28 January 2010

The Domenico Family

Giovanni de Minico (1851-1925)
Serafina Strozziero (1859 - 1937)

To break up the monotony of posting only acts, I though it would be nice if we could show the more personal side of our Torresi ancestors.  A Meet n' Greet with the dead ... so to speak. 

Jan Domenico has been researching her husband Bob's line for several years and has done a fantastic job recording the family info.  She's currently working on a book of the Domenico Ancestry and has graciously offered to share some of her father-in-law's notes with us.

She is still working on their Caprio line from Lapio, Avellino ... so if there are any Lapio researchers out there, give us a shout.  Lapio surnames include: Amore, Carbone, Caprio, Cieri, Iannino, Olario, Simone and Vozella.
- Carm

"In the late 70's, my father-in-law, John Domenico, was permanently disabled from a work injury which left him with time on his hands. I encouraged him to put together a family history and collect as much information as he could about the various family members. He never said much about it, but a few years later, he proudly presented his version of "Roots." He made a copy for each of his three sons who were instructed to carry on the work. He did an amazing job with the American part of the family, but he was unable to get any information from Italy, and neither was anyone else for almost 30 years.  

John wrote descriptions and anecdotes about every person he listed in his book, some of which are quite humorous. Known to be an extremely opinionated man, his characterizations bring the family members to life, warts and all. Over the past year, I have made it my project to digitize and update his original work which has made it possible to share some of his insights and stories. "
- Jan

Giovanni (John) Domenico (1851-1925)
Son of Charles (Ciriaco) & Raffaella

Giovanni was married in Italy about 1884 and came to this country in 1886.  Along with him came his wife Serafina and their first born son Raphael.  They arrived at the Port of Boston and settled in East Boston amongst their cousins.

This man was a kind, gentle, and religious person.  He worked hard and long hours as a shoe maker and became a well known tradesman.  Later he purchased a small cobbler’s shop in East Boston.  He established a fine reputation for his handcrafted shoes and became widely acclaimed for his workmanship.  I was very fortunate and proud to have a pair of shoes made by my grandfather.

Whenever his grandchildren went to visit him, he would place them on his lap, sit in his rocking chair, and read from the Italian Bible.  By his explanations, I learned many words in Italian.

He always wore a cap and sweater in his home, and when he died, he had a fine head of long white hair.  He also had a mustache which I would pull, and he would smile back at me and laugh.  A cleft in his chin was very deeply embedded, and he often remarked that it was the mark of the DOMENICOS.

Very intellectual, he read newspapers, books, and the Bible.  He was considered the peacemaker of the family.  He was respected and loved by his family and friends for his integrity.

His attitude was peaceful and calm, very seldom did he lose his temper.  He seemed lonely for his family that he left behind in Italy.  He wrote to them quite often until his death.

After a long illness, he died of an obstructed hernia and was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Malden, MA.

Note:  According to Italian records, Giovanni was actually “Giovannino.” He had had an older sibling by the name of “Giovanni” who died while quite young.  It was a common practice to reuse the names of deceased children for others born later.

Serafina Struzziero Domenico (1859-1937)
Wife of Giovanni

Her father was Gaetano Struzziero and her mother was Carmella Froncillo.  She was the mother of seven children, five boys and two girls.  Five survived, a twin boy died at childbirth, and a daughter at 16 from the Spanish flu.

From this woman we inherit the stubbornness and ill temper of the family traits.  No one ever took advantage of Serafina.  In some inexplicable way, she would always turn a conversation into an argument.  To her daughters-in-law, she was unbearable; to her children, always demanding, and to her husband, intolerable at times.

She was smart as to the economy of the family, outsmarting many people in business deals.  After the death of her husband, she made the final decisions in all family matters.

She had little concern for her grandchildren and would often reprimand me because I did not answer her in Italian.  The few words I did learn were from my grandparents.

Considering all this, she provided for her family, and when her husband died, she sold the property and would lend money to homeowners as a second mortgage.  She eventually moved to her daughter’s home in Jamaica Plain.  It was my task to drive my father to see his mother every Sunday morning after Mass.

As she became older, she was bedridden for quite a long time.  She passed away in her sleep from arteriosclerosis and is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Malden, MA.

Note:  There are many stories about Serafina, all of which pertain to her negative personality traits.  One such story had to do with her penurious nature.  She would dress as poorly as possible and then use the public transport system for free; she would argue with the bus driver that she was too poor to pay the fare and wouldn’t relent until she got her way.  She apparently wanted to be younger than she actually was, so she chose a new birthdate, 5 Aug 1867 as opposed to her actual, 27 Oct 1859 according to her Taurasi birth certificate.

Jan and Bob have recently celebrated their 40th anniversary...aren't they sweet!

And did we mention Bob plays the accordian?
We recently came across a bagpipe player in the 1837 acts .. I think we need to start a band.

Jan and  her beautiful daughters. (Bob's too!)
From left to right: Cathy, Ann, Kim, Jan, Amanda, Elena, Heather

Search Massachusetts Naturalization Records At Footnote


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