I’ve managed to collect quite a bit of information on approximately 1,000 Serracapriola immigrants to the United States. Although I used the Ellis Island website to gather this information, I couldn’t have done it without the Dr. Stephen P. Morse’s website. His site is a virtual “back door” into the vast Ellis Island database. For instance, in order to extract all of the immigrants from Serracapriola, I needed to search by the town name. The Ellis Island site does not provide this feature, but Dr. Morse’s does. For this task, I used his “gold form”; however, you can get lost for days exploring his many interesting links.
The biggest obstacle when searching for your ancestors is the many spelling errors. Whether the errors were made by the person filling out the form or transcribing the form, they can really stump you. For instance, my grandfather’s name was “Donato Miniello” but it was listed as “Donato Mintells.” I don’t know how my sister Carolyn found him! Luckily, there’s now an option to correct the misspellings in the Ellis Island database.
In addition to the misspelling of names, Serracapriola is frequently (most of the time) misspelled. In order to net as many immigrants as possible, I had to allow for these transcription errors. Here are the Serracapriola misspellings that I found:
So if you’re not finding grandpa, be mindful of the possible misspellings.
While I’m sure I haven’t managed to get all of the Serracapriola immigrants and while I’m also sure that some of my immigrants made more than one trip across the Atlantic, I think the information is nevertheless valuable and interesting from a personal as well as historical perspective. For instance, you can see from the chart below that there was virtually no immigration during World War I. My grandfather immigrated to Cleveland in 1913, but his family could not join him until 1920. Here, the personal is the political. In addition, immigration drops offs entirely when anti-Southern European sentiment in the United States virtually shuts the door and immigration stops in 1924.
If you’re having trouble locating your ancestors, use Steve Morse’s website. If you’re still unable to find them, let me know – I may have them in my database!
When They Immigrated …
… and where they went — by state
As you can see from the pie chart below, the majority of Serracapriola immigrants went to New York and Pennsylvania. Unlike Chieuti immigrants, very few Serracapriola immigrants went to Ohio.
Destinations — Cities
The destination for Serracapriola immigrants is strikingly different from Chieuti immigrants. The majority of Serracapriola immigrants went to (1) New York City, (2) Pittston, and (3) White Plains. I don’t have any record of Chieuti immigrants going to White Plains. Other cities that Serracapriola immigrants went to:
- Pennsylvania: Wilkes Barre, Hillsville, Pittsburg, Scranton, Philadelphia, Chester, Hazelton, Reading
- Connecticut: Litchfield, Waterbury, Stamford, Bridgeport
- Canada: Ontario
- New York: Binghamton, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Yonkers, Staten Island, Buffalo, Queens, New Rochelle, Syracuse, Rochester
- New Jersey: Bayonne, Newark, Elizabeth, Hoboken
- Ohio: Cleveland
Age and Gender of Immigrants
Here’s one more interesting way to look at the data. Up the the age of 19, the gender of the immigrants was roughly equal. Between the ages of 20 and 49, more men than women immigrated to the U.S. After age 49, women outnumbered men, but only slightly.