Monday, October 24, 2022

Monday, October 24, 2022- Sicilian Musings and Ramblings

 Genealogists need to document their own history. This article is a review of the past week.  I have so many contacts throughout the course of a week that it is easy to forget if I don't write it down.

We have a group that meets weekly on Zoom called Italians of Omaha, Carlentini and Beyond. If you are interested in joining our meetings, please contact me using the contact box in the right-hand column and I will send you a Zoom registration link.

Topic: Omaha, Carlentini and Beyond- Sicilian/Italian Genealogy, History and Culture

Description: Weekly Tuesday afternoon discussion group for people with Sicilian and Italian ancestry with a focus on genealogy and culture. Attendees register once and can attend any of the occurrences. Topics will include history and culture of the Sicilian and Italian families that immigrated to Omaha and Sioux City. The host of these sessions is Nick Cimino, genealogist and blogger at

The videos are on YouTube here:

Click on the Videos tab to see the full list of videos posted by Mary K Lynch.

You can also go to the following link on Facebook and scroll down until you see the posts by Mary K Turco Lynch:

Mary K posts all of the meetings to our Facebook group called Genealogy Research Carlentini Omaha Association.

Do you want to learn the basics of finding birth/death/marriage records for Italian cities, going all the way back to 1820? Then watch this week's video! We walked everyone through the process. We also looked at the trees of the Riggio family and the Di Carlo family. We learned that a town in Sicily, Melilli, also experienced chain migration to Connecticut, much like Carlentini and Omaha. We ended with a beautiful song played for us by Jeremy Garcia. You won't want to miss this one.

The Riggio family resided in the area around Hartford and New Britain, Connecticut but they were originally from Melilli in the Siracusa province of Sicily.

The Di Carlo family was from Santa Ninfa, in the Trapani province of Sicily. Santa Ninfa is very near Gibellina which is the hometown of many immigrants that came to Omaha.

Thank you to Dean Battiato for sending me family group sheets for families of Lentini including Martinico, Maddalena, Ossino, and Inserra. We are in the process of adding ancestors for Donna Corbino Shipley.

Our translator and expert on Sicilian culture and history is Eleonora Formica.  I was watching the CBS News- On the Road show yesterday and they told a Halloween story about Concetto Formica.

The video segment gave his name as Cancetto Farmica. I used that spelling to find the FindaGrave Memorial here:

I was able to find quite a lot of information about Concetto Formica and I edited his FindaGrave memorial to include the rest of the story. His name was spelled wrong on his grave marker. He was born in Sortino which is a town near Lentini and Carlentini.  The story definitely has a Halloween theme to it, but it will be up to you to decide if it is funny or horrifying.

One of the travelers that went to Carlentini in August was Meg Nanfito Jones.  Meg asked me to help her determine the exact relationship of some of the Nanfito relatives that she met there. Her cousin sent her some grave photos that I added to our Carlentini FindaGrave page: Cimitero di Carlentini in Carlentini, Sicilia - Find a Grave Cemetery The photos have not yet been transcribed if you want to volunteer.

I posted a request in Italian on the Sei di Carlentini Facebook group asking for cemetery pictures but have received no responses to that request.  If anyone has any ideas how to recruit some FindaGrave volunteers in Sicily, please let me know.

I received a request from Pat Todero asking for help with his Todero and Ferrazo grandparents.  Here are the images that I sent him:

If you have anything that you would like me to publish on this blog or if you have any corrections or additions to this post, please let me know by contacting me by using the contact box in the right-hand column or post a comment below.

All the best and Tanti Auguri,

Nick Cimino

Monday, September 5, 2022

Some Memories Are Impossible to Forget.

Some memories are impossible to forget.

So it is with this story that was told to us by Maria Rita Barretta. This is a rough translation of the original Italian story written by Maria. The original Italian version is shown below the English version.

Alcuni ricordi sono impossibili da dimenticare. Così è con questa storia che ci è stata raccontata da Maria Rita Barretta. Questa è una traduzione approssimativa della storia italiana originale scritta da Maria. La versione originale italiana è riportata sotto la versione inglese.


Maria Rita Barretta published on Facebook September 3, 2022

Francesca Parisi was born in Lentini on 20 September 1884 and on 2 March 1902 she married the 25-year-old Giuseppe Greco.

Giuseppe Greco left for America in 1912, perhaps he preferred - like many local men - to try his luck by crossing the ocean rather than continuing to hoe the lands of the local barons and nobles for a daily wage of a handful of olives and two kicks in the ass.

