The Murder of Vincenzo Civitano – 1909

Vincenzo Civitano 1868 – 1909

On October 12, 1909 a death certificate was issued for my great grandfather Vincenzo Civitano. Written with the name James Civilano, cause of death – stab wound to the chest – homicide. Two months later, on Dec. 8th his records arrived at the coroners office with his correct given name Vincenzo Civitano. (James is the common nickname for Vincenzo)

With the help of cousin Peter Marino along the way, I have been working for many years on trying to discover the name of his assailant. With so little details passed down, Vincenzo’s murder has been slow in piecing together. My Uncle Joseph, his grandson, has only a hazy memory of facts. The assailant was of Italian decent, the confrontation resulting in is death was possibly over ice/coal delivery routes, his wife, Nicoletta Marvulli remained in New York long enough to provide testimony in the trail which resulted in the assailant being convicted and being sentenced to prison. Nicoletta then returned to Grumo Appula, where they had immigrated from with her two children, Francesco (Frank) 2 years and Giuditta (Julia) abt 9 mths.

Back in 2016/17 Peter headed over to the Municipal Archives in Manhattan to comb through the records of criminal cases, with time restraints and a painstakingly long process, he had no luck. First let me explain that the records for criminal cases are listed under the assailants name. There is no data base with the victims name with the assailant listed. The records are listed alphabetically, all criminal case records grouped together, assault, larceny, homicide, abortion, theft, robbery etc… You can not just look at records for ‘homicide’. With no luck back then, we, I, pretty much put this avenue to rest.


Discovering who had murdered Vincenzo has become an obsession for me. One may ask, what will it really accomplish in learning who he was or even who really cares at this point? I can’t answer except to say this is part of Vincenzo’s story, my families story and it is not complete without this detail.

My great grandmother Nicoletta remained in New York to provide testimony in the trial. Why? What would have been her input? or has this detail morphed over the years. Had she simply remained to be present at the trial just to discover the outcome before returning to Italy to resume her life?

According to the 1910 census taken in April, at some point after Vincenzo’s death, Nicoletta 30, Frank 2, and Giuditta 9/10 moved from 250 W. 26th St and was living with her cousin Giuditta (Civitano) Simone. Giuditta was married to Vito Simone. With them was their children, daughter Mary 2, and Rocco 9/12. There are a few things interesting about this I may have or not noticed/remembered. Having thought she moved in with them, Nicoletta is listed as head of household with the Simone family listed as brother and sister in law with niece and nephew. (Giuditta was actually a 1st cousin to both Nicoletta and her late husband Vincenzo) Had they moved in with her? Nicoletta was working – listed retail merchant – coal wood – employee. Vito was listed – retail merchant – coal wood – owner. Clearly she was working for him. Nicoletta was also listed as Nicoletta Marvulli, her maiden name.

In late April (this year)I emailed the Municipal Archives inquiring on a direction in trying to find the assailant. They reinforced what I already knew and suggested sending me a file with all the criminal cases for the year 1909 to go through. Below is an example of what the down load looked like. And yes the email download records were as tiny as you see. It says: Anderson, Chester Arthur, under his name says deceased Edward Ray ‘offense’ and under that is says homicide.

example of record of cases

They files were listed A – K and L – Z, 900 plus pages with 16 entries per page, some pages blanks and you have a rough idea of the amount of files I had to comb through. It took me days and the need for a magnifying glass. I am so sad to report, I did not find Vincenzo listed. Writing back to the archives I decided to comb through 1910 records thinking perhaps the trial was later considering Nicoletta had remained in New York. I am now in the process of looking at dates – an arrest for assault possibly a few days prior to his death date of the 12th, thinking he may have been attacked and did not pass until the 12th.

I am pleased to say that I have had a wonderful response from the Archive staff. In fact ‘Cristina Stubbe’ has contacted me after I reported I have had no luck and am stumped, to let me know she is going through the 1909 and 1910 boxes of records for me to see if she can locate anything that way. Along with that she suggested writing to the Manhattan District Attorney (which I have done) to see if they have records from back then. I have written to the ‘records access officer’ under the FOIL heading, Freedom Of Information Law and hope to hear something positive back from them.

