Saturday, December 11, 2010

Calabrian Records

I own several websites including Cosenza Exchange. I began working on getting the records online for my grandfather's home town, Montalto Uffugo and also put some records for other Cosenza towns there several years ago. Since the Cosenza Archive is doing the same, I will probably not be adding further stato civile records on Cosenza Exchange as soon as I get all the available years of marriages for Montalto Uffugo online. I will not take the site down, I just will not be adding further stato civile records.
Plans for Cosenza Exchange
I am looking at other records the archive has available to see what I may be able to add that will not mirror what the archive is doing. The Catasti of Montalto Uffugo, San Fili and San Vincenzo La Costa were generously donated by Francesco Fullone. I had spent several months extracting the Catasto of Montalto and alphabetizing it and adding the html code. A recent virus to my computer has wiped out most of this work so I have been working on that again along with adding missing years of marriages. I hope to be adding that shortly after the holidays. I will not be extracting the catasti of San Fili or San Vincenzo anytime soon. I will be adding to the extractions of the baptisms of Santa Maria La Castagna also generously donated by Francesco Fullone. I am planning a trip there this year and am hoping my life will not obstruct these plans. If I can go, I am hoping to visit the churches and obtain permission to copy the church registers.
Catanzaro Exchange
With my impending trip to Italy planned, and once the final year of marriages from Montalto Uffugo have been added to the Cosenza Exchange, my focus will return to my grandmother's town of Cortale and her mother's town of Tropea. I need to complete my work on my families in those towns before I go to Italy. So, I will be adding marriage records, birth and death indexes to those towns very soon. At some point, I will be adding the comune di Filadelfia, where my great, great grandmother Caterina Cipollina was born. But that project will probably not begin until later in 2010 or 2011.

Strange names through time

When I first began reading the records from my Grandfather's town I had a difficult time with some of the Italian names. Giuseppe, Concetta and Raffaele were not strange to me as I had heard these names as early as I can remember. My father often called me "Caterina" which is my name in Italian. However, there were many names totally unheard of by me that I had to try to look up because they seemed so strange, I could not tell if I was deciphering the old handwriting correctly. I have worked on transcribing the records of several Italian towns but these names were so rare I thought I must be wrong. Here are some of the rare and more unusual first names I found:
Dorosilla, Remigio, Massimina, Columba, Pampilio, Fiorigga, Florindo, Conazioni, Delfino (and the female version Delfina), Dorina, Egisto, Erterina, Ettori and Stanislao.
Working on my mom's family, I found even stranger names, mostly in the 1600's used by the Puritans. Many of them I could not even figure out if they were male or female names. Here are some of these names:
Achsah, Supply, Preserved, Benoni, Experience, Hopestill, Wait, Waitstill, Unite, Return, Thanks and Mindwell.
The one thing I found in common in both Italy and the United States was these unusual names seemed to run in families. There were just a few couples on both sides of the ocean who seemed to prefer different names for their children. Perhaps it was a way of giving them a unique identity or expressing themselves in a unique way.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

