2018: Week 4 ~ 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: In the Census

2018: Week 4 ~ 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks In the Census

I’m looking forward to starting another year-long of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks with AmyJohnson Crow.  If you’ve never joined into this type of a weekly writing blog, check out her 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks site for more information. I first joined in 2014, opening my first blog and proud to say… I completed all 52 weeks on time! My 2014: 52 Week Ancestor Challenge can be found on the previous link.

Week 5

My husband’s family came here in the early part of the twentieth century as immigrants from Italy. I thought I’d focus on 1930 through the 1940 census to see how they prospered in the beginning of the depression, to the end.

The three family lines that immigrated from Italy to the United States:

  • Stefano Insalaco (Stephen Insalaco) – March 13, 1909 / April 9, 1920
  • Giuseppe Gambino (Joseph Cambino) – May 27, 1913
  • Giovanni DeTullio (John DeTulio) – Aug. 02, 1906 / April 22, 1909 (Giulia Catalano -DeTulio

Giovanni DeTullio (John DeTulio)

1930 DeTulio censusFIX

DeTullio/DeTulio, 1930 Census

John DeTullio first came to New Haven, CT. in 1906, and continued to live in the “Little Italy” area at addresses of 2 Olive St., and 5, 15, 42, and 45 Warren St. He worked in various jobs, with the first one found working for Star Line Co. (N.H.S.C.) as a dock hand at Belle Dock (record found on the 1918 WWI Registration Card). Later he found work at a local New Haven lumber company… DeForest & Hotchkiss at 115 Water St. John seemed to always work near his home as he didn’t drive.

1917 CT Military Census

In the 1917 military census, John was listed as married, living at 5 Warren St., could not drive, was not a citizen, and had never served in the military; his occupation was listed as a stableman.

The 1930 Census, shows that John and wife, Julia (Giulia) were living at 2 Olive Street, with their nine children, Antoinette, Carmela, Rosa, Michael, Nicholas, Maria, Andrew, Lucy, and Josephine; the children’s ages varied from 2 months to 19 years of age. At this time they rented, paying $21 dollars a month. Neither John or Julia were listed as able to read and write, but all children of school age were listed as able to. Their language spoken was Italian… and from accounts, I’ve heard it was always their dominant language used in their home. Several of their grandchildren that did know their grandparents, told me how they never had much communication with their grandparents as they didn’t speak Italian. The one odd question on this census to me was “did they own a radio?”… it was noted that “yes” they did.

By the time the 1940 Census was taken, the family had moved from 2 Olive St. to 42 Warren St., which was just around the corner… still remaining in the Italian area of New Haven. The family rented there at $16 dollars a month. I was told that he often moved the family to less expensive rents through the years, and on Warren St., much family lived there; as far as I’ve found he never bought, only rented. By 1951, Julia, widow of John DeTulio, was living at 55 Carlisle St. in New Haven with son Nicholas. (I’m not sure if she rented or owned)

DeTullio / DeTulio Through the years

Detulio census 1

Detulio census 2


Giuseppe Gambino (Joseph Cambino) – May 27, 1913

Giuseppe arrived in the United States as a young man, age eighteen, on May 27, 1913. As jobs were scarce, it pushed him to quickly join the Army in WWI on July 20, 1917. That may have been his best choice, as he came out of the Army as a barber. We are not sure if he knew barbering before entering, but it was told to me by sons Johnny and Frank, that he came out of the Army as a Barber; it was told he cut hair while in the Army.

Cambino ship Clip

Giuseppe Gambino (Cambino) arrived May 27, 1913

Even though I found Giuseppe’s destination listed on the ship manifest at Ellis Island for 178 Frank St. in New Haven, ct., I never found him actually listed in the city directory until 1920, after returning from WWI; he was listed as a barber at 668 Washington Ave., West Haven, with a residence now of 178 Frank St.; previously listed there was a Thomas Foormichella and Grava Angelo. He may have boarded with them and his name never given; they were boarding houses on Frank St.

1930 Cambino Census1930FIX

1930 Census: Joseph Cambino and family

On the 1930 census, Joseph was now married, working of his own accord at his barber shop (Buddy’s Barber Shop) on Washington Ave. in West Haven… but living at 294 York St.; he owned this home with a value of $6000, and 3 children were living at home… Catherine, Fred, and Celia. Joseph was listed as able to read and write and speak English, which was their primary language spoken in the home; all the children spoke and read English. I was told that he never spoke in Italian… only wanting his children to speak English… he wanted them to be American. Joseph also owned a radio, and from his grandson, Steve, he enjoyed listening to his radio while working in the barbershop; he kept one on a shelf in the shop that was always on. They also had one on a shelf in their kitchen at home and it’s the very one that we have today in our kitchen.


