Hello, everybody. I LOVE the new site, by the way.
I have news!
First of all, I FINALLY got my passport last week--it took about 3 months!
Second, I hired a genealogist in Italy to go to Bianchi and Decollatura to research my family! He came highly recommended from a couple of people on another forum as being honest, dependable, reasonable, and FAST. He was educated and raised in the US, but returned to his family roots in Italy. His name is Joe De Simone and he lives in Avellino and does his work primarily in the region of Campania (provinces of Avellino, Benevento, Caserta, Salerno, and Naples). He prefers to keep his research limited to a maximum 2 hour commute from his home, so initially, he declined my research request, since going to Calabria would require about a 4 hour journey to reach Bianchi and Decollatura. I offered to pay for an overnight stay and, eventually, he reconsidered and agreed to help me.
Over the past year, I have sent numerous letters to Bianchi and Decollatura, but never received a reply. This is what he related about his unpleasant experience with the town clerk in Bianchi:
"The clerk at Bianchi was very uncooperative. When I told her why I was there, she said she had already received your letter and photos and already researched and that your family wasn't from Bianchi!!!!
Through my insistence, she finally looked up Michelina and Maria Concetta (my grandfather's sisters) for me. But it was like pulling teeth. She then denied that Giuseppe (my great-grandfather) was born in Bianchi. I said that I had his marriage record in Decollatura which states he was born in Bianchi but she said she already looked this up and he wasn't born there. At that point, I decided to drive another hour to the Cosenza regional archives where I found Giuseppe's birth record, born in BIANCHI."
Guess her negative attitude explains why I never received a reply! BUT, what he DID find was my ancestors, and some living descendants! Following is his preliminary findings, but he is sending me hard copies and electronic versions on a CD of documents, photos of the towns, headstones, etc. I am still digesting all the information and plugging it into my family tree. Any of you recognize any of these names?? Any new cousins out there??!!
I researched your ancestry and below are my discoveries:
1. Pietro Bianco (my grandfather) was born in Decollatura in 1891. I've obtained an official copy of his birth certificate and am forwarding in the mail. His birth record reads:
-BR 29 JUN 1891 Pietro Costanzo son of Giuseppe
Costanzo age 43, carpenter, resident in Decollatura in the "Adami"
hamlet and of Maria Giovanna Anania.
2. I searched the birth records in Decollatura for possible other children but none were found. I then searched for the marriage record for Pietro's parents and found it. I'm forwarding in the mail an official copy of the marriage extract for Giuseppe Costanzo and Maria Giovanna Anania (my great-grandparents). The marriage record reads:
-MR 6 MAR 1887: Giuseppe Costanzo age 39, farmer, born in
Bianchi, resident in Bianchi, son of the late Filippo Bianchi who was a
resident of Bianchi and of Michelina Bianco who lives in Bianchi,
MARRIES Giovanna Anania age 28, weaver, born in Decollatura, resident
in Decollatura, daugther of Michele Anania who's a resident of
Decollatura and of Maria Teresa Perri also resident in Decollatura.
3. Giuseppe Costanzo (my great-grandfather) was born in Bianchi in 1847. I'm forwarding digital photo #2574 of his birth record which reads:
-BR 7 OCT 1847
Giuseppe Costanzo son of Filippo Costanzo age 22, farmer, resident in
Bianchi on Contrada S.Marco and of Michelina Bianco age 23. Note,
Giuseppe Costanzo was baptized at the church of S.Giacomo in Bianchi on 30 OCT 1847.
4. Giuseppe's parents (my gggrandparents) married in Bianchi in 1846. I'm forwarding digital photo #2575 of their marriage record which reads:
MR 16 NOV 1846: Filippo Antonio Costanzo age 21 born in Adami,
Decollatura, farmer, resident in Adami, Decollatura, son of Pietro
Angelo Costanzo, farmer who lives in Adami, Decollatura and of Rachele
Bianco who also lives in Adami, Decollatura, MARRIES Maria Michelina
Bianco age 23, born in Bianchi, resident in Bianchi, daughter of
Leonardo Bianco, tailor, resident in Bianchi and of Teresa Bianco also
resident of Bianchi.
5. Filippo Antonio Costanzo was born in
Decollatura in 1825, I'm forwarding digital photo #2576 of his birth
record which reads:
-BR 16 OCT 1825 Filippo Antonio Costanzo son of
Pietrangelo Costanzo age 42, farmer, resident in Decollatura and of
Rachele Bianco age 36 also resident in Decollatura.
