January 23, 2018

Photo of the Week : I Santi Nicola, Domenico e Gennaro by Giovanni Antonio D'Amato

Saints Nicola, Domenico & Gennaro by Giovanni Antonio D'Amato (Napoli, 1594-1643); Museo Civico, Maschio Angioino, Napoli. Photo by New York Scugnizzo

Announcing the 11th Annual Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua in Verona, New Jersey

Visit the St. Anthony of Padua Society of Verona, NJ on Facebook

January 22, 2018

Napoli's Francesco II vs. Atalanta's Lombroso

Atalanta fans display a banner with Cesare Lombroso
at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples (images via Facebook)
During the January 2nd Coppa Italia match between Atalanta and Napoli at the San Paolo Stadium in Naples, visiting Atalanta fans displayed a banner marred with the repulsive visage of Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909), a notorious criminologist who experimented on the severed heads of fallen Bourbon soldiers and loyalists in the wake of the Piemontese conquest of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It was a crude stunt, meant to provoke and denigrate the hosts. It did not go unnoticed. 
At yesterday’s league match between these two sides in Bergamo (Jan. 21st.), Napoli fans retorted with a sign of their own. However, instead of responding with anger, invective, or an equally vulgar prank, the Neapolitans simply unfurled a banner emblazoned with the noble image of HM Francesco II di Borbone, the last king of of the Two Sicilies. 
Napoli fans respond in kind with a Francis II banner
at the Stadio Atleti Azzurrii d'Italia in Bergamo
The imagery and meaning of the two signs could not be more contrasting: Lombroso was a macabre charlatan who tried to prove the inferiority of southern Italians, while our beloved King was a pious and humble man who loved his people and his land. Lombroso and his ilk imposed themselves on a conquered people, while Francis II evokes a time when our people were autonomous and proud. Lombroso is a relic of a squalid and pernicious past, while Francis II symbolizes a hopeful and, dare I say, independent future for our people.
Forza e onore! Viva ‘o Rre!

A Week in Review

Short on time, I’m combining a few highlights of my eventful week into one post and letting the pictures do most of the talking.
Monday, January 15th — New Editions to My Library
Looking forward to cracking open my new books
Putting my Christmas gift cards to good use, I treated myself to a few new books that I’ve been meaning to read:
The Liberal Illusion by Louis Veuillot; The Diary of a Country Priest by Georges Bernanos; Copse 125: A Chronical From the Trench Warfare of 1918 by Ernst Jünger; Metternich: The First European by Desmond Seward; A Catholic Quest for the Holy Grail by Charles A. Coulombe; and The Popes Legion: The Multinational Fighting Force that Defended the Vatican by Charles A. Coulombe.
Tuesday, January 16th — Praying For HM King Francesco II di Borbone and the Auxiliary Malta Walk
In memory of HM King Francis II of the Two Sicilies on his birthday, I stopped by Most Precious Blood Church (113 Baxter St.) in lower Manhattan’s historic Little Italy to light a candle and pray for the happy repose of his soul.
Francesca Temesta, DM (center), and the Order of Malta Auxiliary
Afterward, I joined the Knights, Dames and auxiliary members of the Knights of Malta for their monthly Auxiliary Malta Walk. Meeting every third Tuesday of the month at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral parish house (263 Mulberry Street), volunteers prepare and distribute food to the homeless. 
Anyone interested in supporting this noble endeavor can contact the Order of Malta Auxiliary at nycaux@orderofmaltaamerican.org or call 917-566-3937. For additional information, the Order can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/maltaauxiliarynyc.
Wednesday, January 17th — Fucarazzo di Sant'Antuono
We used Stephan's dead Christmas tree as kindling
Braving the cold, I went to my friend Stephan’s annual falò di Sant'Antuono, or St. Anthony’s Bonfire, in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.
Thursday, January 18th — Auguri!
Madonna delle Grazie, Most Precious Blood Church
Learning that my goddaughter earned a full scholarship for college, I lit a few candles at Most Precious Blood Church and prayed to the Madonna delle Grazie, Santa Scolastica, and a few other choice saints for her continued growth and success.
Friday, January 19th — San Rocco Boys' Night Out
Viva San Rocco!
For our first monthly dinner meeting of the year, the St. Rocco Society of Potenza enjoyed another amazing feast at Peppino’s Restaurant in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
Sunday, January 21st — Buon Compleanno!
Cavatelli con ragù di maiale
After Sunday Mass, I was treated to a superb birthday dinner and a relaxing day with my loved ones.
Also see: A Week in December

