Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Celebrating Italian Heritage Month: My Italian Family

My paternal grandmother was a first generation American with most of her siblings born in the family's native Italy.  I actually don't know a whole lot about my Italian branch which has to do more with lack of available resources than interest.  Going to my local FHC and ordering the microfilm I need has been on the top of my list for nearly a year and alas, I don't know that I'll be able to get to that before the beginning of next year.  I've been hoping to see more Italian records available on but the glacial pace with which the regions are being made available makes me think it'll be quite some time before they get to releasing records for the places I'm interested in in Italy. 

Lapiccirella is a pretty regionally specific surname originating in the area of Foggia, the "ankle of the boot."  The name supposedly means "little darling" in Italian and there are many surname variations, but none (that I know of) in Italy. Lapiccerella, Lapicirela, LaPiccirella and Lapicarella are some of the variations I have come across. 

Giuseppe Lapiccirella (later Joe or Joseph after coming to the US) was born 2 Aug 1888 in Vieste, Italy.  I do not know who his parents were, but he had a brother, Nicola (Nick in the US) who came to Ohio first.  I believe Giuseppe served for Italy in WWI but I have no proof.  He married Maria Nicoletta Dacci(a)*, b. 25 Feb 1892 in Foggia, around 1912 and they had Clara (or Carmella) around 1913, Mattia (Martha in the US) around 1915 and Michelita (Lena in the US) around 1919.  In 1920 the family left Italy by way of the port of Naples and came to the US to live in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio.  They arrived on Ellis Island on 4 Sep 1920.  A month and a half later Giuseppe and (Maria) Nicoletta had son James. 

Giuseppe was a tailor in Warren and probably also one in Italy.  In 1925 they had another daughter (who might still be alive so I won't mention her name here) and in 1930 they had my grandmother, Jane Rose.  The family never left Warren and Giuesppe died there in 1973, Nicoletta in 1987.  I know Nicoletta never learned more than a few words of English in the 66 years she lived in the US, though I think Giuseppe, as someone who worked with the public, probably had a good grasp of the language.

* There is some confusion over whether Dacci(a) was her last name or not.  Her Ellis Island record says her name was Biccia but my grandmother always said her mother's last name was Dutchi.  Since there is no such last name as Dutchi, I'm thinking she probably meant Daccia or Dacci.  Dacci is a pretty concentrated surname in Foggia which is another reason why I think this was her surname.

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