. I found my 4G-Grandmother, Nicoletta Matteo, in their abstracts, for example, and now know that she was born on 29 May 1791; I had previously narrowed this down to some time between 1789 and 1792. Her father, Giuseppe Matteo, was born on 30 September 1768. And Giuseppe's father, my 6G Grandfather, was Giovanni Matteo, and that's a name and generation I didn't have before. In 1802, Giuseppe's wife is listed as Marta Conte, so that means that Nicoletta's mother, Francesca Riccio, died before 1802; I figured she must have died before the civil records began, but had only firmly narrowed things down to "before 1842". I also found Rosa di Palma, the first wife of Michele Rapa, my 4G Grandfather (and Nicoletta's husband). Rosa isn't strictly speaking an ancestor, but I still am interested in her, and it was intersting to find that she was born on 18 July 1784; I had narrowed her birth down to the correct year. The Census didn't list an exact birthdate for her father, Cesare di Palma, but it did list Cesare's father, Giovanni. The Sennellos have copies of the entire Censuses, and I hope to be getting copies soon so I can look for my families that they didn't abstract.

This week Lawrence sent me a package filled with fascinating information about the raid the brigands made on San Potito on 22-23 July 1865, in which a number of local men were killed and more wounded. It's all in Italian, but I can decipher some of it, with the help of Altavista's Babelfish, enough to have a rough idea of what happened. The Sennellos are very interested in that incident, as apparently one or two of the men killed that day were Sanillos. I'm interested in it because the mayor, who was kidnapped and then killed the next day, was a Pietrosimone, although I haven't been able to make a connection between mayor Simeone Pietrosimone and my Pietrosimones yet. There was a photocopy of a photograph of three of the brigands, and they look like some mean hombres. There was also an article describing what happened from the newspaper La Campania, maps describing the attack, and an extensive description of the raid that apparently draws heavily on transcripts of witness testimony about the raid. That seems to be an excellent source on what happened; I hope to get it transcribed and translated eventually.

Larry also loaned me a book he had been presented by the mayor of San Potito when he and his brother visited. It's a reprint of a book published in the 1890s called Riassunto Storico Dell'Antico Sannio by Giuseppe Mennone. It appears to contain brief histories of many of the villages in the area. It devotes three pages to San Potito, and almost nine to Faicchio, where Laura's great grandfather Filippo Saracco came from. I wish I could read Italian the way I can read English.... I'm trying to do rough translations with the help of Babelfish and hope that Laura's parents will be able to help clear up bits I don't understand.

Possibly the most exciting thing here is that the Sennellos have access to the entire set of records from the church of Santa Catarina in San Potito from 1697 to 1795. Larry just got that in the past few days, so we're still figuring out what to do with it. He sent me scans of a couple of pages, and there appears to be an index to the records, which is good, since there are about 1100 pages of them. I knew that the records existed, because Jim Matteo had visited the church on one of his visits to San Potito and had told me about them, but I had figured I would need to eventually visit the church myself and abstract whatever I could in whatever short time I would have access. To find out that a copy of the complete record set exists here in America is just beyond my wildest dreams. It's entirely possible that with these records, I could take my family back to the mid-1600s.

Anyway, the Sennellos have been remarkably generous with their time, their knowledge, and their information and materials. I had put together a database of the people of San Potito who I had come across in the records (still a work in progress), whether I was related to them or not, and was happy to share that with them, as well. I had been floundering over the past couple of months, and I was about ready to declare this branch of the family "finished enough" for now, until I could get access to more records like those of the church, and move on to other branches. Whole new doors are opening now.

Posted at 10:26:00 PM Link to this entry


Laura's Aunt Ginny had dinner the other night with Laura's first cousin twice removed Rosie. Rosie is 91 years old, and possibly the last person who could have provided us with some important information. Her mother and Laura's great-grandmother were De Rosas, the branch of Laura's family we know the least about. For everyone else, we knew the comune (village) in Italy they came from, but not the De Rosas. Last year, we had asked Laura's great aunt Jo for information about where her father, Filippo Saracco, had come from, and she told us. She ended the conversation by asking if we wanted to know anything about the De Rosas. We did, of course, and made a vague promise to go visit next time we were in the area. Aunt Jo died a week later. And with her, so we thought, died our chances of finding out where the De Rosas came from.

Not so. Earlier this summer, Laura's cousin Chris was here for a visit and mentioned that Rosie was a De Rosa and lived in Tuscon near him and his mother. Ah! Opportunity! Chris promised to contact her and ask her where the De Rosas came from. I guess he didn't, but his mom, Laura's aunt, did. And the other night they got together for dinner. According to Rosie, her mother, Mariantonia De Rosa, and Laura's great-grandmother, Francesca De Rosa, came from Calitri in Avellino province.

According to Rosie, Mariantonia came to America after the rest of the family; Francesca, her brother Raffaele, and their mother apparently came earlier. I looked them up on the Ellis Island site. There was one Mariantonia De Rosa from Calitri. She came to America on the Kaiser Wilhelm II, arriving in New York on 22 July 1897 as a 21 year old single woman. Searching for Francesca De Rosa brought up the most likely suspect as Maria Francesca De Rosa, who came to America on the Furst Bismarck, arriving in New York on 19 November 1901, possibly at the age of 17 (the manifest is a little difficult to read, but Laura and I both deciphered it as probably 17 years old). Also on this page were Giuseppe De Rosa, age 16, and Raffaele De Rosa, age 12, along with the woman listed as their mother, Maria Columba De Rosa, age 39. The names Francesca and Raffaele fit with what we know, but Giuseppe is new, as is the name of the father, Luigi Cancetto. Not only that, but this family came before Mariantonia, rather than after as Rosie claimed. Rosie also said there were only three children, but that conflicts with this information, as Mariantonia is accompanied by her brother Michele De Rosa, and they are both coming to America to stay with their brother Vitale. All of that makes me question if this is the right family. But they do appear to be from Calitri, which wasn't exactly a large village. So this bears further investigation.

Fortunately, in looking at the Family History Library web site, I found that records from Calitri have been filmed by them from 1809 to 1910, meaning that Laura's great-grandmother's birth record is almost certainly easily available, and that we can trace this line of her family back as relatively easily as my Brandi line in San Potito Sannitico.

Rosie also mentioned that her brother Tony had started a family history before he died. She promised to look and see if she had his notes. She's also got a photograph of all the De Rosas, which I believe is something Laura's family does not have.

Aunt Ginny has apparently been talking to Rosie for a while about this stuff, too. One of the things she mentioned was that her father, Giuseppe Massucci from Serino, Avellino, had learned how to fix looms from Filippo Saracco, Laura's great-grandfather and Giuseppe's brother-in-law. Mariantonia and Francesca lived on two floors of the same house, but apparently weren't as close as that situation might have you believe. Mariantonia and her husband were very poor at the time, and that might have had something to do with it.

Anyway, it was a tremendous relief to have found Rosie, especially after we lost aunt Jo. Hopefully she can fill us in on more information about what their life was like when they first came to America.

Posted at 9:42:17 PM Link to this entry