An Italian American Thanksgiving

My early American ancestry on my mother's side should be what I am writing about on this Thanksgiving day. One of her family lines came into this country to Plymouth, Massachusetts and brought supplies and food to the pilgrim colony before going on to other parts of Massachusetts. This is my first Thanksgiving without my Mom and words cannot express how much I miss her now. For that reason, I prefer to write about my Dad's mother's first Thanksgiving in America. It is one that she never forgot.
My grandmother lived in Cortale in Catanzaro Province with her mother Natalina Scrugli, her brother Francesco and her sister Maria. At some point when she was a child, her father Giuseppe Maiuolo died. Life for them in Cortale was pretty good. The family owned properties in Upper Cortale, employed dress makers to make their clothes and owned a shop among other things.
Natalina was very close with her sisters Carmela and Maria. The three sisters and their brother Gaetano were all born in Tropea to the noble Scugli family. Their father was a lawyer and held political posts which brought the family to Cortale. Since their life in Cortale was good, they did not have to come to America to seek a better life. On the contrary, I believe their life here was much more difficult.
In April, 1904 Natalina said her goodbyes to her sisters Carmela and Maria as they left Cortale for Chicago where their brother Gaetano had moved previously. Gaetano had negotiated the marriage of his youngest sister Maria to Teodoro Bertuca in Chicago. It must have been so painful to say goodbye to the sisters she loved so much.
On September 8, 1905 a horrible earthquake rocked Calabria and Cortale. The largest town near Cortale was Nicastro which was totally destroyed by the powerful quake. A little more than one month later Natalina packed up her children bound for the Port of Napoli to leave Italy forever. We will never know if the earthquake was a deciding factor.
In 1905 the journey to Napoli would have been long, difficult and treacherous. The jouney would have spanned over 245 miles. Their ship The Sicilia left the Port of Napoli on November 16, 1905 and arrived at Ellis Island in New York on November 30, 1905. It was Thanksgiving Day. After 14 days on the ship in confined quarters, the family was anxious to get off and make their way to Chicago. Especially Maria my grandmother's sister who spent the entire 14 day journey with a horrible case of sea sickness. But Ellis Island was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday so everyone on the ship had to spend one more day in the port on the ship. My great aunt could not understand why they had a national holiday for a chicken! So the family spent their first Thanksgiving in the United States on a ship looking at Ellis Island and Lady Liberty! How very appropriate.
From that point to this day, Thanksgiving dinners have included Turkey with Italian style stuffing, Italian fried meatballs, "basta in the oven" (bow ties baked in the oven with hard boiled eggs sliced thin, sausage, meatballs and plenty of mozzarella and imported Romano cheeses, an Italian style roast, several vegetable dishes which always included fresh cooked green beans and Yams cooked in Grand Marnier Liquor. As if all that was not enough, next came the fruits and nuts which always included roasted chestnuts. Then came coffee and all the Italian cookies and pastries, a ricotta pie along with other pies and goodies. Ah, it's good to be Italian during the holidays!
Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Surname Saturday - Clapp

My ancestor Roger Clapp was born on 6 April 1609 in Salcombe Regis, Devonshire, England to William Clap and Johanna Channon. He was a devout puritan. In 1629 he landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts on the ship named "John and Mary" just after the harvest. His autobiography titled "Memiors" described briefly his short time in Plymouth with the remnants of the original pilgrims. From there he journeyed to Dorchester, Massachusetts via Boston in pursuit of religious freedom. He married Joanna Ford in Dorchester on 6 November, 1633 and together they had 14 children.
In 2010 we would look at the names of their children and think how strange the names were, however many of them are typical Puritan names like Thanks, Preserved and Experience.
I descend from Roger at least twice and from his father three times. I believe it may be much more since I descend from several of Roger's cousins whose Clapp connections are still unknown to me.
As I followed this family through the lines of my descent, it was like reading a book on American history. Roger Clapp was an original settler of Dorchester, Massachusetts along with his mentor Reverend John Warham. Roger Clapp did many things but his primary profession was that of Captain in the military and he spent his later years as Captain of "the Castle" (later called Fort Independence) which was the first military installation on colony soil located in what now is South Boston. Captain Roger Clapp's son, Preserved Clapp was married to Sarah Newberry. Preserved left Dorchester for Northampton, Massachusetts where he lived out the rest of his life. Preserved was, like his father before him, a Captain in the local militia, the representative of Northampton in the general court and a ruling elder of the church.

My direct line Clapp was Achsah Clapp who married John Dewey in September of 1780. The Clapp Memorial lists her husband as John Devoy (of course that is incorrect). I have searched every possible book and online source, however, I have been unable to find a place or date of death for Achsah Clapp Dewey. John Dewey died in Leyden, New York and is buried there in the Locust Grove Lord Cemetery. He is buried alone. Achsah is not buried there. I cannot find her burial anywhere in New York. John Dewey died December 31, 1821 in Leyden, New York. The last 2 records I found for him were census records for 1810 and 1820. Unfortunately, during this time the census only mentioned the head of household by name, however, both censuses listed a woman in his household age 45 or older. Although the woman could have been a housekeeper for John and the minor children, I believe it was Achsah. If she is not buried in the same cemetery as her husband, where can she be? I have a theory. I believe she returned to Westfield either to live or for a visit and died there. I believe she is buried in the Mechanic Street Cemetery near the Clapps or the Dewey's in an unmarked grave in an unknown location. When I visited the cemetery there they provided me with a list of all burials there. On the list was "Askaah" Dewey. Her location and all information about her is missing. It is my belief that is her in that unknown grave. I need the records of Westfield to confirm this but until I can search them her date and place of death will remain a mystery.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Mother, Dorothy Kent Dewey

