Remembering Maria Forese and asking Why?

Maria Forese #2 was born on August 23rd, 1919 in the Bronx, New York. She was the daughter of Michele (Michael) Forese and Rose DiSantis both from Grumo Appula, Italy.

Maria Forese 2

Maria Forese.jpg

On May 9th, 1911 Rose, traveling under her maiden name of DiSanits left Grumo Appula and arrived in New York joining her husband Michael who had come ahead of her. Traveling with her was daughter Maria 1 b. 1898, son Nicholas 1 (Nicola) b. 1902 and son Nicholas 2 (Nicola) b. 1909. I am labeling them with a #1 and #2 to make it easier. There had been another son b. 1900 also named Nicholas (Nicola) but he passed away in the same year, 1900, in Italy.

Maria 2 was born on the 23rd of May 1912 in the Bronx, New York. When she was 4 years old she and her siblings welcomed a baby sister name Angelina (Angela) born on June 8, 1916, Bronx. Their happiness was short-lived when baby Angela passed away on the 22nd of June, 1917 of bronchial pneumonia.

Death Certificate of Angela Forese


Death Certificate - Angela Forese


In my last post, I wrote about Julia Forese nee Civitano, the sister of my grandfather Frank Civitano who married Nicholas Forese 1. It is her husband that this story attaches too. Nicholas Forese was the husband of my great aunt.

Beautiful little Maria 2 was the sister to the two Nicholas’s and sister Maria 1 born in 1898.

The interweaving of the Civitano, Forese, Simone, D’Armiento families of Grumo Appula is a tapestry of families all intermarried and connected. It is almost impossible to unravel and make sense of, but I will try. While Nicholas 1 married a Civitano member so also had Nicholas 2.

Nicholas 2 married a woman named Angelina Simone and if that name sounds familiar to followers of this blog and our family, this Angelina is the daughter of Vito Simone and Giuditta Civitano, the God-parents of Julia Forese nee Civitano the wife of Nicholas Forese 1 that I am writing about.

Tragically, little Maria died on May 31, 1919, when she was only 6 years old, 9 months and 8 days. It was her cause of death that made her passing even more horrifying. According to the death certificate, the cause of death was shock: 2nd-degree burns of back and (?) ‘the contributing causes were’: clothes set fire by match – homicide. Had she been playing with matches? The word homicide indicates a deliberate act, murder, killing of another by another and the word was used. But who? I could find no record of this using

Death Certificate of Maria Forese

Death Certificate - Maria Forese

The question is now, who, how, why had this happened. I don’t have an answer and most likely we will never know.

Tragedy strikes again

Eight months later on January 1, 1920, Rose Forese, mother of Maria and Angelina deceased, died from ‘hydatid cysts of lungs, liver and other scleroderma visceral’. Hydatid cysts are caused by a tapeworm infection, caused by contaminated animal feces.

Death Certificate of Rose Forese

Death Certificate - Rosa Forese p.1

Rose Forese nee DiSantis left behind her husband Michele/Michael Forese (47) and her two sons Nicholas 1 (18) and Nicholas 2 (12).

Rose is buried at St. Raymonds Cemetery along with sweet Maria and her infant daughter Angelina  (Section 12, Range 16, Grave 62)

Forese - St. Raymond's Cemetery                             Source: Find A Grave

Sweet Precious Maria 

Maria Forese-2



A Very Special Remembrance of Julia Bianca nee Civitano and the Death of Vincenzo Civitano Revisited

Remembering Julia Bianca nee Civitano 

29 August 1929 – 24 June 2018 


May we never forget and always take time to remember those we hold close to our hearts with love and affection. Julia was a 2nd cousin 1x removed and I had the great blessing of meeting her. She was a remarkable woman and is truly missed by those who knew and loved her. To her immediate family ~ all my love.


