Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

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Jennie58
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Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

Postby Jennie58 » 24 Apr 2011, 19:43

Hello,

My siblings and I are eligible for Italian citizenship through our maternal great-grandfather, who came to the U.S. in the late 1800s and never became naturalized. Using a service, we were able to track down our great-grandmother's (his wife's) birth certificate, but not our great-grandfather's. Apparently there was nobody with that last time living in the town of origin he listed on his ship manifest (Sperlinga, Sicily, where my great-grandmother was born) at that time. Since he had a common last name (Spano), we are at a loss as to what other regions of Sicily to search in. We have all the other necessary documents (marriage certificates, proof he was never naturalized, etc.) but his birth certificate is missing. I suppose there is a chance he was never issued a birth certificate, though maybe there's a baptismal record somewhere.

Can anyone recommend a private investigator or someone else who could help? The service I used to search for the birth certificates can't provide any further assistance since they don't know what town or city he was born in.

Thank you in advance for any help!

Jennie

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Re: Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

Postby Italysearcher » 25 Apr 2011, 10:38

If they were married in Italy the original marriage record(not the 'estratto' needed for citizenship purposes) should provide his town of birth.
If your investigator doesn't know this, I have to ask if he is Italian?
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Re: Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

Postby Jennie58 » 25 Apr 2011, 17:09

They were married in the U.S., unfortunately for the purposes of finding the birth certificate, so their location of birth is only marked "Italy."

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Re: Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

Postby johnnyonthespot » 25 Apr 2011, 17:13

In what year was he born?

If after 1871, there is a good chance that a US WWI Draft Registration Card can be found for him. These cards will give place of birth; sometimes simply "Italy", other times the name of the comune is included.

If he was born after 1876, there may also be a WWII draft record and, once again, a possible birthplace.

If you would care to share your great-grandfather's full name and date of birth, I would be happy to look for these records.
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Re: Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

Postby Jennie58 » 25 Apr 2011, 17:29

Hi Carmine,

Many thanks for the suggestion and your help. His name was Giuseppe/Guiseppe Spano (spelling depends on which document), though by the 1910 census he was going by Joseph. According to his American death certificate, he was born on October 27, 1875, though other sources list his birth year as 1877. He arrived in New York on November 28, 1897. His father's name was Gaetano Spano and his mother's name was Anna Bruno.

He died in 1923, so there would not be a WWII draft record for him, but the WWI draft record is a possibility.

Thank you again!

Jennie

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Re: Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

Postby johnnyonthespot » 25 Apr 2011, 18:15

Sorry, no luck yet.

On the November 28, 1897 passenger manifest, there is Giuseppe Spano, aged 18, travelling with Gaetano Spano, aged 56. I presume these are you ancestors?

Note however that if Giuseppe was 18 in 1897, this would put his birthday squarely in 1879 - not 1875 or 1877. Your thoughts?
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Re: Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

Postby Jennie58 » 25 Apr 2011, 18:29

Yes, I also presume those are my ancestors, but there's actually another record of Giuseppe Spano (maybe spelled Guiseppe) from the same ship where he gives his age as 20 -- I think for some reason they were listed twice in the ship manifest. I have to look over my massive folder when I get home from work, but I suspect that is what happened.

Thank you so much for taking a look for me!

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Re: Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

Postby suanj » 25 Apr 2011, 20:41

I found this record:
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
about Giuseppe Spano
Name: Giuseppe Spano ( right spelling: Spanò with accent)
Arrival Date: 28 Nov 1897
Birth Year: abt 1875
Age: 22
Gender: Male
Ethnicity/Race­/Nationality: Italian
Port of Departure: Naples, Italy
Port of Arrival: New York, New York
Ship Name: Patria

http://img132.imageshack.us/i/spano.jpg/
shoemaker, joining at brother Lorenzo in NY... it is your ancestor?
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Re: Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

Postby Jennie58 » 25 Apr 2011, 20:51

That is correct -- Lorenzo was the relative (I thought it was a cousin; could have been his brother) he first stayed with in the U.S. It's confusing, though, because I know he traveled with his father, Gaetano Spano, as indicated in the record that Carmine referenced earlier in the thread. Could the same person have been counted twice but gave different ages each time? Does anyone know if this is something that happened often at Ellis Island?

