looking for date my grandmother went back to Italy

Over 25 million Italians have emigrated between 1861 and 1960 with a migration boom between 1871 and 1915 when over 13,5 million emigrants left the country for European and overseas destinations.
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stellina13
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looking for date my grandmother went back to Italy

Postby stellina13 » 04 Aug 2016, 00:30

My grandmother was born in Philadelphia in 1906 and went back to Italy to visit relatives when she was about 5 years old. While she was in Italy, her father passed away in Philadelphia and my grandmother, her sisters and their mother remained in Italy. (Ironically, my dad was born in Italy and I was born in Italy as well) I want to find out the exact time frame my grandmother went back to Italy because it's causing quite a bit of controversy. The time period would be around 1911/1912.

Are there passenger lists of ships leaving US and arriving in Italy? Would there perhaps be school records of the girls being registered in school? Have no idea where to begin with this. Usually people research when descendants come to America.....not the other way around. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Nina

Researching Surnames: Paolini, Polidoro, Salutari, Di Braccio, Facchini, Giangregorio, Bianchi, Pignatelli, Simonella, Colangelo, Musti, Acconcia, Amorosi, Grossi - Castelvecchio Subequo; L'Aquila Province.

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adelfio
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Re: looking for date my grandmother went back to Italy

Postby adelfio » 04 Aug 2016, 02:05

There is not records of shipmanifest like we have in USA might want to check on a passport

Marty
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stellina13
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Re: looking for date my grandmother went back to Italy

Postby stellina13 » 04 Aug 2016, 02:08

Unfortunately none of her children have her passport. We don't know what happened to it.
Nina

Researching Surnames: Paolini, Polidoro, Salutari, Di Braccio, Facchini, Giangregorio, Bianchi, Pignatelli, Simonella, Colangelo, Musti, Acconcia, Amorosi, Grossi - Castelvecchio Subequo; L'Aquila Province.

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Re: looking for date my grandmother went back to Italy

Postby kencwalker » 04 Aug 2016, 03:52

stellina,
Here are some ideas.
1) Search for details about your great grandfather's death in the US - a death certificate, obituary, gravestone, anything with a date. That should give you a pretty good window of when the trip occurred.
2) Try to track your grandmother's family (mom and siblings). As a child, your grandmother probably didn't need a passport, but your great grandmother (and maybe older siblings) needed one to travel to Italy.
3) Check the 1910 US census. It will confirm they were still in the US in 1910, and may have some details to help on items 1 and 2.

Hope that helps. Good luck.
I'm curious - can you share the controversy?

-Ken
Researching surnames Pedroncelli and Pilatti in Sondrio; Cantoia in Novara; Penna in Asti.

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stellina13
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Re: looking for date my grandmother went back to Italy

Postby stellina13 » 04 Aug 2016, 05:03

Ken, you have given some very good advice. I have narrowed down the return to Italy from 1911-1915 which doesn't help :)

I finally have a copy of my great grandfather's death certificate; not from the states but a copy was sent to the town in Italy; he died in 1915. There is no tombstone as he was buried in a mass grave in PA. It took me 15 years to locate his grave and we visited it last summer. I wanted to purchase a tombstone but because he is buried with "others" it is against the cemetary's rules.

Tracking my grandmother's family is easy as they are from the same town in Italy i was born in. None of her 3 sisters' descendants have their passports either. I have traced her ancestors to 1727.

They were in PA in 1910 and listed in the census; that was like looking for a needle in a haystack as my great grandfather's first and last name were not even close in any way to the way it was written in the census record. It really was a stroke of luck that I found it!

The controversy
According to my dad, his siblings and his cousins they insist my grandmother, her 3 sisters and mother went back to Italy for a short trip in 1911. They were told this by their mothers. The story goes while they were in Italy they received news from the states that their father had passed away. I know for a fact their father passed away in 1915 (have a copy of the death record as mentioned above) which would mean the girls and my great grandmother lived in Italy from 1911 to 1915 when they received word he passed away; this doesn't make sense. I know for a fact my great grandmother and the girls never came back to the states....so now my dad and the others are wondering if they were lied to and was it possible my great grandmother decided to "leave" my great grandfather. I say this because they have told me my great grandfather wasn't much of a worker and he had a wife and 4 young daughters to take care of. Could my great grandmother had enough of him and went back? My dad/his siblings were under the impression he died shortly after they were in Italy which is not the case.....or they are all incorrect and the girls did not go back in 1911 as everyone thought and perhaps went in 1914/1915 which would have been closer to the time my great grandfather passed away. I know it may sound silly but it's really bothering me that we don't know!

are you sorry you asked? :) :)
Nina

Researching Surnames: Paolini, Polidoro, Salutari, Di Braccio, Facchini, Giangregorio, Bianchi, Pignatelli, Simonella, Colangelo, Musti, Acconcia, Amorosi, Grossi - Castelvecchio Subequo; L'Aquila Province.

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Re: looking for date my grandmother went back to Italy

Postby kencwalker » 04 Aug 2016, 15:42

stellina13 wrote:I have narrowed down the return to Italy from 1911-1915 which doesn't help :)

are you sorry you asked?

Hi Nina,
Interesting story. I think every family finds them as they explore their past. Some are just that: "stories". Others have some basis in fact. And some are "uncomfortable truths" we stumble onto (that no one ever discussed).

