My research is stuck because I cannot pinpoint my ancestor's town in Sicily. Can someone explain to me the Township/Hamlet/Commune concept. I was always told by my grandmother that she was born in Mezzojuso, Palermo - but now that I am looking for it the two don't seem related. In fact, they look quite far from each other on a detailed map. On a larger map, Mezzojuso isn't even there - it says Corleone!
Can anyone tell me if Mezzojuso (sometimes spelled Mezzoiuso in Italian) is a town or, if not - what exactly is it? Any direction in research of this area would be MOST appreciated.
Mezzojuso is a town 39 km south east of Palermo. It is in the "provincia" (roughly equivalent to an american county) of Palermo. A provincia in Italy normally bears the name of the main town. Corleone is not far and bigger than Mezzojuso, that's why on a larger map only Corleone shows up.
Click here for the town web site for more info.
Yes, Palermo would be the port. I only don't know whether ships to America sailing from Naples would make a stop in Palermo or not. I believe there were more ships from Naples but you have to check the Ellis Island site (if you have names and dates).
I have seen a census from three different decades, and they have three different answers for immigration dates. But, at least I have a date range. Unfortunately, no one under their names is listed on Ellis Island or Castle Garden websites. That's why I don't have any immagration records other than the hearsay of my family - and I can't confirm any of it!
Thanks for responding, you guys. The encouragement helps!
My great-grandparents were never naturalized. They lived as aliens for the rest of their life.
Immigration year: 1894 (according to family) 1896 on Census records (although listed as 1904 on 1930 record, which is impossible according to children's birth records.)
Family legend also has it that the ship's name was SARDIA, but I can find no record of that.
Names: My grandfather's first name is a bit of a mystery. Census and family records all have him as Nunzio, however my grandmother - the last of his children - just told me that his real name is INNOCENTI. So, it could be either. Wife: Petrina Viscardi. Last name: Valenti
We have always spelled it with an "i", however, the origin could be "e". Current Sicilian records have both.
I beleive that the town they came from is Messojuso (Mezzoiuso) in Palermo, Sicily. I got this from the passenger records of other family that later joined them. all that my grandmother can confirm is Palermo.
By 1890 they did have a daughter, Antonina (listed as Lena in the 1910 Census.) Though Lena was born in Sicily, no one can tell me if she emigrated as a toddler with her parents, or was left behind. Either way, she was married in Sicily to a DiNapoli, and the first record I have of her in the US was when she arrived with her two small children - fleeing her husband's murder - in 1909.
Sorry to be so long-winded. Thank you - you guys are great.
Pietra Viscardi (29) and Antonia Valenti (7) arrived in Ellis Island Oct 1897 with the ship Victoria from Palermo. Origin is Mezzojuso so I believe it's them!
There is a Innocenzo Valenti (26) (actually it says Innocenza but sex is M ) arriving the year before with the ship Alsatia from Naples (?).
I found there was a ship called Scandia in those years, maybe they made the travel many times 8O
think i'm going to bed ... it's almost 3 am here
I can hardly write this, I'm crying. You both did it - you found them! When I wrote back to you, mfjp, on the Italian Genealogy thread, I was saying what had been a given in my family as far back as they can remember - the parents came together. This proves - to my astonishment - that they came separately - and there is my Aunt Lena, too!
I owe you both a huge debt of gratitude - thank you.
If there is ever ANYTHING that I can do for you, don't hesitate to ask.
And thank you to ALL of you that took the time to do research and write to me. Thank you, again.
I didn't notice on the ship manifest of Pietra Viscardi that she's joining her husband who lives 243(or 240), Elizabeth St NY. That is consistent with your first post. The name of the husband is given as Santi Valenti, so we have a third name for the same person, Nunzio, Innocenzo and Santi.
There's still something strange, but you can now start your search in Italy and with names and dates you should be able to find more info.
On the manifest there is a couple Francesco Nuccio and Fortunata Cantarella also coming from Mezzojuso and going to the same address in NYC. Relatives maybe?