This is a picture of my maternal great-great grandparents (center), great grandmother (right), aunt and uncles.
Back left to right: Frank, Vincent, Joe & Salvatore DiMartino
Front left to right: Teresa (DePaulo), Angelina, Sabatino and Filomena DiMartino, although by this time my great-grandmother was married to Giovanni Marganella.
My maternal family hails from the tiny town of Corvara, in the Abruzzi Mountains, on the Adriatic Sea. My grandmother was 5 when she came over from Italy in 1911 with her mother and 6 year old sister. They arrived July 26, 1911 on the ship "Berlin", which departed from Naples about 10-14 days prior. I have no idea how they got from Corvara to Naples, but the entire journey must have been difficult for a woman and her two small daughters, especially since they were only able to afford "steerage" class. Giovanni married Filomena in Italy. He was the caretaker of estates on Park Hill Avenue in Yonkers, New York, and was sponsored to come here by the Celli Family. Like many immigrants, my family was processed at Ellis Island. My mom and I went to Ellis Island in 2004 to take the tour and it was fascinating to me to think that my grandmother walked those same halls as a small child, waiting for entry to the promised land. Her name is on the wall there, as are the names of many of my other relatives.
The rest of the DiMartinos settled in Connecticut; Filomena was the only one who settled in New York. I've been told that my great great grandmother, Angelina, was a midwife.
This is my grandfather, Anthony Marsh. His last name was Americanized from either Marsharello or Masciarelli (I have not been able to determine which it was), but he was born in Yonkers, not Italy. This photo was taken when he was 17, in 1914. I have only vague memories of him. He and my grandmother were separated, and he died of lung cancer a day or so before my 4th birthday, in 1968.
This is my grandmother, Mary Marsh. Her name was originally Maria. Her brothers and sisters all had Italian names but most of them were Americanized. Their names were: Ersilia (Celia), Maria (Mary), Anna, Emilio (William but we called him Dick), Angelo (Charlie), Adeline (Lee), Giovanni (John) and Louise. Only my Uncle Dick and Aunt Louise are still living; my Uncle Dick turned 93 this year. My grandmother died in 1989.
Here is a "4 generations" picture, of my grandmother Mary, my great grandmother Filomena, my Aunt Gloria (mom's sister) and cousin Karen, who we call Cookie. Filomena died in 1950 at the age of 67.
My great grandmother was widowed at the age of 37 with 8 children!!! Their youngest, Louise, was only 2 and has no memory of her father. My great grandfather, Giovanni, died in 1922 of throat cancer. My great grandmother did beadwork to support the family, and my grandmother also worked in a bead shop, hand sewing beads to gowns that were later sold in New York City's poshest shops. Small wonder I myself am a bead-a-holic; beads clearly run in my blood.
When I was a kid, in the late 60's and early 70's, I absolutely loved going down to Yonkers to see everyone. We would make the rounds and visit all the aunts and uncles; and boy did we eat!!! Homemade gnocci, lasagna, veal cutlets/parm...bread... and the pastries!!! Plus my grandmother's amazing pizzelle cookies. Those were such fun times and I am blessed to have been so close with such an extended family.
My cousins were all older than me; most of them were born in the late 40's and in the 50's, but I've always maintained contact with them. The only cousins my age are Sharon (1963) and Diane (1965). The next wave of cousins arrived in the 1970's and 80's as my older cousins had kids. I just counted and I presently have approximately 38 cousins!!!!
In the 1980's, my family began to scatter to the four winds. Some went to to Florida & Connecticut, some passed away very young, Aunt Louise has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since the 1950's. The cousins married and moved as well. Now their children are getting married and having children themselves and I'm really starting to feel OLD!