Grandpa Joe Cambino’s radio.

Joseph Cambino came here at the youngest age (18) of my husband’s grandparents… coming here as a single man… and the only one to own a business… and buy a house at an early age. He operated his own business by age 25, never rented except for when he first arrived… and bought three houses during his lifetime. He and his wife, Minnie (Domenica) lived in a small back room in the building of the barber shop, but within a year or two, he bought his first house on York St.in West Haven, Ct. (It seems Giuseppe Cambino was the most prosperous of my husband’s immigrant grandparents.)

Gambino / Cambino Through the Years

Cambino year listing

Cambino year listing 2


Stefano Insalaco (Stephen Insalaco) – March 13, 1909 / April 9, 1920

Stephen Insalaco entered the United States more than once as a single man, but it wasn’t until 1920 did he return as a married man with his family, daughter Louise, and son Anthony. It’s told he was ordered to serve in the Italian army before being allowed to leave with his family.

1930 insalacoFIX

Insalaco, 1930 Census

Stefano first came in 1909 with his brother, Gaetano… both listing their destination as N.Y., with an address of 3 Monroe St.  It was told to me that he didn’t remain long in the United States before returning to Italy. He returned soon to Italy, but it was also said that he went to Argentina to work on laying train tracks; I was never able to find anything on those trips. But I do know that he returned to Italy, and remained there to serve in their Army… by their demands. Before returning with his family, he once again came to live with cousins in Willimantic and worked in the Willimantic Thread mills.

By 1920, he returned, for the final time, to the United States… bringing his wife, Giacinta, and two children, Louise, age 2 and Anthony, age 2 months. Their destination was to cousins in Willimantic, CT., where work was promised in the Willimantic Thread Mill as a weaver; he had worked there on a previous trip.

The 1930 Census finds Stephen and Giacinta have moved their family to Shelton, Ct. where’s he has found work at Bloomenthols, also a textile mill. They rented for $15 dollars monthly at 131 Oak. St… both were listed as able to read and write… and six children were living at home; no radio was owned.

They made a few moves during the 1940’s but was found at 346 Coram Ave. in 1940. His occupation had remained as a weaver, but now renting at a price of $18 dollars a month. It was noted that he did not work at all in 1939 and their other income was “zero;” with 9 children at home, not sure how he supported them all. It was told to me that at one time, Giancinta took in laundry and later worked at a local shirt factory folding shirts. I’m sure there was some income coming in as my father-in-law always talked about how he worked at a local grocery store delivering groceries from age 8, to help support the family. After leaving Coram Avenue, they bought their first house on Kneen Street.

Insalaco Through the Years

Insalaco listings 1


Only two out of my husband’s three grandparents who immigrated here bought houses. It seems the one (Joseph Cambino) who came here at the youngest age of 18, and single… worked himself up the ladder at a quicker pace. Was it because he acquired an occupation of a barber in the Army? However it happened, he worked for himself, quickly owning his own business.

If I hadn’t already gathered information on his grandparents, I would have discovered much information through the census… such as year of immigration, marital status, where immigrated from, residences, children, age at marriage, and property owned.

52 ancesors with name

Like to read more, click on… 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Week 1 (Jan 1-7): Start

Week 2 (Jan 8-14): Favorite Photo

Week 3 (Jan 15-21): Longevity

Week 4 (Jan 22-28): Invite to Dinner

Week 5 (Jan 29-Feb 4): In the Census

2018: Week 2 ~ 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Favorite Photo

2018: Week 2 ~ 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Favorite Photo

Cambino Word Art

I’m looking forward to starting another year-long of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks with Amy Johnson Crow.  If you’ve never joined into this type of a weekly writing blog, check out her 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks site for more information. I first joined in 2014, opening my first blog and proud to say… I completed all 52 weeks on time! My 2014: 52 Week Ancestor Challenge can be found on the previous link.

Cambino Family photo

L. to R. back row: Catherine, Freddie, Cecelia, Johnny, Frankie, and Nancy. Front Row: Minnie (Domenica), Antonette “Dolly” (baby) in Minnie’s lap and Joe (Giuseppe/Joseph). I’m dating this photograph in the late summer of 1946. Daughter, Nancy, was twelve when this photo was taken and says it was taken in front of her father’s grapevine arbor at the farm. It was his favorite place in the yard… a table there for summer dinners, a place where Joe enjoyed his pastime of whittling, and often where several of the siblings played cards… if their father wasn’t home!

