A place called "Bernice" Italy?

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ItalianByMarriage
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A place called "Bernice" Italy?

Postby ItalianByMarriage » 06 Nov 2009, 16:49

Hello--I am researching the family of Luigi Rocco, born about 1890 in Italy to Mary (maiden name unknown) and (father's name unknown).

I have no other information, except an immigration record I've come across (which may or may not belong to "my" Luigi), which refers to his birthplace as "Bernice, Italy."

The words are written very clearly, but I can find no such place. Perhaps the person recording the information misunderstood or spelled the city/town/province/region incorrectly.

Any ideas about the location of a "Bernice" Italy?

Thank you!

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Re: A place called "Bernice" Italy?

Postby misbris » 06 Nov 2009, 17:00

Can you possibly post the manifest or give us more info on the immigration date so we can look it up? Sometimes there are other hints on the manifest that can help narrow down place of origin.

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Re: A place called "Bernice" Italy?

Postby JamesBianco » 06 Nov 2009, 17:58

There is a Luigi Rocco arriving into Ellis Island on June 28, 1906 age 17 from the Comune di Baronissi (Provincia Salerno)...

Here is a little on that town

Baronissi

I suspect this might be the town you are looking for. As Misbris posted, looking at the the manifest you found would be very helpful to sort this all out. Could you post the date and port of entry?

Thanks

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Re: A place called "Bernice" Italy?

Postby Biff83 » 06 Nov 2009, 18:10

Link to Manifest found by Jim:

http://www.ellisisland.org/search/shipM ... 2255015338

Note: destination Morristown NJ

And here's a 1921 passport application for what appears to be the same individual with birthplace listed as Bernice.

http://img337.imageshack.us/img337/9643/zzroccopp.jpg

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Re: A place called "Bernice" Italy?

Postby PeterTimber » 06 Nov 2009, 18:13

There is another comune of interest BERNEZZO, 12010, Provincia CUNEO, Pienmonte region which may also relate since SAN ROCCO DI BERNEZZO is a "frazione"(suburb or absorbed hamlet) of the Comune di BERNEZZO.

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Re: A place called "Bernice" Italy?

Postby JamesBianco » 06 Nov 2009, 18:29

Biff83 wrote:Link to Manifest found by Jim:

http://www.ellisisland.org/search/shipM ... 2255015338

Note: destination Morristown NJ

And here's a 1921 passport application for what appears to be the same individual with birthplace listed as Bernice.

http://img337.imageshack.us/img337/9643/zzroccopp.jpg

Biff


Great find Biff..

I'll bet that is where she got that spelling, it is highly unlikely it was from a Manifest filled out in Italy.

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Re: A place called "Bernice" Italy?

Postby ItalianByMarriage » 06 Nov 2009, 19:05

Yes, that's the record I was looking at--the passport application.

But, further research suggests this may not be the Luigi I'm looking for. The name is right, the dates are close, he lived in Morristown, NJ and left his father behind in Italy. However, I have a U.S. census record for Luigi, his wife and child (which I feel certain is a source for the right Luigi) that indicates he immigrated in 1910. A March 26, 1910 manifest shows a Luigi Rocco coming from Colliano, Italy, and a father in Italy named Enrico.

Thanks for the responses!


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Biff83 wrote:
Link to Manifest found by Jim:

www.ellisisland.org/se...2255015338

Note: destination Morristown NJ

And here's a 1921 passport application for what appears to be the same individual with birthplace listed as Bernice.

img337.imageshack.us/i...occopp.jpg

Biff

Great find Biff..

I'll bet that is where she got that spelling, it is highly unlikely it was from a Manifest filled out in Italy.

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Re: A place called "Bernice" Italy?

Postby Biff83 » 06 Nov 2009, 19:41

Here's another 1910 census for Louis Rocco, still single, boarding in Morristown with Antonio De Simone and family. If you check the 1906 manifest posted above, you'll see on the line below Luigi's name an Antonio De Simone from the same town in Italy. I'm certain that the 1910 census below is for the same Luigi Rocco as the one on the manifest.

http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/6176/zzrocco1910.jpg

ItalianByMarriage, can you provide a link or details relative to the census you found?

edited to add--is this the census you found?
http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/3338/zzrocco1930.jpg

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Re: A place called "Bernice" Italy?

Postby johnnyonthespot » 06 Nov 2009, 19:45

ItalianByMarriage wrote:Yes, that's the record I was looking at--the passport application.

But, further research suggests this may not be the Luigi I'm looking for. The name is right, the dates are close, he lived in Morristown, NJ and left his father behind in Italy. However, I have a U.S. census record for Luigi, his wife and child (which I feel certain is a source for the right Luigi) that indicates he immigrated in 1910. A March 26, 1910 manifest shows a Luigi Rocco coming from Colliano, Italy, and a father in Italy named Enrico.


Please be aware of two things:

1) Of all the records we may deal with, census records are probably amongst the least accurate. For the period in question, a census was performed by sending mostly English-speaking "enumerators" door-to-door where they interviewed the head of each household. Often that person spoke no or very little English resulting in misspelled names, incorrect dates, etc. To make matters worse, there is much anecdotal evidence that people deliberatley misled and or outright lied to the enumerators for various reasons.

2) It was not unusual for immigrants to make more than one trip to America, so it is not unheard of to find documents which seem to conflict with each other concerning "date of immigration". My paternal grandfather came over at age 17 and again at age 24. Inside of those seven years, he returned to Italy, married, and fathered a child. His wife and child joined him in the US several years later.

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Re: A place called "Bernice" Italy?

