Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

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Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

Postby adifresco » 04 Dec 2009, 19:12

Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

I've been trying to trace my Italian genealogy for a while now, but it's turned out to be much more difficult than I thought. My great-grandfather's name was Giovanni Di Fresco, and from what I know he was born somewhere in the province of Chieti on September 28, 1896 (or possibly 1895). He immigrated to the United States on April 25, 1912, married my great-grandmother in 1928, and died in New York City on October 12, 1948.

I have already done extensive research here in the US, and written letters to two towns in Italy where I thought he was from (Frisa and Chieti, both in the province of Chieti). Unfortunately, I received replies from both telling me that they could not find a record of his birth. Here's an overview of everything I have, with information relating to place of birth or foreign residence in bold: (Wordings are exactly as they appear on the original documents.)

1912 Ellis Island Manifest (from ellisisland.org)
S.S. Prinzess Irene
Sailing from Naples, April 12th, 1912
Arriving at New York, April 25th, 1912
Line 24: Fresco, Giovanni, age 18, single
Last Permanent Residence- Country: Chieti, City or Town: Frisa
Nearest relative: father Florindo in Frisa

1927 Declaration of Intention (from the National Archives)
State of New York, County of Bronx
Giovanni Di Fresco
Born in Chieti, Italy on September 28, 1895
Immigrated from Naples, Italy on the vessel Princis Irene
Arrived at the port of New York on or about April 27, 1912
Last foreign residence was Chieti, Italy

1932 Petition for Citizenship (from the National Archives)
Giovanni Di Fresco
I was born in Chieti, Italy on September 28, 1895
My last foreign residence was Chieti, Italy.

1942 WW2 Draft Registration Card (from ancestry.com)
Name: John Di Fresco
Date of Birth: Sept 28 1896
Place of Birth- Town or county: Chieti, State or country: Italy

1948 Certificate of Death (from New York City Department of Records)
John Di Fresco
Date of Birth: Sept 28, 1896
Birthplace: (a) State: Italy, (b) County: --, (c) City, Town, or Village: Cheti
Name of Father: Florendo
Maiden Name of Mother: Caroline (Unknown)
Date of Death: October 12, 1948

It is a bit confusing because Chieti is both a town and a province... but several of these documents refer specifically to the town or city of Chieti. The 1912 Ellis Island manifest is the only mention of the town of Frisa. As I said before, I have written to the archives of both of these towns and they were unable to locate a birth certificate.

What is the next logical step? Should I write to churches in Chieti requesting a record of his christening? Should I bother ordering microfilm records from the LDS Family History Library? Is it possible to write to the province itself instead of the specific comune? Any advice about this would be helpful.

Basically I just want to find out his parents' full names/ages or any more information about them, and then hopefully I can trace their families. I have posted on this forum several times before, so thanks for helping me get this far.

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Re: Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

Postby johnnyonthespot » 04 Dec 2009, 19:36

Probably not helpful but do keep in mind that he may have been born "Fresco" and added the Di prefix later. This was the case with my maternal grandfather who was born in southern Italy as "Iacovo". His marriage certificate (also Italy) states his name as Iacovo however his signature on the act is very clearly "De Iacovo." When he emigrated to the US, his manifest shows Iacovo (the name on his passport?), however when he naturalized he did so as De Iacovo and that is the family name to this day.

Perhaps one of our Italian members can explain how/when/why these De, Di, etc, prefixes were added after birth.

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Re: Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

Postby suanj » 04 Dec 2009, 21:00

a explanation please: when you wrote in Frisa, the Giovanni birthdate that you provided was 28 sep 1895 or 28 sep 1896?? it is very important.. and more: he arrived in apr 1912, and the birthday was the 28 sep, he was 18 old, so it could be born also in 1894; however the 1895 seeming more probable...
sure Giovanni DI FRESCO was born in Frisa... no doubt abt that... the possible error is abt the birthyear and for that the officer no found; please send again explaining that the day and month are correct and abt the year it could be 1895 circa
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Re: Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

Postby PeterTimber » 04 Dec 2009, 21:48

~Peter~

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Re: Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

Postby adifresco » 04 Dec 2009, 23:45

In both of the letters I wrote (to Frisa and Chieti), I made it clear that he could have been born in 1895 or 1896.

I'm almost positive that he lied about being 18 when he immigrated, because every other record lists his birth year as 1895 or 1896.

For the surname, I think it was always Di Fresco and the Di was left out by mistake on the manifest. There are other Di Frescos who also came from Frisa, and even some who still live there.

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Re: Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

Postby johnnyonthespot » 05 Dec 2009, 00:35

adifresco wrote:For the surname, I think it was always Di Fresco and the Di was left out by mistake on the manifest. There are other Di Frescos who also came from Frisa, and even some who still live there.


You may be correct, however there are also Fresco's in modern-day Frisa.

For Italy as a whole, Fresco is actually a bit more common than Di Fresco.