Choosing a favorite family photograph, much less one from a biological family not my own, is hard… but it was this photograph that I was drawn to when I married Steve! It was a photograph of his large family… a family who had the “typical” sibling spat, but still remained there for each other… a family that remained close… having daily contact with each other.  A family I was always jealous of…  I am an only child, but now I had a family.

How did this family photograph come to be taken… well, at this point in time it’s not remembered, or known… but they were all gathered for it! Giuseppe’s (Joseph) grandson Steve (Insalaco) says, “my grandfather knew many people as a barber… he never went to any races at West Haven Speedway where his son Johnny raced every weekend… but he knew who won every week… a barber always knew the latest news!” Most of the family men and boys went there for haircuts, so whether he went or not, he was told what happened at the racetrack as well as the family news. Several of my teachers also went to his barber shop for haircuts, so I had to be on my best behavior, for the most part in school… or he’d know! It might have been one of grandpa’s customers who came to the farm to take this family photograph. Possibly it was even the photographer, Conroy Taylor, who worked for the local newspaper (New Haven Register). Conroy was friends with Johnny, photographing the Speedway races weekly and even Johnny’s wedding.” But whoever came that day to take this family photograph… Thank You! Photographs such as this preserve history… preserving family at a specific time in their lives. (Conroy Taylor was also Steve’s Boy Scout Troup No.716 Master)

I can only imagine how the photo shoot went that afternoon under Joe’s grapevine arbor… and I’m sure a few words were voiced, out loud, as son Johnny seemed to have rocked the boat! Johnny was the strong-willed son, and if you study the photograph, you’ll notice that he was the only one who didn’t comply with his father’s request to dress in their Sunday’s finest! I’m told by daughter, Nancy, that it caused quite a ruckus that afternoon when Johnny refused to dress in a tie and jacket, but as you can see in the photo… someone gave in and the picture was taken… and it’s the only family photo of them all together in one sitting… from the youngest, (Antonette), to the oldest of Catherine.

For the most part, everyone looked happy, finally… on this day and we are very lucky to have this photograph documenting that late summer 1946 afternoon under Giuseppe’s (Joe’s)  grapevine arbor!

As all the children are lined up in sibling order, from oldest to the youngest sitting on the mother’s lap… I’ll write on each one in order.

As I look into their faces, I see Catherine on the left smiling, now if you knew her, you’d know that she always ran from every camera, or held her hand near her mouth. Look at her, she was beautiful, but yet she persistently referred to herself as ugly and always ducked out of the camera view. She’s known to have tragically even scratched her face out of photographs with a pen… I’ve seen a few! This was a woman, whose wedding photo was displayed in the window of a local photography studio. Aunt Catherine was one of a kind, and I enjoyed spending time with her. Steve often visited her, as she was his godmother… in later years, they had great political conversations, especially during the past campaigns; they both saw eye-to-eye on politics! Catherine kept an immaculate house, with limited decorations as often told me when visiting… “all those things are dust collectors.” She’d often look around my house at parties and say, “don’t you mind dusting all these things?” At that time in my life, I didn’t mind… today at my age, yes I do mind… I understand how she felt, and now I’d rather write than dust! I could easily write a book of stories on all the things I learned about Aunt Catherine through the years… such as how she always packed the trial sizes of Lysol, Comet and a sponge in a plastic bag in daughter Diane’s suitcase to clean the hotel bathroom on band trips… and who can forget her delicious cookies she brought on Christmas Eve. She enjoyed when Steve visited after he retired… he always arrived with a plate of Anginettes or Pepperoni Bread. I’ll leave you a teaser… she lived next door to the Elephant woman of Savin Rock! (That story will be for another day) It seems Diane’s suitcase was the first one opened after all the girls checked into their rooms on those band trips… as they all wanted to know what her mom had packed! Diane reports that those “cleaning” supplies were never used for the purpose intended… but mom never asked… and Diane never told! But the “cleaning” aspect was instilled into Diane, as she now packs those very things for trips and hospital visits… just like mom! Aunt Catherine finally knows the truth now!

Brother Freddie (Frederick Joseph), is next, the oldest brother in the family; named after his grandfather, Frederico Gambino. Freddie was a good son to his mother, as any son should be. Freddie lived his own life… strong-willed but close to his siblings, especially his brothers. I’m sure he set the way, as first children usually do, and they followed alongside him in many things such as hunting and boating (they lived on the water by 1957). They competed in everything they did… it was a very competitive family.

