Sabella Ancestors

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Calugerina "Dolly" Sabella was born on December 21, 1920, at home at 522 West 125th Street, Manhattan, New York.  She was a beautiful child and was soon nicknamed Dolly. Calugerina was a hard name to have as a little girl. She was baptized at the Church of Corpus Christi, 529 West 121st Street in NY. After the family moved to 194 Avenue U in Brooklyn, she attended St Simon and Jude Catholic School but left during the 8th grade. As a teenager she lived across the street from her future husband's family's candy store. She worked odd jobs in a candy factory, in a millinery shop putting feathers on hats, and during the war, sewing uniforms.

She loved to dance and partnered with her future husband Fiore Cristarella and they won many dance contests. After their marriage on February 1, 1942, they lived with her parents on Avenue U.  She gave birth to her first child after four days in labor in a Catholic Hospital which didn't believe in medication other than aspirin. Her husband enlisted in the Army Air Corp and she stayed with her parents while he served his county. When her husband was stationed in Nevada (about 1944), she visited him there twice. The first time without her infant daughter, and the second time she took her child and joined him there. She always spoke about how hot and dry it was and spoke often about the darning needles which flew around her head when she hung the wash! She became pregnant and had to return to Brooklyn to deliver their second child, Joseph born in 1945, as the army base could not deal with her difficult pregnancy. She, with the two children lived with her parents. After the war, Fiore returned home and another child was born. In 1951 they moved to a cold water flat in Coney Island.  She loved to swim in the ocean and would take her children there often. A year later, they moved to a home in West Hempstead, Nassau County, NY and lived there for seven years. She was an active mother of three children. She had a stroke at 35 years old, which left her paralyzed on her left side. She fought back and made a complete recovery, but was left with a sluggish thyroid and no left side vision. She gave birth to her last child soon after her recovery. In 1960, they moved future east on Long Island to a home in Massapequa and lived there for six years. In 1966, when three of her four children were out of the house, they returned to renting an apartment in Brooklyn to be closer to family.

After her husband's death, she purchased a new home in a retirement community called Sunrise Village in Sayville in Suffolk County on Long Island to be nearer to her third child. Always hating her given name and disliking her girlish nickname Dolly, she legally changed her first name to Maria, her confirmation name. She said she did not want to go into eternity as Calugerina! Everyone in her new community knew her as Maria. 

She died of a heart attack on March 15, 1991, at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital. She donated her body for scientific research to the State University of New York Medical Center in Stony Brook, Suffolk County, NY. This caused quite a controversy with her siblings. This last act went along with her giving nature.

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Vincenzo James Sabella was born on April 21, 1888, in Sciacca, Sicily, Italia to parents Caterina Friscia and Accursio Sabella. Not much is known about his early years except he was an altar boy in his Catholic Church. He was the youngest of seven children. He immigrated to America through Ellis Island when he was 11 years old with his brother Biagio, on the Marco Minghetti from Palermo on March 16, 1900.  It is said that his parents lied about his age to allow him to travel on the ship without a parent. The ship's manifest says they were going to their brother Calogero's (Charles) home at 125 Elizabeth St. in Manhattan.

His father died only six months after he arrived in New York. Two years later, his mother came to America. Sometime prior to February 16, 1906, Vincenzo returned to Sciacca. The reason is unknown, but on February 28, 1906, 18 year old sailor Vincenzo returned to the states with his 24 year old sailor brother Giuseppe on the Prinzess Irene. They both said Sciacca was their last place of residence, that they were going to their mother Caterina at 176 Elizabeth St, plus Giuseppe lists this trip as his immigration on his application for citizenship. There are no records for Vincenzo in New York from the time he first came in 1900 until this 1906 return to New York, so we really don’t know how long he was in Sciacca. When he came to NY the second time, he adopted the first name of James to be more American. 

On July 6, 1909, in the Episcopal Church of the Mediator Rectory, in Edgewater, New Jersey, in the Diocese of Newark, he married 18 year-old Anna Scott,who was from Edgewater. He is listed on this record as 22 years old and living at 3 Manhattan St in NYC. On the April 19, 1910 census, James and Anna were living with her mother, and her sister on the south side of West 131st St in Manhattan. He was working as a porter on a ferry company. Four months later, Anna gave birth to a son born on August 22, 1910, named Accursio, Gus for short. It is said that when Gus was very young, Anna left him in a high chair and never came back. Gus may have grown up in a children's home on Staten Island, NY, called the Mount Loretta Boys and Girls School, Mission of the Immaculate Virgin, as he isn’t listed with his father’s family in any census, but this has not been completely confirmed. As an adult, Gus married, was widowed, lived in a rented room in Brooklyn, NY in 1940, enlisted in the Army in 1942, and on July 28, 1943, married Nina Mae Jenkins in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida, but they never had children. Gus worked as a chef for many years in the Tampa area and died on September 10, 1978, in Seffner, Hillsborough County, Florida. (Mouse over photo left.)

