Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Benvenuti Nella Terra d'America

The Registry Hall
 Ellis Island Immigration Station
 New York, May 2004
These days the Registry Hall at Ellis Island Immigration Station stands empty except for a few National Park Service Rangers who await the completion of post-Hurricane Sandy repairs which will allow the 113 year old building to receive visitors again. Standing in the hall, as my daughter and I did in the spring of 2004, is an experience I will not forget. It was quiet on that day as well. Just a few people roaming around, taking in the vast Hall and, maybe, like us, trying to envision the day that their ancestor arrived at this most coveted destination. My grandfather and his mother and siblings arrived at Ellis Island Station to be processed for admission into America on April 22, 1909, a story right out of the history books. Let's go back a few years, 104 years to be exact, and imagine how it all must have appeared to Luigia Forte Abbate and her five children.

Luigia Forte Abbate
circa. 1897
Luigia is strong. For the last three years she has, alone, endured pregnancy, managed the raising of five children, run the family business, and prepared herself to leave the rest of her family to join her husband Angelo in America. On April 8, 1909, 36 year old Luigia Forte Abbate gathers her five children, the eldest, Agata is 13 years old and the youngest, Amalia is just three years old, to leave their home in Salemi, Sicily for the last time. Their plan is to board the Lloyd Sabaudo steamship, the Principe di Piemonte in Palermo, sail to America and be reunited with their husband and father after three long years apart.  Destination: Brooklyn, New York...a new life and new dreams.

The Principe di Piemonte
As Luigia and children board the ship they are taken into the very depths of the vessel to their quarters in third class. Below the waterline, no windows, no privacy, and few amenities. Unlike their fellow passengers in first and second class, there will be no fine dining, no walks on along the deck and little to keep them occupied for the two week crossing. Almost immediately after the ship sails the children begin to experience sea-sickness.  Soon, Luigia herself is ill.
"Our mother and the children (except me!) were all very sick on the voyage to the USA, especially Maria".  -Salvatore Abbate, eldest son who was 8 years old at the time.
The Principe di  Piemonte arrives in New York Harbor on April 22, 1909 after 14 days at sea, with a total of 2,336 passengers. As passengers disembark, the first and second class guests are escorted to awaiting family and friends at the pier, no need for the wealthy to endure the processing at Ellis Island, they have been pre-screened and released long before arriving in the harbor. The third class passengers or "aliens in steerage" as they are classified on the manifest are shuttled by ferries to the Ellis Island Immigration Station. I find myself thinking that this must have been a day of immensely conflicting emotions for Luigia. She must have been both terrified and excited at the same time.  History remarks of the crowds of people who were lined up for processing in the Registry Hall. Imagine standing among thousands of men, women, and children, keeping five children and your belongings together, trying to follow directions given in a language that you don't understand, and  trying to wrap your head around one of the most significant moments in your life amid such turmoil. The immigrants received physicals that would often separate families if one was found to be ill or "unfit" to be processed. Four of the five had been sick aboard the ship, what if? Would she be able to keep the children all together? Would they be allowed to move through the lines together? Would they receive the paperwork they needed to stay in the US?  Would she know the answers to all the questions the officials would ask? Her heart and mind must have been racing!  The ship's manifest recorded their names, ages, birth years, race, gender, distinguishing marks, their next of kin in the port of departure, the name and address of their sponsor in America.* Was the information that was recorded correct? Just one misstep and they could be sent back to Sicily or separated from each other.

The Registry Hall
Ellis Island Immigration Station
circa. 1907

The answers were all YES! Luigia, Agata, Salvatore, Maria, Vito, and Amalia were now well on the way to their new lives and new dreams...benvenuti nella terra d'America, welcome to the land of America!

And there you have it, the end of one journey and the beginning of another, all on the same day!

Copies of this photograph have been in my family for as long as I can remember.
La famiglia nel paese vecchio...The family, in the old country!

Standing (L to R): Luigia Forte Abbate, Crocifissia Forte Scalisi, Pietro Scalisi, Anna Forte
Seated (L to R): Maria Lombardo Forte, Angelo Abbate, Vito Forte
Baby: Agata Abbate, born March 6, 1897

Luigia, Crocifissia, and Anna were sisters, the children of Maria and Vito Forte,
Angelo and Pietro, sons-in-law, and Agata, the first child of Luigia and Angelo.

