Tracking Down an Old Passport

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Tracking Down an Old Passport

Postby Antonio Greco » 23 Jul 2013, 23:21

Good day all,

I am requesting some tips on tracking down an old Italian passport for a man named Rosario Greco born 25 Oct 1857 in Colosimi Cosenza Italy (I think the passport would be a 1 pager Victor Emanuel type of document). Rosario came to North America first in 1888 then again in 1892. In 1888 he presumably made enough money to get married and did so in 1889. In 1890 his first son was born in Colosimi. In 1892 he left again for New York and stayed for 2 years. He then moved to Fort William Canada around 1894. His port of departure on both trips from Italy was Naples. He arrived in New York on both occasions. I have written to Ellis Island, the Archivio di Stato in Napoli and Cosenza and all have said they do not have the passport. I wrote to the Questura of Cosenza but they did not reply. I have done a search for citizenship records in the US (no records found) and in Canada. In Canada a possible record was found in an old file card index but unfortunately all the naturalization files in Canada between 1854 and 1917 were destroyed at some point (/facepalm) and all that survived was this card index that gives very little genealogical info. There is a small chance some of the info from Rosario's citizenship file survived. Since his son Francesco joined his father in 1900, Francesco may have gotten a series E certificate which is citizenship based off anothers citizenship. But that is only if Rosario actually became a citizen in 1901. I wrote an access to info request for Franceco's citizenship file so maybe I will get lucky. Desperately, I have also tried asking passport collectors if they have "an old passport between 1888 and 1894 attributed to a Rosario Greco of Colosimi Italy" - no luck so far.
Does anyone have any tips on other places I could look for old passports/passport information for a particular individual?
De Colosimi e de iumare portaccende ma un de pigliare: delle cose di Colosimi e delle fiumare è meglio non prendere nulla
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Re: Tracking Down an Old Passport

Postby adelfio » 24 Jul 2013, 01:27

Are you trying to verify some info you have or do you need the info for citizenship
Municipality of COLOSIMI. Volume number 49, document number 52 page - Rosario Greco born on OCT 23rd 1857 son/daughter of Filippantonio Greco, bracciale, 31 years and of Angela Ferrajuolo, 30 years

His military record
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Re: Tracking Down an Old Passport

Postby Antonio Greco » 24 Jul 2013, 03:06

Thanks. I already have his birth, military and marriage records from Italy (original entries and extracts). I also have his death records from Canada and his landing records from Ellis Island. I have pictures of his name from the phone book, land deeds and his will. I have his parents, grandparents and great grandparents as well back to 1753. Soon, a research company will provide me with parish records that will take us back to 1650 at the earliest.

His original birth record says he was born 23 Oct 1857. The municipality of Colosimi sent me 2 extracts that say 25 Oct 57 and one extract that says 23 Oct 1857.

I am looking for the passport because Rosario had to change his name in Canada to George Ross in order to remain employed (his boss could not be bothered to learn to spell Italian names so he gave his workers names he could spell). I am applying to have Rosario's Canadian death record amended to show "George Ross aka Rosario Greco". To make this change, the government agency requested that I provide, among other things, some ID that Rosario Greco /George Ross may have used during his lifetime (1857 - 1934). I sent them several legal documents that show the name "George Ross otherwise known as Rosario Greco" but the passport would be really good evidence to use to prove George Ross and Rosario Greco were the same man.