Exactly one week after the death of my mother, I thought I would write this blog post about her.
What can you say about an angel? My mother's virtues were many, her friends were many and her enemies were none!
Dorothy Kent Dewey began her life in Chicago on April 5, 1919 in Chicago, Illinois. She was born to Dix Darius Dewey and Myrtle Schmitt Dewey (another angel!). She had a older brother Dix who was less than 2 years older than her that she remained close to until his death in 1948. She never got over his death. A few years later came brother Charles "Chuck" M. Dewey and sister Sue.
By my own mother's words, she grew up in a "very Victorian" household. Their homes were Victorian homes, but it was her grandmother's living there with them that gave her a "Victorian" upbringingg. Etta Kent Dewey and Katherine "Katie" Satter Schmitt both widows, came to live in the Dewey household. My mother said she never saw her parent's embrace or kiss and they referred to each other as Mr. Dewey and Mrs. Dewey, very rarely by first name. In an era when women did not have careers, Mom went to Sherman Hospital Nursing School in Elgin, Illinois. She worked as a neuro nurse, a nurse to prominent Chicago dermatologists and was a private duty nurse for the famous Wrigley family.
In 1948 she met my father. His background was totally different from hers. The son of Italian immigrants, the family was openly very affectionate, loving and close. Mom loved it! She and my father married on May 7, 1949. Thus began a loving 62 year love affair that never ended. Right up until her last day, my father sang her beautiful love songs he wrote for her.
Mom was a great woman who will be remember for her love, great insights, philosophy, kindness, and beautiful soul. She was a very spiritual woman who held a great gift in writing. She wrote letters almost every day to many different people and everyone who received one loved them. She read one book a day, created beautiful gardens herself and every day and swam 100 laps in the swimming pool during the winter months right up until she turned 80 years old.
A perfect soul, such as my mother just cannot be described. My mother was an amazing woman and with her death I have lost my greatest advocate, mentor and friend!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Independence Day 2010 John Dewey

I know it is surname Saturday but this Independence Day I have to think about all the family ancestors that served on the side of the rebels in our war for independence. When you think of the birth of our nation, many believe we became an official nation on July 4, 1776. It is true that is the date we declared our independence, however, the war was far from over on that date. The American Revolution began in 1775 but did not end until 1783. Today I will tell the story of John Dewey, my 5th great grandfather. A great American Patriot whom I am very proud of.
According to his diary, John Dewey left his home in Westfield, Massachusetts to join the fight for independence on April 4, 1776. His journey began in the nearby town of Roxbury and from there he left for several place before ending up in New London, Connecticut. These men marched - there were no cars, trains or horses to ease their journey. From New London, John was lucky enough to have caught a ship to sail to New York. He was clearly impressed with New York City and the rest of the state. One day he would move his family and made his home there.
But during the war he was still unmarried. After marching hundreds of miles and surviving numerous battles, winter came early. His diary does mention cold and snow. What it does not mention is what history has. The towns in New York he was in suffered a early and severe winter. No less than 12 snowstorms 5 of which were severe blizzards occurred during December of 1776 in the exact towns where John Dewey was. Supplies and food were in severe shortage for the troops in New York and New Jersey. New York was lost to the British. The soldiers knew defeat after defeat. The revolution had barely begun and yet their total defeat seemed imminent. General Washington decided a bold move was necessary. In one of the Revolution's defining moments he decided they would cross the Delaware River under the cover of night and attack the British at Trenton. The soldiers were suffering tremendously. There were reports of soldiers eating shoes because of the lack of food. Many of the soldiers marched through the snow with only rags on their feet. Instead of spending Christmas Day warm in front of the hearth fire with the love of family and friends feasting on a Christmas meal, John Dewey and hundreds of other militia men and soldiers crossed the Delaware River during a brutally cold evening in a snowstorm. While his family were warm in their beds sleeping soundly, he was preparing for a huge battle in Trenton after marching for many miles in a snowstorm while his stomach grumbled from hunger and his body ached from lack of sleep and the many miles walked in deep snow. I cannot even imagine what was going through his mind. The surprise attack was the first major success of the Revolution and the battle lasted less than an hour. The morale boost it gave the Continental Army was priceless.
Thanks to John Dewey, and all the soldiers of the revolution and every war and conflict since, I will never have to know. I know this weekend we are celebrating our independence but don't forget to thank any soldiers you may know who keep us independent and free.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day 2010

