Tag Archives: Antonio Curcio

1911: Peter and Mary (Curcio) Laurence and sons

Sepia Saturday 583. Ninth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

A blog series featuring photos of my maternal Italian ancestors from the Laurence-di Lorenzo-Curcio family album. Photo: Molly Charboneau

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.

The Laurence family of Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y. in 1911. My great-grandparents Peter and Mamie (Curcio) Laurence and sons Antonio W., 9, in front of Peter and Joseph B., 8, in front of Mamie. Antonio is my maternal grandfather, looking dapper next to his younger brother in a sailor-style outfit. Scan by Molly Charboneau/Charboneau-Laurence Family Collection

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
Census Year Address Laurence Curcio Del Negro
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
Detail from a 1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing 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.

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 Map[1]Sanborn 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.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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References

References
1 Sanborn 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.

1901: Peter Laurence (di Lorenzo) marries Mary “Mamie” Curcio

Sepia Saturday 582. Eighth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

A blog series featuring photos of my maternal Italian ancestors from the Laurence-di Lorenzo-Curcio family album. Photo: Molly Charboneau

His first five years in Gloversville, Fulton County, New York (1896-1901), my Italian immigrant great-grandfather Peter D. Laurence (nee Pietro di Lorenzo) led a bachelor’s life — rooming with Italian boarders his age, working as a leather dye master and socializing  with friends when time allowed.

But according to my sister Amy’s high school biography of Peter — based on information from our mother Peg (Laurence) Charboneau — he was probably also looking for a wife.

During that time he met Mary Curcio at a social function and they planned to get married. In 1901, he opened his own junkyard and auto repair. He married Mary and they settled down to begin their family.

Let’s take a further look at the Laurence-Curcio family history.

Mary “Mamie” (Curcio) Laurence, circa 1901. This may be my great-grandmother’s engagement or wedding portrait. She certainly looks young and wistful — and the dress appears light enough to be a bridal outfit. Scan by Molly Charboneau/Charboneau-Laurence Family Collection

Meet Mamie Curcio

My great-grandmother Mary Curcio was born on 15 Aug. 1882 in Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County, N.Y.  The oldest child of Antonio and Antoinette (Del Negro) Curcio, she went by the nickname “Mamie” [pronounced MAY-mee].

Mamie’s parents immigrated separately in the late 1800s from Atena Lucana in Italy’s Salerno province. Antonio arrived first in the Five Points area of lower Manhattan. Antoinette followed, and in 1880 they married — possibly at the Little Church Around the Corner on Mott Street, but definitely in a civil ceremony witnessed by Vincenzo “Jimmy” Del Negro (Antoinette’s brother).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atena_Lucana#/media/File:Atena_Lucana1.jpg
Atena Lucana, Salerno, Campania, Italy (2004). My second great-grandparents Antonio and Antoinette (Del Negro) Curcio immigrated from Atena Lucana to the U.S. in the late 1800s. Photo: Wikimedia/Anthony Pape

Embraced by the Curcio family

By the time Peter met and fell in love with Mamie Curcio, circa 1900, her parents were well-established in Gloversville. Her father Antonio operated a junk shop located behind the family’s 128 East Fulton Street home — and her mother Antoinette was running a lively household with eight children, including Mamie.

The Curcio family must have seemed like a little slice of home to my great-grandfather Peter. As shown on the map below, Mamie’s parents’ hometown of Atena Lucana (lower right) and Peter’s hometown of Limotala (upper left) were both in Italy’s Campania region. (Click on the red icons for details.)

The young Laurence (di Lorenzo) couple

When they married circa 1901, Peter was 28 and Mamie was 19 — and they initially lived as a couple in the large Curcio household. Peter left his job as a leather dresser and began work in Antonio’s junk shop — eventually taking it over from his aging father-in-law and adding a garage/auto repair shop.

The above photo of Mamie might be her engagement or wedding portrait. She certainly looks young and wistful — and the dress appears light enough to be a bridal outfit. No doubt Peter would have wanted a photo of his bride to send back to his family in Italy.

In my Italian ancestral album, Mamie’s photo is mounted next to the portrait of Peter shown below. Could Peter’s photo have been taken near the time of the wedding as well?