Thanks so much, suanj, for tracking down that other record! Any advice on how to proceed? As you can see in the record, he listed his last place of residence as Sperlinga, so I'm still wondering how to find out where he was actually born.

Jennie

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Re: Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

Postby suanj » 25 Apr 2011, 21:55

Hi, if in Sperlinga no birth record, maybe the birth date is no correct; it is the more probable explanation; if in your request, you wrote as birthdate" 27 Oct 1875" and the reply was negative, maybe the day or the month or both, or also the year are no right...

the birthdate of italian immigrants in US records is no always the same in italian records, and because Giuseppe Spanò is a popular name need of to know almost the father first name and, better, the mother maiden name...
now I know not as you made the request in Italy, however by marriage record the parent's names are sure:

Groom's Name: Guiseppe Spano
Groom's Birth Date:
Groom's Birthplace:
Groom's Age:
Bride's Name: Vita Carlisi
Bride's Birth Date:
Bride's Birthplace:
Bride's Age:
Marriage Date: 03 Jul 1902
Marriage Place: Manhattan, New York, New York
Groom's Father's Name: Gaetano Spano
Groom's Mother's Name: Anna M. Bruno
Bride's Father's Name: Antonino Carlisi
Bride's Mother's Name: Rosa Laporta
Groom's Race:
Groom's Marital Status:
Groom's Previous Wife's Name:
Bride's Race:
Bride's Marital Status:
Bride's Previous Husband's Name:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M00594-2
System Origin: New_York-ODM
Source Film Number: 1570820
Reference Number:

abt the Carmine post, it is unsure that the Giuseppe Spanò travelling with Gaetano( father) are your ancestor; in Italy, especially in the past, many peoples had same name, sometimes also the same father name, but what is important is the mother name, because this let us go on right trace...

Giuseppe Spanò is alone in 1900 census, so where is Gaetano father?... It is normal to think that father and son lived in same house almost in the first years of immigration? Or Gaetano back in Italy... no, I believe that are abt peoples of 2 different family branches

Instead in 1900 we found Giuseppe Spanò alone:

1900 United States Federal Census about Joseph Spano
Name: Joseph Spano
Home in 1900: Manhattan, New York, New York
[New York, New York]
Age: 22
Birth Date: Oct 1877
Birthplace: Italy
Race: White
Gender: Male
Immigration Year: 1877
[1897]
Relationship to head-of-house: Head
Father's Birthplace: Italy
Mother's Birthplace: Italy
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: View on Image

Neighbors: View others on page

Household Members: Name Age
Joseph Spano
22

No: I believe that Giuseppe Spanò 18 aged in travel with Gaetano father is not the same your ancestor, just a coincidence...

but it is only my opinion, obviously, maybe I am wrong...

In 1905 census Giuseppe was married and the first daughter was born... so for to find the right Giuseppe Spanò born in Sperlinga, between 1874/6, son of Gaetano Spanò and Anna M. (Anna Maria?) Bruno you can try in LDS microfilms of Sperlinga church records:
Registri ecclesiastici di Sperlinga (Enna), 1612-1929 Chiesa cattolica. San Giovanni Battista (Sperlinga, Enna)
Baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths. Includes indexes. Until about 1860-1870 the indexes were ordred by the Latin form of the first name, i.e. Josephus instead of Giuseppe. After that time, the indexes were ordered by the surname.
http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library ... umns=*,0,0
and precisely this microfilm:
Battesimi 1834, 1867-1910; Notificazioni 1875-1888; Cresime 1888-1910; Matrimoni 1642-1819
FHL INTL Film
2227701

If you have urgency of birth certificate, you can request again the birth certificate in Sperlinga, explaining that you need of
"Estratto dell'Atto di Nascita-Modello Plurilingue a fini jus sanguinis di:
-SPANO' Giuseppe classe 1875 circa, nato a Sperlinga, figlio di Gaetano e Bruno Anna ( o Annamaria)"

so the officer will search in 1875 birth registry as a well in 1874 and in 1876, and if he no find, it will search in 1873 and in 1877, but I believe he will find, if Sperlinga is right birthplace as appearing in ship's manifest...
hoping helpful,
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Re: Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

Postby johnnyonthespot » 25 Apr 2011, 22:37

suanj wrote:No: I believe that Giuseppe Spanò 18 aged in travel with Gaetano father is not the same your ancestor, just a coincidence...