I also want the passport because I enjoy tracking down obscure things and because it would be a great relic of our family move from Italy to Canada and the US.
De Colosimi e de iumare portaccende ma un de pigliare: delle cose di Colosimi e delle fiumare è meglio non prendere nulla
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Re: Tracking Down an Old Passport

Postby suanj » 24 Jul 2013, 11:25

Hi abt the old italian passports just some italian Archive have it.. Cosenza Archive not...
to prove that George Ross was Rosario Greco, it is a bit hard.. the "George Ross aka Rosario Greco" on canadian some documents .. it could be enough.. and ... however... in the civil records of children, Rosario given the his right name:



Rosario Greco in entry for Philip Antonio Greco, "Canada, Births and Baptisms, 1661-1959"
Name: Philip Antonio Greco
Gender: Male
Christening Date:
Christening Place:
Birth Date: 21 May 1904
Birthplace: Fort William, Thunderbay, Ontario
Death Date:
Name Note:
Race:
Father's Name: Rosario Greco
Father's Birthplace:
Father's Age:
Mother's Name: Santa Christenn
Mother's Birthplace:
Mother's Age:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C02230-6
System Origin: Canada-EASy
GS Film number: 2210573
Reference ID: 259


Rosario Greco in entry for Stephen Greco, "Ontario Births, 1869-1912"
Name: Stephen Greco
Event Type: Birth
Event Date: 17 Feb 1901
Event Place: Fort William, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Gender: Male
Father's Name: Rosario Greco
Mother's Name: Santa Christina
Registration Year:
Registration Number: 40734
GS Film number: 2079526
Digital Folder Number: 004656995
Image Number: 01508


Rosalio Greco in entry for Stephen Greco, "Ontario Deaths,1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947"
Name: Stephen Greco
Event Type: Death
Event Date: 11 Jan 1909
Event Place: Fort Williams, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Gender: Male
Age: 6
Birth Date:
Birthplace:
Birth Year (Estimated): 1903
Burial Date:
Burial Place:
Father's Name: Rosalio Greco
Mother's Name:
Spouse's Name:
Reference ID: yr 1909 cn 28843
GS Film number: 1854621
Digital Folder Number: 4175809
Image Number: 642



Rosario Greco in entry for Angela Greco, "Ontario Births, 1869-1912"
Name: Angela Greco
Event Type: Birth
Event Date: 08 Aug 1911
Event Place: Fort William, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Gender: Female
Father's Name: Rosario Greco
Mother's Name: Assunti Christie
Registration Year: 1911
Registration Number: 049208
GS Film number: 2424652
Digital Folder Number: 004530267
Image Number: 01326


so the children was registered with Greco surname...
in 1911 the surname of same children was Ross:

1911 Census of Canada about Tony Ross
Name: Tony Ross
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Single
Age: 7
Birth Date: Aug 1903
Birthplace: Ontario
Relation to Head of House: Son
Father's Name: George Ross
Mother's Name: Mary Ross
Tribal: Italian
Province: Ontario
District: Thunder Bay and Rainy River
District Number: 123
Sub-District: Fort William
Sub-District Number: 20
Place of Habitation: 600 McIntosh St
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
George Ross 53
Mary Ross 45
Frank Ross 20
Tony Ross 7
Andrew Ross 6


and ditto in 1901 census:

1901 Census of Canada about Frank Ross
Name: Frank Ross
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Single
Age: 8
Birth Day & Month: 6 May
Birth Year: 1892
Birthplace: Italy
Relation to Head of House: Son
Father's Name: George Ross
Mother's Name: Santa Ross
Immigration Year: 1900
Racial or Tribal Origin: Italiain
Nationality: Italy (Italian)
Religion: Roman Catholic
Province: Ontario
District: Algoma
District Number: 44
Sub-District: Fort William (Town/Ville)
Sub-District Number: S1-1
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
George Ross 44
Santa Ross 35
Frank Ross 8


regards,
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Re: Tracking Down an Old Passport

