Searching "Ciangaglione" yields a WWI Draft Registration Card for my great grandfather, "Giovanni Ciangaglione:"
Giovanni Ciangaglione, age 29, living at 292 N. Clinton St., Trenton, NJ, born March 24, 1888. Born Teramo, Italy, Declared intention to become citizen, has wife, 3 children, father, mother to support.
Family lore says that Giovanni (later known as John) immigrated to the U.S. in 1905, but I can find no record of a Giovanni Ciangaglione, Ciancaglione, or Ciangagleone ever coming through Ellis Island or through Philadelphia or other New York Ports. In fact, searching the spelling "Ciangaglione" (the spelling as it appears on the WWI draft registration card and all subsequent census documents until the change in 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940) yields no one ever immigrating to the United States with that name. In addition, in various records my great grandfather's birth year seems to vary from 1888 to 1889 and his year of immigration varies from 1905 to 1906.
What makes me really suspicious was something my cousin told me yesterday. She had been doing a genealogy project for school and interviewed my great aunt. In the course of the interview she asked why the name was changed. My great aunt simply said, "I don't talk about that..." When you really think about it, it makes little sense. In 1946 my grandfather would have been nearly 60 years old and in this country for nearly 40 years. His children were all in their 20s and 30s, and I even found the enlistment record for his son (my grandfather) under the old last name in 1943. I've heard many stories of immigrants anglicizing their names (my wife's great grandparents went from "Palma" to "Palmer" shortly after arriving in the U.S.), or names being misspelled or deliberately shortened by immigration personnel at ports of entry, but this doesn't fit any of those criteria. Another interesting bit of the story is that I have been told that my grandfather served in Italy during WWII and was able to connect with some relatives while on R&R. The name change occurred shortly after he returned to the U.S... Perhaps there was a falling out between the families? Maybe the relatives in the old country were Axis sympathizers?
Did my great grandfather come here illegally? Was he posing as someone else? Was he running from something in Italy? Or is this just a common snafu of inaccurate/inconsistent records compounded by an oddly timed name change? Anyone else run up against something like this? I have found that "Ciancaglione" is a common surname in the province of Teramo, Italy, but all of the records there that I find for "Giovanni Ciancaglione" were births between 1815 and 1830-my great grandfather was supposedly born in 1888. He died in 1959, which would have made him 71-I suppose it's possible that he could have been born earlier than 1888, but not much earlier, and besides, why am I not finding any immigration records for him? I'd be grateful for any guidance or suggestions anyone can give.