Steve: “Freddie was a tough kid, always getting in a fight, and his brothers were always there for him. He enjoyed working with wood… also a whittler like his father. I visited him often, later in life, and always found him at the kitchen table whittling wooden spoons… of which we have a few… or building one of the many wishing wells he built; almost everyone in the family ended up with one; he was also a great cook (he was a cook in the Navy) and you’d usually walk in to find a pot of sauce simmering on the stove on Sunday mornings. Freddie was accomplished at many things, such as archery… always hitting the bullseye! Boating and fishing were favorites of his also, and after moving by the water, he spent much time on the water; buying himself a new wooden speedboat. He often fished for blue crabs and eels… bringing them to his mother to cook; she made the best-stuffed eels… I have never found anyone who could duplicate the taste of them!. He also hunted all types of animals, such as pheasants, rabbits, deer and even squirrels, which grandma would cook in sauce or make a stew. Deer hunting was an annual tradition, and he never came home with one or two tied on the front of his car.”

The next sibling in birth order is Cecelia (my mother-in-law). Celia wasn’t like any of her other siblings… they’ve all said that… she was strong-willed, doing what she wanted… when she wanted. She was loved as their sister, but there was often conflict… but in the end, after many fusses and fights… conflicts were resolved, as they were siblings. Being she was my mother-in-law, it’s often hard to write on her. While she didn’t quite accept me when I came into the family, we eventually worked that out and spent many days together crafting and spending family time together, especially when the grandchildren came. Unfortunately, Celia had a one-track mind toward gambling, as many in the family did, but she couldn’t control hers and it caused problems, but everyone has problems in life… and it doesn’t stop you from loving your family. My mother-in-law was a great cook and taught me all I know about “Italian” cooking…  knitting and crochet… and a few of her favorites such as Scrabble and Pinochle. I never mastered the Pinochle card game, it just didn’t grab me, but I played scrabble with her, not winning often… she had many years of playing on me. The large, huge Dictionary always sat on the side of the table and if the word was in there… either top or bottom of the page… it was a word!

Brother Johnny, the one who caused the ruckus wearing no tie is next. Of all the siblings standing there, Johnny was the most colorful one in the family! I can only imagine all the trouble that erupted throughout the family as he grew up… and don’t tell me you’re (family) not laughing… in thinking of all he’s done and said! When I came into this family, I became close to Johnny and his wife Maggie… they were easy to talk to and Johnny was entertaining! I could listen to Johnny tell stories all day… and those stories never stopped… he enjoyed telling them! I often spent time with him and Maggie and even went with him to the car races at Riverside, MA. He raced at Savin Rock Speedway in his early years and was still racing when I met him. I remember riding with him on the purple (school) bus to Riverside, with the race car riding inside the bus; he’d boldly think nothing of walking to the back of the bus and cranking up the car… imagine how loud that car was… inside the bus! On one of my first times of riding with Johnny, he told me… “don’t worry, you’re as safe as a baby in a cradle, I can stop on a dime.” As a young girl of 19, far away from home… I wasn’t so sure of that as he was, but what I did know… I enjoyed being around him!

One of the things my husband and I laugh over now is a story that Johnny first told us of ice skating at Voss Pond one day when one of the boys fell through the ice, and in Johnny’s words… “miraculously I stuck my hand through the hole and the boy reached up to grab my hand and I pulled him out.” Now if you know Johnny, you can hear him telling this story in his descriptive way and voice. Years later, brother Frankie told us this very same story, but it was “he” who saved that boy… in the same way! Could there possibly have been two boys, and they each actually saved the same boy? We’ve always laughed over this story, at the fabrication of how each one of them was the same hero! It never mattered to us, whether it was real or not… they each told a great story and I’d give anything to go back in time… to once again hear that story!

Brother Frankie, the youngest of the three, stands next to big brother Johnny. They were very close and very competitive with each other in “everything” they did; the Cambino family was a very competitive family and remained close through the years. He was the first of my husband’s uncles I met when I came to CT., and he often took me for rides on his motorcycle to show me all around the area. I was a little nervous when he first drove me up to the top of West Rock to see Long Island Sound and all of New Haven; it was an awesome site, but the fast ride up was pretty scary. Frankie’s exceptional qualities were as a carpenter… he could build anything. He often told me stories of when he was in the Army… he was even the main carpenter in his unit, even building a table and chairs for the commander. If anyone remembers Bob Rossi, the painter on TV… then you know that’s how Frankie began painting. He’d set up his easel (he built) and paint along with Bob… and became quite proficient in painting. (I’ll add photos later). Frankie was also an accomplished musician, as well as brother Johnny; both played by ear, there was never any lessons. Frankie also played the organ, piano, guitar, and harmonica. Frankie always livened up Christmas Eve when he began playing the organ.

