No group of Italians is more enthusiastic about its roots than the Sicilians. Fortunately for descendants of Sicilians, a wealth of resources is available for you to learn more about your Sicilian genealogy, particularly through passenger ship records.
Passenger lists offer extensive information about ancestors who left Sicily for the United States during the 19th Century. For example, the passenger manifest of the S.S. Barbarossa, departing from Naples on the 26th of September, 1913, and arriving in New York on the 10th of October, 1913, contains a list of Caltanissetta immigrants.
From perusing the manifest, Sicilian descendants can search for the last name of their ancestors and learn their age at the time of immigration, their last residence and their destination. Pietro Grippando, for example of Caltanissetta, was 37 years old when he made the voyage to the United States. He listed his destination as Chicago, Illinois.
The youngest passenger listed on this manifest was two-month-old Giuseppa Maraluzzo, traveling with her six-year-old brother Giovanni and her eight-year-old sister Angela. The family came from Villaba and listed its destination as Duquion, Illinois. The oldest passenger listed on the manifest is 52-year-old Nazzarena Intorre, traveling from Caltanissetta to Rochester, New York.
Occupations Of Sicilian Immigrants
Many passenger lists that have been transcribed as Sicilian genealogy resources include the occupation that the immigrant gave to the record keepers. It is not known whether these occupations were verified, but they make for interesting reading and add another level of detail to information about your Sicilian ancestors.
For example, passengers on the Archimede travleling from Naples, Palermo or Messina to New York listed their occupations as sailor, cooper (barrel maker), housekeeper, fisherman, seller, peasant, or child.
Every now and then, a relative wealth of information on Sicilian genealogy is available about one particular ship or voyage. Such is the case of the voyage of the S.S. Caledonia, which left arrived in New York from Naples and Palermo on May 14, 1888.
Information available from the voyage includes an alphabetical list of passengers, a description of the ship, scanned images of the passenger list, and transcription of the list by passenger number. The youngest passenger is listed as zero years of age. The oldest passenger listed was 56-year-old Antonio Troiano, passenger no. 79.
The scanned image of the passenger list is a fascinating Sicilian genealogy document with its copperplate handwriting and ink smudges. The only occupation noted in this particular manifest was whether the passenger was a laborer.
Passenger manifests are only one of many Sicilian genealogy resources available for researchers.