Message In A Bottle ~ Michele Caso


6 copy                      Photo’s curtesy of the Gaetano Jr. Caso Family

You might be wondering what in the world is this a photo of? This is an amazing art form and one that might be remembered by family members, perhaps still talked about. You may be wondering who was that person that did those religious scene in the bottle? The answer was Michele (Michael) Caso (1892 – 1975), the husband of Rosa DiGirolamo.

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Michael made these wonderful religious diorama’s in a bottle, how many or how many have survived, I don’t know. But I can imagine coming across one in an antique store, wondering, who was this man, this person who captured his faith in a bottle?

Michele Caso was the son of Gaetano Caso and Rita Marvulli.

He was the grandson of Michele Caso born 1839, Binetto, Bari, Italy ~ died Sept. 23, 1901 Grumo Appula, Bari, Italy and Domenica Verni born June 1, 1834, Sannicandro, Bari, ~ died June 19, 1883 Grumo Appula. Michele’s profession was a calzolaio which is a cobbler/shoemaker.

Due to the impeccable research by my Civitano cousin Peter Marino, we have wonderful documentation to support this family and I would like to share this information on his grandparents.

Birth Certificate for Michele Caso ~ 1839 

Birth Certificate - Michele Caso (1833) p.1

Birth Certificate - Michele Caso (1833) p.2

Birth Certificate - Michele Caso (1833) p.3



Domenica Verni was the daughter of Giuseppe Verni and Vita Maria Racanelli both born in Sannicandro, Bari, Italy. Domenica was born June 1, 1834, Sannicandro.

Domenica’s Birth Certificate ~ 1834

Birth Certificate - Domenica Verni p.1

Birth Certificate - Domenica Verni p.2

Birth Certificate - Domenica Verni p.3

Michele married Domenica Verni on February 13, 1858, Grumo Appula, Italy

Marriage Certificate ~ 1858

Marriage Certificate - Michele -3

Marriage Certificate - Michele -4

Domenica died on June 19, 1883 in Grumo Appula and Michele married almost immediately on August 30, 1883 to Angela Ceci.

Marriage Certificate for Michele Caso and Angela Ceci

Marriage Certificate - Michele -5

Marriage Certificate - Michele -6

What we know about Angela is that she was born August 5, 1847 in Cassano Delle Murge, Bari, Puglia, Italy. She was the daughter of Michele Ceci and Grazia Capriuplo. Angela was 36 at the time of her marriage and Michele was 50 years old.

There is only documentation for 1 child born to Michele and Domenica, which was Gaetano (1864) who our line has been following. Gaetano was already 19 by the time his mother Domenica died and had no need for care so my first question for the marriage is ~ was there younger children, siblings for Gaetano and that was the reason for Michele to remarry so quickly?  Another question for me is ~ did Michele and Angela go on to have more children together? I don’t have those answers proven. Michele Caso passed away in 1901 at the age of 68 in Grumo Appula and Angela went on to live another 20 years passing in 1921 in Grumo also. There is, another researcher on ancestry who is also following this family and has posted additional children along with their spouses for both Domenica and Angela however, none of the information is documented or supported so at this time my questions will continue to go unanswered.

But this posting is really about Michele (Michael) Caso who fashioned this unique religious diorama that had been shared with me by his 2x great grandson.

This religious scene in a bottle has a timely message for many of us as we face this Corona Virus pandemic sweeping our world, our country today. It reminds us to turn to our higher power (of choice), turn to our individual faith that sees us through our daily lives, what ever that may be. As we face the unknown, the uncertainty of times, let us remember turn to that which can see us through.

Stay safe and healthy, spread calm and reassurance. Share a smile, a kind word and check in on friends and family whenever you can.



Remembering Vincent Civitano Jr.


Vincent (Vinny Daze) Civitano Jr.

7 July 1967 Bronx, N.Y. ~ 11 March 1996 Bronx, N.Y.

Today I remember my brother Vincent who passed away at the age of 28. Although I never met him, he passed before I met my birth family, I know him through the pictures and stories shared with me by my family.

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I know him through his artistry as a sought after Tattoo Artist.

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I know him through his art work.


I know him as a musician and member of the band Demolition Hammer.  I can feel his pulse and zest for life through the beat of his drums and through listening to their music on you tube.


I know him by the words and memories shared by his fans.

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I know him through the sweetness of these photos.

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I know him in the face of my daughter who’s resemblance to her Uncle is striking.

I know him in the mannerism’s and gestures of his brothers, my brothers.

I see him in their eyes reflected back at me.

I know him through his Mom who has anchored us together and accepted me as hers.

I know him through my Uncle who so willingly shares and reflects unconditionally.

Today I whisper ~ I love and miss you ~

May his memory be a blessing and a comfort to all who knew him.





Gaetano (Guy) Thomas Caso Sr.

For Wordless Wednesday last week I shared the photo of Gaetano (Guy) Thomas Caso. (below) It has been the highlight of my week as he continues to share more of his fathers ‘story’ along with more photo’s. Before going any further I want to say a big thank you to the Guy Caso family for sharing with me all the wonderful photo’s in this posting and  allowing me to share them with you.

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Gaetano Thomas Caso was my 2nd c 1x removed, born September 10, 1923 in New York. He was the middle child of 3 children born to Michele (Michael) Caso and Rosa DiGirolamo. Rita was born in 1922 and Vita (Vera) born in 1932.

Gaetano, under the name of Guy Thomas Caso, served in WWII with the 147th NCB: Naval Construction Battalion in Okinawa, Japan. He was a Machinists Mate Second Class (CB) He served from January 4, 1943 and was honorably discharged on February 9, 1946. He was 20 years old when he entered the Navy.

