Date of Arrival
Alfonso - July 12, 1899
Annibale Giovanni- March 9, 1909

Age on Arrival
Alfonso 31 Years
Annibale Giovanni 19 Years

Port of Departure

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By Toni Di Bernardo-Jones


I first started tracing my family history in 1992. And naturally just like everyone else I started with who and what I already knew about my Di Bernardo History. What I didn't know was the rewards that I would find waiting for me eleven years later.

My Family Story starts back in Camigliano, Caserta, Italy with Alfonso Di Bernardo and Finizia Forese. Alfonso was born September 03, 1867 to Giovanni Di Bernardo and Filomenia Carusone. They were property owners and wine makers, as they are today several generations later.

My Greatgrandfather Alfonso Di Bernardo made his first trip to America July 12, 1899 and had made several trips thru Ellis Island after that going to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area with family he had there. My grandfather Annibale Giovanni Di Bernardo was born back in Camigliano, Caserta, Italy March 31,1890.

He started to accompany his father to America on his trips here to Pittsburgh. My Nonno finally made his last trip to America as a young man at the age of 19 years old. My Nonno took his last ride on the Ancona March 9, 1909. He stayed in the Pittsburgh area for awhile working in the steel mills there.

A friend of his got in touch with him and told him they were hiring on the railroad in Hillsville, Pennsylvania where he settled with his family. He met my Nonna Antonette Messina and married October 03,1912. My Nonno was a very hard worker and loving family man.

Over the years I had done research at The Family History Center in Butler, Pennsylvania where I had found all The Italian Documents that I needed to find my Nonnos family again.

I had found Birth and sometimes Baptismal certificates as well Marriage and Death Documents. On these doucuments you will find a wealth of information such as names of the towns mayor, witnesses names, ages and occupations. Also you will find addresses names of parents and sometimes names of grandparents also if known. And also if you were lucky you had there signature on these documents if thery were able to write back then.

All this prompted me to do a telephone search in Italy and much to my surprize the street names were still the same only the address numbers had changed. And I was reunited with my Nonnos family 96 years after he left his homeland and his family there.

Before Christmas last year I sent a couple of letters to Camigliano to family members with the the same last names. After New Years I received three letters back from my Nonnos neices Rosa Palandra Cristina Veltre and Imacoulta Cenname and they invited me to Camigliano to meet there families.

So I made my first trip in October 08, 2003 and was there for ten days with my new found family. I was there for there Feast Day of San Simeone and I had never seen anything like this before San Simeone is there town of Camigliano Patron Saint. It was an experinence that I will never forget.

Being inside San Simeone Church which is 1,100 years old I couldn't help but to be in complete awe. Not only because of the sheer visual delights posed by this church, but how far I had come in search of my roots. Here I was standing on the ground where it all began for my ancestors. Just walking the streets and to veiw the sights of his hometown was a very emotional time for me.

To actual be in the old homestead where my Greatgrandparents Alfonso Di Bernardo and Finizia Forese raised there family was so very emotional for me. To be in the home where my Nonno and his brothers and sisters grew up in. My Nonnos neice Alfonsina D'Onofrio still lives in the old homestead and still carries on the Family Tradition of baking in the outside bake oven she still makes what is the towns tradition called Pregnant Pizza and Stroffle.

The town of Camigliano is a very quaint and lovely little village its people all are warm and loving. I know that my Nonno Annibale Giovanni Di Bernardo would be proud and happy that one of his family made the journey in his honor and celebration of his and all his ancestors memory I was glad that it was me. It was a dream come true and that all of my hard work payed of. I have found the family and the homeland that my Nonno loved so much I plan to return there again soon if the family will have me again.

(Left) The inside of San Simeone Church in Camigliano, Caserta, Italy
(Right) Toni Di Bernardo-Jones (3rd from right - red top) and family

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