I am constantly amazed at the things I discover as I go back through records that I have already found.
For instance, after I found the ship manifest for my great grandmother Maria Ciocci I was quite excited to turn the page and see a listing for her brother-in-law Luigi Colavita. This is the brother of my great grandfather Michelarcangelo Colavita, of course. Today, I noticed for the first time (!) that his listed occupation was “shoemaker”.
This was exciting to me because my grandfather, Emilio Vizzaccaro, was a shoemaker. In fact, he and several of my uncles ran a shoe repair service in New Jersey for many years. How it escaped my attention that Emilio’s wife, Maria Colavita, had an uncle in the same industry I’ll never know.
Luigi emigrated to the U.S. in 1903, and got married (probably in Philadelphia) shortly thereafter. By the time of the 1910 census, he and his wife Antonetta had been married for six years. In that time , they had four children only two of whom were still living (a daughter and a son). According to the 1910 Boyd’s Directory of Philadelphia “Louis Collavita” was operating as a shoemaker at 1119 Carpenter street, just eight doors down from my great-grandfather Michelarcangelo at 1130 Hall Street (see the map below, and note that what is shown on this 1875 map as Mc Illearny Street was, by 1910, called Hall St). The family was still living in Philadelphia in 1920, by which time there were four children and they were living on South Dorrance Street.
Interestingly, in 1923 a shoemaker named Nicolangelo Paresi landed in Phildadelphia looking for his cousing, Luigi Colavita. This Luigi, though, was living in Newark and I have no evidence that OUR Luigi ever moved to Newark. Add this to the list of leads to follow up.
I thought I’d also add in a picture or two I took of some of my grandfather’s shoe repair and shoemaking implements. It’s not art, but . . . .