My Sassanese sojourn – Fra Noi
, 2022-10-03 15:09:27,
Between 1893 and 1940, hundreds of Italians from Sassano, a small commune in the region of Campania in Southern Italy, settled on Armour Avenue (now known as Federal Street) between 47th and 51st streets in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago.
My sojourn began in 2002 when my oldest daughter, Elizabeth, received an assignment from her eighth grade social studies teacher, Dan Wall, to “Find out which ancestors came to America, when and why.” My father’s sister, Rosemary Cavallone, and her husband, Rosario di Miele, told the tale of Francesco “Thethen Cheek” Cavallone and Rosa Libretti, who were among the first Sassanesi to escape Southern Italian poverty and settle on Chicago’s Armour Avenue.
My daughter’s assignment concluded, but my journey down the rabbit hole of genealogy had just begun. After hiring Italian genealogist Joe di Simone and being disappointed that my great-grandfather’s birth record was not found in Sassano, I focused on what I could obtain locally, expanding my search to include other Cavallones buried in local cemeteries as well as any Italian names on Armour Avenue/Federal Street from census records. I also attended many genealogy workshops hosted by Dan Niemiec and Casa Italia.
Then, in the late summer of 2018, I discovered Peter Barbella’s Sassano Project online. The Sassano Project contains indexes of all the San Giovanni Evangelista Church records and civil records from the town of Sassano. Peter and…
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