Postby ItalianByMarriage » 06 Nov 2009, 20:40

Biff--thank you. Yes, the census you found is the one I'm referring to (I haven't yet figured out how to attach the images to my posts!). The family members listed are all confirmed as the siblings of my grandfather-by-marriage, Dominick Rocco (spelled wrong on the census), Louis, Patrick, Mary and Ralph, and mother "Nunnzie" (formal is Nunzia) and father Luigi (also lists Luigi's mother, "Mary," but I have no subsequent info for her). I know Luigi was a stone mason, which is listed on the census as well.

johnnyonthespot--thank you for the information about return trips to/from Italy! It did not occur to me that that could be the case. So perhaps that passport application is my Luigi after all? In fact, Nunzia appears to have immigrated in 1921, the same year as Luigi's passport application, so perhaps, as you suggest, he went to Italy and returned a married man?

So, based on the above, Luigi appears to have traveled to the US in 1906, at age 17, and again in 1910, at age 20, after which he appeared in the 1910 census as a boarder in Morristown, and in 1921 applied for a US passport to return to Italy temporarily, and in 1930 appeared in the US census as married with children, living on the same street in Morristown where he was once a boarder. Amazing!

All--thank you for helping me put these pieces together--this community forum has been the best resource for me by far!

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Re: A place called "Bernice" Italy?

Postby suanj » 06 Nov 2009, 21:12

Your ancestor:
World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
about Louis Rocco
Name: Louis Rocco
County: Morris
State: New Jersey
Birthplace: Italy
Birth Date: 18 Jun 1889
Race: Caucasian (White)
FHL Roll Number: 1712358
DraftBoard: 2

http://s6.imagestime.com/out.php/i42807 ... ccoWWI.jpg
well, no doubts that the birthplace is Baronissi... on the WWI draft registration card is wrote wrong, but no doubts that is Baronissi...
on the passport the birthyear is wrong of one
U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925
about Luigi Rocco
Name: Luigi Rocco
Birth Date: 18 Jun 1888
Birth Place: Bernice, Italy
Residence: Morristown, New Jersey
Passport Issue Date: 14 Feb 1921
Passport Includes a Photo: Y
Source: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925 (M1490)

arrived in USA in 4 jun 1915, residing in Morristown from 1915 until 1921 ... birthplace : Bernice=Baronissi

I believe that the travel of 1915 was the second trip....
if this records abowe are of your ancestor, well the birthplace is Baronissi.... on the censuses are so mmuch errors...
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Re: A place called "Bernice" Italy?

Postby ItalianByMarriage » 06 Nov 2009, 21:56

suanj--thank you!

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Re: A place called "Bernice" Italy?

Postby suanj » 07 Nov 2009, 05:49

JamesBianco wrote:There is a Luigi Rocco arriving into Ellis Island on June 28, 1906 age 17 from the Comune di Baronissi (Provincia Salerno)...

Here is a little on that town

Baronissi

I suspect this might be the town you are looking for. As Misbris posted, looking at the the manifest you found would be very helpful to sort this all out. Could you post the date and port of entry?

Thanks

The ship's manifest is right; Luigi travelling with Antonio & Elisabetta De Simone also...
as Biff said by 1910 census we can be sure that is your ancestor:

1910 United States Federal Census
about Louis Kocco
Name: Louis Kocco
[Louis Rocco]
Age in 1910: 20
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1890
Birthplace: Italy

Relation to Head of House: Boarder
Father's Birth Place: Italy
Mother's Birth Place: Italy
Home in 1910: Morristown Ward 2, Morris, New Jersey
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Gender: Male
Year of Immigration: 1906
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members: Name Age
Antonia Dismore 30 (Antonio Desimone/DE SIMONE)
Betune Dismore 24 (Bettina= diminutive of Elisabetta)
Mencita Dismore 4
Mary Dismore 2
Louis Kocco 20
John Desniome 34
Nazio Rufolo 30


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Re: A place called "Bernice" Italy?

Postby amerital43 » 05 Dec 2009, 23:34

I would like to add to "johnnyonthespot"'s comment regarding the enumerators of the census, that just as often happened on Ellis Island as when the census came around, the enumerators were often people with no familiarity of the culture of the people they were interviewing and often wrote a name "phonetically" and THAT would be an official record. So someone interviewing another, with a strong accent giving the information, would write what it SOUNDED LIKE, giving way, as many of us have found out, to mis-spelled names, towns, occupations. This mis-information gave way to total turn-arounds for some people's family names, especially if their literacy rate was low.

I was reading the above thread with interest and saying aloud the town of Baronissi, NOT American style, pronouncing all the syllables and vowels, but Italian style, It. pronunciation, more compacted, and when done this way one could easily hear the mis-interpretation of the town to Bernice.

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Re: A place called "Bernice" Italy?

Postby JamesBianco » 07 Dec 2009, 13:27

amerital43 wrote:I would like to add to "johnnyonthespot"'s comment regarding the enumerators of the census, that just as often happened on Ellis Island as when the census came around, the enumerators were often people with no familiarity of the culture of the people they were interviewing and often wrote a name "phonetically" and THAT would be an official record. So someone interviewing another, with a strong accent giving the information, would write what it SOUNDED LIKE, giving way, as many of us have found out, to mis-spelled names, towns, occupations. This mis-information gave way to total turn-arounds for some people's family names, especially if their literacy rate was low.


Ship manifests were filled out before departure and by those of the native language. It is a common misconception (thanks to movies like The Godfather) that immigrants were recorded after their arrival into the US.

I believe the misspelling of Bernice was on a citizenship petition correct?


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