Sunday, May 18, 2014

Where in Italy?

I've been trying to determine where in Italy my great-grandparents Giuseppe and Maria Rosa (La Rocca) Ruota were born. They were married and spent their lives in Denver, Colorado. However, I've been unable to locate immigration or naturalization records that could pinpoint their Italian comunes and shed light on their ancestry.

According to the 1900 US Federal census: 
  • Giuseppe was born in March 1868. He later anglicized his name to Joseph Route. 
  • Maria was born in May 1874. She went by Rose or Rosina Route.
According to that same census, Giuseppe arrived in the US in 1880 and Maria Rosa arrived in 1890. The 1910 US Federal census confirms an 1880 arrival for Giuseppe, but lists 1889 for Maria.

I have a copy of their March 1, 1890 Denver, Colorado church-issued marriage record. The original certificate lists the spellings of their names as Giuseppe Ruota and Maria Rosa La Rocca.

A couple years ago, I was able to visit Sacred Heart Church, which still operates in Denver. The registrar pulled out the leather-bound marriage register and found the original transcription of their marriage. The book's notation provided more details about their origins.

Sacred Heart Church

It stated that Giuseppe Ruota was the son of Vincent and of Vincentia Marsicana of Potenza, Italy. Maria Rosa La Rocca was the daughter of Pancratius (a Latin version of the Italian Pancrazio) and Maria Giuseppa de Malio of the "same locality" (presumably Potenza).

Original transcription of marriage
That notation is mighty helpful, but is it indicating that they're from the province of Potenza or is it more specific and suggesting they're also from the comune of Potenza? 

Curiously, their parentage is further confused by their death records. 

Joseph's death certificate from August 16, 1918 says his father was Vincent Route and his mother was Vincencia Raimondo. His mother's maiden name now differs from the marriage record, which indicated a maiden name of Marsicana.

Rose's death certificate from November 26, 1929 says her father was Garwood La Rocco and her mother was Josephine La Rocco. Josephine is an understandable transformation from Maria Giuseppa. However, I'm puzzled by Garwood in lieu of Pancrazio. Is this simply a case of the children not knowing for sure the father's name? Given that the marriage record was created during the lifetime of my grandparents I'm putting more credence in that document.

But why so little luck locating immigration records for either Giuseppe or Maria Rosa? I understand that Ruota may have been Ruoti and La Rocca has appeared alternately as La Rocco. Yet my search efforts using wildcards has yet to yield one of them up. Where to go from here?

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