Vincenzo/James married Liboria Marotta in The Basilica of St Patrick’s Old Cathedral in Manhattan on February 14, 1915. On their marriage certificate, it states that it was the first marriage for both of them, listing Vincenzo as a Single, Fish dealer, living at 58 Elizabeth St in N.Y. It also lists his brother Biagio and his wife as witnesses. (Mouse over and click on their marriage record image left to enlarge in a new window or tab.) This marriage was said to have been arranged because both of them were deemed unmarriageable-James because he was divorced. Family stories say that they both went to St. Patrick's school in Manhattan. He would pull her braids and she'd ask her older brother Sam to make him stop. He married Liboria on February 1, 1915, and they had six children. On the 1915 NY State Census, dated June 1, the newly weds are living at 151 Mott St, either next door or in the same apartment with Liboria's parents. It is interesting to note that his son Gus from his first marriage is not living with them at this time.

In the Common Pleas Court of Bergen County, New Jersey, on February 23, 1916, 27 year-old James signed a Declaration of Intention for naturalization, stating that he lived on John St in Fort Lee, NJ. A little more than a year later, his World War I Draft card dated June 5, 1917 lists him as living at 522 West 125th St in Manhattan, working as a Deck Hand at the Fort Lee Ferry Boats on 130th St in Brooklyn. James signed his Petition for Naturalization on September 19, 1918, where he stated he was living at the West 125th St address, and listed his wife’s name and his three children, including Gus, his son from his first marriage. His US citizenship was granted by the State of NY on February 18, 1919. The West 125th St address is where they were living at when the 1920 US Census was taken in January. Again Gus was not living with them, only their two children Catherine and Leonard, who died the next month, were listed. A 1930 US Census can't be found for them, but the 1940 US Census has them living at 194 Avenue U in Brooklyn, with their four surviving children, without Gus. James was now working for the NYC Department of Sanitation.

James kept food on the table during the Great Depression; he worked as a street cleaner, cleaning the streets after the horses. He was a wonderful and gentle man. His World War II draft card dated April 27, 1942 has him living at 194 Avenue U, which was a walk-up apartment over a dress store named Bella's. The document also states he was working for the City of New York (Sanitation Depart.) on Attorney and Delancy Streets.

Much later in life, when they could no longer make the flights of stairs, they moved into a smaller first floor apartment in the Marlboro Housing Projects on 86th St near Avenue U and West 6th St in Brooklyn, where he died of Alzheimer's on June 3, 1967. On June 6th, he was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, 500 25th St, Brooklyn, NY.


Liboria Lena Marotta was born on August 19, 1895, at home at 151 Mott St, Manhattan, NY. She grew up in a very loving family and was called Lena.  The 1910 census listed her as 15 years old, a Pearl Maker in a factory, who spoke English and lived on Mott St. As a very young child she was badly burned from crawling into a pot of pasta water that sat on the floor. She was scarred from her neck onto her chest. Because of this imperfection, when she was about 20 years old, a marriage was arranged with James Sabella, who was also considered unmarriageable. They applied for a marriage license on January 28, 1915, and married less than a month later in The Basilica of St Patrick’s Old Cathedral in Manhattan on Valentine’s Day, February 14th. On their marrige certificate, she is listed as living at 152 Mott St in N.Y. (see certificate above in James' bio). Lena has said that they didn't have a honeymoon, after the ceremony, she went home to take care of her husband's son Gus. Apparently, Gus did not live with them long, as the 1915 NY State Census, dated June 1, has them living at 151 Mott St., either in the next door apartment or with her parents, without Gus. On the 1920 US Census taken in January, they are living at 522 West 125th St. in Manhattan. A 1930 US Census can't be found for them, but the 1940 US Census has them living at 194 Avenue U in Brooklyn, with their four surviving children, without Gus. As a matter of fact there isn't one census that shows Gus living with them, but family stories tell of his relationships with the other Sabella children, especially Dolly who was very close to Gus.

