29 April 2010

The Albino (Alberto) Todesca Family, by Andrea Todesca

The Todesca Family Circa 1938

About a month ago we were contacted by Andrea Todesca regarding information on her great-grandparents -  Gennaro Antonio Todesca and Maria Petriello.  You'll find the previous post here.  Andrea's grandfather, Albino (Albert) Todesca, is the brother of our vaudeville entertainer, Raffaele Todesca.  Andrea was kind enough to share some of Albino's personal history with us ... as well as this great family photo!

I've numbered everyone to make identification a bit easier.  Don't you just love little Joe Todesca's suit and tie! 

1.  Margaret Mildred Todesca-Broderick (daughter of Giuseppe "Joe" Todesca)
2. Eva Todesca (wife of Joe Todesca Jr.)
3. Joseph Todesca Jr. (son of Giuseppe)
4. Marie Broderick (daughter of Fred and Margaret Todesca-Broderick)
5. Harry Todesca  (son of Giuseppe)
6. Agnese Todesca (wife of Giuseppe)
7. Giuseppe "Joe" Todesca
8. Ralph Todesca (designer; son of Joe Todesca Jr.)
9. Betty Todesca (daughter of Frank Todesca, granddaughter of Giuseppe)
10 & 11: Daughters of Louise Todesca and Jack King (names are either Phyllis, Shirley or Jacqueline)
12.  Louise "Butsie" Todesca (daughter of Giuseppe)
13. Margaret Todesca (sister of Betty, daughter of Frank, granddaughter of Giuseppe)
14. Fred Broderick (husband of Margaret Todesca)
15. Pat Todesca (sister of Betty and Margaret, daughter of Frank, granddaughter of Gisueppe)
16. Edith Todesca (wife of Harry Todesca)
17. Unknown King girl
18. Frederick Broderick Jr. (son of Fred and Margaret Todesca-Broderick)
19. Joe Todesca (son of Frank, grandson of Giuseppe)
20. Harry Broderick (son of Fred and Margaret Todesca-Broderick)
21. Jack King (husband of Louise "Butsie" Todesca)
- Carm

The Albino Todesca Family, by Andrea Todesca

I never knew any of the Torre le Nocelle Todescas but heard about them from my parents and Aunt Mary. I also spent about ten years researching who they were and can now make some sense of their story and put it into words. My father and aunt both visited Torre; my sister Virginia and I have also been there, and feel a real connection to the people who gave us one quarter of our DNA.

My interest in Torre Le Nocelle started with my father's oldest sister Mary Genevieve Todesca Tingos Dellorfano. She was keeper of the family history and started the family tree for our branch of the Todesca family. In the late 1980s she passed the task to me, having provided much of the information set forth in this account. She died in 1996. I hope she knows how far her original project has come.

This is the story of my paternal grandfather's family assembled from my aunt's research, stories I remember from my parents, my own research and the confirmation and support of this terrific website.

My great grandparents Gennaro Todesca and Carmella Petriello have traceable roots in Torre Le Nocelle back to mid-1500. Gennaro was one of the eight children of Ciriaco Todesca and Maria Raffaela Anastasia D'Arena. They were, in order, Gennaro, Carmine, Michelango, Angelamaria, Giovanni, Maria Carmela, Maria Grazia and Agostino.

Gennaro and Carmella Petriello had eight children- Joseph, Florindo, Albert (my grandfather), Ralph, Carlo, Salvatore, Margaret, and Rosa Clorinda.

The oldest brother Giuseppe (Joseph) was born in Torre on 12 Jan 1870. Giuseppe immigrated to the States in March of 1877 just after Albert was born. There is a "legend" reported by Roger Todesca (son of Ralph) that when each boy left Torre, Gennaro gave him a gold coin.

Joseph settled in the Roslindale area of Boston, MA where he was a construction contractor and built several houses. Roslindale became the center for the new family in a new country. I was born in Boston in 1945 and lived in Roslindale in a house the Todesca brothers built.

Joseph appeared to be the contact for his other brothers who came to the USA and also settled in Roslindale. He was naturalized on 29 July 1897. In about 1898 he married Maria Agnes Neidhold, born 1879 in Germany. They had six children -Louise, Ralph, Joseph, Harry, Frank and Margaret.

Joseph applied for a passport in 1919 to go back to Italy to visit his ailing father Gennaro, who died in Torre 4 July 1924. All of Joseph's children, except Frank, eventually moved to California. Frank remained to raise his family in Massachusetts; my family is still in touch with them today.

The 1920 census shows Frank Todesca as a young widower living in Winchester, Massachusetts with Todesca cousins Mary and Ralph Vozella.

The California and east coast cousins stayed in touch. My aunt and my parents visited them, and they visited in return. Several members of the family were creative and worked in early television management. Harry was a designer and we are trying to verify the story that he made some items for the Nixon California White House.

Joseph died in Los Angeles on 16 Oct 1946; Agnes died in 1965. We have details on all of his children and grandchildren. A picture from about 1938, received recently from Ralph Todesca's granddaughter, shows Joe and Agnes with their children, in-laws and grandchildren, probably during a visit from California. I believe that this was taken in the yard of the house on Walworth Street in Roslindale where my sister Virginia and I lived until about 1953.