Postby Antonio Greco » 26 Jul 2013, 20:58

Suanj,

Thank you very much. Many of the documents you named above are pieces of evidence I have sent to the government agency. I am impressed that you were able to track all these down so quickly! Phillip Antonio Greco was my G Grandfather and he used the name Tony Ross in Canada and Phillip Antonio Greco in the US - he was a jazz clarinetist and we still have many relations in Omaha Nebraska - Rosario had a niece named Alessandrina Greco who married a Annibale Comino/Comine and moved to Nebraska where she had many children inclduing Rosina Comine who married Cosmo Gus Schiro.
Phillip's border crossing card that names his father Rosario is another piece of evidence I have used since the address given on the border crossing card is the same address as the one displayed on Rosario Greco/George Ross' death record.
The case for proving George Ross and Rosario Greco were the same man is a difficult one as you can see. I did manage to find a land title deed that shows both the names George Ross and Rosario Greco as the same man residing at the same address as the death record so I think I will be able to convince the government to change the death record to show both names.
Another really good piece of evidence I found was Francesco Greco's marriage record from Canada. In Canada he married Filomena Langionesse. He wrote his name as Frank Ross then scratched it out and wrote Frank Greco - his father scratched out George Ross and wrote Rosario Greco.
Santa Actually had 8 kids but only 4 lived. Typhus was rampant in Fort William at the time due to badly built sewers in the east end (The Italian/immigrant section). Some of them have the parents listed as Rosario Greco and Santa Cristiano and others as George Ross and Santa Ross.
I think what happened is Rosario introduced himself to his boss as "Greco Rosario" so his boss assigned him a name with the same initials "GR" and so he got George Ross which is much more British sounding.
There have been many bad spellings of the name Rosario in the documents I looked at. I have seen "Rosairo" "Rosalio" "Rosso" etc.

I have a question about Santa - her Italian marriage and birth record say her name is Santa Cristiano. But in Canada every record I look at her name is spelled Santa Christiana. Do you think she liked the way Christiana sounded better than Cristiano? Or was she just the victim of people who did not know how to spell Cristiano? I have also seen her name as "Mary" on the 1911 Canada census and Assunte Crestee/Assunti Christie.
De Colosimi e de iumare portaccende ma un de pigliare: delle cose di Colosimi e delle fiumare è meglio non prendere nulla
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Re: Tracking Down an Old Passport

Postby suanj » 26 Jul 2013, 21:38

Hi I believe that you will have no problems for to demonstrate that Rosario Greco is George Ross... abt Santa.. Cristiano/Christiana maiden name.. it is the same, just Christiana is wrote in a anglicized way ( so and so); Cristiano is a italian first name, surname and maiden name, and equal to Christian in english ( first name, surname, maiden name), and maybe it was added just the final "a" ...why I know no... maybe she was illitterate and added the final "a" that in italian, it is used especially for female name... however it is no a problem.. I believe so.. Good luck,
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Re: Tracking Down an Old Passport

Postby joetucciarone » 26 Jul 2013, 23:11

Hi Antonio,

I just took a look on Ancestry.Com and found passport applications for Alphonso, Fartunato, Frank, Luigi, Giovanni, Angelo, Francesco and Peter . . . all with the surname "Greco", but no passport application for Rosario Greco, at least not in the first 50 returns.

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Re: Tracking Down an Old Passport

Postby Antonio Greco » 27 Jul 2013, 02:17

Thanks. I checked ancestry - what I am looking for is Rosario's Italian passport. I did a check with the US government and there are no citizenship files for Rosario Greco/George Ross (that match the information I have on him) so it is unlikely he ever applied for a US passport. I do not think he became a Canadian citizen either because when his sons applied for an old age pension, they were denied on the grounds that they were not citizens. So a Canadian passport application or passport probably does not exist either.
I have been told that many immigrants actually used passports that belonged to other people (since there were no photos on old passports) migrant Italian workers would often swap a single passport among themselves for several years. How was the immigration officer to know the guy he was talking with was not who he claimed to be?
There is a chance my GG Grandfather did not even have a passport! Back in the old days people were hired with a handshake and the society 100 years ago was much less obsessive about each citizen being in possession of government issued picture ID - our young nations needed workers.
Another thing about Rosario is I have been unable to find any record of him in New York between 1888 and 1894 when he was supposedly there. Of course, why would there be? So many immigrants were coming in there was no way to keep track of everyone's activity.

Tony
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