On this father's day, I began thinking about all the father's that preceded my own. I wondered who had the most children. That would definitely be my great, great, great grandfather Vincenzo Napolitano. So I have chosen him to write about today.
Vincenzo Napolitano was born about 1799 in Montalto Uffugo. He was the son of Arcangelo Napolitano and Chiara Crivaro. He was a farmer, a miller and a property owner by profession. In 1818 he married Maria Stella Nicastro. Their first child was born in 1822. Stella died in November of 1839 after giving birth to their 7th child, Maria Concetta Napolitano. Vincenzo did not wait long to find a new wife. By December he had begun posting his marriage banns for the required 3 week period with his intended Caterina Giovanna Filippo. On January 12, 1840 Vincenzo and Caterina married. Caterina was the widow of Francesco Mele and brought her 2 year old daughter Carolina Mele with her when she married Vincenzo. Vincenzo and Caterina had 9 children together bringing the grand total of children that Vincenzo raised to 17.
Pictured here is my own father. I will be taking him to dinner tonight to celebrate his 55th father's day. Happy Father's day to all the father's out there.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Surname Saturday - Napolitano

In a few days I will meet some Napolitano cousins from Toronto so I thought it would be appropriate to write about the Napolitano's today.
For years I have been chasing the Napolitano's throughout Cosenza Province in Calabria. The surname in Italy is fairly common, however, in Calabria it is not. During the time period I have been researching, the only Napolitano's in all of Calabria lived in Cosenza Province. The majority of those were in Montalto Uffugo where my grandfather was born. When I began I was overwhelmed by the huge number of Napolitano's in the town and one by one placed them in family groups until I had all of them in 3 different families.
Thanks to a young man who found me, Francesco, I have been able to view records even further back than the civil records. So now I know the first Napolitano in Montalto was Arcangelo, son of Giacomo. In 1749 my Raffaele (son of Paolo) should have been living in Vaccarizzo. So where was he? Then I was told Vaccarizzo is missing from the Catasto of Montalto! Arcangelo was born in Belsito. But who was this Arcangelo and is he related to me? And why were there no Napolitano's living in Belsito by 1809? More questions, do they ever end? I have found so many incorrect names of parents listed on death acts, I have to wonder if Paolo was truly the father of Raffaele. Raffaele was 98 when he died so I have to wonder if anyone really knew who his father was. I do know Raffaele was living in Montalto just a few years after the Catasto in the Vaccarizzo frazione.
Raffaele and his wife Diana Corno were listed as Godparents on a baptism just prior to Diana's death in 1777. The baptism said they lived in Vaccarizzo. The Catasto could answer where Raffaele was born and who his father was. Perhaps I could even find his father there and the name of his mother.
What is clear is all the Napolitano's from San Fili, San Vincenzo La Costa, San Benedetto Ullano and San Sisto descended from Raffaele Napolitano or Arcangelo Napolitano who lived and died in Montalto. By 1910 they had hundreds of descendants each.

It would appear my access to records any further back has been exhausted so no one will probably ever know. The mystery of the origins of the Napolitano in Cosenza will forever remain unknown.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Since it is Memorial Day, I have decided to highlight some of the family members who have served our country.
The Italians
From my father, who was a part of World War II, along with his brother who served the Navy, to the first generation here, my grandfather who served in World War I, I am grateful.
Dad's service was a little unconventional. Although he was not a soldier in the traditional sense, he was part of several top secret (at the time) intelligence. Part of his service was working on radar technology and monitoring the east coast for potential invaders.
Part of his service was spent in Florida working on a new technology - microwaves. During this time the military was researching microwave technology and it's potential as a weapon.
My father also spent time in Canada during the war teaching military staff to use the new radar technology and working on improvements to this new technology.
Although my Dad did not fight on a battlefield or get shipped out of the country, he did voluntarily choose to serve his country in the best way he knew how. He offered his knowledge in new technologies that the military knew little about and make improvements on this technology which helped those serving in battles and on the sea be safer as a result.
My grandfather, Giuseppe Napolitano served during World War I at Camp Gordon, Georgia, near Atlanta. Shortly after his arrival there the Camp was quarantined due to an outbreak of the great influenza that was an epidemic worldwide that year.
The Americans - My Mom's Family
My mother's family has roots in this country from it's earliest days, as far back as 1630. From the beginning, her earliest ancestors on this land served to keep it safe. Back that far, it was not an army but a militia. Her earliest Dewey was a Cornet in the militia. Roger Clapp whom she descends from twice was a Captain and a key player in opening the first military base in this country in Boston. Her ancestors not only served during the French Indian wars in the early days of this country, but many of them gave their lives during this conflict, including the women. I have found 5 of her ancestors who died in this conflict and many who were kidnapped by the Indians (woman and children included) and brought to Quebec before the French officials. Many were rescued by Massachusetts militia that included more of my ancestors. My mother's great, great great grandfather, John Dewey served in the Revolutionary War and crossed the Delaware with General Washington's troops in one of the defining moments of this country's birth. I am fortunate enough to be able to read his journal he kept during this war. You can read it on my new website here.
I am proud of our military and so grateful to their toils and sacrifices to keep all those who cannot serve safe and protected. Past and present.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Surname Saturday Dewey