But let's not procrastinate.

Francesca stayed in Lentini to wait for her husband to settle in and find a good job to help the family (but in her heart she hoped that this would not happen and that the groom would return).

The American dream rewarded those tenacious workers, and after a few years Giuseppe was able to call his wife to join him.

Poor Francesca, who rarely left her neighborhood and perhaps never from Lentini, with what soul could she face a weeks-long journey to an unknown land, to reach a husband she had not seen for years, to stammer in an incomprehensible language? No no...

But Joseph, in his letters written with difficulty or dictated to a friend who had gone to school, continued to insist and to urge his wife to join him. He prayed, threatened, flattered, demanded. But she was "santu ca nun sura", so she was not persuaded.

Other women left for America, even brides by proxy ... Francesca could make the trip in the company of one of those other woman, the wife of another immigrant from Lentini, that she knew ... so Giuseppe comforted her.

And if the correspondence with her long timeframe had given Francesca an advantage, and the great war a formidable help in postponing the reunification overseas, the young woman could do nothing against the insistence of the other woman enlisted by her husband.

“Let's go, Francesca, we will travel together. Let's go Francesca, they are our husbands. Come on Francesca, the ship is big and safe. Don't you want to come, Francesca? Will you make me go all alone? So when I arrive, I will tell your husband that you don't want to leave because you have a lover here, that you don't want to leave him, that you cheat on your husband! "

Poor Francesca, what desperation! What could she do, if not leave to avoid ignominy? And Francesca left, 1920 was winding down when she said goodbye to her world, she left, surrendering herself to the stubborn initiative of her tormentor friend.

Lentini - Palermo, and it was already a blunder (in fact it still is today), and in Palermo the steamship “Santa Sofia” swallowed the two women and many hopeful Sicilian youth in its hold. What was the precise route of the vessel and how long the journey lasted I do not know (the first class costs a thousand lire, the second one hundred, the third pain and fright and smells of sweat from the hatch and the smell of dead sea, this is known 😉) finally - the date is certain - on February 3, 1921, Francesca landed in New York. And she was alone, the traveling companion who had blackmailed her for good, the daring friend on whom she had relied, she had fallen ill during the crossing and died, and had been buried in the sea.

Now Francesca was in America, where she really did not want to go, due to the blackmail of a woman who had so desired to go there and had fallen one step away from the finish line.
Francesca with unsteady handwriting told her story to those she had loved in her homeland, in Lentini.

“Cummari, e iù pi chidda ca poi mossi mi trovu ca”

Francesca did not forget her people, and to the comare (perhaps there had been a baptism between the families, but at the time one became wives even by giving a jar of basil) she confided the hope of returning, once "made the money", but the children came, no less than 5 in the span of 7 years, and the prospect of a return became more and more unrealistic.

And Francesca, eager to share her new well-being with her people, sent large packages to her friend containing clothing for the whole family.

Packages welcomed with joy and great expectation and emptied with a bit of perplexity, given that they mainly contained jeans, and to be considered in Sicily, backward and conservative, fashion and trendy - and not workwear - a few decades still had to pass.

But now let's see how this story revolves around relatives, close friends and neighbors.

Francesca's empty house was "courted" by my grandfather, who in the meantime became the son-in-law of the wife (therefore my great-grandmother - but even here we would have to write a novel ...), because it is adjacent to hers.

But Francesca, to my grandfather's dismay, refused to sell it to him and gave it to her sister as a gift. Which then she gave to her son. When his wife died (and we are already in 1989) he placed his wife and parents in the same burial.

So, to find the surname of comare Francesca, I went to visit Mrs. Fina at the cemetery: Mrs. Fina is precisely the daughter-in-law of Francesca's sister and the neighbor of my childhood since I lived in my grandfather's house, and the sepulchral stone, when questioned, gave me back the surname of Alfia who was the sister of Francesca.

Thanks to the name, surname, date of birth and death of Alfia Parisi, Nick Cimino traced Francesca's data and thanks to this document with which Francesca applied for American citizenship in 1938, and which bears the photo published here as well as the signature of the witness Mariano Santo, brother of my great-grandmother and the one from whom the key to this tangled skein starts and which reaches Debra Santo and the twinning between Carlentini and Omaha.