Lena had six births with only four children surviving to adulthood – Katherine born December 23, 1915, married Michael Simineri, had six children and died on August 8, 2008; Leonardo born on March 19, 1917, and died at St. Vincent’s Hospital on February 20, 1919, of pys-pneumothorap, only 23 months old; Leonard Aloyious, was born on June 10, 1919, married Marian Jean D'Amato, had three surviving children and died on March 30, 2009; ancestor Calugerina, Dolly; Annie called Anna on April 6, 1922, married Primo Campigotto, had five children and died on November 14, 2005; and Rosa, who was born on January 21, 1924 and died at 18 months old of measles, complicated by bronchiole pneumonia on July 29, 1925. Both babies, Rosa and Leonardo, are buried in Calvary Cemetery.

Lena worked hard out of the house as a seamstress and never seemed happy. When her daughter ancestor Calugerina (Dolly) followed her husband to Nevada, Lena took care of her eldest child. When Dolly returned from Nevada, she lived with her parents while she was pregnant with her second child, Joseph. When the war was over the entire family lived with Lena and Jim until their third child was four years old.

Later in life Lena had a stroke which left her face somewhat twisted. After her husband's death she moved out of the Marlboro Housing Project into a small apartment in an Italian neighborhood of Brooklyn. In 1970 she gave her pregnant granddaughter the baptismal dress her mother (ancestor Calogera) made, but kept the matching bed robe. She died of Cancer on November 8, 1979, and was buried on November 10th with her husband in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. (Mouse over photo left for more info.)

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Accursio Sabella was born on May 22, 1842, in the Quartiero Matrice section of Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilia, Italia, to parents Calogero Sabella and Caterina Saladino. Accursio's wife Caterina Friscia was born and baptized on February 27, 1847, also in the Quartiero Matrice section of Sciacca, to parents Rosa Attardo and Biagio Friscia, and they named her after her grandmother, Caterina Pumilia. Accursio and Caterina were married in Sciacca on December 4, 1869, and on the marriage record, Accursio is listed as a Marinaro, which translates to seafaring, meaning he was a sailor. (Mouse over and click on marriage record image left to enlarge in a new window or tab.)

They had at least seven children, all born within a few blocks of each other in the Quartiero Matrice area of Sciacca. Four different addresses were listed on the birth records beginning with Via Castello, 9; then Via San Nicolo, 9; then Via Santa Caterina, 9; again at Via San Nicolo, 9; and lastly at Via San Nicolò, 20. This seems to indicate that they rented and were not home owners. Their five other sons and one daughter, all born prior to ancestor Vincenzo were –the eldest child, Caterina born on November 21, 1870, married Vincenzo Corrao on December 2, 1893, in Sciacca, and died in Brooklyn, New York on April 3, 1937; the eldest son named Calogero aka Charles born on August 15, 1872, and married Antonia Dimino in Manhattan, New York on September 9, 1900; Biagio, born on February 21, 1875, married Accursia Gelardi on June 17, 1901, in Manhattan, and moved to San Francisco, California before September of 1918, and died there on October 16, 1962; Antonio born on July 27, 1878, married Angela Mandracchia in Manhattan; Giuseppe aka Joseph born on September 10, 1881, married Angela La Rocca on June 7, 1908, in Manhattan, and died there on April 20, 1931, of a fractured skull and brain damage due to being hit by a car; and Accursio, born on September 14, 1884, who came to America with his mother, and as an unmarried 22 year-old, died of shock during a second operation in the Italian Hospital in Manhattan on February 2, 1907.

In 1897, daughter Caterina, with her 2 year old son, was the first to come to the US, joining her husband in New York City. Calogero came the next year, followed by Antonio in 1899, then Biagio with ancestor Vincenzo, and lastly Giuseppe. They never saw their father again. Accursio and Caterina could have known that Accursio was ill and would die soon and wanted to give the children a better chance in life.

Accursio died on September 10, 1900, seven months after sending his youngest child to America. His death is recorded in Vol 214, Parte I, Anno 1900, Comune di Sciacca, Provincia Di Girgenti, Registro Degli Atti Di Morte in the Sciacca Civil Registration. His parents and spouse are listed on the record. (Mouse over and click on image right to enlarge in a new window/tab.)

Two years to the day, after her husband’s death on September 10, 1902, Caterina Friscia, with her 18 year-old son, Accursio, boarded the Trojan Prince in Palermo and sailed to America. They arrived at Ellis Island on September 26th at 10:35am but Caterina was held one day for Special Inquiry and admitted to the US on the 27th. Five years later, Caterina Friscia died at home, at 85 Elizabeth St in Manhattan of “edema of lungs complicating a capillary bronchitis and influenza with an old mitral regurgitation.” She was buried the same day in Third Calvary Cemetery in Queens, in the non titled, unmarked area. On her death record, her father is listed as Biagio, but her mother’s name is listed incorrectly. It is interesting to note that in 1908, her son Antonio traveled to Sciacca with his family. He stayed with a friend until May 31st of the following year, when he returned to NY as a US Citizen, arriving on June 13, 1909. He may have gone there to settle his deceased mother’s affairs.

