Monday, September 17

Sunday Best

I recently found this photo of an unknown family arriving in Ellis Island. This photo was taken at the same time Grandma Rossow would have been arriving, giving us a visual glimpse into what the world looked like at the time.

Immigrants arriving would put on their 'Sunday Best' before the ship landed.  Most Italian immigrants had only two sets of clothing along with their church outfit. The bags likely held their clothing and any small items of value brought with them. Southern Italians averaged the lowest amount of money, $8.67, brought with them over all other immigrant races. Northern Italians averaged $23.53, almost triple their southern neighbors. They faced overwhelming prejudice and poverty in a strange country. 

This photo is a great reminder that despite the circumstances our ancestors endured, our family flourished and stayed strong thru prayer and hard work.

Tell me your thoughts and if you can add to our family story! If you enjoy this blog, I'd be very grateful if you'd share with a never know who may be a  potential cousin!

Sunday, September 2


September is here! My garden is slowing down finally. Its been a great season but we are tired...very tired. I know most wouldn't agree but I am actually looking forward to cooler weather. In my haste to get the last post up, I failed to add a couple of facts and pictures so lets back up a bit.

Grandpa Rossow arrives in the U.S. with his wife's family, the Giardino's.

Isn't that quite a group! This is the only document that I have found that has Grandpa Rossow listed as Antonino Russo. The ship manifest is completed in the port of departure so I fully believe this was his birth name. Looking to the right you see when asked 'final destination', he answers - Geneva and then 'who you leave behind', the answer -his wife Stella- S. Pietro Maida. (I think its how it's worded but each time I read this on a manifest I get a lump in my throat.)

Antonino traveled on the S.S. Canada, departing from Naples, Italy on June 18th, 1913 and arriving in NYC on July 1st, 1913. (105 years ago this past July!) At 26 years old with $17 and a dream of a new life for his family. I can't imagine how excited and terrified he was!

SS Canada

Remembering to check the following pages on any document, I find reference to a cousin sponsoring him, Nicola Ventura. This name is completely unknown in all of my family research and haunts me in my sleep as I cannot find ANY information on him...yet.

Next, I notice that Estella's siblings answer- 'leave none'- when asked 'who you leave behind' which tells me their parents had already passed away by 1913. They were seemingly young as Giuseppe, the oldest child, was only 27 years old. These are the facts we often miss as a beginning genealogist. In our rush to fill out the trees branches we leave behind tidbits of information that may answer questions later. I suggest a notebook to track seemingly unimportant details. I was taught to 'park it in the garage' in case you need it in the future. If you've seen my actual garage you'd cringe but the idea holds true in genealogy research.  

We see he arrived with siblings in tow, Angela, Caterina, Domenico and Antonia as well as his own children ranging in age from 2-13 years old. If you're a numbers girl like me, this stopped me in my tracks.  Giuseppe would have been 14 years old and his wife Mariantonia 12 years old when their son, Francesco was born. My genealogy software even asked me to confirm as the age of 12 is not "of child bearing age".  Although I didn't appreciate the judginess, its a valid point.

There are a number of possibilities for this. Could Francesco really be his brother and been marked incorrectly in the confusion?  Could his age be written wrong?  Could his mother's age be incorrect?  Or {gasp}could her age actually be correct and she was 12?

Tell me your thoughts and if you can add to our family story! If you enjoy this blog, I'd be very grateful if you'd share with a never know who may be a  potential cousin!