Guy Thomas Caso

Gaetano in front of Dominick and Ritas house NYC copy                   photo in front of his parents home

WWII Draft Registration Card –


Guy was a SeaBee during the war. The Seabee’s are part of the Construction Battalion of the Navy, they were deployed to Okinawa to build airstrips and fueling tanks to allow a safe distance for an invasion of Japan ” he went on to say “my father told me that this job was very difficult. He had to operate heavy equipment with his M1 Carbine strapped to him and was under constant sniper fire.”


Gaetano and his M1 Carbine Okinawa copy

From the Seabee Museum and Memorial Park, North Kingston, Rhode Island

“On December 28, 1941,  Rear Admiral Ben Moreell, Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks (BUDOCKS), requested specific authority to activate, organize, and man a unique, very special organization that would support the Navy and Marines in remote locations and defend themselves if attacked — the Naval Construction Battalions. On January 5, 1942,  he was given that authority and the original Battalions were formed at a new Naval base in Davisville, Rhode Island.

The first naval construction unit to actually deploy from the United States left Davisville, Rhode Island, less than two weeks later on January 17, 1942. It was designated the First Construction Detachment. The 296 men arrived at Bora Bora on February 17, 1942. ”

You can read about the Seabee’s at the link above

Guy on some of the heavy equipment


Dad building aircraft landing strips copy

Before being deployed Guy was part of the Navy’s Marching band. A drummer, he continued his love of music when  “he formed a quartet and got to play at the officers’s club to fill up some of the down time” Guy  told me.


Gaetano in Okinawa copy


Honorable discharge certificate copy

Back side Honorable discharge copy

Guy’s story does not end with his service to his country nor did it start there. Sharing a few of the memories with his son, Guy shared that his father had told him that his Uncle was an ice man, and that he helped him on his ice route sometimes. Without knowing who he meant exactly, as quite a few of the men in the family delivered ice/coal, Guy’s age does seem to line up/point to that ‘uncle’ may have been my grandfather, Frank Civitano. Looking at the other men in business during that time, they all had sons in the right age group to help out their fathers with the exception of Frank’s son, Vincent, my father, under ten during that time. But it’s just a guess at this point. As a young boy Guy Sr. also shared that his father (Michele) had given him a shoe shine box filled with polish. He would go to the local Irish bars and shine shoes for extra money for the family. Guy Jr. wonders if this might have contributed to his fathers love of corned beef and cabbage 🙂

In 1947 a year after his discharge from the Navy, Gaetano (Guy) Thomas married Elizabeth Panacciulli. Elizabeth was the daughter of Antonio Panacciulli and Antonia Albanese.

Below ~ the parents of Elizabeth and Guy Thomas

3 copyAntonia & Antonio Panacciulli and Rosa & Michael Caso

Work was sparse, so Guy joined forces along side his sister Vita’s husband, Donald Andreoli. They tried their hand at various jobs including an egg route, selling Christmas tree’s, waxing floors, any odd job that could be found. Eventually they bought a Good Humor Ice-cream truck along with some good routes. Guy. says he can remember the truck parked in the garage at his home. Who didn’t love the Good Humor ice-cream man?  It was one of the best parts of my childhood summer memories.

*add on to original post, family members have expressed that it was a Howard Johnson’s ice cream truck.

His luck turned when a friend suggested he check into the Stagehand Union as a replacement, they were always looking for extra people, so he did. This lead led to a life long career within this industry. Guy worked the 1964/65 NY World Fair, Radio City Music Hall, NBC, ABC, CBS. He built scenery for the Metropolitan Opera House during the day and at night he would work on numerous Broadway shows. He retired in 1987 at the age of 64. 

Gaetano (Guy) Thomas Caso Sr. passed away on July 1st, 2018 at the age of 94.



May his memory be a blessing

I would again like to say thank you to Guy Caso family for sharing so willingly the story of his father and his branch of the family and the wonderful family photo’s.



Connecting Cousin in the Marvulli/Caso Branch

Connecting with family, near and far, known and unknown has been one of the more exciting aspects of this blog and quite recently this has happened again. Back in Oct. of 2017, I had written a number of posts on the Marvulli branch of the family.

My great grandmother was Nicoletta Marvulli married to Vincenzo Civitano, both from the town of Grumo Appula, Bari, Italy. Nicoletta was the youngest child of Domenico Marvulli and Rosa D’Armiento.  Her older sister by 15years was Rita Edith Marvulli who married a man named Gaetano Caso, also from Grumo Appula. It is off of this family branch, Rita and Gaetano, that the new cousin connection has been made. This past week has been full of information and photo’s shared.

Rita and Gaetano Caso were the parents of 7 children of which only 3 l lived to adulthood. You can read more about them in the posts below.

First born to Rita and Gaetano was son Michael (Michele) (1892).  At the age of 15/16 he left his home in Italy to join his parents, who had already immigrated to New York (1904 &1905). It was here in New York that his future wife Rosa DiGirolamo (1901 Grumo Appula) daughter of Giuseppe DiGirolamo and Vita Servedio, arrived on the 15 Apr. 1921 to marry Michael. The marriage took place on June 12, 1921 in Manhattan.


picture credit KarenBrick,2009,

Michael and Rita had 3 children. Rita (1922), Gaetano (1923) and Vita (1932). Gaetano, named after his grandfather Gaetano (1864), married Elizabeth Panacciulli and it is their son, a 3rd cousin, Guy Jr (Gaetano) that I have connected with. With his permission I am sharing this beautiful family photo of Michael Caso and Rosa DiGirolamo with their daughter Rita and Guys father Gaetano (picture 1923/24)

1 copy Photo Courtesy of Guy (Jr) Caso & Family

I am looking forward to sharing more photo’s and family history that Guy has so graciously shared with me.