A Place To Find Your Family History

Mazzarella Family

I first started becoming interested in my family's history when my sister, Marion began collecting family information and pictures.  She did many interviews with my aunts and uncles and other family members. When I first read her family history book, I wanted to know more. My Grandmother was Pasqualin Panella and my Grandfather was Leonardo Mazzarella.  Both my grandparents were born in Greci, Italy in 1885. They got married in December 12, 1908 soon after my Grandfather got out of the army in September 1908. They were both born in 1885 in a small town in Southern Italy called Greci.  Their wedding picture is below.

I remember many visits to my grandparent's home on 12th street in Canton, Ohio. One of my earliest memories was seeing grandpa's army on the wall in their front room.  At the beginning I did not know that it was a picture of my grandfather.  Years later I made that connection.

I just thought it was a picture of an "Important Man" from the "Old Country"  The picture is below:


Years later I was able to get a copy of my Grandpa's records from the time he served in the Italian Army.  I also found a copy of the original back and white photo that the above color chalked picture was made.

Leonardo and Pasqualina developed a relationship sometime prior to him being drafted into the army on May 12, 1905.  Leonardo begin active duty in the army on that date. He was stationed in Naples and served in the 71st regiment with other men from Greci.  He was placed into the regiment of Naples prior to being mustered out in Milan, Italy on September 18, 1009.

During their first year of marriage something happened that convinced Leonardo and Pasqualina to travel to the United States to begin a new live. 

Family history say that Leonard had some kind of disagreement with his father-in-law over a piece of land and this was the reason for the departure from Greci.

Grandpa Leonardo traveled to New York on the ship named S.S.
Regina D'Italia (The Queen of Italy).  When he landed in the United States and went through Ellis Island and then traveled by train to Maganolia, Ohio where he started saving mone to be able to have his wife Pasqualina join him in the USA.

Prior to leaving for the United States, Leonardo and Pasqualina's firs child was borrn in Greci on Stepmbe
r 21, 1909.  My Grandparents named her Emma Mazzarella.  Emma only lived a few days and died on Octobber 2, 1909.  My father and aunts and uncles said that he had to leave Greci on the same day that Emma died.  His ship was scheduled to leave Naples on Octobe 9, 1909.  Leonardo's trip lasted 10 days and he arrived at Ellis Island on October 19, 1909.  The picture below is of the S. S. Regina D'Italia (The Queen of Italy).

Leonardo is listed on the records of the ship as being 24 years old.  He paid foe his own ticket and had $29 on him when he was interviewed in New York.

 He was traveling to Magnolia and would be staying with Michele Di Giromano when he got there.  Bartolomeo Giodino, Nicola Panella, and Carlo Meola, all men from Greci were also on the ship.  These men were also leaving their wifes back in Greci.  Nicola Panella may have been Pasqualina's brother.

When he landed, he traveled from New Yourk to Ohio by train and then to Magnoila by bus.  Sometime after ariving in Magnolia, Ohio he got work at a local brick yard that made bricks for use in builiding street.  He became part of a growing group of men and their families who came from Greci to the USA.

After two years of waiting and living with her parents and her younger brothers and sisters, Grandma Pasqualina was able to go to America.  Leonardo had sent her money needed for the ticket.  Pasqualina was 27 years old and it was decided that her younger brother Leonardo Panella would travel with her.  Their plans were to visit their brother Nicola who was living in New York and then on to Canton, Ohio to join with Leonardo.

Pasqualina and her brother Leonardo traveled to Naples to catch the ship named the S. S. Irene,  The left Naples on September 27, 1922.  They traveled from Naples to Gibraltar and then on to the port of New York.  They arrived at ellis Island on October 19, 1912.  The picture below is the S. S. Prinzes Irene.

It was a very difficult to leave Greci, Italy and travel to the United States.  During the time that Leonardo and Pasqualina traveled to the United States many others were making this same journey.  The town of Greci went from about 2000 people down to less then 500.  The picture below is taken about the time when they were making their trip.

Grandma and Grandpa Mazzarella began their family with two sons.  Ralphael (Ralph) was born January 15, 1816 and their second son Giovanni (John) was born Januray 15, 1816.  It the picture below, my father John Mazzarella is dressed in his baptism "Dress".  John was a sickly baby and Pasqualina thought that he might survive.  Pasqualina told her family later that she thought that he son John might not survive.  She thought that she might have to bury her son John in this "dress".

I think that this is the earliest picture I have of the Mazzarella family in the United States.  I love the hats on my Grandpa Leonardo and my Uncle Ralph.  The family grew to five children.

I think that the picture below was taen  in Magnolia, Ohio. Pasqualina and Leonardo had four children in this picture.  In the first row is John with Thelma to his left and next to Ralph Mazzarella.  The boy next to Ralph is Nick Strada.  In the second row, standing is Frank Vara with his mother next with the baby on her lap.  Then Pasqualina Panella Mazzarella with Vincenza (Verna) on her lap.  Next to Pasqualina is Mrs Strada with her son.  In the third row is Mr. Vara with Leonardo Mazzarell next with Mr. Strada at his right.

            Ralph                           John                       Thelma



              Vernie                                            Pat