Revisiting the homicide of my great grandfather Vincenzo Civitano, the year was 1909 and ice was a commodity very much in demand. Our families business was the ice and coal delivery in those early years and following through the decades until refridgeration became common place. Family lore is that Vincenzo was killed over a delivery route dispute. There was a trial and the assailant went to prison. By 1923 after serving his sentence he had been released. We know this because my grandfather, his son Frank, at the age of 15, had returned from Italy in 1923 to avenge his death. He was talked out of it by his benefactor and Uncle, Frank Civitano (Julia Bianca’s father) who sponsored Frank and his sister Julia’s return from Italy where they were living with their mother Nicoletta and her 2nd husband Nicholas Grisondi in Grumo Appula, Italy.

icemanattruck                 Photo: New York Public Library

Back in August of 2017 I initiated an email conversation with a clerk at the New York City government records/archives dept. I was looking for help and direction in locating court documents for death/murder for Vincenzo. With the help of Peter Marino, Julia’s grandson we had been working this case for many years. Peter made a huge effort, visiting the archives and following the directions of the archiviest we were working with but with no avail in locating any records. In fact we had been turned over to another department; the interlibrary loans dept. in the hopes of ordering further microfilm to wade through. That connection went unanswered as they never responded to my attempts to correspond. I gave up at that point, putting the search on hold.

Here we are once again, the 1 year anniversary of Julia’s passing and I have re initiated a conversation with New York NARA (national archives and records administration) I thought it might be interesting and fun to follow this process through the blog.

June 24th initial inquiry contact made to be directed to the dept. where I can be helped.

Hello – I hope you can help me or direct me to the correct dept. 
I am requesting records and documents pertaining to a court action that occured in the year 1909 – 1910 in Manhattan This is the case of the homicide of my great grandfather
Vincenzo Civitano death certificate recorded under James Civitano #29785
date of death 12 Oct. 1909 Manhattan. Coroner Peter P. Acretelli took charge of the body from New York Hospital on 12 Oct. 1909 – certified penetrating stab wound of the chest Date Received: 8 Dec. 1909 under Vincent Civitano no. 4991 4th quarter I am trying to learn the identity of the assailant. As family, we know that there had been a trial in which his wife Nicoletta Civitano had testified at. The assailant was convicted and sent to prison and was released after time served. Can you help me with this? 
Thank you 


The National Archives at New York City is open to the public at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at One Bowling Green. 

Your request has been received and will be assigned to an archivist for processing. We strive to respond to inquiries within 10 business days, but it may take longer depending on the complexity of the request. 

Our research rooms are open Monday through Friday, 10am to 5pm. Access to microfilm and genealogical research on public computers is available during regular business hours and does not require an appointment.

Appointments are necessary to view original records. Researchers must submit a detailed request ahead of time for specific documents and make an appointment to access them. If you wish to make an appointment, please call 212-401-1620 to speak with an archivist.

I have come so far and made great head way with the help of Peter. This brick wall is one that haunts and taunts me continually. I know the answer is out there, it is a mystery I am determined to solve. With some time to rest under my belt, it is time to take another crack at it.

Remembering Vincent Civitano

I know my birth father through the stories told to me about him.

I know him by studing the pictures I have acquired through the years.

I know him by the mannerism and expressions of my brothers and his brother.

I know him by researching and writing about his family, my family, the family that has come before us from the simple peasant village of Grumo Appula, in the Puglia region of Italy.

As I remember him on this anniversary of his passing, those of us who knew him intimately, remember the boy and man he was and the gap left in our lives with his passing.

Vincent Anthony Civitano 

24 April 1934 – 20 June 1990

I know him by seeing myself in him

Birthfather&Me copy

This photo of Vincent was taken in about 1953/54. He is about 19 or 20, serving in the Army in the Korean War. The photo of myself, high school graduation, 1971 and I am 18. This was one of the very first photo’s I received after I found my birth family in 2004. I saw myself in him immediatly. Below is a picture with the two of us transposed on each other.


Birthfathertranspose2 copy

Vincent was the son of Frank Civitano and Catherine Langellotti. Vincent joined his sister, Nicoletta (4) born in 1930. Living at 1114 Metcalf Ave, Bronx, his father Frank was working as an ice proprietor and later delivering coal in those early years. Many of our family members began in the ice and coal business which provided a stable and steady income for their families.


Vincent was preceded in death by his father in 1982.  His son, my brother, Vincent Jr. joined them both in 1996.


As it is with genealogy, we look back into our past to move forward and through life celebrating and remembering those who have gone before in a effort to make sense and understand our present.

Today I remember and celebrate you

Vincent Anthony Civitano