view of Salandra, Matera, Basilicata, Italy by Antonio DiPersia

Friday, June 7, 2013

Marriages and Families – Patsy and Mary Bonelli

1907 Salandra Marriage Document for Pasquale Bonelli and Maria Giuseppa Ambruso

In this post and several to follow, I will talk about each individual child of Rocco Ambruso and Pasquarosa Corrado focusing on their spouses, their children and their early family life.  I will start with Maria Giuseppa (Mary) Ambruso and her husband Pasquale (Patsy) Bonelli.  If I have missed any important facts, or have said anything in error, I encourage you to use the comments section at the end of the post to add your two cents.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Patsy was born in Salandra in 1881 and came to America in 1902.  He headed to Garfield, NJ where jobs were plentiful in the textile mills.  He then returned to Salandra and married Mary Ambruso in October 1907. (see Marriage Document above) One year later, their first child Teresa (Tessie) was born.  By naming tradition, she was named after Patsy’s mother.  In 1909 Patsy came back to Garfield.  Mary and baby Tessie came a few months later.  At first, they lived with Patsy’s uncle Domenico and his family at 92 Westminster Place.  Within a few years, Patsy bought a new house at 139 Harrison Avenue, which became the center of Ambruso activity in America for many years. 

Mary’s nine brothers and sisters all came to America, and they all came to Garfield before settling in other places.  139 Harrison Avenue was a two family house.  Patsy and Mary lived upstairs, because it had a better view.  (In those days there were still empty lots in Garfield.)  At first, they had renters downstairs, but before long Ambruso’s were occupying the downstairs flat.  My grandfather told stories of home-made wine in the basement and bocce tournaments in the side yard on Sunday afternoons.
In January 1911 Patsy and Mary had a second child.  Her baptismal name was Rose Pasqua, honoring her maternal grandmother, Pasquarosa.   The next child was a boy born in July 1914. By naming convention, he should have been named Giovanni after Patsy’s father.  However, for some reason, he was named Rocco after Mary’s father.  Rose and Rocco were baptized at Our Lady of Mount Virgin Church which was just 2 blocks away from where they lived.  Rose married Michael Melfi in 1937 and their family lived in the house at 139 Harrison Avenue for decades to follow. 

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