You've done a good job with your research. If I was a betting man, I'd bet your GM's family returned to Italy BEFORE July-1914. That's when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia (start of WW-I). Italy was part of the Triple Alliance w/ Germany and Austria-Hungary. Likely folks weren't traveling BACK to Italy w/out a very good reason. It could also be why they didn't return to the US if they were in Italy at the time.

You have an interesting challenge. It's unfortunate that Italy didn't collect immigration arrival info (probably wasn't a big deal). Other thoughts:
-At this point you don't need hard genealogy data, just something to fix their location and date. If they were in Italy for 2-3 years, they were more than tourists. Wouldn't the older children attend school? Who did they live with?
-Does anyone have a scrapbook or photo album that has ANYTHING from the 1911-15 time frame? A report card, letters, post cards, photos, anything....
-Since you are from your GM's town, are there any church records you can access for her or her sisters in that time frame? (First Communion or Confirmation?). Or maybe a family Bible?
-Did Italy conduct a census or something similar in the 1910-1915 time frame?
-Does the US National Archives (NARA) have passport records? If so, can they search? (like naturalization documents)

This would be a fun research project it wasn't so challenging.
Good luck,
-Ken
Researching surnames Pedroncelli and Pilatti in Sondrio; Cantoia in Novara; Penna in Asti.

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Re: looking for date my grandmother went back to Italy

Postby kencwalker » 05 Aug 2016, 16:33

I'd bet your GM's family returned to Italy BEFORE July-1914. That's when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia (start of WW-I)....
Likely folks weren't traveling BACK to Italy w/out a very good reason.

Nina, WW-I has another influence on this. Assuming your GGF was still an Italian citizen, if he returned to Italy, I suspect he would be at risk to be conscripted into the army. As a result, he would be reluctant to return after the declaration of war.
This got me to thinking...there may be another angle to the family story.
Maybe your GGM and her daughters returned to Italy before 1914, then decided to stay. They tell your GGF, and by the time he makes arrangements to return, WWI begins, so he remains in the US, and then dies in an accident in 1915.

Have you thought of using a reverse research angle?
Try to prove the story that "your GGM and daughters left your GGF in Pa". This is just a story until you can find something that corroborates it. For example, if they really left your GGF, he sure didn't need a family home for one. Did he change residence? If so, where, and when? Into an apartment or boarding house? Conversely, if he was still living in the family home in 1915....at least he thought his family planned to return.
Regards -Ken
Researching surnames Pedroncelli and Pilatti in Sondrio; Cantoia in Novara; Penna in Asti.

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stellina13
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Re: looking for date my grandmother went back to Italy

Postby stellina13 » 06 Aug 2016, 01:33

Wow, Ken, you have really given me a lot to think about!!! Thank you so much for your very helpful suggestions. I am certainly not going to give up, am going to try some of your suggestions and see if I come up with anything!

I do know in 1910 they lived in Mount Carmel, PA as the youngest sibling of my grandmother was born in Mt. Carmel. The census records also indicate Mt Carmel as their residence; they rented and did not own the home they lived in.

The death certificate of my great grandfather from 1915 has his residence listed as Philadelphia. 3 of the girls were born in Philly ranging from 1902 - 1906. There was a son who passed away in Dec. 1906 in Philly....so between Jan 1907-March 1910 (census record was from April 1910) they moved to Mt. Carmel.

In Jan. 1914, my great grandfather's nephew came back to Philly to see his father who was my great grandfather's brother in law. It's very possible my great grandfather was in Philly in 1914 as the families were close. At the very least, it is a fact he was in Philly in March 1915 when he passed away.

You made a very good point about world war 1. I doubt very much a woman and 4 young daughters would have gone back in the middle of the war, so it makes a lot of sense they went back before then.......I now need to prove it!
Nina

Researching Surnames: Paolini, Polidoro, Salutari, Di Braccio, Facchini, Giangregorio, Bianchi, Pignatelli, Simonella, Colangelo, Musti, Acconcia, Amorosi, Grossi - Castelvecchio Subequo; L'Aquila Province.

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Re: looking for date my grandmother went back to Italy

Postby kencwalker » 09 Aug 2016, 15:00

Hi Nina,
Trying to establish dates in such a small window is tough when there aren't any significant events (birth, marriage, death). Another line of attack...instead of looking for more genealogy sources, try to connect dates and locations using pictures. Look through family photo albums. Maybe there's a photo of your GGF with his wife and/or daughters between 1911-14. Or, maybe there's a photo of your GGM or her daughters in Italy between 1911-14. It only takes a few pictures from this time frame to establish where they lived.
Also, the oldest daughter would have been 10-13 y/o during this time. Surely she attended school somewhere (right?). I wonder if there are any family records (or memories) of early school years in the USA or Italy.
-Ken
Researching surnames Pedroncelli and Pilatti in Sondrio; Cantoia in Novara; Penna in Asti.

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Re: looking for date my grandmother went back to Italy

Postby erudita74 » 13 Aug 2016, 17:05

Nina
Have you checked with the town itself? Some towns kept registers or notations with dates of when people left the town to emigrate to other towns or countries, as well as dates when they returned to their native towns. I know of at least one town in Caserta Province, and one town in Sicily, which did this.
Erudita


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