GIUSEPPE DE FELICE
Date of Arrival
JULY 12, 1909
Age on Arrival
MARIA FRANCESCA: 31
Port of Departure
GIUSEPPE & MARIA FRANCESCA DE FELICE
By Joe De Felice
My father's family emigrated to USA in 1909 and I was thrilled to find the record of their viaggio on the Ellis Island website. I trace that branch of the family tree back for 6 generations, beginning with GGGF
"Crecenze". My mother, Anna (Santacroce) De Felice was born in NYC on July 14, 1907, two years before my father's family landed in NYC on the San Giovanni on July 12, 1909, on one of her family's several visits to the USA. I found the records for my father's family on the Ellis Island site passenger manifests for the San Giovanni on July 12, 1909, under Giuseppe and Maria Francesca DeFelice and their three children, Nicola age 11, Michael (my father) age 9, and Anna age 7. They all listed my Nonna's brother, Nicolo Spadaccini, as the person who they were going to join in America AND the person who paid for their passage. Grandpa Giuseppe listed his money (pocket) holdings as $20.00. Wow!!
Mom (Anna) was then raised in Italy until age seven (7) when they permanently emigrated to USA, NYC 29th Street and then Union City, NJ where my father's family lived. Our Immigrant generation, the oh so
brave and courageous "20, 30 and 40 something" couples who brought their young families to America to find a better life, have all passed on. They left us a very rich heritage from a wonderful life based upon their brand of "la famiglia". Would that we could continue and pass this along.
Nonno De Felice was a laborer in Italy. He did the same kind of work here in America until he had a crippling accident years later, and retired. He and others in the family made wine in the family wine-press for years in the old country, and continued the practice here. I can still see the stacks of wooden grape cases outside our cellar door. We had a cantina in the cellar for wine and other things, and the walls were more than a foot thick of brick and concrete.
Nonna De Felice did homework and lots of great crochet master pieces. She continued her craftwork from Italy, and made bedspreads (sometimes table covers too) for each and every offspring, child, grandchild and great grandchildren. They are treasures today throughout our family, and will be passed on to the next generations. Of course, Nonna was the mover and shaker in the family when it came to
owning property, both home and rental units. Amazing to think of what she accomplished, and never having totally mastered English. But we, her grandchildren, filled her many requests to help her learn the Star Spangled Banner, Pledge of Allegiance, etc. So Proud.
My parents, my brother Nick and I lived with my paternal grandparents in a five room upstairs apartment of the house they owned in Union City, NJ. My Uncle Nick and Aunt Anna lived in the first floor apartment for many years. Grandpa Nicola Santacroce visited every Sunday morning until the day Grandpa Giuseppe had passed away. He said "Dov'è Giuseppe?" and the answer came back... "Morte...". He left and never came again, and our visits switched to visiting him in his apartment with Mom's brother Uncle Joe and my Aunt Adele.