Italians trace family to city

STEUBENVILLE – Anna Giuliani Paratore came Monday to the city where her father was born 99 years ago.

Anna Paratore, her husband, Angelo, and daughter, Julia, also came to Steubenville to inspect the small apartment where he lived with his parents and siblings on Adams Street.

The Paratore family spent Sunday night enjoying a meal with Sandy Day of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County and her husband, Greg, at Naples.

“It is a landmark restaurant in Steubenville and I thought it was perfect,” said Sandy Day, the research librarian at the Schiappa branch.

The Paratores returned Monday morning to the Historic Fort Steuben Visitors Center where they began their three-hour tour of downtown Steubenville with Steubenville resident Alphonse Ruggieri and Si DiDomenico of Wintersville.

“I read about the family in the Valley Life story by Janice Kiaski, and I saw they are from Spoltore, Italy, which is very near to my family’s origins in Italy,” remarked DiDomenico (“Cracking another genealogy case,” March 31.)

After chatting several minutes at the visitor’s center, the Paratores walked to the nearby City Hall and obtained a birth certificate for Anna’s father, Pasquale Giuliani, at the Steubenville Health Department, found his American home and the Catholic church he probably attended.

“We had the birth certificate Anna was looking for in our files. Ohio now has statewide access to birth certificates and local health departments have the ability to search for and issue all Ohio births. This will also help Sandy Day in her research,” said Margaret Kostecki, registrar at the health department.

“We can search the records in a number of ways if the information given isn’t exact. In this instance two spellings of the last name were given. But, we were able to search the record by last name and year of birth or exact birth date by mother’s name, by first name and mother’s maiden name. It was a pleasure meeting the Paratore family and personally providing them with a copy of the birth certificate. Ohio is an open records state. Anyone can obtain a certified copy of an Ohio birth or death record upon completion of an application, a signature and the $23 fee,” explained Kostecki.

According to Angelo, his wife’s grandfather and grandmother fell in love in Italy, but their marriage plans were opposed by the grandmother’s parents, so they left their hometown of Spoltore and immigrated to America in 1907.

“They got married in Steubenville and had four sons, including Pasquale, who helped his family by shining apples after school for local merchants. Twenty-two years after they immigrated to America, Anna’s great grandfather asked his daughter to come back to Spoltore, Italy. Pasquale didn’t agree with that decision and moved to Pescara, Italy, where he worked in a butcher shop and eventually met and married Ida and had their own family, including my wife Anna,” recounted Angelo.

“I was exploring possible traces of Pasquale, who lived in Steubenville until he was 17 years old, and Sandy Day was able to locate his birth certificate and the Giuliani residence on Adams Street that is still standing today.

“This is so moving. It is hard to explain the feeling I have to be standing where my father lived so many years ago. I wish he was still with us so I could tell him about Steubenville,” explained Anna in Italian while her husband translated.

Angelo was interested in finding post cards and memorabilia that reflected Steubenville from the 1913 time period and photos of Steubenville to be used for an exhibition in Spoltore about immigration.

“I have several post cards of downtown Steubenville from that era and was able to help him,” said Vinnie Fristick of Adams Antiques.

Fristick gave the Italian family tokens from the old Steubenville Bus Co., and the family received a warm-from-the-oven loaf of bread from Lou Tripodi of the Steubenville Bakery.

“When I walked in here I could smell the flour and the smell of fresh bread. This is a wonderful place,” noted Angelo.

“I’m confident the efforts and dedication spent on the first chapter of this personal little story will honor and praise the memory of all those who arrived in the United States of America from Abruzzo and how they honestly assured a better future to their relatives and descendants while contributing to the development of the country,” said Angelo.

“The added value of these stories of real people, compared to the history we learned at school, is that they unveil the true reasons and feelings that push men and women to leave their country and make us look at immigration with completely different eyes,” added Angelo.

Angelo said his father-in-law had speech problems in his later years.

“But, I still remember the emotion in Pasquale’s eyes and how they would light up with happiness whenever I said the word Steubenville. He would respond in a trembling voice repeating, ‘Steubenville, Ohio,'” related Angelo.

After making several stops downtown, the Paratore family met with Day at the Schiappa branch library.

“I am ready to cry. This was probably my most successful genealogy research. And it has been so rewarding meeting you,” Day told the Paratore family.

“It has been a pleasure,” Anna responded in English.

“This is the first chapter of our story. The second chapter has yet to be started,” stated Angelo.