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The history of the Coniglio family: from Gratteri, to Isnello, to New York

The history of the Coniglio family: from Gratteri, to Isnello, to New York

This is the story of Giuseppe Coniglio, born in Gratteri in 1910 and moved to Isnello in the 40s, after his marriage with Carolina Fatta. Giuseppe lived in Isnello with his family, making himself appreciated by many people, remaining always proud of being a native of Gratteri. Today, after so many years, we want to tell his story, thanks to archival documents, that of his own ancestors and relatives who emigrated in the early 1900s to Syracuse, New York.

The first attestation of the surname Coniglio in Gratteri dates back to 1839, when Coniglio Giuseppe, a farmer from Reggio, aged 34, son of Luigi and Santa Palaturo, married Lucia Tedesco, aged 18, daughter of Giuseppe and Margarita Lazzara. From their union Gandolfa (1841-42), Giuseppe (1844) and Rosaria Maria (1847) were born.

Giuseppe, a farm custodian to Don Antonio Russo di Cerda, married Rosa Lombardo, born in 1841, daughter of Giacomo and Giuseppa Mazzola with whom he had 6 children: Coniglio Sebastiano (1861), Lucia (1863), Giuseppa Maria (1868), Giuseppe (1871), Giacomo (1874) Angelo (1881). The first three children, unfortunately, will die at an early age, while the other 3 will emigrate from Gratteri to America at the dawn of the 20th century. Giacomo was the first to cross the ocean, when at the age of 22, in 1897 he embarked from the port of Naples in the ship “Italia 1872” together with fellow villagers Salvatore Agati (25), Salvatore Signorello (21), Antonio Di Francesca (25).

His brother Giuseppe will follow him a few years later, who will disembark in New York for the first time in 1902 together with other people from Gratteri Giuseppe Bonafede (16) and Giuseppe Di Martino (43) and the last in 1911, setting sail from Palermo on the Sant’Anna ship together with the fellow countryman Giacomo Carò (42) to move permanently to his brother.

Finally, Angelo too decided to try his luck in America and, in 1903, after marrying his fellow countryman Maria Giovanna Iacuzzi, daughter of Giuseppe and Giacoma Mogavero, he decided to surprise his brother by bringing his mother Rosina Lombardo (61) with them to America. The three will embark from Naples together with fellow villager Salvatore Lanza (53) to reach Giacomo Coniglio (212 Brodarg St. Albany N.Y.).

However, after a few years, Angelo decided to return to Sicily where his sons Giuseppe (1908-1908) Giuseppe (1910), Rosa (1913) and Giacoma (1917) were born in Gratteri. Finally, in 1923 at the age of 42, he decided to leave again and move to his brother Giacomo (130 E Seneca Street Oswego N.Y) to never return.

So Giuseppe, at only 14 years old, will remain the only man of the house to take care of his family which, even after moving to Isnello, he will never forget. Gratteri will become that safe haven for him to return to, in that district of the church where he lived the best years of his youth.

In the picture:

Angelo Coniglio, born in 1881.
Giuseppe Coniglio, his wife Carolina Fatta and their children: Angelo, Giovanna, Rosalia and Salvatore (in the womb).
Wedding anniversary of Giacomo Coniglio and his wife in America.
Giacomo Coniglio and sons in America
Letter written by Giacomo Coniglio born in Gratteri in 1874 and emigrated to America: 130 E Seneca Street Oswego, New York.
Giuseppe and Salvatore Coniglio in Germany, 1965
Google maps the first house in Oswego N.Y., now for sale.
Photo by Giuseppe Coniglio. Reconstruction by Marco Fragale

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