Florindo Todesca was born 29 Dec 1872 in Torre. He married Antonia dello Iacono (also of Torre) on 15 May 1897. He came to the USA. In 1904 Antonia came to the USA on the Konig Albert. The manifest lists Florindo's address as 59 Bellvue Ave. (later renamed Walworth St.), Roslindale, MA. He died in 1910 of pneumonia in Roslindale at 76 Orange Street. I don't yet know where Antonia went after his death.

My grandfather Albino (Albert) Todesca was born 24 Feb 1877 in Torre. He immigrated to the States on 10 Dec 1892 and was naturalized on 9 Oct 1903 in West Roxbury, MA. He married Mary McGee from Leitrim, Ireland on January 27 1910. It was not his first marriage; the marriage certificate indicated he was divorced. We do not, however, know anything about his first wife. Albert and Mary lived at 94 Bellvue Ave. (later named Walworth St.) in Roslindale.

Albert in 1918 was a bottle labeler for the Jacob Wirth Co. a restaurant in Charlestown that still exists in Boston today, and in 1920, was a machinist for an auto parts store. He died of cancer February 5,1928, leaving four young children - Charles, Mary, Edward and my father Albert, the latter only 8 years old. They all remained in the Boston/Roslindale area all their lives. I have detailed information about all of their children and grandchildren.

Raffaele (Ralph Albert) Todesca was born 4 May 1879 in Torre. Ralph immigrated to the States on 5 April 1897 and settled in the Roslindale, MA area with his brothers. He was naturalized on 22 June 1931. He married Mary de Luca of Palermo, Sicily Sept 8 1901. They had two children, Roger and Gladys.

Ralph was a self-employed vaudeville entertainer and his specialty was trick cycling. He worked in New York and around the country as Todesca & Todesca and later as the Keating Trio.

Four of Gennaro and Carmella Todesca's children remained in Italy but I have some information about them and their children:

Rosa Clorinda Todesca was born 21 May 1875 in Torre and died 1 April 1876.

Margherita Todesca was born 30 July 1882 in Torre. She was still alive in 1893.

Carlo Todesca was born 6 Dec 1884 in Torre. He married Alfonsina de Cristofaro circa 1908 and died 1977 in Torre. Carlo and Alfonsina had four children: Rudolpho (1908), Carmela (1910), Clara and Ines. My father Albert and my sister Virginia met Carlo and his son Rudolpho and daughter Clara. My sister also met his granddaughter Amelia on a recent visit to Italy.

Salvatore Todesca was born 5 April 1888 in Torre. He married Carolina Buono circa 1913 and they had one son, Ernesto (1915) and a daughter Concetta.

Most of the grandchildren of Gennaro and Carmella have died but a few from Frank Todesca's family are still living in the Boston area. I hope to interview them in the next few months.

Gennaro's nieces and nephews also made it to the USA and were part of my father and aunt's life. Maria Grazia Todesca married Carmine Cefalo. They had six children - Andrew, Joseph, Louis, Ermino, Regina and Olimpia. I have seen a wonderful picture of Maria and her two daughters on this website. I am certain that at least Joseph, Andrew and Louis came to the USA because they figure in stories that my mother, Marian Cole Todesca, told me when I went digging for more family information after my aunt and father had died. It was not her direct family, but she had clear memories of these people even when current memories were fading. I am still not clear on all the details but I do know that my parents spent part of their honeymoon in 1943 at York Beach, Maine in property that they owned. My father and Aunt Mary also kept in touch with Joseph's daughter Andrea Cefalo Merrill.

My mother also remembered that an early family event in her new marriage was a big Vozzella wedding. The Vozella cousins were the grandchildren of Gennaro's brother Carmine who married Carmela Mary Petriello on November 24, 1847 in Torre. I need to check further to see if Carmela Mary and Carmella were sisters; I bet they were. Carmine and Carmella Mary's daughter Pasqualina married Charles Vozella on February 13,1902 in Torre and they sailed for America together on April 4,1911 aboard the Canopic. They settled in Winchester, Ma. I have detailed information on their children and grandchildren.

 Pedigree Chart of Albino Todesca

Search Massachusetts Naturalization Records At Footnote


  1. Hi, I am wondering if you can tell me anything about a Beniamino Todesca, who immigrated from Torre le Nocelle to Winchester, MA. He was a firefighter. I am his great-grandson. My grandmother is Palma Todesca (living), who has the sisters Emily, Georgianna, and Anita, and brother Ben (all deceased). Palma was born in Winchester and now resides in Medford, MA. Any help is appreciated.

  2. @Anonymous

    You'll find a post on Beniamino here:



  3. Hi, Researching roots in Torre Le Nocelle for info going back to before my great grandfather, Florindo Todesco, born July 26, 1876 He came to the United States first to Netcong, NJ. then on to Boston, eventually Franklin, Ma, and then on to Mansfield, Ma. His parents names were Gennaro and Giovanna. We know that he had a brother, Ciriaco, and a sister Carmelina.

    My great grandmother, Filomena(Gialla)Todesco came from Montemilleto. Her parenets were Joe Gialla and Pasqualena(Capone).

  4. @tammy todesco

    Hi Tammy,

    You'll find a post on Florindo Todesca here:



  5. Fascinating stuff! I just started looking into this 3 days ago and am finding out so much. My Mom is a Todesca and slowly finding how it all came together. Andrea and Virginia I should talk to you sometime about where to go I would love to do a trip to Italy sometime. Best,


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