Anyone find some stories that were passed down are lies?

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Anyone find some stories that were passed down are lies?

Post by dominique426 » 14 Aug 2013, 22:22

I was wondering if this is only my family or not, but has anyone else discovered some lies in the family?

My father was told a beautiful story about my 2nd great grandparents Lucia and Lorenzo. He was told that Lorenzo was a cop in Rome. Lucia was very pretty but was very religious and considering to be a nun... however one day when Lorenzo was policing, he saw Lucia out front of the Vatican. He fell in love at first sight as did she. They then married and came to America together in 1903. I always was awed at how romantic their story was.

My father was also told that when Lorenzo came here that he came with $1,800. My father nor I ever questioned the money story because Lorenzo lived very, very wealthily when he lived in America. I never questioned the story of him and Lucia meeting either because they were always so in love in photos.

However... it all turned out to be lies! :shock:

Lorenzo came as a small boy at 12 with no money whatsoever in the 1890s. Lucia and him married in Brooklyn, NYC. It also looks like Lucia came here as a small girl also in the 1890s.

This is not the only few lies that I discovered! I also found that my great great great grandmother was quite good at spinning stories and was very fond of "half-truths" - especially with her children! She had a tendency to reveal separate parts of her life story to each child and grandchild.

I am curious if this had happened to anyone else... if it has happened to you, were you disappointed?
FAMILY SURNAMES: Sessa, Apuzzo, Merenda, Fisicaro, Bloise, Esposito, Costanzo, Ferrigno, Letiziano, Tomasetta, Covollo, Lerardi, Ferrigno, Barbella, Capparelli

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Re: Anyone find some stories that were passed down are lies?

Post by adelfio » 19 Aug 2013, 19:11

You know after being on IG website the stories you hear about nobility and the mafia a lot of it is handed down through the years and the story just grows...... Since the godfather movie everybody thinks there in the mafia or the black hand.
You know a lot of times researching on here people don't even have the family surnames right or the info of where they come from in Italy
I came from Napoli or Palermo and really that's where the port they left from

Like my grandfather use to say la bella vita

Researching Trabia, Palermo surnames Adelfio, Bondi, Butera, Scardino,Rinella, Scardamaglia


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Re: Anyone find some stories that were passed down are lies?

Post by zsnyder » 21 Aug 2013, 20:57

While my grandfather didn't outright lie, he did tend to embellish his stories.

When I was a small boy he told me that his father was a gangster and ran a speakeasy out of his house in the late 1920's. One night he and another man got into an argument and his father pulled a pistol and shot the person he was arguing with. The wounded man then crawled down the street and died on the local church steps.

When I was doing research for my dual citizenship application I came across a lead about that story and decided to investigate.

It turns out he didn't run the speakeasy, his wife did.

Him shooting the man actually happened but the police report I found didn't describe it that way. The report said a group of men tried to rob the speakeasy after the police raided it. His father shot one of the men who later died in a local hospital, not on the church steps. That little embellishment I came across while watching the James Cagney / Humphrey Bogart film The Roaring Twenties one Sunday afternoon.

The man who was killed was an African American man named Elmer Clark. If the local cemetery records are correct, he served in the Pioneer Regiment during World War I.

Here's the excerpt from the cemetery records for those interested in the history of the Pioneer Regiment and Elmer Clark:
No Obituary File No 943: World War I, serial number 4043820, NE Cor. Row #4, poor, Marble headstone provided by W.W., enlisted August 5, 1918, discharged March 11, 1919.

The abbreviations are those of the 803rd Pioneer Infantry Regiment. This was an unassigned unit. Other unassigned Pioneer Regiments were the 1st-3rd-51st-
52nd,53rd,54th,56th-802nd -( 803rd )-804th-805th-806th-807th and 808th
The United States Army formed many pioneer infantry regiments for World War One. They were cross-trained in combat engineering and infantry tactics. As one of their officers remarked "they did everything the Infantry was too proud to do, and the Engineers too lazy to do."

The pioneer regiments included such specialists as mechanics, carpenters, farriers and masons. They were supposed to work under the direction of the Engineers to build roads, bridges, gun emplacements and camps "within the sound of the guns." They received standard infantry training so that they could defend themselves, but there are very few documented instances of any pioneer troops unslinging their rifles.

During World War I many black troops were eager to fight but most provided support services. Only a small percentage were actually involved in combat. Yet, the African American presence in France--helping in any capacity--often elicited overwhelming gratitude from the French. Both the French and the American troops enjoyed listening to African American bands who sometimes introduced blues and jazz rhythms previously unknown to their listeners.
His father was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in February of 1927 and sentenced to 5 - 10 years in Eastern State Penitentiary and pay a $1000 fine.

I made contact with a person at the ESP archives and they located his file for me. While much is lost, including his picture (the only one that may have ever been taken of him), the file was a wealth of information as far as his description, education and temperament.

He was released in 1930, well before the minimum sentence, and returned to his hometown. I'm not sure how he paid the fine as it works out to around $13,000.00 in 2013 and they were extremely poor. I'm also not sure how he stayed in the US as what I've read is that early parol was granted if the immigrant returned to their country of origin.

One other story he told me was about a scar on his ankle.

He said that a Japanese fighter strafed his ship in World War 2 and he was hit, presumably by shrapnel.

Because of issues with his given name and the name he used throughout his life I had to contact the Navy and pull his enlistment records to use in court.

Turns out his ship never left port in Maine and the scar came from him shooting himself in the leg with a BB gun.

He sure was a character.

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