Sepia Saturday 583. Ninth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.
By 1911 — when the photo below was taken — my maternal Italian great-grandparents Peter Laurence (nee Pietro di Lorenzo) and Mary “Mamie” Curcio had been married 10 years and were raising their children in Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y.
Yet a decade after their 1901 marriage, they still did not have a home of their own and were living in the crowded Curcio household — with Mamie’s parents and younger siblings as well as her maternal uncle Michael Del Negro and his family! (See table below.)
There must have been bunk beds galore to house so many people in the one-story wood-frame home at 128 East Fulton Street — a property that also contained the Antonio Curcio Junk Yard out back, where Peter worked for Mamie’s father.
A crowded household
New York State and federal census enumerations for the early years of my great-grandparents marriage shed light not only their lives — but also on what must have been a common immigrant experience in the early 1900s.
Living together in a multi-generation home, as the Laurence family did in the Curcio household, allowed for the pooling of resources, housekeeping and childcare — and even the operation of a family business — until the Curcio children were ready to set up their own households.
And even then, the Laurence’s didn’t move far. The 12 Wells Street address below is right around the corner from 128 East Fulton St.
|Laurence, Curcio and Del Negro Families in Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y. Censuses – 1900-1920 – Sources: FamlySearch and Ancestry|
|US||1900||128 E. Fulton Street||—||Antonio Antoinette and 8 children||Michael Mary and 2 children|
|NYS||1905||128 E. Fulton Street||Peter, Mamie, Antonio, Joseph||Antonio Antoinette and 8 children||Michael Mary and 4 children|
|US||1910||128 E. Fulton Street||Peter, Mamie, Antonio, Joseph||Antonio, Antoinette and 7 children||Michael Mary and 7 children|
|NYS||1915||128 E. Fulton Street||Peter, Mary, Antonio, Joseph||Antonio Antoinette and 6 children||—|
|US||1920||12 Wells St.||Peter, Mary, Tony, Joe||—||—|
The Curcio-Laurence family business
The oral history in my family is that, as my great-great grandfather Antonio Curcio’s health declined, my great-grandfather Peter took over running his father-in-law’s junk yard (see map detail) — transforming it with the addition of a garage/filling station and an auto repair shop. And census records bear this out.
In the 1920 federal census, Peter, 45, is enumerated as a Junk Dealer — and my grandfather Antonio, 17, is listed as a Junk Collector.
But by 1925, when the New York State census was taken, Peter, 52, was operating a Gasoline Station and my grandfather Tony, 23, was an Auto Mechanic.
The 1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance MapSanborn Fire Insurance Map from Gloversville, Fulton County, New York. Sanborn Map Company, Oct, 1912. Map 15. https://www.loc.gov/item/sanborn05951_006/. Accessed 12 Aug 2021.detail shows the one-story Curcio home at 128 East Fulton Street — top center with a letter D for dwelling — with the junk yard at the back.
Alas, all the buildings are gone now — but what I wouldn’t give for a photo of my Italian ancestors’ house and the shop from back when it was open!
Up next: More on my Italian ancestors of Gloversville, N.Y. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.
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