Feast of San Domenico di Sora

Viva San Domenico!
January 22nd is the Feast Day of San Domenico di Sora, Benedictine abbot and founder of several hermitages and monasteries in the Kingdom of Naples. Renowned for his healing miracles, San Domenico is invoked against poisonous snakebites, rabid dogs, fever and toothaches. Widely venerated across Southern Italy, the great healer is the principal patron of Sora (Terra di Lavoro), Colcullo (AQ), Pizzoferrato (CH), Villalago (AQ) and Fornelli (IS), among others. 
Each May in Colcullo, the town celebrates the Festa dei Serpari, or Feast of the Snake Handlers, in honor of their beloved patron. The event draws thousands of pilgrims each year.
During the festivities, San Domenico’s statue is covered with live snakes and paraded through the streets with great fanfare. Among the saint’s relics on display at the local church are his molar and his mule’s iron horse shoe. The tooth is reputed to heal snake bites, while the horse shoe (a common symbol for good luck) is said to protect the town’s animals from danger. 
Popular custom says if you pull the chain of the church doorbell with your teeth you will be protected from toothaches. It’s common to see people wrap a handkerchief around the chain links, bite down, and ring the bell.
Some believe the snake ritual dates back to pagan times when the local Marsi tribes worshiped the telluric snake-goddess Angitia, daughter of Aeëtes, who taught the art of medicine to her devotees. The snake, among other things, is an ancient symbol of healing. Consider the serpent entwined Rod of Asclepius, the staff of the ancient Greek god of medicine and healing still used today by medical institutions.
To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a Prayer to San Domenico Abate. The accompanying photo comes courtesy of Made in South Italy Today.
Prayer to San Domenico Abate
O glorious San Domenico, beloved patron and miracle worker, you served God in humility and confidence on earth. Now you enjoy His beatific vision in heaven. You persevered till death and gained the crown of eternal life. With your strength protect us, your devotees, from the venom of wild animals and the torment of toothaches. Amen.

January 21, 2018

Feast of Sant'Agnese, Vergine e Martire

Evviva Sant'Agnese!
January 21st is the Feast Day of Sant'Agnese (Saint Agnes), Virgin and Martyr. Patron saint of young girls, chastity and rape survivors, she is the principal protectress of Pineto (TE), Corropoli (TE), and Sava di Baronissi (SA). To commemorate the occasion, I’m posting a prayer to St. Agnes. The accompanying photo was taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. Dating from the third quarter of the 17th century, the bronze statuette was modeled after a work by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Prayer to St. Agnes
O Little St. Agnes, so young and yet made so strong and wise by the power of God, protect by your prayers all the young people of every place whose goodness and purity are threatened by the evils and impurities of this world. Give them strength in temptation and a true repentance when they fail.  Help them to find true Christian friends to accompany them in following the Lamb of God and finding safe pastures in His Church and in her holy sacraments. May you lead us to the wedding banquet of heaven to rejoice with you and all the holy martyrs in Christ who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Announcing the 10th Annual Sicilian Heritage Festival in Independence, Louisiana