Sister, Nancy, is on the end of the back row of siblings in this family, age twelve, and the only one who remembers this day. I’ve always seen Nancy as the strongest of the family, taking charge of caring for her parents, making decisions and always being the one, other than their mother, to be called at holidays for a recipe. Everyone cared for their parents in different ways, but there is always one, in every family, who takes the lead. I can still hear my mother-in-law calling Nancy to ask… what amounts of this and that were needed for the Easter pies. That was what encouraged me to create the family cookbook, “Italian Famiglio Recipes.” Even today, Nancy is still a strong woman, working in her flower gardens, maintaining a vegetable garden and cooking the Sunday family dinner. Nancy and husband Gene hosted an annual Fourth of July picnic for many years… lots of work! Those picnics were so much fun… all the siblings came with their families and as the families grew, even more, were added. The Bocci games there intrigued me when I first went, and I wanted to play… but was quickly told… “it’s only for the men.” That didn’t sit well with me. LOL!  Eventually, the men relented and the women began playing, but having their own game, not with them. Most of the women brought their crafts or crocheting that day, so we were content usually, to not play Bocci unless we wanted to; we enjoyed showing off what they were working on… those were fun days!

Baby, Antonette (Dolly), completes this family photograph along with her parents Domenica (Minnie) DeTulio and Giuseppe (Joseph) Cambino. When I questioned her nickname, I was told, “I didn’t play with dolls, so my brothers called me Dolly.” She is close in age to my husband and they grew up more like brother and sister through the years… and when I came into this family… we spent much time together. Summers were spent sitting by the pool at my mother-in-laws, crocheting, crafting, and sunbathing! I can’t even remember all the crafts we’ve done through the years… there were so many! I never had anyone to play board games when I grew up, but I have fond memories of playing Clue and Careers for hours on end with Dolly… even our husbands played. What fun we had on Saturday afternoons… trying to outwit each other either in solving the mystery of whether it was Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet, Mrs. White, Mr. Green or Mrs. Peacock.. as to who killed Mr. Boddy! Just thinking of the Clue characters is so making me want to play again… I might need to find an online game… Dolly, are you ready for a rematch? Careers was another favorite… each of us trying to trick the other as to our formula strategy… it was a strategic game, gathering points to win. When OTB (Off Track Betting) came to West Haven… our Saturday mornings changed to discussing the horse races and who’d win that afternoon… often arguing our different views! It was fun later watching the race to see who picked out the winners!

Grandma Minnies birthday partyFIX

Grandma Minnie celebrating her 85th birthday party… and there is that family photo given to her by her children.

The mother, Domenica “Minnie” (DeTulio) Cambino… a caring mother holding baby Antonette (Dolly). I always loved her given name… which means Sunday. I first assumed she was possibly born on that day, but later learned she was most likely named after her paternal grandmother, Domenica DeCuore. Her nickname “Minnie” became the more Americanized version; I never heard anyone call her by any name, other than Minnie! Her children called her Mama… I called her Grandma along with her many grandchildren, and spent many hours at her house… and enjoyed going there. She taught me many cooking skills and dishes. I first learned about the famous zucchini yellow flowers from the summer squash plants. She’d take me into the garden with a paper bag in hand… to gather the flowers. When I questioned the bag, grandma said, “always put the flowers in a bag before bringing them into the house… listen closely for the buzzing. You don’t want to open the bag in the kitchen and have a bee fly out.” I never forgot that! And those fried yellow blossoms were always the best at Grandma’s! She was a great cook, and never thought twice about just cooking a small amount of any dish for you. When I was pregnant with Stephen, she’d prod me into tasting a little bit of everything, telling me, “you must taste everything so the baby will like it.” Well, I guess that worked, as Stephen loves Broccoli Rabe, and she pushed that on me saying it tasted like my southern turnip greens. Personally, I never saw the comparison to the two, other than they both were green! I never argued the taste tests, I ate whatever she gave me. When I began my cookbook, my first stop was at her kitchen table to watch, measure and write her recipes. She had no recipes written, as most cooks didn’t back then… like my own mother and grandmother… they knew how to cook by the feel and taste. On that one Easter week, as she sat at the table making her pies, I measured her ingredients to create a recipe; and it worked, as my pies come out good every time. If only I’d thought to have brought a camera!

My first experience of eating pizza there was interesting… I was in awe as she tore off the top of the box, tearing it in four pieces… and soon we all had paper plates. Often today I’ll tell hubby, “just use grandma Minnie’s paper plates.” I’ll close with one funny story after her passing… we all learned that Grandma actually smoked! We laughed about it, as almost none of us knew, except for maybe Dolly and Frankie, who lived there at the time. Frankie told us how he’d purposely leave his pack of cigarettes on the kitchen table… and as she always kept a kitchen cloth on the table, she’d pull a few out to hide under that cloth until she could hide them later. Dolly remembers, “I’d come home at lunch sometimes, and see smoke coming out the bathroom window… no one was home but Mama, so I assumed it was her.” It’s a funny remembrance! Even today… I can still picture her sitting in her “spot” at the kitchen table, with that cloth laying right there.

