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Community Forums › How Can I locate my Family in Italy › Southern Italy › Suddenly Italian

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Suddenly Italian

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ssluder
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:53 am    Post subject: Suddenly Italian Reply with quote

It's a complicated story, but imagine finding out at 57 years of age that the father you knew from birth is not your biological father. In fact, you learn that your biological father is actually a long time family friend. And finally, imagine that this long time family friend is a first generation american citizen whose parents both immigrated from Italy after 1900... Bada bing! I'm SUDDENLY ITALIAN! Shocked

Seriously though... I am a long time genealogist who has done a lot of research over past 30 years (on my supposed 100% British ancestry). I am now basically at step one again, trying to figure out exactly who my "new" biological grandparents are. I am looking at an entirely different set of guidelines, a new culture, a new language, new names, new vital records (in a foreign language), new naming conventions, new EVERYTHING! My bio dad has passed on, but I've begun to have a relationship with his remaining family and have been able to gather some valuable information.

I know that my grandparents families were all from the Calabria Region. My paternal line is through Guiseppe Pepino Ruffolo (Ruffalo) born 1887 in Mendicino, Cosenza and my maternal line is through Genoveffa Adelina Gallo born 1896 in Rogliano, Consenza. Both immigrated to the US, settled first in Michigan and then later in Washington where they both died. I've found most, if not all of the U.S. census and vital records on both. I have some great-grandparent names, but no dates. My next step is to start searching Italian records and that is where I need some help and direction. ANY advice would be greatly appreciated!

One final thing... Through an ancestry.com DNA test, I was able to confirm that I am Italian (there was no doubt!), but I also have 6% "Native South American" DNA! One of my new "cousins" told me that she believes one of the great-grandmothers (she is not sure which one) was born in South America. That would explain the DNA result. I was hoping someone might have some insight into how to approach a South American-Italian connection. Thanks in advance for anything you can offer... Very Happy
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nuccia
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Suddenly Italian Reply with quote

Wow that's quite a story! You have quite a sense of humour about all this so kudo's to you! Yes, Italian ancestry is quite a bit different than researching British ancestry. The one good thing is that since it has become more and more popular (especially in the province of Cosenza, Calabria where your grandparents were from) there is a lot available online - and a lot of it is free!

You mentioned you have found all your American documentation. You also know where in Cosenza your grandparents were born. Can you tell us if you obtained that info from American records or were you able to find it through Italian records? There is the Cosenza Archive site online where you can search for your grandparents records and trace it back as far as the Catasto (Italian Land Tax Census also available on line). This would confirm your great grandmother's name and from the actual documents you would possibly be able to but out if in fact she was born in South America and where.

I'll wait for your response and then we can go from there.

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ssluder
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Suddenly Italian Reply with quote

Thank you Nuccia for your quick response and willingness to help. The info I've gathered on both Guiseppe Pepino Ruffolo and Genoveffa Adelina Gallo came primarily from family sources. I was able to find US census, vital and immigration records to support the family sources. I've tried to do some searching of Italian records through Ancestry.com and LDS Family Search, but have not had any real success.
According to the family sources, Guiseppe Ruffalo is the son of Salvatore Ruffalo and Vincenza Rosa. I wondered if it was possible that Rosa is a given name and not a surname. Guiseppe went by the nick name Pepi and died in 1955 in Renton WA.
Genoveffa Adelina Gallo is the daughter of Michael Franco Antonio Gallo and Rosario Lucinda Stumpo. Michael was supposedly some type of community official (constable or something like that) and had 12+ children.
One final question about the names above... Is Rosario an acceptable female form of the name? I would think the female form for this name would be Rosaria. I know this is true for names like Vincenzo and Vincenza. Doesn't the female version of a similar name always end with an "a" and the male version end with an "o"?
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:36 am    Post subject: Re: Suddenly Italian Reply with quote

I was able to find the death notification you spoke off but the parents names don't quite match up with anything I have found on the Cosenza Archive site (although I did post the closest matches I thought *might* be of interest*). Also you mention the surname Rosa - on the death it has mother's surname as Derose. I'll look into this more tomorrow since you have sparked my interest with this!