I agree. If Jennie is certain that her Giuseppe was born in 1875, then the Gaetano/Giuseppe must be a different family and Jennie's Giuseppe traveled alone.
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Re: Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

Postby Jennie58 » 25 Apr 2011, 22:44

I guess you guys are right. Also, even though the birth years are a bit hazy across documents, the fact that I know he was a shoemaker and went to stay with a relative named Lorenzo is pretty persuasive evidence!

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Re: Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

Postby suanj » 26 Apr 2011, 11:21

well, another piece abt your ancestor story;
in 1901, Anna BRUNO (51 old) and the daughter Marietta Spanò( 18 old) coming from Sperlinga, trip crossed, they had join to son( and Marietta brother) to Lorenzo Spanò in New York;

the Lorenzo address is unreadable for me, but maybe someone can help abt that:
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
about Mariette Sparso
Name: Mariette Sparso ( Spanò)
Arrival Date: 26 Oct 1901
Birth Year: abt 1883

Age: 18
Gender: Female
Ethnicity/Race­/Nationality: Italian
Port of Arrival: New York, New York
Ship Name: Nord America

http://img577.imageshack.us/i/brunoanna.jpg/
however last residence was Sperlinga, and Lorenzo Spanò was really Giuseppe's brother; I cannot find Lorenzo Spanò arrival, that maybe was born in the 1870s, but a Lorenzo Spanò born abt in 1852, coming from Sperlinga ( Sperlinga in province of Catania by some ship's manifest) in a travel of 1925, leaving Gaetano Spanò brother in Sperlinga, place of birth Sperlinga, passport issued in Catania(Sperlinga was in the past in Catania province, currently in Enna province), now:
if this Lorenzo Spanò was born in Sperlinga abt in 1852
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
about Lorenzo Spano Name: Lorenzo Spano
Arrival Date: 21 Sep 1925
Birth Year: abt 1852
Birth Location: Italy
Birth Location Other: sperlinga
Age: 73
Gender: Male
Ethnicity/Race­/Nationality: Italian (South) (Italian)
Port of Departure: Palermo, Italy
Port of Arrival: New York, New York
Ship Name: Dante Alighieri

as it is possible that you receveid a negative reply, saying that the surname Spanò was no in Sperlinga?
That it is impossible, because in the trip of 1925 abt this Lorenzo Spanò ( it is not the Giuseppe's brother obviously), well he had regular passport and the birth location was Sperlinga...
I can believe that maybe your Giuseppe was born in or near Sperlinga, and if you can show us the negative reply had by Sperlinga commune I can understand better, by reply, the reason of negative reply...
all the best,
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Re: Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

Postby Jennie58 » 26 Apr 2011, 12:42

Thank you, suanj! I did not actually write to the Sperlinga commune myself -- I used the service "Italiamerica" about a year and a half ago. Here is what they had to say:

"I have the birth certificate of Vita Carlisi; attached is a copy. She was born Jan. 27, 1885 and she married Giuseppe Spano in New York on July 3, 1902. As to Giuseppe, after an accurate search we are sorry to inform you that there is no record of birth for him in the Municipality of Sperlinga. He must have been born in another town. The years from 1870 to 1880 were searched to no avail."

I later spoke to them on the phone, and they told me that there were no families called Spano in Sperlinga during those years, which I find hard to believe given the multiple people with the last name Spano that you mentioned in your previous message who listed "Sperlinga" as their birth location.

I wonder if they were from a commune right next to Sperlinga? Or maybe they never were issued birth certificates? Though that seems unlikely since they apparently had passports. I guess I should try writing to the commune myself (a shame since I paid this company to do it already!) -- I was hoping to save time since my Italian is not so great and at the time I was completely unfamiliar with the process.

What do you think?

Thanks for all your help!

Jennie

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Re: Help with finding missing Italian birth certificate

Postby johnnyonthespot » 26 Apr 2011, 13:28

Hmmm...

Maybe we are barking up the wrong tree?

Frazione Sperlinga, Comune di Chiaramonte Gulfi, Provincia di Ragusa, Regione di Sicilia

Looking at the Italian telephone directory, there are no Spano's today in Comune di Sperlinga, Provincia di Enna, Regione di Sicilia (where you have been looking), but there are several in Chiaramonte Gulfi. See http://www.paginebianche.it/execute.cgi ... Gulfi&l=en
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