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Luigi and Rosina Merola

Luigi Merola. Rosina Breganti.
Luigi Merola. Rosina Breganti.

The story unfolds with Rosina 'Rosa' visiting an uncle, Paul Briganti, who was a taylor living in New York City. She was sixteen at the time. Not long after, Rosa's mother came to America with a younger brother and sister. In July 2004 while on a visit to New York, we visited Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Manhattan, New York. We acquired some of the Certificates of Baptism for some of the children of Luigi and Rosa. On a few certificates under Sponsors there are listed a Paolina Briganti, a Luigi Briganti and a Sabrina Breganti. The relationship to Rosina of these three is not know for fact but because the females can be either sisters of Rosina or wives of Briganti men. On Rosina's Certificate and Record of Death it lists Guiseppi Briganti as the father and Filomena Di Guiseppi as the mother. It also indicates that both were born in Italy. Luigi Merola lived at one time on Crosby Street, the same street as Rosa's uncle Paul. Luigi and Rosa, fell in love, and were married.
( Well maybe it didn't happen exactly like that! ).

Municipio di Capaccio
Municipio di Capaccio.
During a trip to Italy in July 2006, Ann and I stopped at the Municipio di Capaccio building in the City of Capaccio. During the short time there, Ann and I were able to acquire a copy of Luigi's birth certificate as well the only two children of Luigi's that were born in Italy. Luigi was born 21 June 1865 or (according to his death certificate 15 February 1863) in Capaccio, Italy. Capaccio is approximately thirty miles south east of Salerno and the town is located high in a mountain range. Rosa was born about 1871 in Parula, not far from Luigi's birth place. On Rosa's Certificate and Record of Death it indicated that she was 40 when she died in April 1911. Rosa, Luigi's first wife, was 16-17 and Luigi was 22-23 at the time of their marriage which took place on 23 April 1887.The Marriage Certificate also indicated that Paolina Briganti was one of the two witnesses to the ceremony. During a visit to New York in July 2004 some additional information about the second and third marriage of Luigi were discovered.

To continue we know that ten children survived to adulthood, but there were other children who died from the very young to about 10 or 12 years of age. The exact number is unknown, however a best guess is between sixteen and eighteen children in all. We are not sure if this can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but we will continue to look into it. The oldest living child was Mary, my grandmother. She was married just two years before her mother died, which left Luigi with nine children at home. The youngest child was Vincenzo or better know as James Merola who was born in 1909.

Much of the story of this Merola family is found in the autobiographical sketch written by Mary 'Merola' Scovotti. As stories go this is just one version as seen by the oldest child of the family. At the time of the recording of the information she gave of the accounts she was asked about, she was of sound mind. She indicated that the family had ample food to eat and a clean, warm place to call home. They were not poor nor rich. The children that reached maturity were healthy and created a succesful life for themselves. They all married and all had children. Not all of the marriages were happy but they all stuck it out, which is what they did in those days. They were all successful in terms of earning an income and all lived well. Was everything peaches and cream between all of the family, NO it wasn't, but as I research the past I see a lot of history repeating itself. So life in the real world goes on.

Luigi and Amelia, The Second Wife

Luigi Merola.  Need a Picture
Luigi Merola. Amelia Merola.

Luigi and Amelia were married very soon after the death of Rosina in April 1911. Four children came with this marriage and until Amelia's death in 1918 there were four with-in this second marriage. To date, no information has been discovered about the children that Amelia had by her first marriage. Amelia was 42 years old when she died in March of 1918. She was married to Luigi approximately six years which means she was 36 (42 minus 6) when she married Luigi. With this information and a few assumptions we can hypotesize that if her first marriage took place when she was about twenty years of age and she had a child every two years during her first marriage, her first child was born when she was twenty-two years old, her second child was born when she was twenty-four years old, the third child when she was twenty six years old and the baby was born when she was twenty eight years old. At 36 and her marriage to Luigi, her oldest child would have been 14, her second was 12, her third was 10 and the baby was 8. Six years latter when she died her oldest would have been 20, her second would have been 18, her third child 16 and her baby would have been 14. It would not be ourside the box to assume that the two oldest would have gone out on their own and the only two would have been at home.

Now during this union, 1911 to 1918 Amelia and Luigi had four children. The first was Rose born 4 August 1912; then came Louis John Merola Jr. born 20 August 1913; then Lena about 1915 and finally Amelia 21 March 1918. It was in delivering AMelia that her mother died.

Now, reviewing the Merola family children by the first marriage, we find in 1918, Fanny, Al, John, Lizzi and James all being under the age of sixteen and more than likely being legally placed under the guidance of the third wife or an older sibling like Bill, Joe, Anthony, Angie or Mary. Only Angie and Mary were married by 1918, with Angie just having been married. Mary was married in 1909 and the most likely candidate to watch over the younger siblings, if they needed watching over.

Never has it been mentioned if any Merola sibling's ever took in any of the siblings of the second marriage. At this time it is assumed that the new mother, Antonietta Rizzo Merola took care of them.

Luigi and Antonietta Rizzo, The Third Wife

Luigi Merola.  Need a Picture
Luigi Merola. Antonietta Rizzo.

In the visit to New York in July 2004 we found the Certificate and Record of Marriage of Luigi and Antonietta Rizzo. Luigi was 55-56 and Antonietta 40 when they married on 16 July 1918. The certificate also indicated that they both were born in Salerno, Italy. In the section it is very clear that it was the third marriage for Luigi, but in the same box under Antonietta it appears to say third. In the Single/Widowed or Divorced section it said under Antonietta that she was both widowed and divorced. Since there is spot for the brides fathers name and the spot contains the name Desidirio it seems safe to say that is the maiden name of the Antonietta Rizzo. No one we talked to knows much about Antonietta. That is to say if she had children by her first two marriages. We were told that after Luigi passed, she left Coddington Avenue in the Bronx and moved in with one of her children. She was not seen or heard from again.

There seems to have been very little love between the children of either of Luigi's first two marriages and Antonietta. The rumors were that she was a very strict taskmaster and showed little or no concern for any of the children. It was rumored that she even had a lock on the refrigerator to keep the children from taking food from it when she wasn't around. Luigi Merola died 27 April 1938 at the age of 75. As far as we know he remained married to Antonietta. He or they lived on Coddington Avenue in the Bronx at the time of his death.

To add information or to suggest a change please contact Paul Periconi at Paul_Periconi@Yahoo.Com Thank You.

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