For more information visit www.indysicilianfest.com

January 20, 2018

Feast of San Sebastiano Martire

Viva San Sebastiano!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
January 20th is the Feast Day of San Sebastiano (Saint Sebastian), martyr and patron saint of soldiers and athletes. Widely venerated across southern Italy, he is the principal patron of Melilli (SR), Cerami (EN), Tortorici (ME), Maniace (CT), Acireale (CT), San Sebastiano al Vesuvio (NA), Caserta (CE), Conca della Campania (CE), Aiello del Sabato (AV) and Martirano (CZ), among others. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Sebastian. The accompanying photo was taken at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Montclair, New Jersey.  
Prayer to Saint Sebastian
Dear Commander at the Roman Emperor's court, you chose to be a soldier of Christ and dared to spread faith in the King of Kings, for which you were condemned to die. Your body, however, proved athletically strong and the executing arrows extremely weak. So another means to kill you was chosen and you gave your life to the Lord. May soldiers be always as strong in their faith as their Patron Saint so clearly has been. Amen.

Viva 'o Rre! Remembering HM Carlo di Borbone, Re di Napoli e di Sicilia

b. Madrid, January 20, 1716 – d. Madrid, December 14, 1788
Also see:
Tricentennial of the Birth of King Carlo di Borbone
The Great Restorer: Charles of Bourbon
Remember Bitonto!
Remembering the Battle of Bitonto
Photo of the Week: L’Obelisco Carolino di Bitonto
Photo of the Week: Statue of Charles of Bourbon

January 19, 2018

Feast of San Catello Vescovo

Evviva San Catello!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
January 19th is the Feast Day of San Catello (Saint Catellus), Bishop and protector of Castellammare di Stabia, a commune in the province of Naples. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to San Catello. The accompanying photo was taken at Saint Michael's Church in New Haven, Connecticut.
Prayer to San Catello
Glorious San Catello, beloved patron of Castellammare di Stabia, you served God in humility and confidence on earth. Now you enjoy His beatific vision in heaven. You persevered till death and gained the crown of eternal life. Remember now the dangers and confusion and anguish that surround me and intercede for me in my needs and troubles. Enlighten, protect and guide me towards eternal salvation. Amen.

New Music: Neapolitan Concertos for Various Instruments

New music that may be of interest to our readers.

Neapolitan Concertos for Various Instruments featuring works by Fiorenza, Pergolesi, Scarlatti, Porpora and Mancini

Label: Naxos of America, Inc.
Release Date: January 19, 2018
Audio CD: $18.99
Number of Discs: 1

Available at Amazon.com

Read description

January 18, 2018

Feast of the Chair of San Pietro Apostolo at Rome

Altar of the Chair of Peter by Bernini
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
January 18th is the Feast of the Chair of San Pietro Apostolo (St. Peter the Apostle) at Rome, a celebration of the Pope's first service in the Eternal City and the infallible chair (cathedra). Known as the “Prince of Apostles,” St. Peter is the patron saint of fisherman, sailors, bakers, bridge builders, clock makers and, of course, the Papacy. He is also invoked against fever, hysteria and foot ailments. Widely venerated across southern Italy, he is the principal patron of San Pietro al Tanagro (SA), San Pietro Apostolo (CZ), Riposto (CT), San Pietro Vernotico (BR), and San Pietro in Lama (LE), among others. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a prayer to St. Peter. The accompanying photos were taken during my 2007 pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Prayer to St. Peter

Pilgrim touching the foot of St. Peter
O blessed St Peter, head and chief of the Apostles, thou art the guardian of the keys of the heavenly kingdom, and against thee the powers of hell do not prevail; thou art the rock of the Church and the shepherd of Christ’s flock; thou art great in power, wonderful in thy heavenly bliss; thou hast the right of binding and loosing in heaven and on earth. The sea supported thy footsteps, the sick upon whom even thy shadow fell were cured of their ills. By the memory of that right hand which supported thee on the waves of the sea, lift me from the ocean of my sins, and by those tears which thou didst shed for thy Lord, break the bonds of my offenses and free me from the hand of all my adversaries. Help even me, O good shepherd, that I may in this life serve Christ Jesus and thee, that with thy help, after the close of a good life, I may deserve to attain the reward of eternal happiness in heaven, where thou art unto endless ages the guardian of the gates and the shepherd of the flock. Amen.

