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

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Angelina's Grave - Connecting the Families

Angelina Iula (1899-1934)
Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, PA
All the wonderful photos of Francesco Ambruso’s family that I have been posting were provided by his great grandson Michael, who today just happens to be living only blocks away from the old family homestead on South Mildred Street in Philadelphia.  He also sent me a number of photos of family graves stones which gave important dates and clarified family relationships.  The photos were all taken in Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, PA, just west of the Philadelphia city line, where most of Francesco’s family were buried.  The photo to the right was included with the others.  Michael’s note said it was some Ambruso relative, but he wasn’t sure who it was.  When I saw the name and dates, I immediately knew who it was.  It was Angelina, my grandfather’s sister!  She was married to John Iula and lived in Camden, NJ.  But why was she buried in a cemetery in the western outskirts of Philadelphia, so far away from Camden? 

Michael told me what he knew.  It seems that Angelina’s husband couldn’t afford a burial plot, so Leonardo “John” Ambruso, gave him his own burial plot to bury Angelina, who was his first cousin, and then later bought a new plot for himself.  He also provided the grave stone.  That all made sense.  It was 1934, in the middle of the Great Depression.  Angelina died young and unexpectedly.  They probably did not have a burial plot or the money to pay for one.  Leonardo was probably doing OK financially.  His act of kindness showed how closely the two branches of the family were connected at that time.  It also explains why my grandfather would have traveled by train from northern New Jersey to Philadelphia to attend Leonardo’s funeral. 

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