My mother's father, Dix Darius Dewey spent his entire life working on the Dewey family genealogy. He was a Certified Public Accountant whose work brought him to many different states and during these trips he would visit the local libraries and call everyone in the local phone book with his surnames. By the time of his death he had stacks of legal sized accounting books filled with names and dates from his children all the way back to the hundreds. Yes, the hundreds! When my grandfather died, my mother was given much of his work and the "Dewey photographs". I remember a large oval shaped photograph of a Dewey taken during the civil war and several tin type photographs. My hope is to one day source his life's work so it can be turned over to a genealogy library completely authenticated. It would make an amazing resource for anyone with New England ancestry. I no longer have access to his work - my mother gave it all to her brother, however, I have begun my own work into the Dewey family. It is like a who's who of the men and women who founded this country. Some of the surnames include Hawes, Noble, Clapp, Bartlett, Root, Stebbins, Spencer and Graves.
Pictured in the top left of this page is Charles Marion Dewey, the father of my grandfather. On the back of this photograph is a brief overview of the family tree typed onto paper that is taped on the back. It says Charles died in Ames, Iowa. Of all the Dewey information on the internet, there is nothing about Charles Marion Dewey. He is listed in many trees, but his wife's name and children are not found anywhere. So, I will write something about them here.
Charles Marion Dewey (pictured top left) was born on August 6, 1856 to Milton Dewey (1818-1897) and Pamelia Riggs (1818-1888) in Martinsburg, New York. He married Etta Kent on January 1, 1884. Charles and Etta had 3 children; Darius Dee (1884-1885), Don Duane (1886) and my grandfather, Dix Darius (1887). Charles and Etta must have moved around because they were married in New York, had their son Dix in Jersey City, New Jersey and Charles died in Newton, Iowa
My mother told me that her grandfather, Charles Marion Dewey, had committed suicide in Iowa. I do not know if this is true. I cannot find anything on his death yet, not even a date but I hope to find something soon.
My grandfather Dix married Myrtle Schmitt who was the daughter of Joseph Schmitt and Katherine "Kate" Bronter. The mother's of both my grandparents lived with them after their husbands died. In contrast to Dix's early American, New England roots on all sides of his family, Myrtle's father immigrated from the Alsace region of France. But that is the subject for a different post.
The Dewey ancestry of my mother
Dix Darius Dewey & Myrtle Schmitt
Charles Marion Dewey & Etta Kent
Milton Dewey & Pamelia Riggs
Chester Dewey & Phebe Wettmore
John Dewey & Achsah Clapp
Aaron Dewey & Sarah Noble
Israel Dewey & Sarah Root
Thomas Dewey & Constant Hawes
Thomas Dewey & Francis Randall

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My family

Today I will be writing a little bit about my family and where their roots began. My father's father was Giuseppe Napolitano who was born in the Parantoro section of Montalto Uffugo in 1892. The family of Joe in Chicago was very small. He only had 4 cousins here that we knew of. His wife, my grandmother, Caterina Maiuolo had a lot of family in Chicago.
Caterina Maiuolo Napolitano