Join Rosa Tatuata for an Evening of Sicilian Folk and Roots Music at Stinger’s Steakhouse in Wallington, New Jersey

Friday, January 26th @ 9pm

Stinger’s Steakhouse
413 Paterson Avenue
Wallington, New Jersey 07057


January 17, 2018

Feast of Sant'Antonio Abate

Viva Sant'Antuono!
By Giovanni di Napoli

January 17th is the Feast Day of Sant'Antonio Abate, also known as Saint Anthony the Great, one of the founders of Christian monasticism. He is regarded as the patron Saint of livestock, fire and contagious diseases, particularly skin maladies (e.g. shingles) and ergotism, a toxic condition caused by eating grains contaminated with ergot fungus. Also known as St. Anthony's Fire, ergotism causes gangrene in the extremities and drives its victims mad, symptoms previously associated with demonic possession.

In Southern Italy huge wooden pyres called the Bonfires of Saint Anthony (not to be confused with St. Anthony's Fire) are burned on the eve of his festival in public squares throughout the night. The purification ritual, which is meant to ward off evil spirits, also signifies the coming end of winter and the anticipation of spring. Local wines and delicacies are enjoyed, as well as fireworks, processions, music and other festivities.

Sant'Antonio's iconography includes the Tau Cross and the Holy Scriptures with flames shooting from the pages. The fire represents his gift to man (like Prometheus before him, Sant'Antonio stole fire for humanity). It also signifies the hardships he endured during his time as a hermit. Demons continuously harassed and tormented the Saint, who resisted their wicked temptations with prayer. 

The pig and bell are his attributes as well, though I've read conflicting theories as to why. Some say wild pigs are associated with the Devil, while others claim the animal symbolizes his ability to heal the sick. According to some, medieval apothecaries used pig lard to treat St. Anthony's Fire. The Antonites, a monastic order devoted to the Saint and caring for the sick, were founded in the Middle Ages (c.1100) by a French nobleman whose ailing son was miraculously cured by the Saint's Relics. The Hospitallers of St. Anthony supported its charities by raising swine and bells, traditionally used to frighten demons, were put around animals' necks for protection.

Naturally there are many miracles and stories attributed to Sant'Antonio, but one of the more fantastic tales involves a pig. According to legend, the Saint descended to the Gates of Hell and used an unusually troublesome and elusive piglet to distract the infernal denizens. While his squealing companion created a diversion, Sant'Antonio hid smoldering embers inside his T-shaped staff and smuggled them back to earth to provide fire for mankind. Alternate versions say the Saint distracted the demons while the pig ran off with a firebrand.

In celebration I'm posting a Prayer to St. Anthony the Abbot.(1) The accompanying photos of Sant'Antuono were taken at the 2011 Feast of Sant'Antonio Abate in Astoria, Queens.

Prayer to St. Anthony the Abbot

Photos by New York Scugnizzo
O father of monks
and all who would give themselves
completely to the Lord,
you who have been so obedient
to the word of God,
to His call
to sell everything,
to renounce all possessions
and follow Him –
how we need your prayers
this day,
when love for material things
possesses our very bodies
and souls,
when prayer and penance
seem things of the distant past.
Make present to us
the blessed call of the Lord,
the renunciation of the world,
that we too might find
the riches of Heaven
you knew so well.
Pray we give up all for God.

(1) Prayer reprinted from Prayers to the Saints by James Kurt, Author House, 2007, p. 8

Around the Web: 100 years, 7 fish — Cosenza’s Maintains New and Old World Traditions for a Century in Bronx’s Little Italy

Reprinted from italianenclaves.com 
Cosenza’s fish market is on a very short list of family-owned businesses that have lasted for a century. Come tomorrow, January 2018,  this neighborhood cornerstone will be celebrating its 100th year in business. We recently visited and had a wonderful opportunity to hear about the origins of this family business rooted in a time that we can experience only by piecing small parts of our world today into a mosaic that portrays life in 1918 with tastes, smells, businesses and structures.
Being in Cosenza’s fish market was an experience. While at Cosenza’s, John graciously shared his family business’ rich history with us that transported our image of the fish market to a time where there were farms, horse and carriages, and peddler push carts. Continue reading