6. Maria Michelina Bianco was born in Bianchi in 1823. I'm forwarding digital photo #2577 of her birth record which reads:
-BR 30 JUL 1823 Maria
Michelina Bianco daughter of Leonardo Bianco age 22 tailor, resident in
Bianchi on Contrada Piazza and of Teresa Bianco age 23.
7. I found the record for one sibling of Giuseppe Costanzo. Photo #2587 is the birth record for Luigi Costanzo (perhaps the elusive "Uncle Luigi my grandfather was joing in Baltimore as stated on his ship manifest?", it reads:
-BR 28 APR 1865 Luigi
Costanzo son of Filippo Costanzo age 37 farmer, resident in Bianchi on
Contrada Bianchi and of Michelina Bianco age 36. Note, Luigi was
baptized at the church of S.Giacomo on 30 APR 1865.
8. In Bianchi, I discovered the following about your grandfather's sister. -Michelina Costanzo was born in Bianchi on 3 MAY 1896 daughter of Giuseppe Costanzo and Giovanna Anania. Michelina Costanzo married Vincenzo Bianco. They lived on Vico S.Marco. (Please note that Vico S.Marco, Contrada Bianchi, Contrada Piazza and Via S.Marco are all denominations of the same street which today is called VIA S.MARCO in Bianchi and is located adjacent to the Church of S.Giacomo, the main church of Bianchi, which is situated in the main square across the street from the town hall of Bianchi. All of your Costanzo ancesters from Bianchi lived on this street).
Michelina Costanzo died in Bianchi on 4 MAR 1979
at age 82 (as listed on the death record).
A son of Michelina Costanzo and Vincenzo Bianco was Giuseppe Libero Bianco who married a Gemma Longo. Giuseppe and Gemma are also deceased but I discovered that two children of theirs live in Settimo Torinese (in the province of Torino in Northern Italy). Their names are Michelina Bianco and Vincenzo Bianco. The town hall has told me that there are no other descedents of this family living in Bianchi. The town hall clerk told me that a sister of Gemma Longo, Rosaria Longo, lives in Cosenza. She may know more information about the family, however she is elderly. I found her address and phone number and tried to contact her but no one answers the phone.
Her contact information is . . .
9. In Bianchi, I also discovered that your grandfather's other sister, Maria Concetta Costanzo, died in Bianchi on 27 DEC 1936, wife of Francesco Futino. She also lived on Via S.Marco. None of her descendents live in Bianchi.
10. Back in Decollatura, I discovered a sister of Giovanna
-BR 17 APR 1854 Anna Anania daugther of Michele Anania age 50
and Maria Teresa Perri age 37, residents in Adami, Decollatura. Note,
on 20 APR 1854 Anna Anania was baptized at the Church of Beata Vergine del Carmine in Adami (Our lady of Mt.Carmel Church in the Adami hamlet of Decollatura). Also, on 13 APR 1878 Anna Anania married Giovanni Gigliotti in Decollatura.
11. Also in Decollatura, I found records for the following brother and sister born in America:
Costanzo born in Chicago, ILL on 14 JUL 1923 son of Giuseppe Costanzo
and Elisabetta Costanzo, married Serafina Cimino? in Decollatura on 14
-Rosa Costanzo was born 11 SEPT 1921 in Chicago, ILL
daughter of Giuseppe Costanzo and Elisabetta Costanzo.
I hope you enjoy my discoveries and I look forward to your feedback.
I will foward the certicates I obtained from the town hall of Decollatura and the CD containing the following images:
Photos #2517 through #2520: views of Decollatura
Photos #2522 through #2544 views of Adami including church of Our Lady of Mt.Carmel in Adami
Photos #2545 through #2557 views of Bianchi including Via S.Marco and the Church of S.Giacomo
Photos #2558 through #2572 views of the cemetary in Bianchi including the gravesite for Michelina Bianco which bears her photograph and that of her husband Vincenzo Bianco. Also included is the gravesite for Gemma Longo.
photo#2574 BR Giuseppe Costanzo
photo#2575 MR Filippo Antonio Costanzo & Rachele Bianco
photo#2576 BR Filippo Antonio Costanzo
photo #2577BR Maria Michelina Bianco
photos 2584-2585 maps of Calabria with indications of Decollatura and Bianchi
photo #2587 BR Luigi Costanzo
Joe De Simone"
I'm not sure yet who the people are referenced in item #11--they may or may not be related.
I can't wait to get his final report and CD, especially the photo of my grandfather's sister, Michelina. Hopefully, I will be able to match her to some of the old unidentified family photos I have. So far, I am extremely pleased with is findings and don't think I would have been able to find all this information on my own. My next step is to compose some letters to the living descendants to see if I can make a connection and if they have information to share.
Awesome, isn't it??!!