The father, Giuseppe (Joseph) Cambino (Gambino) sits alongside Minnie… looking the part of the prestigious proud father of 7 children on this day. While I did get to meet him in 1971 when I married Steve, he wasn’t the strong fiery man he once was… of whom I heard many stories on. He was now a sweet quiet man, and on our first meeting, he took me for a walk to see the roses he enjoyed growing. Once he gave up growing a garden, he turned to flowers. His early photos, like the tin photo of him at age 18, always showed him as a strong confident man, and quite handsome. This family photo has him sitting there, still very confident, with movie star quality… love the pocket watch tucked in his vest pocket. He reminds me of George Burns in this photograph… probably because of the cigar in hand… he seemed to hold it just as George did. Joseph always provided for his family with clothing, food, and shelter. It might not have been the best, but he provided, as what a good father does for his family… they provide the best to their ability. Times were tough, money was hard to come by, and he worked long hours at the barber shop… but he provided for all 7 children and ensured that they all received an education. My husband has many memories of going to Grandpa Joe’s barber shop for haircuts… I’ll tell those later along with the Bocci stories.

Italian naming patterns:

  • The first male is named after his paternal grandfather.
  • The second male is named after his maternal grandfather.
  • The first female is named after her paternal grandmother.
  • The second female is named after her maternal grandmother.

I can see the patterns in many of my husband’s lines, but it was not always followed as the families Americanized more.

One of the stories I’d hoped to find but never did is a photograph of when Giuseppe was young and courting Minnie. He often picked her up from work at Strouse Adler on his motorcycle with the sidecar! As New Haven had a large Indian Motorcycle dealership, I often wondered if that bike might have possibly been an Indian. (Strouse Adler was famous for their “Smoothie” foundation garments.)

So the next time you look through your family photographs… remember… there is much more to the photograph of the people you’re looking at… they all have a story! I hope you have enjoyed mine as much as I’ve enjoyed telling them.

52 ancesors with name

Like to read more, click on… 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Week 1 (Jan 1-7): Start

Week 2 (Jan 8-14): Favorite Photo

Week 3 (Jan 15-21): Longevity

Week 4 (Jan 22-28): Invite to Dinner

Week 5 (Jan 29-Feb 4): In the Census

2018: Week 1 ~ 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Start

2018: Week 1 ~ 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Start

52 ancesors pic

Week 1 ~ Start

I’m looking forward to starting another year-long of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks with Amy Johnson Crow.  If you’ve never joined into this type of a weekly writing blog, check out her 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks site for more information. I first joined in 2014, opening my first blog and proud to say… I completed all 52 weeks on time! My 2014: 52 Week Ancestor Challenge can be found on the previous link.

I plan to concentrate on my husband’s Italian lines, beginning with their immigration to the United States through Ellis Island, and I look forward to sharing the information I have gathered through the years

Giuseppe Gambino

Giuseppe (Joseph) Gambino (Cambino)

I married into an Italian family… a family with stories of times gone by… stories I never tired of hearing… and wrote down! Many of those stories were also centered around a once, great amusement park known as Savin Rock, of which I will also include stories on.

My Week 1 “Start” weekly prompt begins with my husband’s maternal grandfather, Giuseppe Cambino (Gambino) arriving on American soil in 1913; as the weeks and prompts progress, I will include both sides of his Italian family lines as they crossed the ocean to arrive at Ellis Island… arriving for a better life in America.

The S.S. Moltke arrived in the New York Harbor on May 27th, 1913. The ship had departed from Naples, Italy on May 13th for New York, for a voyage that would take fourteen days to reach its final destination… the United States. There were many immigrants onboard, alongside Guiseppe – eagerly anticipating a new life and “start” in America.


S. S. Moltke

The “Moltke” was built by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg in 1901 for the Hamburg America Line; she had a weight of 12,335 gross tons, length 525.6ft x beam 62.3ft, two funnels, two masts, twin screw and a speed of 16 knots. The Moltke could accommodate 390-1st, 230-2nd and 550-3rd class passengers, and was launched on 08/27/1901. She sailed her maiden voyage from Hamburg to Boulogne, Southampton and New York on 03/02/1902. On 04/03/1906 she commenced her first sailing between Naples, Genoa and New York and her last voyage, Genoa – Naples – New York – Genoa was on 06/23/1914. Guiseppe sailed on one of her last voyages from Italy to New York.