January 16, 2018

Viva 'o Rre! Remembering HM King Francesco II di Borbone of the Two Sicilies

Napoli, January 16, 1836–Arco, December 27, 1894
Also see:
Memorial Mass for King Francesco ll of the Two Sicilies in Newark, New Jersey

• Praying for Good King Francis
• In Memory of HM King Francesco II di Borbone
• Honoring Francesco II di Borbone in New York City

Screening of "Linciati: Lynchings of Italians in America" at the Italian American Museum in NYC

Friday, January 19th (6:30 P.M.)

Italian American Museum
155 Mulberry Street
New York, NY 10013

A discussion and Q&A with Museum Founder and President, Dr. Joseph V. Scelsa will follow the screening. Light refreshments will be served.

Suggested donation of $10

To reserve a place for this event, please call the Italian American Museum at (212) 965-9000 or email: ItalianAmericanMuseum@gmail.com

Candlemas: Feast of the Purification of Our Lady and Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple

Blessing of Candles, Procession and High Mass for the Last Day of Christmas (40th Day)

The Pontifical Shrine and Parish Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

448 East 116th Street
New York, NY 10029

On Friday, February 2, 2018 at 7 PM, we will conclude the Christmas season with the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord and Purification of Our Lady in the Temple. Candles will be blessed and distributed, we will walk in Procession and celebrate High Mass. Please bring candles to be blessed to be used for prayers in your houses, what Pope Saint John Paul II calls the domestic church. Bring the whole family and invite your friends. All are welcome!

Also see:
Celebrating Candlemas at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Pontifical Shrine in East Harlem

January 15, 2018

Feast of San Mauro Abate

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
January 15th is the Feast Day of San Mauro Abate (Saint Maurus the abbot), wonder-worker and healer of the sick. Widely venerated across southern Italy, he is the principal patron of Viagrande (CT), Aci Castello (CT), San Mauro Castelverde (PA), San Mauro Forte (MT), San Mauro La Bruca (SA), and Casoria (NA), among others. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a Prayer to Saint Maurus. The accompanying photo of the Madonna and Child with San Mauro Abate by Francesco Solimena was taken at the Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo in Naples.
Prayer to Saint Maurus
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that the prayers of thy holy Abbot, blessed Maurus may commend us unto thee, that we, who have no power of ourselves to help ourselves, may by his advocacy find favor in thy sight, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

New eBook: ‘Looking For Naples’ by Anna Scognamiglio

New title that may be of interest to our readers. Available at Rakuten Kobo Inc.

Looking For Naples by Anna Scognamiglio

Publisher: Rakuten Kobo Inc.
Publication Date: Dec., 2017
eBook: $10.70
Language: English
Pages: NA

Introduction to the Neapolitan language. Read description

Click here to see more books

Also see:
Compra Sud — Learn Neapolitan with Anna Scognamiglio

Traditonal Latin Mass for the Feast of St. Vincent Pallotti at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, East Harlem, NY

On Monday, January 22, 2018 at 7:30 PM, there will be a Tradiitonal Latin Solemn High Mass, 1962 Missale Romanum, Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite for the Feast of Saint Vincent Pallotti, founder of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, the Pallottine Fathers, Brothers and Sisters. 

We will also celebrate the 18th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood of our own Parochial Vicar, The Reverend Father Christopher Salvatori S.A.C.. On Monday, January 22, 2001, Father Christopher Salvatori was ordained a Priest for the Society of the Catholic Apostolate at the Pontifical Shrine and Parish Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

January 13, 2018

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Traditionally celebrated on January 13th, the Octave day of the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6th), the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord commemorates Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist. This manifestation, or epiphany, of Christ marks the beginning of His public ministry. In celebration I’m posting a Prayer for the Baptism of the Lord. The accompanying photo of Gerolamo Starace-Franchis’ painting Battesimo di Cristo was taken at the Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo in Napoli.
Prayer for the Baptism of the Lord
Almighty ever-living God, who, when Christ had been baptized in the River Jordan and as the Holy Spirit descended upon him, solemnly declared him your beloved Son, grant that your children by adoption, reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, may always be well pleasing to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Votive Mass of the Holy Cross in Greenwich, Connecticut

Photo courtesy of Society of St. Hugh of Cluny
There will be an extraordinary form votive Mass of the Holy Cross on Friday, January 19th at 7:30 PM at St.