Francesca (who knows if she can't stand this posthumous gossip) had grandchildren and great-grandchildren by two of her three daughters, while the two sons died prematurely.

She died on April 30, 1961 at the age of 76 in Omaha, Nebraska, where her ashes rest.
With this story / tribute (until this morning I only knew the name Francesca and her friend's Viperata) I seem to have brought her back to her Lentini, where she wanted to return, even if out of time.


Maria Rita Barretta pubblicata su Facebook il 3 settembre 2022 Francesca Parisi nacque a Lentini il 20 Settembre 1884 e il 2 marzo 1902 sposò il 25enne Giuseppe Greco.
Giuseppe Greco partì per l’America nel 1912, forse preferì - come tanti uomini del posto - tentare la sorte solcando l’oceano piuttosto che continuare a zappare le terre dei baroni e dei nobili locali per una paga giornaliera di una manciata di olive e due pedate nel culo. Ma non tergiversiamo.
Francesca rimase a Lentini ad attendere che il marito si ambientasse e trovasse un buon lavoro da camparci la famiglia (ma in cuor suo sperava che ciò non avvenisse e che lo sposo facesse ritorno).
Il sogno americano premiò quei tenaci lavoratori, e Giuseppe dopo qualche anno potè chiamare la moglie perché lo raggiungesse.
La povera Francesca, che raramente usciva dal suo quartiere e forse mai da Lentini, con quale animo poteva affrontare un viaggio lungo settimane, verso una terra sconosciuta, a raggiungere un marito che non vedeva da anni, a balbettare in una lingua incomprensibile? No, no…
Ma Giuseppe, nelle sue lettere vergate a fatica o dettate a un amico che era andato a scuola, tornava a insistere e a sollecitare la moglie a raggiungerlo. Pregava, minacciava, lusingava, pretendeva. Ma lei era santu ca nun sura, proprio non si persuadeva. Altre donne partivano per l’America, persino spose per procura… Francesca poteva fare il viaggio in compagnia di quell’altra donna, la moglie di quell’altro lentinese emigrato, la conosceva… così la confortava Giuseppe.
E se l’interlocuzione epistolare con i suoi tempi lunghi aveva dato un vantaggio a Francesca, e la grande guerra un formidabile aiuto nel procrastinare il ricongiungimento oltreoceano, nulla potè la giovane contro l’insistenza di quell’altra richiamata dal marito. “Partiamo, Francesca, viaggeremo assieme. Partiamo Francesca, sono i nostri mariti. Andiamo Francesca, la nave è grande e sicura. Non vuoi venire, Francesca? Mi farai andare tutta da sola? Allora io quando arriverò dirò a tuo marito che tu non vuoi partire perché hai un amante qui, che non lo vuoi lasciare, che a tuo marito ci fai i corna!”
Povera Francesca, che disperazione! Cosa poteva fare, se non partire per evitare l’ignominia? E Francesca partì, il 1920 era agli sgoccioli quando disse addio al suo mondo, partì consegnandosi alla caparbia intraprendenza della sua amica aguzzina. Lentini - Palermo, ed era già uno sproposito (in effetti lo è anche oggi), e a Palermo il piroscafo “Sofia” ingoiò nella sua stiva le due donne e tanta speranzosa gioventù sicula.

