Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Mystery of the Missing Pagano Child

I have been tracking the Pagano family for several years now. The family line originates in Ventimiglia, Sicily and the patriarch, Salvatore, immigrated to the United States around 1892. It is believed that, like many Sicilians, Salvatore Pagano immigrated to the port at New Orleans and then headed north to New York City. The only American document I have for Salvatore is his death certificate, stating he passed on December 3, 1899 in a tenament at 224 Chrystie Street in New York City. I have found a ship manifest for a Salvatore Pagano, age 42, and Filippo Pagano, age 12, for a ship landing in New Orleans in 1892. The ages fit and the location fits with the family story, but I am not positive that this is my Salvatore.
Salvatore and Filippo Pagano's possible arrival, 7 November 1892, Ship name: Trinacria, Port of Departure: Palermo, Italy, Port of Arrival: New Orleans
While Salvatore has been the bane of my existence, his wife Maria Rosa, has been a little more easy to track. I have found her on the 1910 and 1920 census and I have her death certificate, dated 1928. She was born in Ventimiglia, married Salvatore there in 1878 and sometime prior to 1900 immigrated to New York City. According to the 1910 census, Mary (as she was called in America) had six children, five were living at the time. Six? I only know of four...where and who are the other two children?

Through the Family History Library I was able to view civil registration films from Ventimiglia. I found birth records for four Pagano children: Filippo, Giovanni, Guiseppe and Guiseppa. Guiseppe was new to me. He was born in 1886, which means I should have seen him with his family on the 1910 census. On a whim I decided to look at the death records for 1886 and 1887. There was Guiseppe, dead at just one-year-old. On the 1910 census, there is a Mary, born 1899 in New York City. I have found no birth record for her, but the census makes it look like Salvatore and Maria Rosa are her parents. So that is the fifth child. What of baby number 6?
Pagano Family on 1910 census. Living at 422 West 35th Street in Manhattan.
I was unable to find any other children for Salvatore and Maria Rosa in the records from Ventimiglia. My next step was to try to track when Mary and the other children came to America. Her eldest son, Filippo, came around 1892. The above census states that Giovanni, or John, arrived in 1896. It also states that Maria Rosa and daughter Josephine arrived in the United States in 1897. I'm not positive that the dates are correct, but I have found a ship manifest for Maria and Josephine that may fit. The date was 1896.
Possible Maria and Josephine Pagano arrival, dated: 24 August 1896, arriving to the port of New York on the ship Bolivia
This manifest lists Salvatore Pagano, age 46; Coucetta, age 7; Guiseppa, age 5. Below this family on the manifest is a Maria R. Cassata, age 41. Women were often listed by their maiden names on ship manifests and low and behold Maria's maiden name is Cassata. It is very possible that Salvatore returned to Italy to get his "girls" and come back to America. But who is Coucetta? If this is indeed the line I am searching for, this is the first time I have seen her. But I do know that Salvatore's mother's name was also Coucetta. Coincidence or fantastic research? It is hard to say. Coucetta could be the missing child. She is not listed on the 1910 census with the family, but it is very possible that she would have been married and out of the house by then. Or she could have died. Now begins the work of try to locate Coucetta, the only possible lead I have for the missing Pagano child.


Donna Hanson said...

Success at the FHC?? SCORE! :-)

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Donna, I know! I am now officially sold on the FHC. I'm already determining what records I want to order next...

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