Once again, my fingers are crossed and I am hopeful that I will eventually be able to answer the question

Who killed my Great Grandfather Vincenzo Civitano

Domenica Caso and Vincenzo Locorriere

Preparing to write this first post of 2022, I did a quick look back at my posts for this past year. My first posting was on Feb 1. In that post I had been contacted by a 3rd cousin, Joseph Eckhardt, the grandson of Domenica (Caso) and Vincenzo Locorriere. Joseph had found the blog and wanted to share a few photo’s of his grandparents with me. I had researched and written about this branch before but in this posting of 2021, I was thrilled to share these two photo’s below and update about this family. Domenica Margharita, known as Margaret, was the daughter of Rita Edith Marvulli and Gaetano Caso. Rita was sister to my great grandmother Nicoletta (Marvulli) Civitano.

Shortly before Christmas, I heard from Guy Caso, who has graciously shared many family photo’s with me over the last few years. He had made a visit to Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington, New Jersey to pay his respects to his parents, Gaetano T. (Guy) Caso and his wife Elizabeth Panacciulli. While he was there he located the graves of Vincenzo and Domenica Locorriere and sent me this photo.

It is quite serendipitous to be starting the year 2022 again with a posting of Vincenzo and Domenica. May their memory be a blessing to their family and friends.

May we remember with reverence and admiration the courage, fortitude and sacrifice of those who came before us and honor their hopes and dreams with always remembering them and sharing their stories.

A Ferncliff Cemetery Visit

A big thank you to my brother Frank Civitano and our 1st cousin Karen Nordone nee Oliveri for visiting Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum in Westchester County, N.Y. yesterday, where so many of our family members are laid to rest. As my brother wrote ‘for the blog sis’ and so for the blog it is.

My grandparents Francesco Civitano and Catherine Langellotti

Karen’s mother, my Aunt Colette (Nicoletta) is laid to rest by her parents along with her partner Joseph Puglia

Along with Frank and Catherine in the same row are 3 of Catherine’s siblings

Not at Ferncliff, but I wanted to include for this posting are Catherine’s three other siblings, Emily, Margaret and Anthony

Anthony Francis (Antonio) Langellotti 1909 – 1958 was married to Maria Visaggi – Anthony is at rest at St. Raymonds, Bronx. Maria later went on and remarried.

Margaret (Immacolata) Langellotti 1907 – 1983 married John Leone – They too are both at Ferncliff.

Emily (Erminia Maria) Langellotti and her husband Frank (Francesco) Tanzillo at St Raymonds Cemetery, Bronx

And I must include at St. Raymonds Cemetery the parents (in order of age oldest to youngest) Emily, Vincent, Margaret, Anthony, Catherine, Rita, & Arthur

Also at St Raymonds Cemetery is Joseph’s brother Angelo

Angelo Antonio & his wife Caterina Bocchio

Laid to rest at Calvary Cemetery, Woodside, Queens is Joseph and Angelo’s brother

Theodore Langellotti 1864 – 1934 and his wife Philomena 1868 – 1946

Before changing branches I need to add my father Vincent and my brother Vincent both laid to rest at St. Raymonds

Back at Ferncliff and the photo sent to me, off of the Vito Luigi Civitano branch, is Domenico (Dominic) Civitano and his wife Jenny (Giovanna) Maggio and two sons Onofrio and Michael.

Dominic and Jenny also have two other son’s laid to rest at Ferncliff in a different section.

Son Frank Joseph ( Francesco) 1915 – 1996 and his wife Jean (Vincenza) Cancellieri 1919 – 2011

Son James Vincent 1919 – 1970 and his wife Viola Marie Gioia 1918 – 2007

Daughter Angelina 1909 – 2003 is laid to rest at Eglington Cemetery in Clarksboro, N.J. along with her husband Carmine (Carmelo) Paglia 1905 – 2003

Son Louis James (Vito Luigi) 1911 – 1994 is laid to rest at Glendale Cemetery, Bloomfield, N.J. his wife was Madeline Mary (2nd) Lasorella 1917 – 2002 and she died in Dallas, Texas

The last son to mention was Dominick (Domenico) Civitano 1913 – 1991 and he is laid to rest in Long Island National Cemetery

Before I close this posting, I wanted to mention the parents of Filomena DeLellis married to Joseph Langellotti (seen above) – both her parents immigrated and are laid to rest here in the states. Her father Francesco Saverio DeLellis 1827 – 1908 was laid to rest in Johnston, Rhode Island and his wife Caterina Loffreda 1851 – 1918 is at St Raymond’s.

