Caira 


When I began researching the history of my family, I knew only the most basic facts: that my grandfather Emilio had emigrated from Italy near the turn of the century.

...Through the online ship manifests at the Ellis Island, I learned that my great-grandfather Loreto Vizzaccaro emigrated to the United States in 1910 and his son Emilio followed three years later in 1913.

...While we were in Caira, my cousins helped me locate the house that Loreto (and presumably his wife and children) occupied before he emigrated, and the much smaller apartment that Maria Nardone used after her husband and children had gone.

...According to a story from my Uncle Vince, and recalled by a cousin in Caira, Maria Grazia also travelled to the U.S. (allegedly to get Loreto and Emilio to come home). 

One of the goals I had for our recent trip to Italy was to find some living family there, a goal which was met with resounding success. We had the true pleasure of spending the better part of a too-short weekend with several of my cousins in Caira.

When I began researching the history of my family, I knew only the most basic facts: that my grandfather Emilio had emigrated from Italy near the turn of the century. Others in the family may have knew more, but that was all I had to work with. Here's a photo of Emilio.



Through the online ship manifests at the Ellis Island, I learned that my great-grandfather Loreto Vizzaccaro emigrated to the United States in 1910 and his son Emilio followed three years later in 1913. Left behind was Maria Nardone, Loreto's wife and Emilio's mother.

While we were in Caira, my cousins helped me locate the house that Loreto (and presumably his wife and children) occupied before he emigrated, and the much smaller apartment that Maria Nardone used after her husband and children had gone.


The House of Loreto Vizzaccaro




The Apartment of Maria Nardone and a photograph of her.

The key to tracking down my family in Italy were the birth records I found by reading microfilms at my local LDS Family History Center. I found the birth record for Loreto Vizzaccaro , which also noted that he was baptised in the parish of Caira. In their emigration records, Loreto and Emilio had given "Cassino" as their home. Caira is a small village which is a frazione, or subdivision, of Cassino. Narrowing down the location to this small village was very helpful, since it greatly reduced the pool of possible relatives.

While were in Caira, I snapped a photo of the church (La chiesa di S. Basilio).




The location of Caira was confirmed for me when I received a copy from a cousin of a letter written to my grandfather from his brother, Antonio. In this letter, Antonio admonishes Emilio for using the wrong address to write him and instructed him to use "Caira di Cassino"! The letter served a second valuable purpose, which was to confirm for me that Emilio had a brother Antonio. Here are some photos of Antonio, and one of his wife Giovanna Miele.





Through other research, I had established that Antonio and Emilio had two sisters: Maria Antonia and Maria Grazia. I have not yet tracked down a photo of Maria Antonia, but here are two of Maria Grazia. According to a story from my Uncle Vince, and recalled by a cousin in Caira, Maria Grazia also travelled to the U.S. (allegedly to get Loreto and Emilio to come home).



Well, with a little luck and some help from a few really great folks, we met many cousins in Caira. I wish we had time to visit them all, but maybe next time. 

Posted: Fri - July 9, 2004 at 07:37 PM          


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