When I have the chance to go to Sicily, I am grabbing it, and I am going. This is not just for the scenery and the history. This is a bit more personal. For the longest time, I have been trying to research my family tree. My surname had been changed to what it is today when my great-grandfather was born back in 1917. Before he was born, his father Domenico had come over from Sicily in 1905 then again in 1913, but that was all of the information that we had known. After some research, I found that his last name, and our true surname was Santomauro. Looking on the Ellis Island site, a Domenico Santomauro can be found coming into the United States in 1905 and in 1913. Ellis Island has just recently updated the information even more telling us which town they previously lived in in Italy, and I saw that today. Apparently, Domenico came from S. Stefano, Sicily in 1905. There are two S. Stefano towns in Sicily: Santo Stefano di Camastra and Santo Stefano Quisquina. I looked up the name directory in these little towns; in the first town there are no Santomauros, but in the second town, Santo Stefano Quisquina, there are about five Santomauros. This town seems to be promising. There is no way to find out for though if these people really are my relatives unless I go to Sicily. The other town from 1913, (apparently, there are records of Domenico travelling back and forth) is Villafrati, Sicily. I looked into this town as well and found that it is a town of about 3000 or so inhabitants. I then found a website directory for this town and searched the last name Santomauro; there are about twenty-three people in this little town with this surname. This means, that if Ellis Island is right, that if my research is correct, and he did come over from this little town or the other little town, that I might have nearly twenty-eight possible relatives in Sicily! I have goosebumps right now.
Published by Una Vagabonda
ESL teacher in Istanbul. TEFL certified and FTCE Elementary K-6 certified. I absolutely love to teach and to be around children. They always know how to put a smile on your face. Majored in Italian Studies, minoring in Religious Studies focusing on the Middle East. Studied abroad in a little town in Italy called Pisciotta this summer. Best time of my life. Studied Urbino, the town where Rafaello was born, for a fall semester. Learning Turkish. I’m having severe cravings for Long Island bagels and Chinese food. View all posts by Una Vagabonda