What's in a family name? Maybe the great debate is what is the family name? Mitterando or Mitarotondo or Midarotondo or is it Mitarotonda? We may never know exactly, but what we do know for sure is anyway you spell it means you are part of this great family.
The Mitterando Family started back in the "Old Country" or Grumo Appio, Italy. Luigi Mitarotonda (1869 - January 3, 1950) set sail from Naples, Italy on the Neustria. He arrived like many other immigrants through Ellis Island on November 12, 1900 (view his immigration record).
Marietta De Nicola Mitarotondo (1869 - April 13, 1938) would later join her husband, Luigi, with two of their three children. Marietta De Nicola left Naples, Italy on August 31, 1901 on the ship Victoria, joining Luigi in New York on September 20, 1901(view the ship's manifest). One can only imagine what a tough voyage this was since Luigi and Marietta couldn't afford passage to America for everyone. They made the decision to bring John (January 2, 1895 - March 19, 1977), the oldest, and the baby Giovanni ("Joseph") (born on November 12, 1899). They left Ralph (born on April 4, 1897) in the care of an Uncle who owned a farm and had a wife and children of his own. When they arrived in America, Marietta and Luigi settled in Newark, New Jersey.
Life here in America was hard work, but for Luigi and Marietta it was their "American dream". Luigi made his living as an iceman, driving a horse and wagon and climbing tenement stairs to deliver ice. Marietta, an accomplished seamstress, helped support the family as well as raising her children.
Marietta and Luigi's family continued to grow, they added, Carmen (Nutch) (December 13,1905 - December 1986) , Angelo (Giuli) (September 8, 1908 - November 1979), and Carmella (Molly) (September 10, 1911 - February 20, 1991). In 1908, Luigi returned to Italy, giving Ralphael a chance to rejoin his family and meet the new siblings he had not seen in the United States. Ralphael arrived in the United States in 1911 at the age of 12. Read more about his story.
John married Ellen Navin on May 20, 1916 and they welcomed 8 children: Marie Theresa, (December 9, 1917 - June 8, 1991), Louis (Sonny) James (February 28, 1919 - March 27, 1944), William Joseph (March 18, 1920 - November 10 2004), Elizabeth (Dolly) (December 28,1921 - January 7, 1990 in Washington D.C.), Margaret (Margie) (born on September 16, 1923), John, (Johnny, Johnny Guitar) (born February 24, 1925), Ellen (born May 13, 1926) and Robert Edward (born on September 20, 1939).
Sonny was a Corporal in the Army Air force, trained as a Tail Gunner and stationed at Clovis, New Mexico . He was engaged to Norma Tortorici. He was killed in an airplane on air manuvers over New Mexico in 1944. A military honor Guard was present at his burial at St. Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx.
John and Ellen (Nell, Nellie) lived with Louis & Marietta during their early married life and Ellen learned to cook Italian foods in her mother-in-law's kitchen. They moved the family from New York Avenue, Newark, NJ to East Orange, NJ before they relocated to Fuller Street in the Bronx. From Fuller Street, the family (John, Ellen, Grandma Navin and the 7 children) moved to a house with 6 rooms and a bath on Castle Hill Avenue in 1937. John had a new position with New York's Con Edison Power Company and became the first Italian foreman they ever hired. At the time this was quite an accomplishment, since many employers had prejudices and didn't want to hire employees who were Italian. Once John had become a "big boss" at Con Ed, he was able to buy a two family house at 2108 Lafayette Avenue. John belonged to the Foresters of America, he campaigned for Mayor LaGuardia, and drove his family around in a 1932 Nash. He even crafted a wooden bench that fit in the back of the Nash so everyone would have a seat. John liked to hunt. There was a time when his hunting dog stepped on the trigger of a loaded rifle and blew a hole in the roof of the Nash. He also enjoyed fishing, playing cards in the winter and bocce ball in the summer. John created a victory garden in an empty lot, where the neighbors could gather for a card game, snacks, homemade wine and discuss war politics.
John and Ellen created a great life for their children, they saw a lot of both happy and sad times. They watched their children become adults and make lives of their own, creating more branches of the family tree. John and Ellen's family suffered through the tragic years of the War as Sonny was killed and their boys, son-in-laws or son-in-laws-to-be fought in WWII. Through it all, one thing always remained stead fast and true - their bond as a family was strong. This bond continued to grow tighter and became the strength of this "Family". It truly became a blessing and a special gift that all future generations of the Mitterando's would be a part of. Read John and Margie's memories of "growing up Mitterando".
Ralphael (Ralph) finally came to America on October 2, 1911 at the age of 12. Ralph was a self taught in reading and writing and had a real appreciation for "life in America" and he never did want to go back to Italy. Ralph did at one time suffer from an unknown illness, which confined the then 17 year old to bed for approximately a year, as a result of this illness he was not drafted for WWI. Ralph and Antonette married December 19, 1926 in Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Newark, New Jersey, settling in Middlesex, NJ and together they had five children. Luigi (Louis) (born on December 10, 1927), Marietta (Mary) (born on February 28, 1929), Vincenzo, (Jimmy), (born on July 28, 1930), Gaetana (Katie) (born on May 17, 1933) and Carmella (Carm) (born on July 18, 1934). You can read more on Ralph and Antonette's story.
Joseph (Joe) married Frances who had 2 children from a previous marriage, Phillip Vingara, (born in May 1931) and Stanley Vingara (August 24 1932 - September 2,1997). Joe and Frances added to their family with four more children - Patricia (born in 1936 and died in 1938), Richard (Richie) (born on February 16, 1940), Gail (born on February 21, 1946) and Kenny (born March 1, 1951).
Carmen (Nutch) married Ida Perna, in New Jersey and together they had a daughter, Joan, who died on September 18, 1974.
Angelo (Giuli) married Concetta (Chet) Lambiase on June 8, 1929 and together they had five children. Ruth, (died in May 2000), Robert, Laura (born November 3, 1931), Lois (born on October 2, 1933) and Angelo (born on April 4, 1943).
Carmela (Molly ) married John Joseph (Nap) Napurano on August 7th, 1937 and they had 4 children - Marie, Joan, John (was born November, 1945 and, sadly, passed away before his 1st birthday). Several years later, they had John. Molly and Nap lived in Newark , NJ and purchased a summer place at 6 Sunset Street, Keansburg, NJ where they later retired.
Though some of the family relocated to opposite sides of the Hudson river, the ties remained strong and visits were plentiful. Read a special and humerous memory of one memorable Hudson crossing by Richie Mitterando.
So, whatever your name is, and whether you are an aunt, uncle, daughter, son, granddaughter, grandson, niece, nephew, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, cousin, first cousin, first cousin-once-removed, second cousin, second cousin-once or twice-removed - you have helped us add to and strengthen the bonds we call "family".