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Leonardo Marotta was born on January 29, 1861, in Sciacca, Sicily, Italia, the first child of at least six children of Santo Marotta and wife Liboria Friscia. He married Calogera Chiarello about 1890 in Sicily. When Leonardo immigrated to America he was 31 years old and had a son, Santo, born in Sicily in 1891. He left Sicily without his wife and child, traveled to Naples with his younger brother Antonio and good friend Luigi Guardino, who was the grandfather of the Brooklyn-born actor Harry Guardino. They all arrived in Ellis Island on April 1, 1893, on the Assyria (aka Assyrian) and Leonardo's age was given as 32.

The 1910 Federal Census, dated April 16, lists him as a fish peddler, working from home on Mott St, who could not read nor write with seven children. The 1915 NY State Census, dated June 1, has him and his wife living at 151 Mott St, either in the next door apartment or with his newly wed daughter Liboria and her husband James Sabella. He is listed as a 53 year-old fisherman, in the US for 22 years. The 1920 census dated January 12, has him still peddling fish out of his rented apartment on Mott St, but now he can read and write with eight children living at home with his wife. They are still there on the 1925 NY Census, but with only five children living at home. By the date of the next US census, April 4, 1930, they were living in their own home at 1976 West 11th St. in Brooklyn with four children. Leonardo was working for the Department of Sanitation as a street cleaner and did not speak English.  They had a garden in the backyard and grew grapes trellised overhead.

In 1934 he was diagnosed with Carcinoma of the gall duct and had an operation. Leonardo Marotta died at home on February 16, 1935, in Brooklyn and was buried on February 19th in the Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, Queens County, New York, with his wife and unmarried adult children Paulina and Santo, known as Sam.


Calogera Chiarello was born on April 23, 1870, in Sciacca, Sicily, Italia, to Giovanni Chiarello and wife Rosa Turturici, as stated in her birth record found in Volume 09, Anno 1870, Provincia Di Girgenti, Comune di Sciacca, Registro Degli Atti Di Nascita. (Mouse over and click on image right to enlarge in a new window/tab.) The family story is that her parents died in a fire when she was very young and she was raised in an orphanage. Her father’s dearth record dated March of 1871, confirms he was dead before she was one year-old. In the orphanage she became good friends with Antonia Dimino who, in New York, married ancestor James Sabella's older brother Charles. Calogera’s death record states her birthdate as December 20, 1871, which confirms that she was an orphan, who never knew her real birth date.

Calogera married Leonardo Marotta about 1890 in Sciacca and had a son Santo, born on January 11, 1891, in Sciacca. With her 3 year-old son and her husband's brother Paolo, she left Sciacca and traveled to Naples to board the Victoria (pictured right) which arrived in New York on October 19, 1894. She was 23 years old. Her husband Leonardo had immigrated earlier and was waiting for her. Their son Santo became known as Sam in the US, married, separated, became a citizen and died on November 16, 1955. Calogera and Leonardo had at least nine other children born in America – ancestor Liboria; Rosa was born on June 10, 1897, married Joseph Corrao, and died at 94 years-old on May 4, 1992; Paolina was born on August 31, 1899, and died unmarried at the age of 23 on May 3, 1923; Giovanni, known as John, was born on October 13, 1901, married Helen Weleswick, and died on March 6, 1973; Antonino was born on December 4, 1903, and died of Scarlet Fever at age 2 ½ on May 22, 1906; Lucia was born on August 12, 1906, married an unrelated Joseph J. Marotta, and died in October of 1979; Angelina was born on July 16, 1908, married Antonio Guardino and died in August of 1986; another Antonio was born on March 31, 1911, married Maria Italiano on June 14, 1936, and died on October 22, 1992, in Cape Coral, Florida; and Leonardo who was born on March 19, 1917, and died sometime between January 12, 1920 and June 1, 1925.