Washington, Deaths, 1883-1960 about Joseph L Ruffalo
Name: Joseph L Ruffalo
Gender: Male
Birth Date: abt 1887
Death Date: 7 Aug 1955
Age at Death: 68
Death Location: Seattle, King, Washington
Father: Salvadore Ruffalo
Mother: Derose
Record Source: Washington State Death Records

SIAS Code IT-ASCS-F680258
Ufficio Leva della Provincia di Cosenza, Enlistment year 1886.Volume number 217,
document number 79 page 272 section a
Salvatore Giuseppe Ruffolo, calzolaio enlisted on 30/09/1907
born on 25/01/1886 to MENDICINO
son/daughter of Luigi Ruffolo and of Giuseppina Filippelli

SIAS Code IT-ASCS-F680258
Ufficio Leva della Provincia di Cosenza, Enlistment year 1884.Volume number 200,
document number 152 page 265 section b
Antonio Pasquale Ruffolo, scalpellino enlisted on 22/12/1904
born on 13/05/1883 to MENDICINO
son/daughter of Luigi Ruffolo and of Giuseppina Filippelli

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:10 am    Post subject: Re: Suddenly Italian Reply with quote

I believe you have it Nuccia! I was able to find the Cosenza Archive website and was already doing searches when you posted this. The real clue here is the occupation. Guiseppe was a shoemaker and according Google translate, calzolaio is a shoemaker! I believe that Salvatore Guiseppe Ruffolo may be right! When he immigrated to Michigan, he earned a living in the mines for many years making shoes for the miners. The birthdate is not very close, but is probably close enough. He might have forgotten his actual birth date or may have lied for some reason. It might also be that the family thought that Salvatore was his fathers name and not Guiseppe's first name. I am going to add this to my family tree and see what Ancestry.com shows.

Regarding the De Rose name, there are lots of them in my initial search in Cosenza. Thanks again...
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:49 am    Post subject: Re: Suddenly Italian Reply with quote

Considering that you are now Italian you should start calling your grandfather Giuseppe instead of Guiseppe (a non exisiting name). Wink
Welcome to the forum!

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Suddenly Italian Reply with quote

Ok so I found Genoveffa's naturalization papers. My suggestion is using this information you write away to the Cosenza Archives and request each of their birth act's. It will confirm parents names. From there you can continue to request info or look on the Cosenza Archive site - Since the online site is not 100% updated they may not have entered this info yet (or its mis spelled and we're having one heck of a time finding it).

www.gentedimareitalian...oveffa.jpg

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Suddenly Italian Reply with quote

Looks like Gen was a war bride - she came through Philadelphia in 1921 to meet her 'promised' Giuseppe Ruffoli. They were married in New Jersey. Lived in Michigan, and died in Washington. This should be fun! Also a correction was made to Genoveffa's name by a Susan..is someone else researching the family that you know or? You might try contacting them since you have ancestry.


Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1945 about Genoveffa Galio
Name: Genoveffa Galio
[Genoveffa Gallo]
Arrival Date: 25 Feb 1921
Age: 24 Years
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1897
Gender: Female
Ethnic Background: Italian (South) (Italian)
Port of Departure: Naples, Italy
Ship Name: Canada
Port of Arrival: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Friend's Name: Giuseppe Ruffoli
Last Residence: Italy
Birthplace: Rogliano, Italy
Microfilm Roll Number: T840_139

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Last edited by nuccia on Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Suddenly Italian Reply with quote

liviomoreno wrote:
Considering that you are now Italian you should start calling your grandfather Giuseppe instead of Guiseppe (a non exisiting name). Wink
Welcome to the forum!

I think this was also the first conversation throu email I had with you too Livio - Cathy had spelled it like this and you sent me a message to correct it! lol I still have that email! Smile

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ssluder
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Suddenly Italian Reply with quote

liviomoreno wrote:
Considering that you are now Italian you should start calling your grandfather Giuseppe instead of Guiseppe (a non exisiting name). Wink
Welcome to the forum!

Thank you Livio for the correction... I am a stickler for proper spelling!

However, I do think it's interesting that on the naturalization record that Nuccia found, they spell his name Guiseppe... Razz

See: www.gentedimareitalian...oveffa.jpg

Steven


Last edited by ssluder on Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Suddenly Italian Reply with quote

Thank you again Nuccia... I do remember being told that the marriage between Giuseppe and Genoveffa was arranged and that she came to the U.S. to be married. Susan is one of my new cousins, though I have never met her. She is the one who provided most of the information I have, as imperfect as it apparently is.

If I write to Cosenza to request the birth records of Genoveffa and Giuseppe, which birthdate should I use for Giuseppe? Do I need to provide the exact birthdate or can I request they do a search using two possible dates?

Steven
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Suddenly Italian Reply with quote

I would use the info from the Naturalization papers. If you PM me your email and a short message I can help you draft something up later this evening.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Suddenly Italian Reply with quote

Nuccia - I've made contact with a new family member through Ancestry.com. I hope to get more information on additional brothers and sisters of the grand- parents. I'm sure this will help to clear up some of the unknowns. I'll send you another PM when I have everything together and am ready to compose my request... by the way... will this request be written in Italian? Also, do they charge a fee?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Suddenly Italian Reply with quote

Thats great news! Yes the request will be in Italian. If the records are obtained through the Comune then there will be no charge. If they are obtained through the archives there more than likely be a small fee (about 5 euros). Yes, keep in touch.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:18 am    Post subject: Re: Suddenly Italian Reply with quote

Just following up to see how you made out with your search - anything new?

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