Laura and I visited her parents' house tonight and pumped them for more information on her dad's family. We drew up a tree of everyone we knew, including siblings. Good thing we did, because I think that's led to a breakthrough.
One interesting thing we learned was that Laura's great-grandfather, Atillio Maracci, came to America at one point. He went to Chisholm, Minnesota, and we were told he brought his daughter Emma, Laura's great aunt, to Minnesota to marry. So I searched on the Ellis Island site, and I found both of them. When I first found Atillio, I wasn't sure it was the right man, even though there was nobody else with that name, but now I am. He came to America on the Regina d'Italia, arriving in New York on 6 May 1909. He was 41 at the time. This would place his birthdate at about 1867-8, which is new information. Unfortunately, the image of the shipping manifest appears to be missing on the Ellis Island site, and I wasn't able to find it using Stephen Morse's alternate search interface, either, so I'll have to get this from the microfilm. The transcript shows his place of origin as Oriola, Genoa; there are a number of Oriolas in Italy, but none of them appear to be in Genoa province. I believe this is a mistranscription.
Emma, age 16, came to America on The America, arriving in New York on 5 Sep 1910. She was travelling with her cousin, 31 year old Paolo Tognoli, at her father's behest. Atillio paid for both their passages, and they were listed going to join him in Chisholm. The manifest says they were both from Arcola. Arcola could easily be misread as Oriola, particularly if it's written the way it's written in Paolo's entry. When I looked up Arcola on Multimap, it turned out to be right next to Pitelli, the village that Laura's grandmother listed as her hometown on her Social Security application. Even more interestingly, Emma and Paolo both have a different town listed as their birthplaces. I wasn't sure what the manifest said, so I entered the first few letters I could puzzle out into the search engine on Multimap and came up with Fivizzano, which is some few miles inland from Pitelli, Arcola, and La Spezia. It's also apparently the only town in Italy that starts with the letters "Fiv". Rereading the manifest with that knowledge, the birthplace definitely appears to be Fivizzano. And when I search for Maracci on the Ellis Island site, there are a number of other Maraccis who come from Fivizzano. Also, the Labo surname map shows one of the larger concentrations of the name Maracci today right in the area of Fivizzano. And Maracci isn't a common name, appearing in only 55 places, many of which are in the area around La Spezia. One other thing; the manifest lists Emma's mother as Catarina Peri. We have her name as Casimira Peri from other sources, including Laura's baby book and Albana's Social Security application. Since everything else checks out, I believe this is a mistake on the original manifest.
Posted at 10:33:12 PM