According to the 1910 census dated April 16, Calogera could not read, write or speak English. It also states that she had eight births, but only seven children were living. By the 1930 census dated April 4, she was able to read and write, but still could not speak English. After her husband's death she remained at the same address, 1976 West 11th St. in Brooklyn with her son Santo, now called Sam. On the 1940 US Census they are at the same address, but living with them are Calogera's married children and grandchildren. Those living with her were daughter Angelina with her husband Anthony Guardino (son of Luigi mentioned above in Leonardo's bio) and two children; her daughter Rosina with her husband Joseph Corrao and four children; and her son Anthony, his wife Marian and two children. Calogera was listed as 68 years-old with no occupation. Her son Santo was listed as 48 years-old and working for the Government in Sanitation. The other males were also listed as working for the Government, but in different departments.

Sometime prior to the end of 1915, Calogera made a baptismal dress for Liboria's children. Most of them were baptized in it. It was used again in the1970's and 80's for Dolly's four grandchildren, two in New York and two in Canada, and then in 2006 for her great-grandchild in California. The dress was sent to Brooklyn and Connecticut to be used by other descendants.

Calogera Chiarello Marotta died a citizen of Italy on October 13, 1948, in St. Mary's Hospital in Brooklyn at the age of 76 and was buried on October 18th in Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, Queens, with her husband and two unmarried adult children. 

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Biagio Friscia was born on September 2, 1815, in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilia, Italy, one of at least eight children born to Giuseppe Friscia and Maria Marinello. On February 18, 1844, a few months after his father died, 28 year-old Biagio married 20 year-old Rosa Attardo. (Mouse over and click on their church record image left to enlarge it in a new window or tab.) The Official Marriage Notifications were dated January 6th and 21st of that year. Their 13 page marriage processetti has revealed much information on them and their ancestry. Most pages are difficult to read as they are all hand written, but his birth date is clearly stated on the first page. One of the more interesting documents is a letter of consent to marry, written by his mother. Biagio and Rosa had at least seven other children besides ancestor Caterina, four more girls, and three sons, see her bio for details. 

Biagio Friscia died in Sciacca on August 15, 1891, five years after his wife’s death. His death record image was found in the Italy, Agrigento, Sciacca Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1861-1929 collection and states that he was the widower of Rosa Attardo, a sailor in his seventies, and gives his parents names. (Mouse over and click on his death record image lower right to enlarge it in a new window or tab.)


Rosa Attardo was born on October 26, 1823, in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilia, Italia, the third of six known children born to Calogero Attardo and Caterina Pumilia. Because Rosa was baptized on December 6th, her birth record is filed in the December section of the 1823 records. On the bottom of this record, it states that the reason she could not be baptized within the three day limit, was because her father was working in the fields harvesting the crop.

Rosa married Biagio Friscia on February 18, 1844. Because her parents and grandparents were deceased, relatives gave permission for her to marry. In their 13 page marriage processetti there is a three page letter dated February 14th that states four Sciacca men, who were her relatives, presented their approval. The men were named, but no relationship was given. They were 24 year-old farmer, Liborio, son of Calogero, who was probably her eldest brother; 25 year-old Antonino, farmer, son of Michele Attardo, possibly a cousin; 34 year-old Antonio Venria, barber, son of Antonino; 63 year-old Leonardo, son of Francesco Marinello; and 22 year-old Francesco Marinello, son of Leonardo. It is interesting that the last two men have the same surname as her husband-to-be, mother’s surname.

Rosa and Biagio had at least eight children, all born in Sciacca  — Maria born on November 14, 1844, and died at 5 years old on January 3, 1850; ancestor Caterina; Alfonza born and baptized on May 4, 1851 and died at 19 months old on December 17, 1852; another Maria born and baptized on September 26, 1853, who was a 25 year-old Industriosa (a manufacturer or trader) married Accusio Guardino on February 6, 1879, and died at age 60 on July 27, 1914; Angela born and baptized on September 18, 1855; Maria del Soccorso, who was named in honor of the Madonna del Soccorso (Our Lady of Help), was born on May 6, 1859; a son Giuseppe, who was born on February 3, 1862, and died seven months later on September 16, 1862 and another Giuseppe born on April 15, 1865.

Rosa Attardo died on October 15, 1886 in Sciacca, at the age of 62. Her death record image, found in the Italy, Agrigento, Sciacca Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1861-1929 collection, lists her age at what looks like 60, her address as 2 Via San Nicolo, (mouse over photo left) and her parents and husband’s names. What is odd is that it seems to say that she was the spouse of the deceased Biagio Margiotte. (Mouse over and click on her death record image upper right to enlarge it in a new window or tab.) This researcher believes this is just another death record recording error.