She was later interned at Genoa in 1914 and on 05/25/1915, was seized by Italy and renamed the “Pesaro”, where she began sailing for the Italian company, Lloyd Sabaudo. In 1925, she was finally scrapped in Italy.

Steerage passenger number ‘five’ on the S.S. Moltke was eighteen-year-old Giuseppe Gambino. Arriving at a young age was on his side, as American immigration authorities tended to look more favorably on the young and healthy who could help build America’s booming industrial base. He entered the United States as Giuseppe Gambino, as written on the ship manifest, but through time, his surname evolved into Cambino. Whether he initiated the change or it became by accident, we do not know, but whoever it was changed, it remained Cambino for the rest of his life for him, his marriage and his children. His birth records in Italy clearly show his surname to be “Gambino.”

Ship Manifest of the S. S. Moltke

Gambino manifest

Gambino, Giuseppe Male, 18y, South Italy, Italian, South Tramonti, Italy

His nationality (country of which he was a citizen) was listed as Italy; race or people as Italian South; country of last permanent residence was Italy, town of Tramonti. I’ve often pondered on the lines of this second page, where the names of nearest relatives or friend, where alien came were written.  It seems to read as father, Luitalo (sp) and town of Tramonti; his father’s name, from his birth records, was Federico Gambino; he was headed to the destination of New Haven, CT.

Giuseppe verified before boarding that he was not a polygamist, anarchist, or indentured laborer, and had never been in the poorhouse or insane asylum. The ship surgeon and the ship Master both verified that he was in good health for his arrival at Ellis Island. There were strict rules in place at that time, and the ships were held accountable for the health of their passengers. It was in the ships best interest to verify their occupants before sailing, as they would be responsible for the payment to return those that Ellis Island would not accept. Ellis Island verified everyone entering our country, checking for disease, as well as mental and body. Immigrants were turned away if they were seen as diseased and unfit… America was looking for able-bodied immigrants to build the melting pot of America.

Gambino manifest listings

Of the twenty-three names or so on the ship manifest, Giuseppe was one of twenty-one that was listed as able to read and write. The hopes that these immigrants pinned on the new world were all ahead of them. Living in America gave much more opportunity for themselves and their families. Giuseppe stated that he paid his own passage of forty dollars, and all that was left in his pocket was twenty-five dollars to begin a new life. Guiseppe never wanted to return to Italy, he told his son Johnny many tales of life there and he wanted his children to have a better life. He did not speak Italian in the home, he encouraged them to only learn and speak English. He wanted them to be American!


The voyage over in steerage was horribly crowded for Giuseppe, as he was crowded in with hundreds of immigrants, unknown to him… all squeezed into tight spaces. Some steamships could accommodate as many as two thousand passengers in steerage, so-called because it was located on the lower decks where the steering mechanism of the sailing ships had once been housed. These long narrow compartments were divided into separate dormitories for single men, women, and families. Inside the steerage cabin were bunks, two or three tiers high, equipped with meager mattresses – often populated with lice. If you were a woman traveling alone, or with your children, sleeping in the same room as a strange man was too immoral to even consider; they often chose to sleep sitting up on the deck. As far as the family stories have been told, Giuseppe came to the United States alone. I can not imagine going to a foreign country, with little money and no knowledge of the language there, but he was coming to meet his brother.

The water calmed as the S. S. Moltke made its way into the New York Harbor. Most immigrants, eager to catch sight of the new land, hurried up on deck… I’m sure Giuseppe stood with them in wanting a first glimpse of where he now would call home. In Italy, they had heard of the Statue of Liberty but were never exactly sure what it was. Still, to all of them, the first sight must have been unforgettable. The Statue Of Liberty offered them a mute, but powerful ‘welcome’ as it stood silently in the Hudson Harbor.

ellis island

The Moltke steamed up the Hudson River to a pier where the first-and second-class passengers, native or immigrant, debarked. They hoped their passage through immigration would be quick and courteous, and while they were being cleared, the steerage passengers were kept waiting – and waiting. In an effort to impress the inspectors, immigrants changed into their fanciest traditional costumes before leaving the ship – often it was the only other suit of clothes packed for the journey.

When it came time for Giuseppe to finally debark with the others, they were all harshly commanded to hurry. Bulky in their many layers of clothing, carrying bedding, trunks, holding their only possessions, even cuttings from the family vineyard to transplant in America, they scrambled from the S. S. Moltke; good riddance and glad to leave! They then boarded a barge that transported them over to Ellis Island. Giuseppe always had a vineyard after he married… first at the farm and later when he moved his family to an 1860 built saltbox style home, situated directly on Long Island Sound in West Haven, CT. Most Italians kept their traditions from home, wanting to have just a little feeling of “home.” (another post on this 1860 home)

Finally landing, Giuseppe joined his shipmates to line up at the main door – standing like cattle under an enormous metal canopy that was about fifty feet wide. He then entered the main building and climbed the immense stairway to the huge Registry Room. In 1913 the room was still divided into iron-railed aisles into which the new arrivals were steered (or shoved) to wait… once again.