While this was originally meant to reflect those at Ferncliff adding all of the family felt most appropriate for this posting.

If there are other family members at Ferncliff that I have missed, I would love for you to share this information with me.

Maria Filomena Peragina and Rocco Tetro

Below are the photos of Maria Filomena Peragina and her husband Rocco Tetro. Recently I had received notification from MyHeritage for ‘discovery matches’. In the tree of I. Tetro, Italy, were the pictures of Maria and her husband.

And here is how they are connected to our family tree. (everyone was born in Grumo Appula, Bari, Italy

Vito Luigi Civitano (1803 – 1836) married Isabella Elisabetta D’ Amico (1806 – 1874) (they were my 3x great grandparents) they had daughter

Rosa Civitano ( 1828 – 1891) and she married Giuseppe Peragina ( 1825 – 1896) they had daughter

Maria Filomena who married Rocco Tetro making her my 1st cousin 3x removed and Rocco the husband of my 1c3xr.

According to one family researcher on Ancestry the birth and death years for Maria was 1866 – 1928 Rocco was 1863 and some time after 1829. (this is undocumented)

They were the parents of nine children

Giuseppe Luigi (Joseph) b. 1888 Grumo d. 1969, Westchester, N.Y.

Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx Giuseppe and his wife Anna Signorile

Chiara (Grace) b. 1891 Grumo d. 1920 Bronx, N.Y.

Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx. I do not know who this Rocco is.

Rosina b. 1893 Grumo d. unknown (Grumo)

Francesco b. 1895 Grumo d. 1927 Grumo

Vito Luigi b. 1897 Grumo d. 1919 N.Y.

Laura b. 1898 Grumo d. unknown

Pietro b. 1901 Grumo d. 1972 Grumo

Donato b. 1902 Grumo – 1990 Grumo

Giovanna Maria b. 1905 Grumo

Angela b. 1907 Grumo d. 1993 N.Y. She married Vito Cascione in Grumo and immigrated in 1960 and became a citizen in 1966.

Johnston, Rhode Island Cemetery Series and the DeLellis Family

For my DeLellis and Langellotti family members I wanted to bring something you might find interesting to your attention.

The Johnston SunRise newspaper is beginning a weekly series looking into the history of the many (over 100) historic cemeteries in Johnston, Rhode Island. Over the years I have been following the town of Johnston on their facebook page and this is where I found the first of the series published. You can access the article at the link below in red.

https://johnstonsunrise.net/stories/grave-responsibility-johnston-historical-society-cemetery-committee-needs-help-maintaining-town,163326?fbclid=IwAR0PEOa12zHcWsEeYnKFMaxa8kidoIsV16EpMyu0T2KUAzadjFM791Ibrg0

In the first of the series, writer Rory Schuler shares some valuable information on gravestones and then goes into telling the story about Johnston’s only native son to become governor of Rhode Island, Samuel Ward King, as told to him by Steve Merolla, Vice President of the JHS.

My connection to Johnston is through my 2x great grandparents Francesco Saverio DeLellis and his wife Caterina DeLellis nee Loffreda.

Just briefly, Francesco (76) and Caterina (61), along with their youngest son, Umberto (14) arrived 30 April, 1904 from San Gregorio, Caserta, Italy to Ellis Island going to Francesco, oldest son of Vincenzo DeLellis who had arrived prior in 1885. Vincenzo was the son of Francesco and 1st wife Anna Maddelena LNU. Vincenzo had made his home in Johnston and by 1900 I found hm living on Peck Hill Ave. with his wife Marie and six children.

Francesco and Caterina had three children together, my great grandmother Filomena, Luigi and Umberto.