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Giuseppe Friscia was born in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilia, Italia, to Angela Imbornone and her husband Antonino Friscia sometime before 1776. He married Maria Marinello, who has a very limited known ancestry. Records for both of them are scarce, but there are a few. What we know of them comes mainly from their children’s records. Giuseppe was a Marinario, a sailor and they lived in Quartiero Madrice. Like many of the others in this time period, their birth years are difficult to calculate, as it doesn’t seem that it was important to record the exact age of parents on these records. For example in 1831, 1835 and 1838, Giuseppe was listed as being 50 years old. Taking into account all the ages found for him, his birth year could be anywhere from 1779 to 1788, but that is impossible, as his father died in December of 1775. The only other explanation is that there was another man with his same name who married another Maria Marinello. Maria’s ages were recorded inconsistently also. As the years passed, her age was recorded younger, to the point that she couldn’t have possibly given birth to her eldest children! The best estimate for her birth year is between 1784 and 1792. In her son ancestor Biagio’s marriage processetti, there is a consent to marry letter that she wrote where it is stated that she is the daughter of Lorenzo. That is all we know about her ancestry.

Giuseppe and Maria had at least eight children, but birth records for the first six can not be found in the available Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilia, Italia records, which begin in 1820. These six children’s birth years are calculated from their marriage and death records, which also don’t always agree. Their eight children were — Angela who was born probably about 1809/10, was an Industriosa who married at the recorded age of 22 on October 2, 1831, to Salvadore Proietto, and died at the recorded age of 44 years old on January 5, 1865; Antonino was born between 1809 and 1811, married at 29 years old on January 7, 1838, to Maria Geraldi, was a Corriero, a messenger or town crier, and died at the recorded age of 42 on February 10, 1853; ancestor Biagio; Giuesppa was born about 1817, was married at 18 years old on September 27, 1835, to Michele Catanzaro, and died sometime after 1850; Maria was born between 1819 and 1821, was married at 22 years old to Damiano Zinna on September 10, 1841, and died two years later on February 17, 1843, at a recorded age of 22 years old; Lorenzo was born about 1821/2, was a sailor who married Giuseppa Guardino, at age 23 on September 27, 1845, and died at age 56 on February 21, 1877; Marianna was born and baptized on November 23, 1824, she married Francesco Montalbano on October 10, 1845, and after he died, at 36 years old, she married Giuseppe Maniscalco on October 31, 1860, then died on April 9, 1903, at 78 years old; and lastly Giovanni, born on October 6, 1826, was baptized the next day, married on June 3, 1855, at age 29, to Rosa Lauro, and died at age 80 on January 7, 1907.

Giuseppe died on December 8, 1843, in Agrigento in what seems to be a hotel in the district of San Gerlando. His death record was found in the Girgenti records and calls him a 64 year-old Padron, which means translates to master, a term of respect. It may indicate that he was an owner of a ship or fishing boat. This recorded age has to be incorrect, as he had to have been born within nine months of his father’s death, so the youngest he could be is 67 years old. It also states that he was born in Sciacca and was a resident of Sciacca. This document also confirms his wife and parents names.  (Mouse over and click on his death record image left to enlarge it in a new window or tab.)

Sciacca records for the death of Maria can not be found, but from their children’s records we can calculate that Maria lived much longer than her husband and probably died after 1865, but before 1877. On the 1865 death record of her daughter Angela, Maria is listed as living in Sciacca. The first document that says she has died, is in her son Lorenzo’s 1877 death record. It is not known if she ever remarried. Why her death record does not exist in the Sciacca records is a mystery.

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Calogero Attardo was born between 1783 and 1793 in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilia, Italia, one of four known children of parents Liborio Attardo and Rosa Cognata. The range of his birth year was calculated by the ages as listed on his children’s birth records, which did not all agree.  He married Caterina Pumilia and they had at least five other children besides ancestor Rosa, all born in Sciacca, although Sciacca birth records can not be found for the two eldest children (see her bio for info on the children).

Calogero’s occupation and address changed frequently during his lifetime. In 1823, on Rosa’s birth record, the family was living in Quartiero Olivella, on Strada (street) del Castello, and he’s listed as a Campiere, a fieldworker, who worked harvesting crops on someone else’s farm. In 1825, he’s still working as a Campiere, but they are living in Quartiero Madrice.In 1828, he is now a Mugnaio, a miller, living in Quartiero Olivella. In 1833, he is still working as a miller, but lives in Quartiero San Michele. In 1834, he’s again working as a fieldworker. In February of 1843, he’s listed as a sailor, but just five months later in July, his death record lists his occupation as Crivellatore. In English this translates to someone who oversaw the operation of a mechanical sieve, or is otherwise involved in the work of sorting and sifting in mines or at construction sites. He may have been involved in the processing of Sciacca coral which was first discovered in 1831.

