Italian Dual Citizenship The Detailed Story And Family History

Last Edited: 2019-08-25 22:13:22

This is going to be a very long post. I never knew how interesting my family genealogy would be to me until I started digging into it. I was lucky that my aunt had done a lot of the researching about 15 years before I started this process. I'm still digging for information, but so far, here's some of the information I've found in the past year.

Most importantly for you (maybe), I've found that a large amount of Italians Emigrated to the New Castle area to work in the booming tin and steel industry. Coming from Italy, you bet they were Catholic, and I found a very Italian cathedral right down the street from where my Great Grandfather grew up. I'll be sure to post the links to these resources and the protocols they follow. If your ancestors are from the same area of Pennsylvania - you may find some missing documents like I did.

Great Grandfather Arsenio

My Great Grandfather, Arsenio Giordano, was born in Sant'Arsenio, Salerno back in 1887. You may have read in the intro that I always pictured a young strapping 20-something looking for new adventure in America paralleled with the imagery of the opening scenes of Titanic. Turns out, that was not accurate. My Great Great Grandparents gave birth to Arsenio and at the ripe age of 3 months old, took the family from Sant'Arsenio to Napoli, and on a transatlantic cruise on the SS Alesia.

The trip from Sant'Arsenio to Napoli was about 140 kilometers, or about 87 miles. I would imagine that they were not rolling in the Lira, and according to this short article, rail wasn't developed in that area quite yet, maybe they had to walk? Looks like most of the advancements were paid for starting in the North and Rome and moved its way out. According to google, it takes about 30 hours to walk that distance. I hope they had horses or a Sicilian Cart at their disposal! There's some other links at the bottom if you'd like to research more. It's pretty interesting.

The SS Alesia left Napoli around September of 1887. I've haven't been able to find exactly how long the voyage was. I found that that kind of ship would normally take about 6 weeks to cross the Atlantic depending on whether and/or hundreds of other factors. According to the SS Alesia Wikipedia page which sites London's The Times, my family was probably quarantined on the ship due to a cholera outbreak until October, possibly December of 1887. They must have lived though.

By 1903, possibly earlier, my Great Great Aunt was born, Maggie Giordano in New Castle, Pennsylvania. New Castle was where my Great Grandfather decided to grow up and remain for the entirety of his life. Arsenio was a tin catcher at Shenango Works where the tin and steel industry was booming. From what I've found, New Castle was a hot-bed for Italian Immigrants looking for “pane e lavoro”.

Along with many immigrants of the time, Arsenio's name was anglicization to “Charles George”. I'm not sure why or how that name was chosen, however I found that the brothers that owned Shenango Works back when he worked there were Charles & George Greer. It may just be coincidence, or he could have been friends with the owners, or he admired them, or he wanted to take over the company... who knows. The bad news is that that name got onto my Great Grandfather's birth certificate which can now never be changed. More on that later.

They lived at 121 E Lutton Street, New Castle, Pennsylvania. Below are some google images of the house that's there now, and some of the data from the county assessor. Here in Maricopa County, Arizona, our online Assessor's office will tell you the year the structure was built, but no such luck here. I still like to imagine BBQs and washing the ginormous car they must have had in the nice midwestern town. Scenes from Back to the Future.

This next revelation was an eye-opener. When I grew up in Phoenix, my immediate family would go to SS Simon & Jude Cathedral every Sunday. I'd put on my tiny suit (I was tiny then) and go to mass as far back as I can remember. It dawned on me that my father was probably doing what my dad learned from his dad whom learned from his dad, Arsenio. Of course they were Catholic, right!? I actually just learned today that Il Duomo was/is the cathedral found in most Italian villages and cities throughout Italy. I was sure so I started digging. Where's the closest church...?

St Vitas. Literally less than 2 blocks away. If I'm right about the house, they could probably see the cathedral from their upstairs windows. My suspicions were confirmed pretty quickly as St Vitas has a lot of information just on their website. Arsenio found and married my Great Grandmother, Teresa Borio - nice Italian girl originally from Chicago area. On their marriage license, it reads that they were married by Reverend N. DeMita. St Vitas has quite a bit of information including PDFs that have pictures like these and much more. I was able to find on their list of all-time priests, Reverend Nicolas DeMita. Fantastico!

I'm currently waiting for some more documents from New Castle... When I do I'll definitely add more stuff here. You have relatives from Italy that lived in the New Castle area? Go check out the Finding Genealogical Documents page where I take about how I accidentally found 2 really good sources for paperwork.

I found this article to be really interesting about how they named children (sometimes) in Italy. The first male is named after his paternal grandfather, second male, maternal grandfather. I wonder if that tradition came down to me. I working on an animation to explain this, but for now, basically Francesco Arsenio named his sone Arsenio Francesco. Then Frank, the first born son on Arsenio, after Francesco, and my Grandfather Joseph after my Great Grandmother's Father, Joseph. The tradition seems to slip for a generation, but then I was named Frederic Joseph which would be my maternal Grandfather and paternal Grandfather. Interesting.

Grandpa Joseph

Grandpa was born in New Castle, PA in 1914. He grew up in the New Castle area. He moved to the Las Vegas area in the 1940s. He was enlisted in the Army from 1942 to 1945. He married my Grandmother Cammillis in 1948.

Dad Terry

Terry was born in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1949 where he returned to and lives today. He worked as a photographer, electronic engineer, and computer programmer throughout his life. He was in the Air Force in the early 70s. My sister was born while he was in the Air Force in Topeka Kansas. For a short time my parents lived in Texas, and then settled down in the Phoenix area around 1974, when I was born.

There's a lot more about my family, and a lot that I've just recently discovered now that I'm old. As you can see I dove head first into researching my Great Grandfather and still have a ways to go on my Grandfather and Father. For the basis of these blog posts, however, you can see that the lineage I am using is GGF-GF-F-Me.


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