Quale fosse la rotta precisa del vascello e quanto durasse il viaggio io non lo so (la prima classe costa mille lire, la seconda cento, la terza dolore e spavento e puzza di sudore dal boccaporto e odore di mare morto, questo si sa 😉), infine - la data è sicura - il 3 di febbraio 1921 Francesca toccò terra a New York. Ed era da sola, la compagna di viaggio che a fin di bene l’aveva ricattata, l’amica ardimentosa su cui aveva fatto affidamento, si era ammalata durante la traversata ed era morta, ed era stata sepolta in mare.
Ora Francesca si trovava in America, dove non voleva proprio andare, per il ricatto di una donna che aveva tanto desiderato andarci ed era caduta a un passo dal traguardo. Francesca con grafia malferma raccontava la sua storia a quelli che aveva avuto cari in patria, a Lentini.
“Cummari, e iù pi chidda ca poi mossi mi trovu ca”
Francesca non dimenticava la sua gente, e alla comare (forse c’era stato un battesimo tra le famiglie, ma all’epoca si diventava comari anche regalando un vaso di basilico) confidava la speranza di fare ritorno, una volta “fatti i soldi”, ma vennero i figli, ben 5 nell’arco di 7 anni, e la prospettiva di un rientro si fece sempre più velleitaria.
E Francesca, desiderosa di dividere con la sua gente il sopraggiunto benessere, inviava alla comare grandi pacchi contenenti vestiario per tutta la famiglia.
Pacchi accolti con gioia e grande aspettativa e svuotati con un po’ di perplessità, visto che contenevano soprattutto jeans, e per essere considerati in terra sicula, arretrata e conservatrice, fashion e alla moda - e non vestiario da fatica - doveva ancora passare qualche decennio.
Ma vediamo adesso come questa storia giri attorno a parenti, amici stretti e vicini di casa. La casa vuota di Francesca era “corteggiata” da mio nonno, nel frattempo diventato il genero della comare (dunque mia bisnonna - ma anche qui ci sarebbe da scrivere un romanzo…), perché contigua alla sua.
Ma Francesca, con grande costernazione di mio nonno, rifiutò di vendergliela e la regalò alla sorella. Che poi la diede al figlio. Questi, quando morì la moglie (e siamo già nel 1989) mise nella stessa sepoltura moglie e genitori.
Quindi, per ritrovare il cognome di comare Francesca, sono andata a trovare la signora Fina al cimitero: la signora Fina è appunto la nuora della sorella di Francesca e la vicina di casa della mia infanzia visto che io ho vissuto nella casa di mio nonno, e la pietra sepolcrale, interrogata, mi ha restituito il cognome di Alfia che era la sorella di Francesca. Grazie a nome, cognome, data di nascita e di morte di Parisi Alfia, Nick Cimino ha rintracciato i dati di Francesca e grazie a questi il documento con il quale Francesca chiese la cittadinanza americana nel 1938, e che reca la foto qui pubblicata nonché la firma del testimone Mariano Santo, fratello della mia bisnonna comare e colui da cui parte il bandolo di questa aggrovigliata matassa e che arriva fino a Debra e al gemellaggio tra Carlentini e Omaha.
Francesca (chissà se mal sopporta questo spettegolamento postumo) ha avuto nipoti e pronipoti da due delle sue tre figlie femmine, mentre i due figli maschi morirono precocemente.
È morta il 30 Aprile 1961 all’età di 76 anni in Omaha, Nebraska, dove riposano le sue ceneri.
Con questo racconto/omaggio (fino a stamattina sapevo solo il nome Francesca e la viperata dell’amica) mi sembra di averla riportata nella sua Lentini, dove desiderava tornare, anche se fuori tempo massimo.

Friday, May 20, 2022

The Black Hole of Carlentini Genealogy- Morti 1893-1899

With the recent release of the Carlentini records at the Portale Antenati, we now have access from home to almost all of the civil records of Carlentini.  One exception is a group of death records from 1893-1899.

I recently received copies of the death record index pages for the years 1893-1899 from the Archivio di Stato di Siracusa.  I publish them here for all to access.

1893 A-D

1893 D-M

1893 M-T

1893 V-Z

1894 A-P

1894 P-Z

1895 A-F

1895 F-S

1895 S-Z

1896 A-P

1896 P-Z

1897 A-M

1897 N-Z

1898 A-L

1898 M-Z

1899 A-M

1899 M-Z

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Carlentini Death Indexes: 1820-1871

 Are you searching for the death record of an ancestor that died in Carlentini?  Then you will love this collection of images that contain the indexes to the death records of Carlentini from 1820-1871.  You will currently need to visit a Family History Center operated by or a FamilySearch affiliate library to see the death record itself. These indexes will give you the date of death and the Atto number to help you find it and confirm that it is your ancestor.

Once you find the death record, you can use this document to help you translate it from Italian to English:

Carlentini Morti Index 1820 DGS# 7843328 Images 366-369

This first group of four images from 1820 is in chronological order. These are great because they include the names of the mother and the father. At first the months are spelled out but when the transcriber got to October they abbreviated it as 8tre. November is 9tre and December is Xtre.

The column headings are translated as follows:

Num. d' Ordine= Number in Order

Patria= Birthplace

Professione= Occupation

Cognomi, e Nomi dei Genitori= Surname and Given Names of Parents

Giorno della morte= Day of Death

Osservazioni= Observations or notes

If you are using a computer, you can click on the images to enlarge them. Then you can open an image in a new window and Zoom in even closer.  You may prefer to download them to your computer for easier access.  I hope you do as that will help to preserve the images if anything happens to this blog post.

