Here's something cool: Laura's great-grandfather, Filippo Saracco, was born within a few years of my great-grandfather, Ralph Brandi Sr., in a town about six miles away.
On our trip to the New York Public Library a couple of Saturdays ago, among the records we found was a ship's passenger list for Filippo Saracco. I wasn't sure it was the right person, though, because the record was for a trip in 1893 and the person in question was 26 years old, and Laura's mom had told us that he came to America before Ellis Island in his early teens. Still, I made a copy of the record, which showed that he arrived in New York City on the S.S. Alsatia, sailing from Naples and Gibraltar, arriving on June 16, 1893. He was listed as a laborer, able to read and write, with his last residence being San Lorenzello, Italy and his destination Patterson, NY (NJ?). He travelled on the 1 L Deck, whatever that means, with two bags of luggage, and had gotten on the ship at Naples. The more I thought about it, the less sure I was that this was Laura's great-grandfather, but we brought the papers with us when we went to Laura's parents' house the next day. They didn't know whether it was him or not, so Laura's mom decided to call her 96 year old Aunt Jo and ask where Aunt Jo's father (Filippo Saracco) was from. She told us that he was from Faicchio in the province of Benavento. We asked about San Lorenzello, and she replied that her father used to talk about San Lorenzo(sic) all the time, and that he had lived there, too. She also told us that he had originally come to America in 1881, but eventually went back, returning to America in 1893 at the age of 26. Bingo! So what we found was the record of his second trip to America.
Laura's mom closed the conversation by saying that she was going to send me and Laura down sometime (soon!) to talk to her. I hope we can still do that, but since that phone call, Aunt Jo has gotten very sick, and went into the hospital today.
Posted at 10:42:34 PM