Luigia and Angelo Abbate
New York

Sarah Mood Lyons (great-great granddaughter of Angelo and Luigia)
Angela Abbate Mood (great granddaughter of Angelo and Luigia)
The Registry Hall, Ellis Island Immigration Station
May 2004

The Principe di Piemonte was sold to the Cunard Steamship Company in May 1916
and was used to carry general cargo from Bristol, England to New York. 
Early in the morning on March 1, 1917, the ship was hit with a torpedo from a
German U-Boat and sunk off the coast of Waterford, Ireland. 
 Seven lives were lost, the unarmed ship became a casualty of World War I.

*To view a copy of the ship manifest go to  Use the drop down menu on the left:  passenger search, select search by ship, select the letter "P" and then find the Principe di Piemonte in the listing of ships.  Select the year 1909 and then then date April 22, 1909-Palermo. The children are listed with the last name misspelled Akkate, Luigia is listed under her maiden name, Forte.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Angelo and Louisa Abbate

Angelo and Louisa were my paternal great grandparents and I love that my parents chose to name me for Angelo because he and his wife, I have decided, are my new favorite ancestors. These two courageous people took the risk of a lifetime and left their home in Sicily to bring their family to America, Ellis Island immigrants, a true American story!
Angelo left Sicily and his wife and children in 1906 and worked as a plasterer in America for three years before bringing her and their five children, including my grandfather, Vito (Victor) to New York.  They first  lived in the Brooklyn area of New York along with many other first generation immigrants.  I love that the U.S. Census records show that they always had a house full of family. There were fifteen years between their eldest and youngest children and records show that some of their children, along with grandchildren, lived with them even after marriage. In the 1940 U.S. Census it shows that, at 70 years of age, Angelo had four foster children living with his family as well. They were a large Sicilian family who enjoyed hanging out together and laughing and joking around.  I've got the pictures to show it!  Look for more posts on the Abbates coming soon!

Angelo and Louisa are buried at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills (Los Angeles), California.

Friday, February 22, 2013

New Delineator Recipes

New Delineator Recipes, published in 1930 by The Butterick Publishing Company. This delightful little cookbook was owned by my great grandmother, Minnie Eucebia Alligood Silas.  Since bringing home a few vintage cookbooks that had belonged to my mom I have enjoyed the peek into homemaking in the generations before me.  Cooking is not by any means one of my strengths. We eat at home most of the time but even after 32 years of marriage my culinary skills are pretty lame. Sigh... getting back to this little jewel of a cookbook!  There are all types of recipes and plenty of information and tips in this book that give a glimpse into life in the kitchen in the early 1900s.  From how to properly set and decorate the dining table to the section on "Egging and Crumbing Foods for Frying," most of the recipes are not the type we would use in today's health conscious world!  Here are a few examples of pictures from the book and their captions: 

Canned vegetables provide a splendid variety
for  every day in the year.

Evaporated milk may be used in any recipe which calls
for milk.  The well stocked pantry will contain a
supply of this convenient product.

Cereals, hot, dry, in so many stages of puffiness, flakiness,
steaming goodness and crunchy tastiness, that every
appetite under the sun is sure to be gratified,
satisfied, and perfectly content.

Something tells me that the author of the New Delineator Recipes was trying to convince the "modern" homemaker that she needed to bring some "prepared" foods into the home!  But, if she was not quite there yet, here are a few directions for preparing the main dish, that I gather, was most likely chosen from the backyard:
An old fowl will require at least three or four hours' slow cooking, but a year-old chicken should be done in one and one-half hours. 
In reference to preparing Roasted Goose: Select a goose that is about four months old; an old goose is better braised than roasted.

Any woman knows that the way to figure out which are the best recipes in another woman's cookbook is to look for the pages with spills, tears, and notes.  It is easy to find the favorite recipe in this book.  Check the Family Recipe page on this blog for the One-Two-Three-Four Cake that I know she must have baked because I have heard about it my whole life, and, that page in New Delineator Recipes is covered with stains!

 I love that she wrote her name and address
on the  inside cover of the book!

Minnie Eucebia Alligood Silas was born June 25, 1878 in Laurens County, Georgia and lived most of her life in Rentz, Georgia. Her Dad, Israel Augustus Alligood, was featured earlier this week in the Tombstone Tuesday post.  She married John Franklin Silas, Jr. at the age of 19 in 1897.  They raised eight children, (including my grandmother, Mildred Arlene Silas).  Minnie was known to have loved her chickens and she gave many of them names making it especially hard to choose which ones would be featured in a New Delineator Recipe and spared the dinner table!

This photograph was taken in Miami, Florida at the home of Minnie's daughter Mildred Arlene Silas (Thomas).  