Calogero died at age 60 in the Ospedale Misericordia (Hospital of St. Mary of Mercy) in Sciacca on July 24, 1843. His parents and wife are listed on the death record. (Mouse over and click on record image right to enlarge in a new window or tab.)



Caterina Pumilia was born either on or before April 28, 1800, the date she was baptized in St. Michael’s Church in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilia, Italia. (Mouse over and click on her baptism record image left to enlarge it in a new window or tab.) Her parents were Flavia Gravante and Vito Pumilia, but unfortunately, nothing else is known about them. Their names come from a church record documenting the ancestry of their great-grandchild Stefano Attardo, son of Caterina’s son Vito. (Mouse over and click on the church tree image right to enlarge it in a new window or tab.)

Caterina married Calogero Attardo on April 21, 1817, in Sciacca and they had at least six children — son Liborio was born about 1820, and died at 74 years old on October 25, 1894; Vito born about 1821, lived to 81 years old and died on November 6, 1902; ancestor Rosa; Antonino was born and baptized on October 18, 1825, and died unmarried at 17 years old on February 24, 1843, five months prior to his father’s death; daughter Vincenza was born on February 17, 1828, baptized the next day, and died one month later on April 7th; and son Vincenzo who was born on December 27, 1833, baptized the next day, and died three months later on April 10, 1834.

Caterina died on August 4, 1837, at home in the Quartiero Madrice section of Sciaccia. Her death record lists her husband and parents names, but there are two similar death records for her. On the original record, her given name looks like Antonia and her mother’s surname as what looks like Ragusa. In this file the index for this record clearly states her given name as Caterina. On the copy which is found in her daughter (ancestor) Rosa’s marriage processetti her name looks like Caterina but her mother’s surname looks like Vagusa. This researcher believes the church record which has her mother’s surname of Gravante is most likely correct.

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Antonino Friscia and Angela Imbornone’s ancestry are unknown. What is known of them comes from their son Giuseppe’s death record and their grandson Biagio’s 1844 marriage processetti. Their names come from Giuseppe’s 1843 death record which states they are both deceased and calls Antonino a Pardon, which translates to master, a term of respect used also in describing his son Giuseppe. A copy of Antonino’s death record is item 5 in the processetti and gives us his death date of December 18, 1775, and his age of 80 years. (Mouse over and click on Antonino's death record image right to enlarge each in a new window or tab.) Unfortunately, it is difficult to read, but it doesn’t seem to say where he died, or who his parents or wife were.


Liborio Attardo was born about 1744 in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilia, Italia, the only known son of parents Antonino Attardo and Maria Alongi. Liborio Attardo married Rosa Cognata on October 6, 1765, in Sciacca, but this researcher has not seen the documentation for this date. They had at least four children together, three sons and a daughter (see Rosa’s bio for details). In February of 1820, Liborio gave his consent for Rosa, his granddaughter and daughter of his deceased son Antonino to marry.

Liborio died on February 7, 1822 in Sciacca in his 70’s. His original death record is extremely hard to read, but the index to this record, pictured left, is much easier to read and it gives his birthplace, occupation and parents names. In his granddaughter, ancestor Rosa Attardo’s marriage processetti, a copy of this death record has been found. It is much easier to read and is pictured right. It shows his age, his wife’s name and that both of his parents were deceased. This copied death record states he was 70 years old when he died, but in the original record, although it’s hard to read, it looks more like 78 written out as settanta otto. To this researcher 78 seems more likely to be his correct age. His occupation is listed in both records as Cernitore, which is a person who performs sorting operations in various industries. The industry he worked in isn’t mentioned, but being that his son, ancestor Calogero, did similar work in mining or construction, he probably worked in one of those fields. (Mouse over and click on record images left and right to enlarge each in a new window or tab.)  Unfortunately, nothing more is known about him at this time.

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Rosa Cognata was born in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilia, Italia, about 1745 to parents Michele Cognata and Maria Imbornone. She is listed with them, as the second of three children on the 1747 Sciacca Riveli, but no age is given (see image below in her parents bios). Researchers say that Rosa married Liborio Attardo on October 6, 1765, in Sciacca, but this researcher has not seen the documentation for this date. They had at least four children together – Antonino born about 1772, married Margarita Trapani, and died prior to 1820; son Michele was born about 1773, married Michelangela Licata, and died at 56 years old on March 18, 1829; ancestor Calogero; and daughter Vita, born about 1789, married Salvadore Montalbano, and died a widow at 58 years old on December 29, 1847. If they followed the Italian naming convention, which they probably did, there was also an older daughter named Maria, but records cannot be found for her.