Filomena (1877) born in San Gregorio, married Giuseppe Luigi (Joseph) Langellotti also of San Gregorio, on 6 Sept, 1900. They had both arrived by 1904 and made their home in the Bronx. They had seven children, Catherine (Katie) Langellotti, my grandmother who married Frank Civitano.

Son Luigi DeLellis married Annunziata Cordini, in Italy. He arrived 11 July, 1902 according to his naturalization papers and made his home in Johnston. Annunziata followed with first born Antonetta and went on to have eight more children, making Johnston their home.

Umberto married the 2nd April, 1911 to Michelina Mastangelo in New York City. The best I have been able to discover is that they had returned to Italy and may have remained permanently. I have a passenger list record for Umberto, leaving wife Michelina in Italy and returning to the NY for what appears to be a visit in 1913.

Francesco DeLellis passed away on 28th March, 1908, in Johnston. I have not been able to locate where he is buried which is what led me to the Johnston historical society originally, hoping to find some record of his burial. His place of burial remains a mystery to me.

Francesco Saverio DeLellis originally shared with my by the Turi Family

Memorial Day Remembrance: Peter Marvulli/Marvilli and Joseph Civitano

I have been working for some time on compiling a book of records on the military service for the men and woman in our extended Civitano family. I am far from completing this task.

With Memorial Day 2021 here I wanted to take a moment to reflect and remember the sacrifice and great service to our country by these two men.

Peter Marvilli

7 June 1923 ~ 28 May 1944

PVT US ARMY WORLD WAR II

Died In Action

Co. I 6th Armored Infantry 1st Armored Division

Peter was laid to rest at Cypress Hills National Cemetery 10 August 1948, Brooklyn, New York

Peter was the son of John (Giovanni) Marvilli/Marvulli and Maria Fazio. Peter was brother to Thomas, and 1/2 brother to Dominick, Rocco, Rosa and Joseph.

Joseph Civitano

7 August 1922 ~ 8 December 1944

PVT US ARMY WORLD WAR II

Died In Action

114th Infantry Regiment, 44th Infantry Division

Joseph rests at Epinal American Cemetery France

Joseph was the son of Frank and Mary Civitano. He was brother to Joseph, Antonette, Moneantonette, and Leonora.

MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE A BLESSING

  • If you are a family member reading this and you can help me in identifying any other family members we have lost in battle, I would appreciate hearing from you

Isabella Civitano and Michele Sollecito

Isabella Civitano was the daughter of Francesco Civitano (1834-1879) and Giuditta Maria Sportelli (1839-1908)

She was born 21 July 1865, Grumo Appula, Italy. Isabella was my great grandaunt. She was the sister of my great grandfather Vincenzo and his brother Vito Luigi Civitano. Both Vincenzo and Vito Luigi immigrated and began our our Civitano families here in New York. Isabella however, remained in Grumo Appula.

Isabella’s Birth Certificate

I have written briefly about Isabella before. I have had no luck in locating information on or connecting with any family members of her branch. It is my hope in keeping her current I may be able to discover more about her from readers.

Isabella married Michele Sollecito on 31 January 1891 in Grumo Appula, Italy.

Marriage Certificate for Isabella and Michelle

Michelle Sollecito was born 11 March, 1864 in Grumo Appula. He was the son of Leonardo Sollecito (1836 -18730 and Francesca Filomena Capozzolo (1840 – 1916)

Birth Certificate of Michele

Backtracking just a bit, Isabella’s father Francesco had been convicted of robbing a stage coach and assault on August 30, 1873. He was 39 years old at the time. He was sentenced to 18 years of forced labor at the Bagno Penal Facility in Civitavecchia. He would only serve 6 years, passing away at age 45, in prison.

Isabella was only 8 years old when her father was convicted. Mother Giuditta was left with her daughter and her two sons, Vito Luigi (13) and Vincenzo (5) to raise. A great deal of responsibility must have been placed on Vito Luigi being the oldest child.

When Isabella married Michele in 1891, brother Vito Luigi was already married (1882) to Angelina Marvulli and brother Vincenzo was still single and would not marry Nicoletta Marvulli until 1900.

