Letter V: Twenty-second of twenty-six posts in the April 2016 Blogging From A to Z Challenge. Wish me luck and please join me on the journey!
Vincenzo Del Negro was one of two witnesses at the Manhattan wedding of my maternal Italian great, great grandparents Antonio and Antoinette (Del Negro) Curcio on 24 Aug. 1880 — probably a relative of the bride.
I first learned about this wedding from Marie Somella (one of my mom’s Curcio cousins) and Aunt Rosie (a daughter of the Curcios) during a 1991 family history trip with Mom to her Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y. home town. Their story went like this:
Antonio and Antoinette knew each other from back home, from Salerno in Italy. Antonio came over first, to New York City, and worked as a meat cutter. Once he was settled, he sent for Antoinette and they were married at the Little Church Around the Corner.
No documentation. Just the oral history — albeit from two pretty reliable sources — for me to try to prove or disprove. And thus began my Curcio research journey.
Little Church Around the Corner
In 1880, the Little Church Around the Corner was a Catholic parish located on Mott Street near the teeming Five Points area of lower Mahattan — the possible site of my ancestors’ church wedding.
The name eventually moved uptown with a protestant denomination, but the church structure remains. Today it houses the Church of the Transfiguration, a Catholic parish in Manhattan’s Chinese community. So that part of the oral history rings true.
Finding a marriage license
I contacted the current parish office, but I was told they had “no record” of the Curcio’s wedding. I also struck out at the New York City Municipal Archives on my first research trip there years ago.
So I set the Curcio search aside for awhile and moved on to other branches of my family — intending to return to the wedding story when I had the time.
Taking a break turned out to be a good idea, because in the interim the digitization of records started to take off — opening up the possibility of searching online. And that’s where I found the crucial clue — an index of New York City brides and grooms on Footnote (now Fold 3) that included Antonio Curcio!
The next day, I was back at the NYC Municipal Archives ordering a copy of my great, great grandparents’ civil wedding certificate — which Vincenzo Del Negro signed as a witness.
The day after that, I was standing in Columbus Park at the Mulberry Bend home address that the Curcio’s gave in 1880.
And the little church where their religious wedding ceremony was probably performed? It was right around the corner from their first U.S. home.
Up next: Wolverines and Uncle Sid. Please stop back.
© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.