Growing up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Kings County, New York
My Aunts and Uncles on the Simonetti Side
|This is my favorite picture of four out of
five of the Simonetti sisters, taken at Aunt Sue's apartment, upstairs
at 181 Maujer St., Brooklyn, New York.
Back row: Aunt Sue Gallo and my mom, Ida (Olympia) Normandy; Front row: Aunt Jennie Devine, oldest sister born in Italy; and Aunt Margaret DePrisco. Aunt Barbara wasn't there when the photo was taken. Mom said one sister always seemed to be missing from every group picture. They were very close sisters all of their lives.
|Another Simonetti sister:
Aunt Bobbie (Barbara) Simonetti was born on July 4, 1897, in Torre del Greco, Italy. She was only three when her family left from Palma Campania to travel on the ship "Alsatia" from the Port of Naples to Ellis Island, arriving on October 17, 1900.
Uncle Benny (Biagio) DeGenova came from Italy at age 13. The name was spelled Di Genova in Italy, and changed in the U.S. He served in the U.S. Army in World War I.
On the 1920 Federal Census of New York, Kings County, Brooklyn, they were married and living in the same house where Barbara's parents lived, at t 60 Conselyea Street. Benny was listed as a cooper who worked at a cooperage.
Uncle Benny had a dance band and I was fortunate to get pictures of it from their daughter, whom we called Pye. The band was hired to play on a boat ride up the Hudson River to Indian Point.
Benny and Bobbie had three children and all had nicknames: Andrew (Dege), Domenica "Mildred" (Pye), and Vincent (Jimmy).
They lived at 538 Lorimer Street for a long time. It's the only place I remember visiting them. Benny died on April 17, 1964 in New York. Aunt Bobbie died in Farmingdale, New York, in September, 1985. They are both buried at Long Island National Cemetery, Pinelawn, Suffolk County, New York.
(Many thanks to Pye for so much help with this project. I loved visiting you and your daughter, Priscilla in Florida and getting to meet your granddaughters. Thanks also to Dege and Marie for their additions.)
Aunt Margaret and Uncle Mike
|Margaret Simonetti was born in Brooklyn, New York.on June 16, 1901,
the first child of this family born in the United States. On the 1920 Federal
Census of New York, Kings County, Brooklyn, she was living at home with
her parents at 60 Conselyea Street in Brooklyn. Her occupation was listed
on the census as machine operator, silk, waist. That was on January 5,
1920. I don't have the date of her marriage to Massimino (Uncle Mike) DePrisco
but it was probably that year.
Uncle Mike was born January 23, 1898, in Italy, probably Palma Campania, but that is not verified. He left for America from the Port of Naples, Italy, on the ship "Nord America" around 1908.
On the 1930 New York Census, Mike and Margaret and their three children, Louis, Louise (Lou Lou), and Beatrice (Sugar) were living at 181 Maujer Street, Brooklyn, in the house that grandpa Vincenzo Simonetti owned. His occupation in 1930 was band sawyer at a lumber company.
What I remember most about Uncle Mike was that he had a car when we didn't. He would often visit and take us for a ride to places we couldn't have wouldn't have seen if it weren't for him. I didn't know about cars but I'm told he had a brown Chrysler at one time.
What I remember most about Aunt Margaret was how sweet she was. When she knew I was coming to visit, she always cooked something special that I liked.
Margaret died on February 20, 1968. Mike died on November 17, 1973, in Franklin Square, New York.
(Thanks to Mike and Margaret's son, Louis, and his wife Jean DePrisco for their help with this branch of the family tree. Thanks also to their daughter Louise (LouLou) Bruto. I appreciate the help of another Louis DePrisco, the son of Uncle Mike's brother, Pasquale (Patsy) and Claire DePrisco for family information.)
|This is one of the few pictures I have of
Uncle Joe, their daughter, Priscilla, and Aunt Sue Gallo. Sue was named
Asunta Simonetti when she was born on Maujer Street in Brooklyn, New York,
on November 2, 1905. On the 1920 Census she was listed as Susie, 14 years
old, living with parents at 60 Conselyea Street.
Joseph Gallo was also born on Maujer Street in Brooklyn, across the street from 181 where later the Williamsburg Projects would be built.
Sue and Joe were married on August 11, 1930, at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church. Uncle Joe was a barber all his life.
They had four daughters, Josephine, Priscilla (pictured above), Gloria, and Delores. They were my closest girl cousins and Mom and I visited 181 Maujer Street very often to see them. We would make the rounds of all the aunts and one uncle that lived in the building, Jennie, Sal, Margaret, Sue. On the way home we would often stop and see Aunt Bobbie, the only one who lived on Lorimer Street, not far from our house. Mom was very close to all her sisters and I loved growing up with a big family to visit all the time.
