Sicilian Genealogy

Why were Ten Percent of Sicilian Babies Abandoned?

Why were Ten Percent of Sicilian Babies Abandoned?

I was excited last month to get a pressie from one of the leading experts in Sicilian genealogy. A novella, set in olden-days Sicily. The author, Angelo Coniglio, usually helps people people in America trace their Sicilian roots, and turn up a thousand or so relatives who all want to feed them more than their […]

Sulphur, Sicilians, and the Exodus to the USA

Sulphur, Sicilians, and the Exodus to the USA

There is not one manufacturing industry in the world that can work without sulphur. When the industrial revolution took place in the 19th century, 90% of all the sulphur in the world came from Sicily. These are Sicilian sulphur miners: Why are they working naked? It was 40 degrees centigrade above ground and down in […]

If you’re named after a Sicilian City

If you’re named after a Sicilian City

Sicily has nine provinces. Each province has a city, a ‘provincial seat’ that has the same name as the province. These cities are: Palermo, Trapani, Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Enna, Messina, Catania, Siracusa, and Ragusa. My sense of the matter is that first the cities were named, and then the regions under their influence acquired the names […]

Finding Your Sicilian Ancestors: I Know My Ancestral Town – Now, What?

Finding Your Sicilian Ancestors: I Know My Ancestral Town – Now, What?

       Naturalization papers and passenger manifests can identify the towns where our Sicilian ancestors were born. Such information is also sometimes available in newspaper articles, family documents, passports, draft registrations, and the like. Once ancestors’ names (as used and spelled in Sicily) and ancestral towns are known, the search can begin in earnest […]

Finding Your Sicilian Ancestors: Beyond Ellis Island

Finding Your Sicilian Ancestors: Beyond Ellis Island

        There are several common misconceptions about the immigrant experience at Ellis Island. One is that the handwritten names on early ships’ passenger manifests were actually the signatures of the immigrants themselves. That’s not true. The forms were filled out by a ticket agent or ship’s officer at the point of departure […]

Expanding the Search for PASSenger Manifests (Finding Your Sicilian Ancestors)

Expanding the Search for PASSenger Manifests  (Finding Your Sicilian Ancestors)

    Last time, I detailed the type of information found on the ships’ manifests of immigrants to Ellis Island, documents that are available on the free site www.ellisisland.org. That site, one of the first to display manifests, can be very helpful, but it has its drawbacks. ellisisland.org sometimes maddeningly displays a manifest that clearly […]