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Re: Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

Postby adifresco » 05 Dec 2009, 03:26

johnnyonthespot wrote:
adifresco wrote:For the surname, I think it was always Di Fresco and the Di was left out by mistake on the manifest. There are other Di Frescos who also came from Frisa, and even some who still live there.


You may be correct, however there are also Fresco's in modern-day Frisa.

For Italy as a whole, Fresco is actually a bit more common than Di Fresco.


Interesting... I never really gave this much thought, but you're right... it seems entirely possible. Why would he have added the Di? Someone once told me that the name "Fresco" by itself was Jewish in origin, but I don't know if that's true. Should I send another letter to Frisa/Chieti without the Di?

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Re: Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

Postby Bette » 05 Dec 2009, 05:12

Dear Adifresco,
Since the LDS microfilms for the town of Frisa (civil registration) only go up to 1860, your best bet would be to write to the town again, as advised above. You mentioned knowing the year that Giovanni married your great-grandmother. Have you researched the marriage license to possibly find the names of his parents?
Bette

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Re: Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

Postby johnnyonthespot » 05 Dec 2009, 09:32

adifresco wrote:
johnnyonthespot wrote:
adifresco wrote:For the surname, I think it was always Di Fresco and the Di was left out by mistake on the manifest. There are other Di Frescos who also came from Frisa, and even some who still live there.


You may be correct, however there are also Fresco's in modern-day Frisa.

For Italy as a whole, Fresco is actually a bit more common than Di Fresco.


Interesting... I never really gave this much thought, but you're right... it seems entirely possible. Why would he have added the Di? Someone once told me that the name "Fresco" by itself was Jewish in origin, but I don't know if that's true. Should I send another letter to Frisa/Chieti without the Di?


I like to think I am a pretty special and unique guy ( :) ) but on the other hand, I would find it odd that I am the only known example of a particular error. If my maternal grandfather added "De" to his name sometime after his birth and before his marriage, then my guess is that at least a few others did the same thing. Possibly hundreds of others. Possibly thousands of others.

My grandparents came from a small (current population ~2,000) comune in southern Italy. The first time I wrote requesting documents, the stato civile officer included a short note which stated, "Come si potra vedere il cognome non e De Iacovo ma Iacovo, come si evidenza da gli atti originali allegati." which translates roughly as, "As you can see the name is not De Iacovo but Iacovo, as evidenced by the original documents attached." The officer (whose name, weirdly enough, is Enzo De Iacovo) did not comment on the fact that my grandfather's signature on his marriage act clearly includes the De prefix. Just as clearly, however, the original handwritten birth and marriage acts do not have the prefix (nor do those of his father and grandfather which I obtained at a later date).

It is true however that Sig. Enzo De Iacovo picked up on the discrepancy and sent me the correct documents; one would like to think that the Frisa/Chieti stato civile officer would have done the same if the situation applied in your case.

I guess that when all is said and done, I am just suggesting that every researcher should keep an open mind where prefixes are concerned. Especially when he/she hits a seemingly "dead end."

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Re: Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

Postby adifresco » 05 Dec 2009, 21:08

Thanks so much for the advice, johnnyonthespot... I will definitely be writing new letters explaining that the last name may be Fresco.

If the birth record still can't be found, what should I try next?

Someone else mentioned his marriage certificate. I know that my great-grandparents were married on 09/30/1928 somewhere in New York City, but I have looked through the online marriage record index and I can't find a match. Even if I do find it, I don't think it would be much help. I already know that his parents were Florindo and Caroline/Carolina. I need more information about them, like ages/birthdates, birth places, mother's maiden name, etc. This much info about someone's parents is not usually listed on a marriage certificate, is it?

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Re: Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

Postby Bette » 06 Dec 2009, 02:27

On a US Marriage License, you probably will not find out that much information. But, I do think you will find out Carolina's maiden name. Since women in Italy retain their maiden name as their legal name.

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Re: Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

Postby Italysearcher » 06 Dec 2009, 15:46

You need to also remember that indexes are created differently in some places. Fresco MAY be in the 'F' written as 'Fresco di' or it might have been in the 'D's' as Di Fresco.
I have seen this in many places with other names, Di Vito can be found under 'D' or 'V', etc. I always check both ways but the clerk may not have bothered.
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Re: Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

Postby pink67 » 06 Dec 2009, 16:31

adifresco wrote:I know that my great-grandparents were married on 09/30/1928 somewhere in New York City, but I have looked through the online marriage record index and I can't find a match.


Possible marriage dates??
from http://www.italiangen.org/vitalreclist.stm

Delisco John
Sep 18 1928
Kings
Certificate number 12656

I noticed durign other researches that usually this is the date of the civil marriage, maybe the date you have is the religious marriage date?
unfortunately there is no bride's name...

Laura

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Re: Di Fresco - Advice on a Dead End

Postby adifresco » 07 Dec 2009, 17:10

Thanks for all of the replies, everyone. :D


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