Five thousand immigrants were processed a day as the Ellis Island staff worked twelve hours a day. By 1906, at immigrations peak, two or three times that number might arrive in a single day.

After passing the medical examination, Giuseppe moved through the back of the room to meet the ‘primary’ inspector; the man who would finally give or withhold permission for him to go ashore. The inspector asked Giuseppe a total of twenty-nine questions. What was his name, his age, could he read and write? What was his occupation and destination? All his answers had to exactly match the information previously recorded on the manifest of the S. S. Moltke. Just because you wanted to come and live in the United States… was not the reason you were granted acceptance.

The most difficult question men often stumbled over was – do you have work waiting for you in the United States? The correct answer was ‘No.’ The importation of contract labor was illegal and during the time that Giuseppe came,,, many laborers were deported from Ellis Island.

After leaving the primary inspector, Giuseppe returned back to the baggage room to gather his belongings and with papers stamped from the primary inspector’s desk, he was now free to enter the United States. He ferried over to the Battery and headed to Grand Central Station to begin his final journey to his listed destination of New Haven, Connecticut. What were his thoughts as he sat on that train, hoping he had been put on the correct train… hoping his brother Francesco would be waiting for him… wondering what would he do if he was not able to find his brother! I imagine there were other Italians on that train of whom he spoke in his language to… as he rode for almost two hours before reaching Union Station in New Haven.

Only a third of the immigrants remained in New York City, which kept the railroad office at Ellis Island very busy – sometimes selling as many as twenty-five tickets a minute. Immigrants leaving the island often wore this sign, “To the Conductor: Please show bearer where to change car, or train, and where to get off, as this person does not speak English.” These immigrants were very brave… coming to a foreign land, not knowing the language, hardly having any money left in their pockets and often having no family here at all.

Giuseppe Gambino / Cambino was the first of our direct line of Gambino’s to come to America. He came as a young man at the age of eighteen, now beginning his adult life in a new land. From the ship manifest, it showed he was met by his brother, Francis/Francesco (sp from records) – destination listed as New Haven, Connecticut. We can only assume he chose New Haven because of his brother, Frank, then living there, or Frank took him there to live with friends. Giuseppe did indeed go to New Haven and by 1920 he was still living at 178 Frank St., of where it was written as his destination.

Gambino Francesco

It was told to me by Giuseppe’s son, Johnny, that he lived in the apartment of friends when he first came to New Haven; his father told him that when he was young. That is probably why I never found his name in 1914 listed as an occupant in the city directory for 178 Frank St.; most likely he rented a room in someone else’s apartment. I did find him listed in 1920, he was then the sole occupant; he was also now listed as a barber at 668 Washington Ave., West Haven; Giuseppe had now begun a business as a barber.

Gambino Francesco 2

In searching the Ellis Island website for Giuseppe’s brother, I only came up with one entry for a Francesco (Frank) Gambino. It showed that he left the port of Naples, and arrived on December 21, 1907, married, age twenty-two, sailed on the ship “Konigin Luise,” and was no. 7 on the ship manifest page. Most of the Gambino’s who immigrated to America sailed from Sicily and since he came from the same area as his brother – I might assume that this listing may be him. The age is not correct, as the original family birth listings from Italy, lists his birth date as 1881, which would make him twenty-six years of age; his age could be listed wrong on the ship manifest.

This new “start” for Giuseppe in America brought many changes to the life that he might not have had in Italy. He entered the U. S. as a laborer, but eventually acquired the trade of barbiere (barber) which led him to become a business owner of his own shop – Buddy’s Barber Shop at 668 Washington St. in West Haven, CT. He wanted to be an American, he wanted to start a new life, marry and raise a family in America. Giuseppe was part of the “melting pot” who would be contributing to help America flourish.

I will return to Giuseppe later during the year with more…

If you are family and reading, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. You might even possibly be a new cousin, and if so, I look forward to connecting with you. I began the gathering of these stories and information many years ago and decided that the time was right this year to “start” sharing my husband’s family history! Goda! (Enjoy!

52 ancesors with name

Like to read more, click on… 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

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Jan prompts

Week 1 (Jan 1-7): Start

Week 2 (Jan 8-14): Favorite Photo

Week 3 (Jan 15-21): Longevity

Week 4 (Jan 22-28): Invite to Dinner

Week 5 (Jan 29-Feb 4): In the Census