Saint Mary Church
178 Greenwich Avenue
Greenwich, CT 06830

Source: The Society of St. Hugh of Cluny

January 12, 2018

January 11, 2018

Malta Walks NYC (January 2018)

This Tuesday, January 16th at 7:30 PM join the Order of Malta Auxiliary for their monthly “Malta Walk” street ministry. Volunteers meet every third Tuesday of the month at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral parish house at 263 Mulberry Street in lower Manhattan to prepare and distribute food to the homeless.

Anyone interested in supporting this noble endeavor can contact the Order of Malta Auxiliary at nycaux@orderofmaltaamerican.org or call 917-566-3937. For additional information, the Order can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/maltaauxiliarynyc.

Also see:

NYC's Auxiliary Malta Walk, December 2017
• Auxiliary Malta Walk in NYC, October 2017
• Auxiliary Malta Walks in NYC, July 2017

• Supporting the “Malta Walks” Street Ministry

January 10, 2018

Announcing the 129th Annual Feast of San Rocco di Potenza in Little Italy, New York City


This Month in History (January)

Historical Events From Each Month of the Year
January 6th:
The Lion of Wall Street: Ferdinand Pecora and the Crash of 1929
By Niccolò Graffio
Historians tell us the economic system we call modern Capitalism began with the Dutch and the British in the early part of the 18th century. Some may quibble that it actually began earlier, but the essential elements (capital accumulation, competitive markets, pricing systems, etc) were not really established until then. Continue reading

January 19th:
A Most Illustrious Corpse: Judge Paolo Borsellino Remembered
By Niccolò Graffio
Paolo Borsellino was born in Piazza Magione, a middle-class neighborhood in the heart of the city of Palermo, Sicily on January 19, 1940. His parents, both pharmacists, were supporters of the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini and its exploits in Africa. This was a factor in his decision to study recent history as well as his later political orientation. Continue reading

January 22nd:
The Most Glorious Voice: Rosa Ponselle – La Magnifica
By Niccolò Graffio
As documented in previous articles, our people, the children the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, have left their mark on the history of mankind in a number of ways.  We have produced prominent political figures, artists, doctors and even famous scientists. Continue reading

January 26th:
Arturo DiModica and His Charging Bull
By Giovanni di Napoli
Since beginning this exercise in ethnic self-awareness I've intermittently written about New York City's public monuments by Sicilian Americans, specifically the works of Anthony de Francisci and Pietro Montana. However, no discussion of Sicilian-American sculptors would be complete without mentioning Arturo DiModica and his world famous Charging BullContinue reading

January 31st:
The Great Cocozza: The Tragically Short Life of Mario Lanza
By Niccolò Graffio
My clearest memories growing up of my father was of him being a workaholic.  He had spent the first 17 years of his life living in Italy helping his mother and older brothers try to eke out a living on the family farm.  His father immigrated to America and found work with the railroads.  As happened to many of our people, he spent most of his time here while sending money back to help the family.  In addition, he saved up his money to help pay for the passage of his sons to follow him. Continue reading

January 9, 2018

The Search for our Ancestry (XLIV)

