Friday, December 24, 2010

Buno Natale

Toni Lynn Bennett Toothman
Merry Christmas!!  or Buno Natale if you understand a little Italian.  I want to wish everyone in the family and all our friends a very Merry Christmas.  We have had  a very blessed year.  I love this photo of my little sister from a Christmas a few years ago.  Love and Kisses.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Live Tour

Sandy, Mike, Pauline and Mary Ann...Where is John???

The "Live Tour" is a term that my sweet cousin Donna Albany Lombardi coined when I recently visited the family in Baltimore.  I say recently, it was back in June of 2010.  It has taken me this long to update my blog.  Anyway, the attached photo was taken at my mother's memorial in July of 2009.  At the time I said it was ashamed that is took so long to visit the family.  So, my first trip was to visit my aunt Pauline and her crew in Baltimore.  The idea is instead of waiting for the next funeral, we should visit while we are still alive and kicking - thus the "Alive Tour" was born.  While visit aunt Pauline, she was a valuable source of information on the family.  She went though nearly a hundred different photos and identified several family members.  I appreciate my family for putting up with my constant search for family photos and information.  I took some time off, but I am back on the hunt.  So, for the rest of the family, you might just get a phone call saving I am planning a visit.  Be ready to pull out the old family photos and scrap books.  Love and Kisses to all - I hope you have a great holiday season.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Swimming

In the photo is a very young Christina Lamonica (my grandmother).  She is the second from the left.  The location of the photo is unknown.  I believe the photo is from the late 1920s.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Great Assistance

One of the truly fun things about research and genealogy is the people you meet along the way.  This past week was a great week for me.  I received an email from Rome, Italy from Carlo Cicone.  We found that both parties are researching the village of Pettorano sul Gizio, Italy.  While Carlo was asking for some assistance, which I plan to provide, he was the hero of the day.  I gave him some details from the Ciccolella side of the family and he was able to provide me with three more generations which I did not have.  How about that!  Once again, I am very appreciative to get this information - thank you very much Carlo.   This is encouragement for all researchers-assisting your fellow man is honorable and the right thing to do!  I will add the details shortly.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Who Are These Guys?

Who are these guys?   The photo was included in the family group, so I assume someone once knew them.  Anyone??

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Well, it is my first mother's day without my mom - Maria "Gigi" Ciccolella Bennett.  We all miss her, but it is the fun times, the great support and all the other joys she brought into our lives that I will think about today.  Mom was born in Follansbee, West Virginia, married Chuck Bennett, Sr., raised two kids, help run the family business for a bunch of years and died in June, 2010 living in Fairmont, West Virginia.  She is a first generation "Ciccolella", both of her parents emigrating from Italy to the US.  So, here's to all our mother's who have left this earth to join their heavenly family.  One day we will all be reunited into one very large genealogical society.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Uncle Dan

My grandmother, Christina Lamonica Ciccolella, had a brother - Dan Lamonica - Uncle Dan to us kids back then.  My Uncle Dan was born February 17, 1908 in Steubenville, Ohio.  He was the son of two immigrant Italians, however, unlike his two sisters who were born in Forenza, Italy, Dan was born in America.  He went on to follow in his father's footsteps and became a barber.  He later married Mary Lupinetti and they had a daughter Mary Louise.  Uncle Dan died on October 16, 1983.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ladies of the Garibaldi

The attached photo is dated April 1939.  I do not have a lot of information or details.  My assumption is that it is from the Ladies of the Garibaldi.  I found my grandmother, Christina Lamonica Ciccolella included.  (She is on the lower edge, table furthest to the right, on the left side, looking up towards the camera.  I also found my Aunt Margaret Ciccolella Trotta. It is a great feel for the times.  I love the dresses, mostly dark and very conservative.  You can see a photo of the Italian war hero Guiseppe Garibadli on the wall.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Surname Saturday - Ferrelli

My grandfather, John Ciccolella was the son of Panfilo Ciccolella and Margherita Ferrelli Ciccolella.  I am researching the Ferrelli side of the family.  Margherita was the daughter of Panfilo Ferrelli and Gaetana Salvarore.  I have found many Ferrelli's from the Pettorano sul Gizio, Italy area.  Chow!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