I have a cherished memory of a night I spent with the Gallo sisters. We slept out on the fire escape which had a board covering the opening so we wouldn't fall through. It seemed like quite an adventure to a little girl!
Aunt Sue died on October 29, 1983, in Massapequa, New York. Uncle Joe died there also, on November 23, 1993. They are both buried at St. Johns Cemetery, Queens, New York.
(Thanks for family information go to all my Gallo sister-cousins. I love you all and think of you often.)
|Uncle Salvatore Simonetti was born November
14, 1894, in the province of Napoli, Italy. He was my grandparents' only
son. He came to the United States with his parents and two sisters, Giovanna
(Aunt Jennie) and Barbara. They left Palma Campania, and sailed out of
the Port of Naples, Italy, on the ship "Alsatia" amd arrived at Ellis Island
on October 17, 1900.
On the 1920 Federal Census of New York, Kings County, Brooklyn, Sal was living at home with his parents at 60 Conselyea Street in Brooklyn. His occupation was listed on the census as machine cutter, cut glass. My mother spoke of this in her autobiography, "Ida."
She said Sal "was the one who really brought the most money into the house. He went to learn how to work on very fine cut glass. His job was to make the rose design on vases. Aunt Margaret used to have them on her mantelpiece all the time."
Aunt Filippa Florio was born September 1, 1901, in Italy. She came
to America around 1914 on the ship "Skip Critish" of the Star White Line.
They had to land at Boston and take a bus to New York.
Sal and Filippa were married on October 1, 1922, at St. Francis of
Paola Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn. Their witness were Sal's sister
and her husband, Giovanna and Francesco Devine. Sal and Filippa had four
children, Beatrice, Vincent (called Sonny, later Jim), Pasquale (Pat),
Pat told me that he sold my brother-in-law Pete Lomuto his first car, a blue Pontiac with rumble seat. He also told me about the social club the boys had (Pat, Louie DePrisco, and my brother Mike Normandy) on TenEyck and Lorimer Streets in Brooklyn. He said my brother used to fix it up even way back then.
When Grandpa Simonetti got older, Uncle Sal took over ownership of the house. Eventually they sold the grocery/candy store and moved to Bayside (Flushing) Long Island, to be next to their son, Pat and his wife, Rose.
Uncle Sal died on April 3, 1982, and "Aunt Filomena" died February 2, 1993, both in Bayside. They are buried at Mount Saint Mary's Cemetery, Flushing, New York.
(Thanks to cousins Beatrice, Vincent (Jim), and Pasquale (Pat) for information above. I talked to everyone but Marie in the last couple of years and had a wonderful visit with Jim and Frances (Dolly) when they were in Florida.)
|Aunt Jennie (Giovanna) Simonetti was born
in Italy on April 16, 1889. She came to the United States with her parents
and only brother, Salvatore, and her sister Barbara. They left Palma Campania,
and sailed out of the Port of Naples, Italy, on the ship "Alsatia" amd
arrived at Ellis Island on October 17, 1900.
Uncle Frank Devine, Aunt Jennie's husband, was born in Italy around 1889. His name was listed as Ciro Francesco D'Avino on a manifest from the ship "Nuestra" which left from the Port of Naples, Italy, and arrived at Ellis Island on November 12, 1900. He travelled with his parents, Aniello and Fortunata D'Avino and his sisters, Cira and Maria. The manifest said they were coming from Torre del Greco going to cousin Vin. Simonetti, 385 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Could this be my grandfather, Vincenzo, Aunt Jennie's father?
By the time of the 1910 Federal Census of Kings County, Brooklyn,
New York, Uncle Frank and Aunt Jennie (Giovannina) were married and living
at 732 Lorimer St., Brooklyn. Frank's occupation was listed as dealer of
pool table supplies. Jennie worked in retail sales, candy and cigars. She
worked at the Rockwood Chocolate factory at one time but I don't know if
the occupation on the census refers to this factory where many of our immigrant
(Thanks to cousins Kathleen Devine and Regina, daughter of Salvatore and Kathleen Devine, for the picture of Frank and for sharing some of the information included above.)
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Gonna take a sentimental journey
Gonna set my heart at ease
Gonna take a sentimental journey
To renew old memories
Got my bag and got my reservation
Spent each dime I could afford
Like a child in wild anticipation
I long to hear that "All Aboard"
Seven - that's the time we leave at
Seven - I'll be waiting up for
Heaven - counting every mile
Of railroad track that takes me back
Never thought my heart could be so yearning
Why did I decide to roam?
Gonna take a sentimental journey,
Sentimental journey home
Ben Homer/Bud Green/Les Brown - 1944
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