Born in the village of Grumo Apulla in the year 1860, Vito Luigi was the oldest of 4 children born to Francesco Civitano and Guiditta Maria Sportelli (3 surviving into adulthood) As with Italian naming customs Vito Luigi was named for his grandfather Vito Luigi (b.1803)
Ariel view of Grumo from the net
Before I move on with the life of Vito Luigi (who I will refer to as Vito from now on) I want to make mention just briefly about the early ages of deaths within this family. Vito’s Aunt Grazia, his father’s sister passed away at the age of 35, Vito was 7. He never knew his grandfather Vito Luigi, his namesake, he passed in the year 1836 at the age of 33.
Vito was born on the Strada Piscina della Terra.
Vito’s Birth Certificate
We can only imagine those early years for Vito and his siblings. The culture and way of life was changing and times were desperate. Vito was about 12 years old when his father was caught and convicted of assault and stage coach robbery then sentenced to 18 years in prison. Being the oldest I am sure he had to step up and help even more now. With the responsibilities of the farm and home along with his sister Isabella and my grandfather, Vincenzo their life was not easy. In my last post I asked the question if it was possible that Vito or Vincenzo could have followed in their fathers footsteps and participated in some sort of ‘highway robbery’. I had heard from a 2nd cousin, Carol, that her father had indicated that the family ‘back home’ were stage coach robbers. Who was her father referring to? His father Domenico born in Grumo to Vito? Or his grandfather VitoLuigi ? Vito did not immigrate to America until 1907 when he was about 47. That’s a lot of years in Grumo in troubled and unsettled hard times. It is possible he could have been involved in something he shouldn’t have.
Three years after his fathers death, in 1880, at the age of 22, Vito married Angelina (Angela) Marvulli. She was born January 1859 to Domenico Marvulli and Rosa Di’Armiento of Grumo.
Marriage Certificate of Vito Luigi Civitano and Angelina Marvulli
In the years between 1884 ~ 1899 Vito and Angelina would have 8 children, 7 of which survived to adulthood and all of them would immigrate to America. Their children were Francesco b. 1884, Domenico b. 1885, Angelina b. 1887, Giuditta b. 1888, Rosa b. 1890 d. 1892, Rosa b. 1893, Vincenzo b. 1897 and Giuseppe b. 1899.
Seven years after the birth of his last child Giuseppe, Vito made the decision to leave for America. According to the passenger record he was traveling to one of his son’s living at 456 W. 29th St between 9th and 10th Ave. I am unable to make out the name of this son on the document. It most likely was his oldest, Francesco or possibly Domenico. Census and records and passenger lists indicate they made more than one trip before settling here.
Vito’s passenger record aboard the SS Campania May 8th 1907
A year after arriving Vito’s mother Giuditta Maria passed agway at the age of 68 on Feb 21, 1908 in Grumo.
I could not find Vito in either the 1910 or the 1915 census however I actually found 2 1920 census records for him and his wife Angelina who arrived in Jan 1910 aboard the SS America. She was traveling under her maiden name of Marvulli with 2 children, I believe Giuseppe and Vincenzo. Notice that this is a list of detained aliens. It could simply mean no one was there to meet them or they were being held due to illness either way they were discharged to her husband Vito Civitano at 12 – no indication if am or pm. The address listed for Vito was 152 52nd St. This solves the mystery of where he was living in 1910.
Back to the 1920’s census. The first was a January census (had to look back a page to get the month, confirmed moving forward a page) The address is 351 West 25th St. Vito is 60, alien status, working as a mechanic -iron. Neither Vito or Angelina could read or write. They are living with their son Joseph 19, also working as a mechanic – iron, census indicates no school for Joseph but he could read and write. Living next door to them is daughter Rosa married to Domenic Semoni with their children Mary, Rocco and Louis. Domenic’s occupation is listed as ice.
The second census record I found was recorded as Feb 9th. The address listed is now 434 W. 25th St. Vito is listed as Vito Louis, 61, and the occupation is laborer in a shop. He is still holding alien status. Living with them is son Vincent 22, working as a laborer – ice, and his wife Anna (Plaveson) 21, working as a seamstress. It appears to me that Vito and Angelina had no permanent home at this time and were being shuffled between children.
Some time between 1920 and 1925 the family made the move to the country – The Bronx – living at 1542 Bryant Ave. Along with Vito (now using Louis) and Angelina, son Joseph was again with them. He was 26 with his occupation listed as laborer. Both ages are off for Louis and Angelina as well as the incorrect spelling of their last name.
I lose track of Louis and Angelina in 1930 but in 1933 tragedy strikes and their daughter Rosa Civitano married to Domenico Simone passes away at age 39 of gastric carcinoma.
Such sadness for this family. Not only did Angelina and Louis lose a daughter very young but they had lost their 1st grandchild Angelina at 1 years old and then grandson Louis at age 13 in 1932.
Six years later tragedy struck again and 1939 Louis and Angelina lost their daughter Julia (Giuditta) Simone. She was 50 years old. Julia was married to Vito Simone, brother to Domenico her sister Rosa’s husband. Vito had died 2 years earlier in 1937.
At this point in my research I am not sure what exactly happened to Louis and Angelina. I did find a 1940 census record that I believe is for them. This census states they were living at this same residence in 1935. The address was 632 Taylor Ave, Bronx. Both are listed as 85 years old and believe it or not Louis lists his occupation as road construction.
Not always positive with google maps but the house set back is most likely the house, or location of original house. Perhaps someone can let me know?
At 85 or close to that age Louis also known as Vito Luigi lost his life on June 19, 1945. Angelina would go on to live another 13 years almost making it 100 years old. With ages off so often back then perhaps she actually did. Louis’s death certificate indicates that that he was 68. That seems to be clearly in error with the gravestone and other documents confirming his age at closer to 85 – 87 years old.
Reporting his death is his son Vincent. His address at the time is 514 Leland Ave which is also the address recorded for Louis. I am wondering if perhaps both parents were living with Vincent at this time.
Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx New York
Angelina was living with her son Giuseppi/Joseph and his family at the time of her death. Line 12, maiden name of mother is incorrect.
Home at 3337 Fish Ave, Bronx (on left with faded red awning)
Vito Luigi and Angelina’s family was large with 7 children that all immigrated here. Their children went on to establish a very large presence with many descendants of Civitano’s. My branch, Vito’s brother Vincenzo had only 2 children with much smaller families. During the immigration years and on into the 50’s the families functioned as 1 branch all intertwined recreating and honoring their Italian heritage from Grumo Appula. As time and years marched on their/our lives and families branched out moving with the tides of progress and assimilation. We are many branches from one wonderful tree. There are so many wonderful photo’s to share as I continue to blog but I just love this picture. To me it captures the epitome of family, our family.
Vito’s son Francesco in front, Sam Vizzo next to him, Mary Gentile (Franks daughter) in button down dress, Lena (Franks daughter, Sam’s wife) flower dress in back, and Julia (Franks daughter) with elbow obscuring her face and I don’t know who the others are.
I have come to the end of the story of Vito Luigi Civitano brother of my great grandfather Vincenzo Civitano. We are still working on solving who killed Vincenzo but in the mean time I feel like I really got to know Vito Luigi and his wife Angelina sister to Nicoletta wife of Vincenzo 🙂 Two brothers two sisters!