Circa 1911: Meet the Extended Curcio Family

Sepia Saturday 606. Twenty-third in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

In 1911, my second great grandparents Antonio and Antoinette (Del Negro) Curcio gathered three generations of their family together in the back yard of their Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y., home for a group photo. Thank goodness they did!

For some of my maternal Italian ancestors and relatives, this is the only photo I have of them. And seeing their faces — captured at a collegial moment during a family gathering — makes all the difference.

The extended Curcio-Del Negro family (circa 1911). Photo: Charboneau-Laurence Family Collection

Who’s who in the family photo

Thankfully, my maternal grandmother Elizabeth (Stoutner) Laurence sat down with her husband — my grandfather Tony, who is the last little boy on the right in the front row — and jotted down nearly everyone’s name. So, here is the roster as it has been handed down to me, with my direct ancestors in bold:

Front row, seated from left: Mary Ferrara, Josephine “Josie” Curcio, Joseph B. Laurence (my granduncle), Elizabeth “Lizzie” Curcio, Annie Curcio and Anthony W. Laurence [my grandfather].

Middle row, seated from left: Rose Curcio, Millie (Curcio) Somella, Julia (Curcio) Ferrara, Carl Ferrara (on Julia’s lap), Mary “Mamie” (Curcio) Laurence [my great grandmother], Antoinette (Del Negro) Curcio [my great-great grandmother], Antonio Curcio [my great-great grandfather] and an unidentified man (probably Antoniette’s brother, Michael Del Negro — a who lived with the Curcios at the time).

Back row, standing from left: Frank Somella, Peter Laurence (nee Pietro di Lorenzo) [my great-grandfather], Michael Curcio, John Curcio and an unidentified man (possibly the third brother Charles Curcio, who still lived in his parents’ home at the time).

Not shown/identified: Antimo Ferrara (Julia’s husband). He may have been the photographer as there is a space where he might have stood in the back row behind his wife – althoug no way to know for sure.

Dating the photo

Dating vintage ancestral photos is always a challenge. Sometimes clothing styles help — but there are so many in this photo, that didn’t seem like the best method.

The probable age and birth year of Carl Ferrara, seated on his mother’s lap above, helped me date this photo. Photo: Charboneau-Laurence Family Collection

So I decided to use the possible age of the children — an easier method. The youngest child, Carl Ferrara, seated on his mother’s lap in the second row, looks to be about a year old in the photo.

Census and other records give his birth year as 1910 — so, this photo was likely taken circa 1911. And that year fits with other information about the extended Curcio family and who was living with them around that time.

More to come

I have already written about some of the Curcio extended family — including my second great grandfather Antonio and his Junk Yard business behind the family home at 128 E. Fulton St. in Gloversville, N.Y.

I believe this photo was taken behind the Curcio home — and the wooden structure at the upper left in the first photo photo may have been one of the junk yard storage structures.

This is the only photo I have of my 2nd great grandfather Antonio Curcio (center) and his brother-in-law Michael Del Negro (next to him). Photo: Charboneau-Laurence Family Collection

This group photo contains my only image of Antonio Curcio and also the only portrait of Antoinette’s brother Michael Del Negro — whose shoe shine career with his brother Jimmy I have chronicled in previous blogs.

Stay tuned as there will be more to come on the Curcio, Laurence and Del Negro families of Gloversville, N.Y., as I continue to work through my photo archive.

Up next, Peter and Mamie (Curcio) Laurence in the early 1940s. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.

© 2022 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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20 thoughts on “Circa 1911: Meet the Extended Curcio Family”

    1. I also love the white dresses. It looks as if they were typical for the younger girls, but the women all have dark skirts with just the white blouses.

  1. What a fantastic photo!

    Isn’t it always fantastic to think that we’ve shared moments with people captured in these old pictures.

  2. I echo all the earlier comments – one of the best group vintage photographs I have seen, with the bonus of the names of the Curvio on the reverse . I did like the group of children on the right with the little boy managing a smile. How many of us would love to have such a wonderful family photograph!

    1. Thanks so much, Susan. That smiling little boy is my grandfather Tony — whose impish childhood smile was featured in a few previous posts. He clearly couldn’t contain himself in this photo — even though most everyone else looks more serious.

  3. What a fantastic photo to have in your possession! Not many are lucky enough to have group photos such as this! It was lucky that the names were recorded, as many family photos have nothing written on the back. I usually date photos by ages of children too (especially if any babies are in the photo)! 🙂 If their names weren’t recorded on the back, of course it would have been much more difficult 🙂 For a family gathering, they don’t seem very excited or having a good time, except for your grandfather, Annie and Rose. 🙂 Glad you’re back from your break, looking forward to more of your family stories! 🙂

    1. I got to meet some of these family members when I was a child and visited Gloversville, N.Y., with my mother. It’s unusual how sober some of them look in this photo, because in person they were a lively bunch.

  4. That is a wonderful photograph to have and names are such a treasure. You can also see some personality come out in this picture.

  5. This is a wonderful treasure! I like how their expressions are so varied and open. I don’t think many people in 1911 concerned themselves with presenting a photogenic smile. The photographer has skillfully placed themselves a bit above ground level to get a better perspective, either on a chair or perhaps a porch stoop. Everyone is neatly dressed, maybe even better than ordinary Sunday finery. A special occasion perhaps? The arrangement of family members seems very carefully thought out. Do you think there were copies made to share or send back to the old country?

    1. I have to assume that most of my maternal Italian ancestors’ photos were duplicated to send to family back in Italy. I also enjoy each person’s unique expressions. This photo, in its original, was starting to fade — so I had this digital copy made professionally. The studio did a tremendous job capturing detail in the restoration.

  6. And look how proud Antoinette is! There is so much love and pride in that face.
    And John is wearing a different tie to everyone. I wonder why?

    1. Yes, Antoinette does indeed look proud — and interesting observation about John’s tie. Perhaps he was a bit unconventional in other ways, too.

  7. What a great family group photo and they are nicely spaced so you can see each one. And then to have them identified! Wonderful.

  8. My first thought here was oh, that must hard, trying to figure out who’s who in that photo…! Good thing you were able to get some help with that!!

  9. Oh, how lucky you are to have not only the wonderful family photo, but to have all the names that go with each one in it! To be able to see what your ancestors looked like is an added bonus to written information. But that is truly a great photograph of so many in your ancestral family going back four generations!

    1. I am forever grateful to my maternal grandmother for labeling this photo and so many others. This is the only photo I have of some of them, so it is a treasure for sure.

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