In my last post I talked about the events leading up to the murder of my great grandfather Vincenzo Civitano. Most of the facts and details had not been passed down but they are slowly being uncovered. His wife, my great grandmother Nicoletta (Marvulli) was left a widow on Oct 12, 1909 at the age of 32 with 2 small children to raise. My grandfather Francesco/Frank, 2 years old and his sister Giuditta/Julia 3/12 months old. By the April 1910 census, Nicoletta and her small family had moved in with the niece of her husband, Giuditta/Julia Civitano married to Vito Simone. They had two children, Mary, 2 and Rocco 9/12 months. Vito was a retail merchant in wood and coal and Nicoletta was also listed as working as an employee in the same industry. Before I go on with what happened to Nicoletta, Frank and Julia, I’d like to share just a little about Vincenzo’s brother Vitobino Luigi and his family who had also begun to immigrate here.
Vitobino had arrived in 1907 traveling to his son Francesco who had arrived in 1903 along with Vincenzo. Son Domenico had married Giovanna Maggio in 1908 having arrived earlier in NY, son Giuseppe would arrive in 1910. His daughter Giuditta/Julia had arrived sometime before her marriage to Vito Simone which took place on 11 Oct 1906 in Manhattan. I began to wonder who of Nicoletta’s siblings may have been here at the time of Vincenzo’s death and if so why hadn’t she gone to live with one of them? Her sister Rita and husband were living here since 1905 and already had 3 children. Brother Giovanni arrived in 1905 and brother Gaetano had arrived in 1904 married Nunzia (Nancy) Lavechhio in 1909 and had 1 daughter Laura born shortly after. Both of these families are from Grumo Appula and interconnected in so many ways. The pool was small with options for Nicoletta and children to choose from. Her sister Rita was married to Gaetano Caso and from what I have learned he was blind. She certainly had her hands full. A clue to her decision to move in with Giuditta/Julia and Vito Simone may have been found on their marriage certificate.
Nicoletta, written as Nicola (seen often on documents) Marvulli was a witness for the marriage of Giuditta/Julia and Vito Simone. I like to believe a bond of friendship had been formed between these two which influenced the decision but more likely the decision may have been made by the family as a whole on where she should go. Nicoletta would remain in New York until the trial and then return to Grumo Appula. There she would remarry a man we believed named Nicholas Gisondi.
I am so blessed to have been connected with a second cousin named Ann Marie Giuliano- Elmendorf. After reading the last blog post she gave me a call to discuss everything. After returning from a visit with her mom that afternoon (her mother is the daughter of Giuditta/Julia, sister to my grandfather Frank) Ann shared some never seen pictures with me. This gem was a true discovery for us both since we weren’t even certain of the name of the man Nicoletta had remarried. To our great delight this photo was actually labeled.
Nicoletta Civitano with her 2nd husband Nicholas Gisondi (Grumo Appula) Both Photos courtesy of Ann Marie Giuliano – Elmendorf
This story is not just about Vincenzo but it is as much the story of Nicoletta, Frank and Julia. For Nicoletta uprooted herself and her children to return to the home of her birth. It was uncommon if not frowned upon for a woman with children to stay unmarried at that time. We know very little as to who this Nicholas was, if this was an arranged 2nd marriage or when they we’re married. There is speculation that he may have been a widower himself with a daughter but that has not been confirmed. We do know that she remained in Grumo until the death of Nicholas Gisondi while her 2 children returned to New York before her.
The story continues here: My grandfather Frank returned to New York to pursue a vendetta against the man who killed his father after his release from prison. Frank was sponsored by the oldest son of Vitobino Luigi, his name sake Francesco/Frank Civitano, I will refer to him as Frank 1 and my grandfather as Frank 2 from now on.
Francesco Civitano (my grandfather) Photo courtesy of Ann Marie Giuliano – Elmendorf
Imagine being a boy of 15/16 traveling alone, returning to the home of your birth with the motive of avenging your fathers death. He was traveling on the S.S. Colombo arriving on 7 June 1923. Frank 2 traveled to the home of his 1st cousin at 160 9th Ave. Sometime between 1920 and 1923 Frank 1 had moved his family from W 25th St to the 160 9th Ave
Frank 2 joins the family of Frank 1, his wife Rosina/Rose D’Armiento with children Anna 16, Mary 15 , Louis 13, Ella/Helen 10, Dominick 5, John 4. I want to point out here that daughter, Giuditta/Julia would not born until 1929 * Please don’t get overwhelmed with this name, lol, it will repeat endlessly through the generation. I am making mention of this Julia because she is the grandmother of Peter Marino who I affectionately refer to as Sherlock.
Two years later on the 1925 census, Frank 1 is listed as proprietor of a coal shop and Frank 2 is listed as working as a factory porter.
One of the more important issues at this point is that Frank 2 did not avenge his father’s death. He had been talked out of it by Frank 1 who was more like an uncle/father to him than a 1st cousin. Joining the family in 1925 and also listed on the census is Frank 2’s sister Giuditta/Julia Civitano. She is on line 26.
Below is Julia’s passport photo along with her passport documents.
Before I move on from Julia I wanted to take a closer look at this document because there are a number of things that jump out at me. A few of the facts are incorrect 1) immigration year for her father is stated as 1899 residing in US for 9 years. His passenger record is for the year 1903 2) it says father lived uninterrupted until 1913 in US, we know he was murdered in 1909 3) this was interesting too – passport issued included in mother’s passport 4) it also states last left US in 1908 – is this referring to her or Nicoletta? Julia born in 1909 5) accompanying my mother — very interesting because on the above passenger record for her return the page of her listing is for returning US citizens only, I can not find any listing for Nicoletta making this return journey with her, as well as existing family lore is that Nicoletta did not return to the US until her 2nd husband Nicholas Gisondi passed away (we do not know when that is) I also found no record of Nicoletta in any census here as was Julia with her 1st cousin and brother in Frank 1’s census listing for 1925.
This was an extremely time consuming post for me. I spent countless hours in that rabbit hole looking for and at documents, checking on facts and simply trying to place myself in my ancestors shoes. I also want to take this moment to say that in my last post, which I have since edited I had made a huge error in misidentifying a photo. For those of you who may have seen that picture I had said it was of Nicoletta and her 2 children, Frank my grandfather and sister Julia. I was so wrong and thank you to my Uncle Joe for pointing that out. I had actually mislabeled the photo and for years have been wrong think one great was the other great.
My grandfather Frank returned to New York in 1923 at the age of 15 to pursue a vendetta against the man who killed his father after his release from prison. Thankfully he did not fulfill that goal or I, my father, uncle, aunt, brothers would not be here today. Thank you to his cousin Frank 1 Civitano for stopping him 🙂 How ever the The question still remains:
Who killed Vincenzo Civitano?