By Angelo Coniglio
I often receive inquiries asking for help in identifying a reader’s ancestors. The requests often go like this: “I am trying to find information about the ancestors of my grandmother. She came to America from Sicily, I think from Mossena, at age 21 with her infant son. Can you help?”  
My response is along these lines: “Before I can help, or you yourself can find such information, you must answer the following, even if approximately. What was your grandmother’s name as it was given in Sicily, including her ‘maiden’ name? About when was she born? You ‘think’ she was from ‘Mossena’; do you mean ‘Messina’? If so are you referring to the province of Messina, or its capital city, which has the same name?  You gave her age at immigration, but in what year did she immigrate, and where did she settle?  What was her husband’s name and occupation? What were the names of her children, in order of age; and the names of her siblings, in order of age?”
Often, I never hear any more from some of these folks. Evidently their desire for information about their ancestors isn’t so urgent, or they believe that a researcher should find their ancestors without asking ‘personal questions’. Some respond with just a partial answer; still not enough to undertake proper research, and some ask why such information is necessary. I’ll try to answer that, point by point.  
What was the ancestor’s name? If searches are to be made in Sicilian or Italian records, the names as they were in the old country must be used. ‘Carrie’ or ‘Lily’ in the US was probably Calogera in Sicily; ‘Samuel’ was probably Salvatore, ‘James’ might have been Giacomo, or Vincenzo! Sicilian and Italian records would not use anglicized names, nor would ‘American’ names appear in passenger manifests.  And women would be identified by the surnames they had at birth (i.e., their ‘maiden’ names; their father’s surnames), even though they were married.
What were the ancestor’s children’s names, in order of age? In Sicily and southern Italy, it was almost universal that the names a couple gave to their children followed a pattern called the Sicilian Naming Convention. This tradition required that the couple’s first son be named after the child’s paternal grandfather; the first daughter after the paternal grandmother; the second son after the maternal grandfather; and the second daughter after the maternal grandmother. So, if you know the names of your grandparents’ children, you can surmise the names of your great-grandparents. When searching, you may find records for several people with similar or identical names to your grandmother. Using the above convention helps to identify the ones that are pertinent.
What were the ancestor’s siblings’ names, in order of age? Using the same logic as above, if you know your grandmother’s siblings’ names, you can deduce her grandparents’ (your great-great grandparents’) names.
Where did she settle, and in what year? What was her husband’s name and occupation? This information will allow you to search US Censuses (viewable on-line) and/or state censuses, which can give information on age, occupation, immigration, and citizenship status. If you don’t know her children’s names or ages, census information can help you fill those in. US Censuses, taken every ten years, are available through the 1940 version, and can give an understanding of the family’s makeup. Knowing her husband’s occupation, the census can be checked against that knowledge, to assure that you’re viewing the records of the right family. If a census indicates ‘Na’ under citizenship status, it means the person was naturalized sometime before the date of the census. Naturalization papers found in family records, or at the local county clerk, can give date and town of birth.
In what year did she immigrate? If no naturalization papers are found, use information from censuses, and search for your grandmother’s ship’s passenger manifest (on several on-line venues). Many manifests give the birthplace of the immigrant. Don’t be confused if on one line you see her ‘maiden’ name, followed by her son on the next, with his father’s surname. It doesn’t mean she wasn’t married; she was just giving her name as she had all her life.
When these questions have been answered, you know your grandmother’s year of birth, have a fair idea of her parents’ names, and you know in what town she was born.  You can now search for records of her birth, baptism, and marriage in her ancestral town’s registers, on microfilm or on line. When found, those records will give clues to the names, dates, etc. of previous ancestors, so that their records may be discovered.
Coniglio is the author of the book The Lady of the Wheel, inspired by his Sicilian research. Order the paperback or the Kindle version at http://bit.ly/SicilianStory Coniglio’s web page at http://bit.ly/AFCGen has helpul hints on genealogic research. If you have genealogy questions, or would like him to lecture to your club or group, e-mail him at genealogytips@aol.com

January 8, 2018

Photo of the Week: Coat of Arms of the Royal House of Bourbon–Two Sicilies at the Chiesa dello Santo Spirito dei Napoletani in Rome

Coat of Arms of the Royal House of Bourbon Two Sicilies at the Chiesa dello Santo Spirito dei Napoletani in Rome. Photo courtesy of HE Cav. John M Viola