The family called her Kate. She was born in Cortale, Italy, located in Catanzaro Province in Calabria. Her father was Giuseppe Maiuolo who was an official of some sort with the town of Cortale. The family story says he was a tax collector. He died some time before his family came to America. Kate's mother was Natalina Scrugli who was born in Tropea around 1866. Giuseppe and Natalina lived in "Donnafiore" also referred to as "Upper Cortale".
My grandmother arrived in this country on Thanksgiving Day in 1905 on the ship Sicilia with her mother, Natalina Scrugli, her brother, Domenico Francesco and her sister Maria. She was 8 years old. You can see her ship manifest here . The family came to the home of Natalina's brother Gaetano. Soon after Natalina purchased an apartment building located on Loomis Street in the heart of Chicago's "Little Italy" neighborhood. Since a large portion of the family from Cortale and a huge portion of the population of Cortale came to Chicago, my grandmother was always surrounded by familiar family and friends from Italy. Her family was very close.
Natalina's apartment building provided the family with a steady income and all of the residents were from Italy. Natalina sponsored many Italians which enabled them to come to this country. Among the tenants in her apartment building was Rocco Napolitano the cousin of my grandfather, who recommended a flat there to my grandfather. That is how my grandfather and grandmother met. In the lower level of the apartment building Natalina had a butcher shop. A very different life than the life she had in Cortale! In Cortale they owned properties and employed servants and dress makers to clothe them. In Chicago they had to do the work themselves or purchase their clothes. When my grandmother was a teenager she began a nut shelling business and employed her nieces and nephews to help shell the nuts. She sold the shelled nuts to local bakeries and candy companies.
Giueseppe Napolitano
I am not sure when my grandfather came to this country. A ship manifest has never been found for him. He was living in Paola, Italy in 1912 when he took, and passed his physical for the Italian Army. My best guess is he came here shortly after that. The family story was he followed his cousin Concetta Garrafa here. After Giuseppe's mother died in 1907, he was taken in by Concetta's father and step mother to live with them. Concetta and my grandfather were very close. She was the closest family he had in this country. In 1917 Giuseppe joined the United States Army and served in Camp Gordon near Atlanta, Georgia. During his stay there the base suffered an outbreak of influenza that was plaguing the world that year. He was honorably discharged in late December, 1918. The following April he married my grandmother in Chicago.

In my childhood we were surrounded by so much family it was unclear to me exactly who all these people were and how they fit in to our family. I would ask my dad, my aunts and uncles and no one knew. A cousin would always be the response but no one know who or how they were related to. My grandfather's family on the other side was small and mostly unknown to us. We knew so much about my grandmother's family and where they came from. But my grandfather's family was a complete mystery. A little orphan boy whose parents died when he was young, a cousin (we knew) named Concetta whose father took him in and a sister he left his farm to when he came to this country. That is all we knew. I always thought that was so sad. And it left a big hole in my family. It also left my father with regret. So many questions with no answers. That is why my heart has always been in Montalto with the family of my grandfather. A family I now know so much about!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What I have planned for this blog

I began this blog as a way of sharing information. I have some pretty interesting ancestors. I will write about them here. I have found saints and sinners, artists and musicians, farmers and nobility. And that is just the Italian side!
I will also talk about recent or upcoming projects, give updates to my websites and talk about genealogy in general. I am beginning this blog with my Italian roots but this blog will also include my early American settlers of my mother's family. If there is something you would like to see here let me know.
Current Projects

Right now, I am too busy with Cosenza Exchange to do much with my other websites so I will be focusing on that for the next month or more. Right now I am working on completing the extractions of the Baptism records of Santa Maria La Castagna. Once that is finished, I will begin the Catasto of Montalto. I have already begun work on the templates, layout and presentation for the Catasto. Perhaps I will have enough to share on my next blog entry.

Featured Relative of the day

Giuseppe Naso was born in Tropea, Italy in 1836. His mother was a Scrugli and he was a cousin of my Great grandmother Natalina Scrugli's father Antonino. He was a great artist who died tragically young.
Giuseppe was born a deaf mute, but despite this, he left the comfort of his home in Tropea at the age of 15 to study art in Naples in 1851. During this time, Naples was teeming with struggling artists. Giuseppe's maternal uncle, Napoleone Scrugli supported the young artist and probably brought him to Naples. Due to Napoleone's military post as Admiral in the Southern Italian Army he had a home in Naples.
Young Giuseppe began his studies as an artist with an unknown instructor and showed great promise immediately. This instructor introduced him to another instructor and artist named Cavalier DeVivo. By 1852 he gained an apprenticeship under Cavalier De Vivo who had a relationship with King Ferdinand II of the house of Bourbon. From the King, DeVivo and Giuseppe Naso received many commissions of their artwork, many of which were from the Vatican. DeVivo was given the auspicious title of Inspector General of all the art galleries of Southern Italy.
At the age of 18 in 1855 Giuseppe painted a magnificent painting of Saint Francis and even carved a beautiful frame for it intending it as a gift to the Crown Prince.
This began the brief career of this wonderful artist whose magnificent works of art are still displayed today in art galleries and churches throughout Italy. His career was cut short by his premature death in 1862 at the age of 26.
His artwork lives on almost 150 years after his untimely death.