Pictured from left to right:
Back Row: Children, John Owen (Pap) Silas, Rembert Julian Silas, Mildred Arlene Silas (Thomas)

Middle Row: Henrietta Woody Silas, Minnie Eucebia Alligood Silas, Daniel Claude Thomas

Seated: Grandaughters, Eucebia Jane Thomas (Abbate) and Phyllis Margaret Thomas (Pinder), and Great grandchildren, Thomas Bernard Pinder, and Claudia Ann Pinder

The Silas Home
Rentz, Georgia

Grandma Silas, as she was affectionately known to her family, died on May 15, 1955 in Miami, Florida.  She is buried in the Rentz Cemetery, Rentz, Georgia.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Israel A. Alligood

So, I need some help in gaining traction here at Heirlooms and Heritage!  It has become apparent that I spend way too much time trying to come up with witty, creative, or clever storylines and titles to make the blog entries more interesting.  I will not give up that pursuit but if I am to gain any credibility here and post more regularly I must get some sort of a schedule.Taking a hint from GeneaBloggers, Tuesdays will become "Tombstone Tuesday." Just a picture and a few facts about one of our deceased relatives.  That, interspersed with stories of heirlooms, should help me get a foothold here.  So, excuse the silly title and enjoy at least one short story per week.  I just got back from dragging my sister to cemeteries, me the historian and she the driver and photographer.  She is amazing, we had a blast!

Israel Augustus Alligood, I think that is an awesome name.  If you have read my post Veni, Vidi, Vici, then you might remember that my maternal grandmother took four years of Latin.  Apparently there was quite the Latin influence in baby naming in southern Georgia in those days.

Israel was my great, great maternal grandmother's grandfather.  Israel was born in Laurens County, Georgia, to Hillery and Nancy Alligood, June 15, 1835.  It appears from records that he lived in Laurens County in the Dexter area his entire life with the exception of his years serving the Confederacy during the Civil War.  According to history, the men of Laurens County were not in favor of succeeding from the Union but were forced to, in the larger picture when Georgia, as a state, succeeded.  He enlisted on April 3, 1862 at the age of 26.  For the history fans, here's a recap from GA GenWeb Project of the action that his unit saw:

49th Infantry Regiment was organized in November, 1861, with men from Wilkinson, Talfair, Washington, Irwin, Laurens, Pierce, and Pulaski counties. After serving in Georgia and North Carolina, the regiment moved to Virginia. Here it was assigned to General J.R. Anderson's and E.L. Thomas' Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia. The 49th took an active part in the campaigns of the army from Seven Pines to Cold Harbor, fought in the Petersburg trenches south of the James River, and was involved in the Appomattox operations. It reported 68 casualties at Second Manassas and 61 at Fredericksburg. The unit lost thirteen percent of the 280 at Chancellorsville and more than twenty-five percent of the 329 at Gettysburg. It surrendered with 8 officers and 103 men. Its field officers were Colonels John T. Jordan, A.J. Lane, and Samuel T. Player; Lieutenant Colonels Oliver H. Cooke, Seaborn M. Manning, Jonathon Rivers, and Wiley J. Williams; and Majors James B. Duggan, John A. Durham, and John H. Pate.

Israel married Mary Ellen Knight and they were the parents of six children including my great grandmother, Minnie Eucebia Alligood.  (See, there's another Latin derived name!)  He died at the age of 74 in 1909 and is buried in the Alligood Cemetery near Dexter, Georgia.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Carefree Days in Miamuh!

Mildred and D.C. Thomas
Miami Beach, FL 
"Miamuh," if you've got any history there then you will recognize that pronunciation of the word Miami, the crown jewel of South Florida in the 1920s and 30s. That's how the old-timers and natives (not many left I'm afraid) still pronounce it. All four of my grandparents were transplants to the Magic City. On the maternal side, a young couple from rural south Georgia who, in the mid-1920s wanted to leave the farming communities of their ancestors behind for life in the "big city."  On the paternal side, around 1935, the striking Sicilian whose family had settled in New York after arriving at Ellis Island and his wife, the fashionable young lady from Ohio, along with their two children. Both couples moved to Miami to establish their homes which, in the end, happened to be just one block from each other.

These photos of carefree days in Miami Beach were taken during the days after the 1926 hurricane, after the bursting of the real estate bubble in Miami, and after the Great Depression. These were fun times when dreams for young people like my grandparents were beginning to come true again!

Daniel Claude Thomas
Bayshore Confectionery
Miami Beach, FL
circa 1934

Daniel Claude Thomas
Miami Beach, FL

Lena May Stockton (Abbate) on right
Miami Beach, FL

Lena May Stockton (Abbate) (top right)
Miami Beach, FL

L to R:
Victor James Abbate
Victor Carmello Abbate
Virginia Lee Abbate (Thompson)
Miami Beach, FL