Isabella and Michele’s first son was Leonardo Sollecito born 25 Feb., 1893. He too remained in Grumo Appula, passing away on 5 March 1954, Grumo.

Their next three children, all named Francesco did not live to adulthood, all passing within a 2 years of being born.

A daughter Francesca was born on May 15, 1902. I have no other information on her. She was followed by Giuditta born 25 Feb. 1905. She would live for 15 years before passing away on March 6, 1920.

Isabella and Michele last child was Donata born on November 14, 1908. She went on to marry Pasquale D’Erasmo. Pasquale was the son of Vito D’Erasmo and Rosa Burdi. It appears they made their home in Grumo where Donata died on 26 July, 1973. I have no other information on Pasquale.

Brother Vincenzo was the first to immigrate to New York, arriving on June 19, 1903, Vito Luigi followed on May 8, 1907.

Their mother, Giuditta passed away on February 21, 1908 leaving Isabella, her only child in Grumo Appula to bury her. Actually she was not alone her sister in law, Vito Luigi’s wife, Angelina, was still there. She would not join her husband until 1910. Vincenzo’s wife Nicoletta (Angelina’s sister) was already in New York, having traveled in 1906 to join him.

While the details of Isabella and Michele Sollecito and family remain limited I am hopeful more information will eventually surface.

Elisabeth Caso nee Panacciulli ~ a found gem

In my last posting I shared the wonderful wedding photos of Elizabeth Panacciulli to Guy Thomas Caso (1947). Hoping to find some additional information or details on their wedding I turned to newspapers.com and genealogy bank to try and locate something. I had no luck in either but in newspapers.com, I noticed a mention for an Elizabeth Panacciulli, the year 1937, in a Louisiana paper. It didn’t match my search criteria but I had to take a look.

From The Town Talk – 1937 – 10 – 29 – Page 14

The article highlights 2 letters, the 1st by Rabbi Baum who shipped ‘Louisiana bounteous products’ up to his sister Mrs. Harold Abrahams to share with her public school pupils.

A check on ancestry.com, I located a Sylvia Abrahams (29) living with her husband Harold, at 12 W. 72 St., N.Y.C.. Her occupation was listed teacher – public school. This seemed as the most likely person but the fact she was living in the city and not in Queens, I wanted to confirm this. My next step was to try and prove that Sylvia was actually Sylvia Baum, sister of Rabbi Baum. I was able to locate a marriage license for August 8, 1933 for Harold L. (Leonard) Abrahams to Sylvia Baum, Brooklyn, N.Y.. The marriage took place on the August 15th. I had our sister and teacher.

The 2nd letter highlighted was written by Queens, N.Y. 4th grade student Elizabeth Panacciulli. Her letter starts at the bottom of the article, Dear Dr. Baum. She writes they were learning about Louisiana in class and goes on to say her teacher, Mrs. Abrahams let them taste the peanuts. She wrote “we wish the children down there could see the biggest building in the world. It is the Empire State Building.”

We know that Elizabeth was born in 1 Jan., 1927 which would have made her 10 years old in 1937. The right age for a 4th grader. A check on ancestry and she was the only Elizabeth Panacciulli living in Queens. I feel very confident this is our Elizabeth.

I can only assume that she and her family were made aware that her thank you letter had been chosen to be highlighted in the newspaper. What a huge honor and thrill that must have been. And if for some reason this never was made known – it now has for her descendants.

Wedding Bells for Guy T. Caso and Elizabeth Panacciulli

In my posting of March 12, 2021, I shared engagement party photos for Gaetano (Guy) T. Caso and his soon to be bride Elizabeth Panacciulli. Guy was my 2nd C 1x removed. Below are a few of those photos.

I am very grateful to their son, also Guy, for recently sharing these wonderful wedding photo’s with me.

Arriving to wed, Elizabeth is accompanied by her father Antonio
Mr. & Mrs. Guy T. Caso
Identified: bridesmaid front is Vita Caso Andreoli, sister of the groom. Groomsmen : 2nd from front Frank Panacciulli, Joseph Panacciulli, brothers of the bride.
Any family members who may recognize some one in the photo’s, I would love to hear from you.
Smiles to light up the world

Guy and Elizabeth were married for 57 years.