Sepia Saturday 579. Fifth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.
After finding a photo of my great- granduncle Antonio di Lorenzo in a family album, I wanted to learn more about the long-lost brother of my mom’s Italian grandfather Peter D. Laurence (nee Pietro di Lorenzo).
But where to look? According to family oral history, Antonio came briefly to the U.S. — likely traveling from their hometown of Limatola in Benevento, Campania, Italy. But he allegedly did not like it here and went back to Italy. So why not start there?
A thwarted birth and census search
Since I had already found an abstract FamilySearch requires a free login to view records. of my great-grandfather Peter’s birth record online,“Italia, Benevento, Stato Civile (Archivio di Stato), 1810-1942”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QGYD-GDYS : 12 May 2020), Pietro di … Continue reading I searched for his brother Antonio’s — plugging in their Limatola hometown, shown below, and their parents’ names, also trying some surname variants. Alas, no luck.
Then I tried searching the 1905 New York State and 1910 U.S. censuses to see if Antonio was enumerated in either one during his Gloversille, N.Y., stay — but no luck there either.
Finally, I turned to digitized passenger records. I have tried unsuccessfully to find the passenger record for my great-grandfather Peter. Would I do any better finding Antonio on a ship manifest?
A passenger manifest discovery
The answer is, yes! I was thrilled to find a manifest showing Antonio arriving in New York Harbor on 26 May 1902 aboard the S.S. Neckar to join his brother Pietro in Gloversville, N.Y. (excerpted below.)Year: 1902; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 5; Page Number: 159; Detail: Antonio di Lorenzo.
|Antonio di Lorenzo – Passenger Manifest – SS Neckar – Arriving in NY Harbor on 26 May 1902 — Source: Ancestry.comIbid.|
|di Lorenzo, Antonio||27||Marr||Farmer||Yes||Italian|
|Last Residence||US Port||Going to||Passage paid by||Money in hand||Joining|
|Limatola||New York||Gloversville||Self||$10||Brother Pietro
Unpacking a passenger manifest
There is a great deal of information here about my great-granduncle Antonio — so let’s take a column-by-column look.
At age 27 in 1902, Antonio would have been born in 1875 — making him two years younger than my great-grandfather Peter, who was born in 1873 and emigrated in 1896.
A surprise was Antonio’s marital status. On the manifest, the letter d. (for ditto) is given in his marital status column — referencing an entry above his that says “Marr.”
If the notation is correct, this could explain Antonio’s returned to Italy. He may have come to check out the U.S. so his wife could join him — a common scenario — but decided against staying and went back. It may also explain why Peter — the older, single brother — came to the U.S. first, with Antonio following.
Uncle Antonio could read and write. He was a farmer back in Limatola — with only $10 on his person when he arrived (worth about $316 today). And he was en route to visit his brother Pietro (Peter D. Laurence) in Gloversville, N.Y.
What a wealth of information about a once forgotten relative!
A look at the SS Neckar
Having perused the details of Antonio’s passenger manifest, I wondered if I could find a photo of his ship. And sure enough, there are a number of images online of the SS Neckar — a Rhine-class steamship.
A Norway Heritage site says the passenger capacity of the Norwegian-built ship was “arranged for 140 first class, 150 second class and, when the full space was utilized, 2600 steerage passengers.” With $10 in his pocket, I’m guessing Antonio traveled in steerage.
The SS Neckar plied the Atlantic for North German Lloyd as a passenger vessel on the Bremen-New York route from 1901 until 1917 — when it was seized by the U.S. during WWI and turned into the troopship USS Antigone.
Amazing what you can find when you start looking! In this case, many interesting details about my long-lost great granduncle Antonio — and about the ship he traveled on. So what else can I discover about my Italian great-grandfather Peter and his brother?
Up next: More on Peter D. Laurence and Antonio di Lorenzo. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.
© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.
- Circa 1904: My long-lost great-granduncle Antonio di Lorenzo
- 1910: The di Lorenzo brothers and the Societa Silvio Pellico
- 1900-1911: When did Pietro di Lorenzo become Peter Laurence?
- Silvio Pellico and the Italian Risorgimento: An ancestral connection
|↑1||FamilySearch requires a free login to view records.|
|↑2||“Italia, Benevento, Stato Civile (Archivio di Stato), 1810-1942”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QGYD-GDYS : 12 May 2020), Pietro di Lorenzo, 1873 [2 Sep]. Parents: Giuseppe di Lorenzo and Maddalena Aragosa. Certificate No. 58.|
|↑3||Year: 1902; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 5; Page Number: 159; Detail: Antonio di Lorenzo.|