Rosa Cognata died at home in Quartiero Olivella in Sciacca, at 80 years old, a few years after her husband on August 28, 1825. She is listed as the widow of the deceased Liborio Attardo, with no occupation listed. On her death detail and index records, her mother’s name is listed as Maria Imbornone defonta, which means Maria was deceased. Her father is also listed as deceased, but by the del fu before his name which is an abbreviation for defunto, meaning, deceased.  (Mouse over and click on record image left to enlarge in a new window or tab.) Unfortunately, nothing more is known about her at this time.


Antonino Attardo was the son of Pellegrina Muscarneri and Vito Attardo. On the 1714 Riveli, pictured in their bio below, he is listed as their seven year-old son with an older and younger brother. Antonino married Maria Alongi in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilia, Italia and a researcher has said it was on July 29, 1732, but this researcher has not seen the documentation for this date. It was also stated that Maria was the daughter of Gaspare Alongi and Antonina Calanuccio. There is a 1714 Riveli for a couple with their names who have three sons.Gaspare is listed as the 28 year-old son of Antonino. Unfortunately this researcher only has the index line and does not have the full image for this Riveli. (Mouse over and click on the 1714 Riveli index line image right to enlarge in a new window or tab.)

There is solid documentation for only two children born to Antonino and Maria — ancestor Liborio; and his younger sister Pellegrina, named after her grandmother, who was born about 1763, married Ignazio Geraci and died a widow at the age of 70 on July 11, 1833.

On ancestor Liborio Attardo’s February 7, 1822, death record it states his parents are deceased, indicated by the defunto/defunta after their names. Unfortunately, death records for Antonino and Maria can not be found. No other information is known about them or Maria’s parents.

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What we know about Michele Cognata comes from the Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilia, Italia 1747-8 Riveli (tax return). (Mouse over and click on their 1747 Riveli record image left to enlarge in a new window or tab.) He was born about 1713, as he is listed as 34 years old, probably in Sciacca, to parents Ignazio Cognata and his wife Giuseppa, surname unknown. Michele married Maria Imbornone about 1738 and they had at least three children —Ignazio, listed as 8 years old, was born about 1739; ancestor Rosa; and Giuseppe, whose age is not given on the Riveli, which may indicate he was an infant.

The signatures on the bottom right are usually those of the officials, landlords, priests, and possibly boat owners where Michele worked. The tax calculation on this Riveli seems to indicate he had no taxable real property. In another Riveli file, there is what looks like a listing of all Sciacca residents with a value next to their name. He is listed as Michele Cognata di Ignazio L33.20. (Mouse over and click on his 1747 Riveli listing record image right to enlarge in a new window or tab.) Unfortunately, this researcher does not know if this is the amount of tax due, value or tax assessment of the family.

On their daughter Rosa’s August 28, 1825, death record it states that both of her parents, Michele and Maria Imbornone were deceased (see image above in Rosa's bio). Unfortunately, nothing more is known about them.


Vito Attardo’s ancestry was given to this researcher in a family tree format, without documentation, but it is said to exist. The following data comes from that tree and the difficult to read 1714 Riveli (tax return), pictured right. (Mouse over and click on their 1717 Riveli record image right to enlarge in a new window or tab.) This Riveli is dated July 6, 1714 and it seems to say they lived in the Quartero St. Michele, which is probably close to the church. Vito’s parents were Caterina and Albertino Attardo, son of Pietro Attardo and his wife Giovanna. Vito was baptized at St Michele’s Church in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicilia, Italia on August 28, 1662.  

Vito first married Elisabetta, maiden name unknown, and they had a son Vincenzo, who was born about 1695, as he’s listed as 20 years old on the 1714 Riveli. Elisabetta must have died and Vito married Pellegrina Muscarneri on April 12, 1706, in Sciacca. Pellegrina was the widow of Francesco DiSciacca. It is not known if Pellegrina and her first husband had any children. Vito and Pellegrina had at least two sons, both listed on the Riveli — ancestor Antonino; and a younger brother named Aurelio, who was born about 1712.

Vito was probably deceased by 1747, as there is no Riveli for that year for him. However there is one for Pellegrina Attardo, but this researcher only has the index line and does not have the full image for this Riveli. (Mouse over her 1747 Riveli index listing image left.) It is customary on Rivelis to use the husbands surname for their widows. Unfortunately, nothing else is known about them.

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Mott Street, NY, NY.

1908 1910