When it comes to Annetta Siciliano Carrocci we find that we have
to solve some mysteries. There are very interesting questions
surrounding her entry into the U.S. and what happened to her in those
Years ago I remember seeing immigration papers for Annetta
Siciliano that showed that she came into the U.S. on October 19, 1907.
In a search of the Ellis Island immigration records there was no Annetta
Siciliano coming into the country on that date. There was, however,
someone by the name of Auiretta Siciliana. Did someone scribble Annetta
to make it look like Auiretta? Possible.
Here is a copy of the entry record. It’s the correct date and the correct town in Italy and the age is correct. An interesting item is Marital Status, showing that Auiretta was married. So, the first question in the mystery is whether this woman was Annetta. I think that she was. Years ago, Annetta told me that she was married before she married Pietro, but she never said what happened to her first husband. A researcher in Ashtabula wasn’t able to find much, but she did find a listing of Tony and Annie Basile in the 1912 Ashtabula City Directory as follows:
The lab means laborer, the h means it was
their home on 51st Street, and no one can figure out what the
This is a picture of the ship, The Nord America, on which Auiretta Siciliana came to America. The ship was built by John Elder & Company, Glasgow, Scotland in 1882. It was rated at 4,902 gross tons, was listed as 418 feet long and 50 feet wide. It carried 90 first class and 1,223 third class passengers. Cruising at 16 knots, it would take The Nord America three to four weeks to sail from Naples, Italy to The United States and the Port of New York.
Here is an old picture that Annetta, who called herself Anna, kept over the years. I saw it as a little kid, but never thought to ask her who the people in it are. Now I wonder if they aren’t Anna and her first husband. While I can’t be sure, I certainly do think it’s a very strong probability. She never mentioned his name or anything else about him. Judging from the clothes in the picture, it looks like it could have been taken around 1907.
So Far, we have a woman named Auiretta Siciliana,
whom we’re pretty sure is Annetta Siciliano, in the U.S. on the date
listed on her immigration papers. We also know that she was married,
according to the Ellis Island entry record and from what she herself has
There’s another mystery about Auiretta Siciliana. That would have to be her married name, if the entry record is correct. Or did the infamous immigration officials get it wrong again? I think they did. During my trip to Italy in 1985, I was able to visit Altavilla, but was able to find only one person who knew of the Siciliano family. I’ll get to him later.
which literally means high village, is located in the mountains north east
of Cosenza. It is a small town
of about 250 people. I have no idea what people do for a living. Annetta
never talked about her childhood, other than to say that she lived on a
small farm. She got a letter from one of her sisters, Franceschina
Siciliano that was dated 26 November 1963. The return address was S.
Bennedetta in Guarano, which is a small town very near Altavilla. I wasn’t able to find any members of the Siciliano family there, either. A
copy of the letter in Italian is in the addendum.
I remember Anna telling me that she had three sisters. Here is another old picture that she kept over the years. She said that one sister or relative lived in Ashtabula, Ohio. Then there is the letter from her sister Francesca, who had stayed in Italy. The letter is signed Franceschina, which is the diminutive for Francesca and was used inside the family. The letter mentions one sister named Adelina, and possibly another sister named Louise. The three women pictured here could possibly be Anna’s three sisters.
I write these lines to let you know that we are fine. I hope your
family is fine. Sister, we are unhappy that we got a second letter. We are
happy that you answered at once. The letter we wrote came back and after a
month watched for your letter. We are unhappy that the address we wrote
lacked the correct name. Now we have changed the address and we hope you
get the letter. You know that
grandfather’s land has been sold, twice. The house is the same as you
left it. The lady is the same. They did not give it to their mother
because we wanted to sell it
We think of you often and remember that our mother used to talk
about you. You wanted to know about cousin Lancia and sister Louise. They
have been dead for many years. And sorella never writes to us never sent
even a fozzoletto. We asked Posallina for the address. She did not give it
Dear sister our nephew Benigno has a daughter. We wish her well.
Dear sister, we would like to be near you and help each other. Dear
sister, you can’t imagine our joy that we would have if we could see
each other if God wills. I can’t wait for the day to come to see you
near to us. We could talk, enjoy ourselves, go up to visit the Sila (a
resort-like area) lots of tourists go there. We hope to go soon. We hope
you feel better. We pray especially for you. It is enough that we are
fine. We are okay. Adeleine remembers you like in a dream. She was in
We wish you happiness, long life. Write soon. A kiss from me and
Adeline and Clemente We think of you often.
Someone must have written the letter for Anna to
her sister Franceschina because Anna could not read or write Italian and I
know she could not read or write English either. Also, she and Pietro
spoke the old Calabrese dialect,
which fewer and fewer people in Calabria
speak today. The schools in Italy
now teach standard Italian. Anna didn’t even know the English names of
common household items. As an example, when we moved from Steubenville,
Ohio to Tucson, Arizona in June of 1950 we lost the squollapasta(sp),
a common and very necessary kitchen utensil. She went to the store to
look for one, but couldn’t find it on the shelves. After thinking about
it for awhile, she went to a clerk and asked if he had a squollapasta.
He said, “I don’t know, Lady, what’s that.” She said, “That’s
where the pasta stop, but the water go ahead.” The clerk gave her a
I remember one time when my children were
about two and four: we went to visit Grandma. The kids were in the house
for two minutes then went out into the yard to play. Mom and I were having
a cup of coffee and I asked her what she did that day. She said she went
shopping. Understand that she spoke with a heavy Italian accent. She told
me that she met a “poody lady” at the grocery store and that she
helped her shop. Anna shopped by looking at the pictures on the labels of
the cans. She said the woman was from Italy and spoke very high class
Italian. I had a suspicion and asked the name of the woman. She said, “I
don know, I think it was Sophie something.” The woman turned out to be
Sophia Loren, who was in Tucson making a movie. Mom had no idea who
“Sophie something” was.
As it is, we think Annetta Siciliano (Basil?) was married and
living in Ashtabula, Ohio in 1910. I have yet to search the 1910 census
records for Ashtabula County, Ohio so I don’t know if Auiretta Siciliana
or Anna Basil is on the rolls. We’ll return to Anna later.