New Blog

In researching my family history, I realized that I have come up with a lot of information from Pettorano sul Gizio, Italy.  My grandfather, John Ciccolella, was born in Pettorano.  I even got to visit the town in the summer of 2009.  Anyway, I decided that I need to post the additional information for others to use in their research.  So, a new blog was born!!  I started Pettorano Family.  You can visit or sign up at  I hope that something I post will help a fellow genealogist.  Thanks, I look forward to your comments.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pettorano sul Gizio, Italy research

I am in the process of reviewing documents from Pettorano sul Gizio, Italy, 1810-1865.  I spent three hours yesterday at the LDS Church looking through microfilm.  Please let me know if I can assist anyone who is need of similar information.  I spent two weeks this summer in Pettorano.  It was a short visit but I loved the town and hope to return soon.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Andrea Ciccolella

My grandfather John Ciccolella had two brothers and two sisters, all four the children of Panfilo Antonio Ciccolella and Marghertia Ferrelli Ciccolella.  John's brothers were Guiseppe (Joe) and Andrea (Andrew).  His sisters were Carmela and Maria.   Doing my research I have found a great deal on Joe Ciccolella and Carmela Ciccolella Cocco, however, very little is known about Andrea and Maria.  I recently ran across this passenger list.  Andrea Ciccolella left Pettorano sul Gizio, Italy landing in Halifax, Canada on the ship America on May 13, 1924 - at the tender age of 25.  A laborer, he had $45 bucks on him, he was listed as married to - Nunziata, and was traveling with his friend Giuseppe Zuffa.  He landed in Fort William, Canada.  I am hopeful this will lead to more research opportunities.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Who was Regina Santucci?

In 1912 my grandfather John "Chico" Ciccolella came to America.  He was a teenager at the time.  It took him a few years, however, about 1919 he married Regina Santucci.  Born May 2, 1902 in Italy, she was the daughter of Luigi Santucci and Filomena Federico.  Her father Luigi was born in Pettorano sul Gizio, Italy, so I assume Regina was also born there.  This is also the city John Ciccolella was born and raised before leaving to the US.  Regina was the first child of the couple who had another son Daniel and a daughter Mary.  This may be news to some family members, because we all think of John Ciccolella being wed to Christina Lamonica, which he was, but let's get back to the story.  The young couple (John and Regina) were living in Steubenville, Ohio and on July 20, 1920 welcomed Margaret Ciccolella.  Not a lot is known about the next few years, we assume the family was doing well thriving in the early 1920s with lots of other Italians from the Abruzzi area.  Unfortunately, Regina santucci Ciccolella died on December 3, 1925.  She died in Steubenville, Ohio and was buried at Mt. Calvary.  A photo of her tomb stone accompanies this blog.  Some say that she died in child birth but I have not found a tomb stone for a child in the same cemetery.  The couples only child - Aunt Margaret went on to move to Baltimore, Maryland, marry Tony Trotta, and well the rest is history.  Her father John went on to marry my grandmother Christina Lamonica a few years later in 1934 and thus, started the second branch of our family tree. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cousin Dominic A. Gallo

With a family the size of ours', there are many cousins, in addition, our family has several who have served their country over the years.  We have family which served in World War I and II.  Our own Mike Lamonica was a member of the Royal Italian Army.

One of those military family members was Dominic A. Gallo, son of Vito Gallo and Grace Lamonica Gallo.  Like many of our family members, Dominic was born and raised in Steubenville, Ohio.  He worked in the local steel mills and then spent time serving our country.  The photo included in this blog is from Mirecourt, France.  A note from the Weirton Steel newsletter states that he was a Captain in the Army serving with the Signal Corps.  Later in life, Dominic moved to California with other Gallo family.  He died in 2001in Upland, California.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Great Grand Mother Mary Iaquiele and Great-Great Antonetta Colabello Iaquiele

