Thomas (Gaetano) DeVito and Family

Not a Civitano or blood relation, but an extremely important family can not be overlooked. Below is photo of my father Vincent Civitano and Vincent DeVito, son of Thomas (Gaetano) DeVito and Mary Mercurio/Mercumo.

Feb/March 1953 Cheonwon, Korea Vincent Civitano & Vincent DeVito

I have posted this photo before on the blog with out identifying the man with my father. Spotting the photo recently, my Uncle shared who the other fellow was. He believes this meeting was by chance, and he is not sure they were in the same unit. What is important is that the DeVito family was more like family than friends. Vincent’s father, Thomas DeVito was my father Vincents Godfather.

Thomas and my grandfather Frank were paisan – country men from Bari, but it went farther than that. There was a bond of brotherhood between the two men that extended into the families. So in this posting I will honor the family of Gaetano (Thomas) DeVito.

Thomas was born on February 26, 1901 in Toritto, Bari, Puglia, Italy. Toritto is 2. 85 miles from our home town of Grumo Appula. Whether they had known each other growing up or had met in New York, the bond between the two was cemented here in the states. Thomas arrived aboard the SS Dante Alighieri on May 14, 1920 at the age of 19. I was unable to find his actual immigration passenger record so this information came from his Intention and his Petition To Naturalize from Ancestry.com.

Declaration of Intention gave us this great glimpse of what Thomas looked like.
Petition For Naturalization 1936

Using familysearch.com I was able to locate Thomas’s marriage record to Mary Mercurio. From this record I discovered that Thomas’s parents were Vincenzo DeVito and his mothers name was not legible and spelled as Ar…Ela Ferrovecch. Mary’s parents were Nicola Mercurio and Anna Ottomanelli.

Thomas married under his name Gaetano to Mary on June 21, 1925. First born daughter Marie was born in 1927, followed by Anna, 1929, Virgina, 1932, Vincent, 1932, and Nicholas, 1935.

Thomas worked in the business so popular with our family – the ice and coal delivery service. The 1930 census records from Ancestry.com listed him and Mary at 1054 Trinity Ave., Bronx, rent $50, work listed as proprietor Ice Co. Marie and Anna had both been born. Living with them or the apt next to them (it wasn’t clear) at this address was his brother Michael and his wife Mary – also in the ice business. Listed under the spelling of their last name as Devits in 1940 they had moved to 1221 Bryant Ave. Still in the ice business, all of their children had been born.

Vincent Civitano and Thomas DeVito

I was so pleased to learn there was a photo of my father and Thomas (his Godfather) at his confirmation. A big thank you to my brother Frank for digging through photo’s and finding it for me.

I have been unable to find a death record for Thomas or for his wife Mary. I know very little about their lives or family. It seems the families grew apart and lost touch or as our family members grew older and passed, the stories faded.

I was able to find a death record for son Vincent, buddy in the picture with my father.

Vincent passed away on Oct 15, 2003 and is buried at Ascension Cemetery, Monsey, Rockland Co., New York.

I did check the cemetery for any other family members. There is a Nicholas DeVito buried there but with no ages given. It’s possible it is Vincents brother but that in not known

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