May 11, 2013

Yet More Family History

Ellis Island records of my ancestors' arrival in the United States
My Giardina Family came over on this ship which you can find at
Date: October 22, 1898
Ship of Travel: Victoria
Port of Departure: Naples
Manifest Line Numbers: 0007 – 16

As on manifest
7. - Teresa M. Varca – 49 yrs. widow

Teresa's Children - Mama's great Aunts and Uncles

8. Rosalia Giardina - 18 – called Aunt Lily “Zia Salia”
9. Damiano – 16 yrs. [my mom does not remember him, maybe stayed in new Orleans?]
10. Croce Giardina - 13 yrs. -called Aunt Ruth in America – “Zia Cruchee”
11. Paolo Giardina - 11 yrs.- Zio Paul - Uncle Paul
12. Michele - 9 yrs. Zio Mike – Uncle Mike

13. Andrea Butera 34yrs married to daughter Rosalia - called Sara
14. Rosalia Butera - 6 yrs. – Andrea Butera's daughter from a previous marriage - Called Lily in America -she married step-uncle Paul (Paolo- and had one child – Vincent “Big Charlie” Giardina – (Rosalind Giardina Ranelli’s father)

15 Giuseppe Butera 1 yr. - Andrea and Sara's first Son Joe
16.Rosalia Giardina Butera - 22yrs - called Sara (We think her name was Rosaria and so called Sara)

On that ship manifest - the Victoria, arriving on October 22, 1898 were My Great-great Grandmother Teresa Varca (Giardina) but they misspelled her name when transferring it to text - the text document spells her maiden name "Karea" but it is really Varca (Giardina.) My mother says that Teresa's husband - I am not sure of his first name, but possibly Vincent had a grain Mill in Sicily on a river. One night there was a storm and he knew that he should go out and grind some wheat into flour while the river was moving so fast. When he got there, he slipped and hit his head on a rock and died.
So his widow, Teresa Varca Giardina, my formidable great-great-grandmother, gathered up all of her children, including her oldest daughter Sara (Rosaria) and Sara's husband Andrea Butera and their 2 children, and came over on the Victoria in 1898 sailing from Naples.
Imagine being a widowed woman in Sicily, gathering up a big extended family and organizing and funding the trip for them all to come to America.
On the ship manifest, they wrote that that their destination was New Orleans so they did go to New Orleans for a while, but eventually ended up here, in Birmingham, Alabama.  There were a lot of immigrants here from her town of Bisaquino and she probably had friends here. Teresa opened a pasta factory (!!!) and opened a general store for her daughter "SARA BUTERA GROCERY" where she sold all kinds of food and Italian products which were probably brought in from New Orleans.  
Teresa was a strong woman!
Her daughter Sara and husband Andrea also bought property in Ensley and rented the small houses that they bought - and were quite wealthy. Their children were Toney, Vincent but called Charlie -Charlie was (all the Giardina "Charlie's" were really named Vincent - my theory is that the Vincenzo nickname is Cenzo (chinzo) and that sounded a little like charlie??) But Sara and Andrea had a son (Vincent) and our mama called him her Uncle Charlie and he was her favorite uncle because he would give her a penny if she ran into him outside - he is the uncle that gave her the penny for the red sucker in the story "The Easter Prize") and that is why Rick's (my brother) second name is Charles.  Uncle Charlie used to drink and one time the police thought he was "very drunk" and picked him up and put him in jail - he may have been drinking, but he was also sick with an aneurysm and he died in the jail.  My mama remembered her grandmother Sara mourning for him very loudly and I guess typical Italian woman wailing - God bless her. He was very handsome too.
(My sister Kathy writes:)I know there was a Joe Butera but I get confused too. I think there was a Joe Giardina that married Rosina?? And then Joe Butera that married Pauline Schillaci - they may have only been cousins by marriage as after Papa Andrea died Grandma Sara Giardina Butera married Mr. Schillaci - He was the one that grew all of the food and vegetables and had all kinds of fruit trees and had the animals too for food. (Regina (our cousin) and I were talking about trying to go find where Papa Schillaci's big garden was in Ensley and see if there are any of his plants and trees still growing there wild.) -
Their son Toney (my grandfather) married Kathryn Williamson (my grandmother) and had eight children - Andrew, Thomas, Joseph, Vincent, Sara (my mother), Mary Elizabeth, Catherine, and Rose Lee. They did quite well until the depression of 1930, the year my mother Sara was born.
Mike Giardina's children
John (who died as a child - had mastoid in his ear he was the sweetest thing - my mom remembers when he died),
Vincent called Charlie (Little Charlie) died at about 21 years of age, - had motorcycle - doctor removed tonsils and he bled to death.  (From our cousin, also named Mike Giardina - Little Charlie was a dare devil on the motorcycle and apparently everyone figured he would eventually get killed on that bike. My dad said Little Charlie would ride the bike down Ensley Avenue wide open and standing on the seat with no hands. He did in fact die from bleeding after his tonsils were removed.)
Called Little Charlie I guess to distinguish him from his cousin, uncle Paul's son Big Charlie.
Teresa - oldest and she was dark complexion like Kitty - beautiful hair - married first cousin from NY and left. (Her son had disease where you can't rebuild bones if broken - bones fractured too easily & Teresa cared for him almost all her life.) (Second son okay.)
Nancy - Never married - seamstress - could make anything - suits that looked like from Blacks Tailor- perfect tailoring.
Mike (my father), - moved to Houston (dance studio - his wife was a great dancer) Marie Lanza beautiful and petite.Sang in choir at St, Anthony's absolutely beautiful voice sang solos.
Joseph - was quiet married Rosina Triola - daughter drapery business and rents space from Regina Butera's shop in Homewood
Mary - Pumilia - later married a cousin of Marie -
Uncle Paul Giardina's son Vincent called "Big Charlie" married Lena Ciccio had Rosalind, Marie.& Paul
Sara Giardina Butera (my great-grandmother) had 
Andrew (my grandfather), who married Katie Williamson (my grandmother). Their children - Andrew (Rose Macanally)- Thomas (Matilda Rosato)- Joseph (Betty Woodall )- Vincent (Martha Woody?)- Sara (my mother) (Sam Ranelli) - Mary Elizabeth called Mae (Sammy Cantevespre) - Kathryn called Kitty (Dale Carra), Rosalie (Gerald Turner).  Andrew Butera died around 1941, my mother Sara was 11.  He was in a tuberculosis ward.  All of my mother's brothers served in WWII.  For that matter, my father and all his brothers served in WWII as well.

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