Pictured in this photograph are Mary Michele Iaquiele Lamonica to the right and her mother Antonetta Colabello Iaquiele.  The photo was taken in Forenza, Italy on March 13, 1931.  Iaquiele returned to Italy to visit her family several times.  By this time, Iaquiele was into her 50s with three grown children.  Both are dress in tradition dark dress of the times.  I do not have much information on my great-great grandmother.  I do know she was married to Biaggio Iaquiele and they had at least one child.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wedding Day

As most of you know I lost my mom this past summer and I think of her often.  I ran across this photo from her wedding day from November 14, 1959.  In the photo are Christina Lamonica Ciccolella, Mike Ciccolella, Maria "Gigi" Ciccolella Bennett and Sandy Ciccolella Burd.  Gigi was 18 at the time, her father had past away two years earlier.  She married my father Chuck Bennett Sr. and the couple had two children together.  Anyway, its great to find photos such as these from significant days in family history.  Maybe not so important to the rest of the world, but for our family this was a pretty good day.  God Bless marriages!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cemetery Find

When I traveled to Italy this past summer I made a friend in the city of Pettorano sul Gizio.  This is the city my grandfather John Ciccolella was born.  He had two brothers and a sister.  Recently, my friend sent me a photo from the local cemetery.  The photo is the head stone of Maria Ciccolella and her husband. 

Maria is the brother of John, Joseph and Andrew Ciccolella.  While John and Joe came to America, had families and are burried in Follansbee, West Virginia, Maria and Andrew stayed in Italy.

Up to now, I only knew that she married a Lanica.  Well, through the power of the internet, I received additional information.  Maria married Panfilo Lancia, and though it is tough to see, we also now have a photo of both.  We can also see that Panfilo was born on March 1, 1882.  The flowers in the photo block some of the rest of the information, however, this is a great find.  We can also find something about their daughter Gina Lanica.  Again, thanks to all who help make family history fun!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Garibaldi Club

A very important part of the Italian life was spending time with other family members and friends.  It was quite common for immigrants to join together in their US communities.

The photo attached to this update dates back to 1954 and includes a group of men from the Follansbee, West Virginia Garibaldi Club.

Kneeling in the middle is my grandfather John "Chico" Ciccolella.  He spent many days with his friends at the club.  He also performed music at many special events.  The Ciccolella's were active in the organization with John's wife Christina serving as president of the Sisters of the Garibaldi on several occasions.

Monday, February 15, 2010

That's Entertainment

In the late 1920's and early 1930's Christina Lamonica was very active in several activities including participating in a local production of Carmen.  Here she poses in costume for the muscial.  This photo was taken about 1931 in Steubenville, Ohio. In March, 1934 she co-directed the play "Little Nell" for the Yerne Girls Society. 

Saturday, February 6, 2010


This is a photo of my great grandmother Mary Michelle Iaquiele.  She was born December 6, 1879 to Biaggio Iaquiele and Antonetta Colabello in Potenza, Italy.  On May 5, 1900 she married Michele Archangelo Lamonaca (Mike Lamonica).

The couple had three children - Grace Lamonica, Dan Lamonica and Christina Lamonica.

This photo was taken in Steubenville, Ohio sometime in the 1910s or 1920s.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A tie into the Pierro family

Researching family history has been a great deal of fun and along the way I am never amazed at what items can be discovered.  The November 26, 1918 Steubenville Herald Star, contained a story about private Antonio Pierro who was reported killed in action in France.  Two weeks following his reported death, his half-brother, Mike Lamonica received an offical war telegraph informing him that Private Pierro was actually alive. 

I could not let this go without some additional research.  The obit's of Antonio (Tony) Pierro and his brother Vito Pierro both make mention to his brother Mike Lamonica.  It seems that the half-brothers shared the same mother - Christina Fiore.  Fiore was married to Antonio Lamonica when Mike was born in Forenza, Italy.  Just four years later Fiore and husband Raffale Angelo Pierro welcomed Antonio and then Vito a few years later.  I am now looking for some Pierro family members to see if I can get some additional information.

In the photo are Tony Pierro to the left and Mike Lamonica to the right.  The photo was likely taken in Steubenville, Ohio.