Studio portrait of Peter Laurence/Pietro di Lorenzo (c. 1899-1900). In my Italian ancestral album, this portrait of Peter is mounted next to the above photo of Mamie. Could Peter’s photo have been taken near the time of the wedding as well? Scan by Molly Charboneau/Charboneau-Laurence Family Collection

Oddly, there is no wedding photo of the two of them together. Was cost a factor? Was such a photo unnecessary, since Mamie’s family knew Peter — and he would only need to send her photo to his family? As always, many unanswered questions.

Fortunately, once Mamie and Peter had children, they did take time to pose for a family portrait — and that’s coming up in the next post.

Up next: The Laurence/di Lorenzo family of Gloversville, N.Y. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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NYS Library: A new family find in Gloversville city directories

Sepia Saturday 504. Fourth in a series based on recent research discoveries at the NYS Archives & Library: More on my maternal immigrant ancestors of Fulton County, N.Y.

On a recent trip to the New York State Archives and Library, I spent time perusing the library’s large collection of city directories for Gloversville, N.Y., where my maternal immigrant German and Italian ancestors lived from the mid 1800s.

While many of the directories have been digitized, scrolling through the library’s microfilm allowed me to browse multiple ancestors at once — and to experience the broad sweep of my mother’s extended Gloversville family in just a few hours.

North Main St. and Family Theatre, Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y. (circa 1908). My maternal German and Italian ancestors lived here from the mid 1800s, working in the glove industry or as small proprietors. The NYS Library’s city directories for Gloversville helped me verify when they were first listed, where they lived and their occupations.

Beginning with the 1879-80 directory, I set an initial goal of searching the collection chronologically to see when each of my immigrant ancestors first appeared. Yet as I went on, I remembered collateral relatives I wanted to include — and before long my mother’s Gloversville ancestral tree began to take shape before me, one year at a time.

My German ancestors arrived first

I knew that my German forebears were the first to arrive in Gloversville. So I was not surprised to find my great-great grandfathers Andrew Stoutner and Joseph Mimm in the 1879-80 directory for Gloversville, Kingsboro and Johnstown, as excerpted below..

In contrast, the first listing for my great-great grandfather Antonio Curcio, from Italy’s Campania region, did not appear until 1891. Last to appear in 1903 was my great-grandfather Peter Laurence (nee Di Lorenzo), also from the Campania region, who married Antonio’s oldest daughter Mamie after his 1895 arrival in Gloversville.

Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y. -My Immigrant Ancestors’ First City Directory Listing – Source: New York State Library
Year Name Address Occupation
1879 Andrew Stoutner (appears as Stoudner) Wells St. Brick Maker
1879 Joseph A. Mimm Broad c. Fifth Tool Maker
1891 Antonio Curcio 84 E. Fulton Junk Dealer
1903 Peter Laurence (nee Di Lorenzo) (appears as Lawrence) 128 E. Fulton Laborer

A surprise Curcio address

I expected the city directory listings to simply reinforce what I already knew about my Gloversville ancestors from censuses and other sources. What I didn’t expect was a new-to-me address for Antonio Curcio at 84 E. Fulton Street!

As far as I knew, the Curcios had always lived at 128 E. Fulton Street — where their son-in-law Peter Laurence lived with them in 1903.

1891: Gloversville and Johnstown City Directory. (Click to enlarge.) My great-great grandfather A. Curcio is the last name on this page. It’s his first listing in a Gloversville city directory — and at a new-to-me address! Photo by Molly Charboneau

So I later followed up with searches of online Gloversville city directories, and sure enough — in 1891, 1892 and 1893 the Curcios lived at 84 E. Fulton Street. Antonio was not listed at 128 E. Fulton Street until 1894.

Valuable lessons

Genealogy research trips offer valuable lessons, even for longtime family historians — as I learned during my time at the NYS Library.

First, city directories are excellent substitutes for the 1890 federal census, which was destroyed in a fire. Although these books don’t always include female ancestors, they can help place listed ancestors in a time and place. Thus the 1890s directories unexpectedly rewarded me with the Curcios’ first Gloversville address.

The other lesson? Finding family history records and filing them away, as I have done for years with my maternal forebears, are only the first steps in reconstructing an ancestral story. It’s the time spent studying those records — and thoughtfully examining new ones — that truly teases out an ancestor’s narrative.

Well okay, I already knew that. But it never hurts to be reminded.

Up next: One more research discovery at the NYS Library and Archives. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2020 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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