These three images from 1821 are in chronological order and also include the mother and father's names. It would be really great if we could get some volunteers to transcribe these chronological indexes into alphabetical order.

Here is the beginning of 1822.

These three images are 1823.

In 1824 there are also three images.


1826 There is only one image here.

1827 Two images

Here we have a large gap where we need to insert the images from 1828-1839.

1840 begins here and something terrible must have happened because we have 11 images labeled as 1840.

The first image was labeled: Carlentini Morti Index 1840 Film 1438747 Image 1785. This group of six images runs through image number 1790.

The preceding image appears go through September 1840.

The second group of 1840 images begins here beginning with this one labeled: Carlentini Morti Index 1840 Film 1438747 Image 1809 and the second image number 1810. The first death is dated 8 November 1840.

The last death on the preceding page is dated 9 December 1840. 

Here begins Carlentini Morti Index 1840 Film 1438747 Image 1833.  The first death is 9 Dec 1840 and there are two images in this sequence.

The last index for 1840 is labeled as follows: Carlentini Morti Index 1840 Film 1438747 Image 1844.  The year 1840 appears to have been a horrible epidemic. My guess would have been cholera which was prevalent throughout Europe in the 1840s.

1841 begins here and there are only four images.  The first one is labeled: Carlentini Morti Index 1841 Film 1438747 Image 1915. You would use this film number to view the full death records that are indexed here.

1842 three images from Film 1438747 Images 1969-1971. This is the last set of indexes that are in chronological order.

1843 five images Carlentini Morti Index 1843 Film 1438747 Images 2069-2073 in alphabetical order.


1844 five images- Carlentini Morti Index 1844 Film 1438748 Images 055-059. Please note that we have also begun a new microfilm number.

1845 five images - Carlentini Morti Index 1845 Film 1438748 Image 142 through Image 146 in alphabetical order.

1846 five images- Carlentini Morti Index 1846 Film 1438748 Image 236 through Image 240.

1847 four images- Carlentini Morti Index 1847 Film 1438748 Image 320 through Image 323.

1848 four images- Carlentini Morti Index 1848 Film 1438748 Images 403 through 406.

1849 six images- Carlentini Morti Index 1849 Film 1438748 Images 494-497.

1850 four images- Carlentini Morti Index 1850 Film 1438748 Images 595-598.

1851 three images- Carlentini Morti Index 1851 Film 1438748 Images 661-663.

1852 five images- Carlentini Morti Index 1852 Film 1438748 Images 745-749.

1853 four images - Carlentini Morti Index 1853 Film 1438748 Images 834-837

1854 five images - Carlentini Morti Index 1854 Film 1438748 Images 936-940

1855 eight images - Carlentini Morti Index 1855 Film 1438748 Images 1063-1067

1856 three images - Carlentini Morti Index 1856 Film 1438748 Images 1169-1171

1857 three images - Carlentini Morti Index 1857 Film 1438748 Images 1230-1232

1858 three images - Carlentini Morti Index 1858 Film 1438748 Images 1268-1270

1859 three images - Carlentini Morti Index 1859 Film 1438748 Images 1329-1331

1860 four images - Carlentini Morti Index 1860 Film 1438748 Images 1401-1404

1861 three images - Carlentini Morti Index 1861 Film 1438748 Images 1468-1470

1862 four images - Carlentini Morti Index 1862 Film 1438748 Images 1577-1580

1863 four images - Carlentini Morti Index 1863 Film 1438748 Image 1672-1675

1864 four images - Carlentini Morti Index 1864 Film 1438748 Images 1752-1755

1866 six images - Carlentini Morti Index 1865 Film 1438748 Images 1816-1821

1866 two images - Carlentini Morti Index 1866 Film 1438748 Images 1872-1873.  

Most of these indexes that follow do not contain the names of the father or the mother which decreases their value. If you find a matching name, you will need to verify that it is the right person by viewing the actual death record.


1867 two images and a new microfilm number - Carlentini Morti Index 1867 Film 1438749 Images 64 and 65. 

1868 two images - Carlentini Morti Index 1868 Film 1438749 Images 116 and 117.

1869 two images - Carlentini Morti Index 1869 Film 1438749 Images 166 and 167

1870 two images - Carlentini Morti Index 1870 Film 1438749 Images 223 and 224

1871 one image - Carlentini Morti Index 1871 Film 1438749 Image 268