I created this blog post after my recent trip to New York and Connecticut to celebrate my brother Bob’s 60th birthday and his son (my nephew) Danny’s 30th birthday. It was great to visit family, and to do some genealogy research while I was there.
So, what research was I doing?
Here’s the story:
In January of 2018, after receiving a DNA kit as a Christmas gift, I sent a DNA sample to Ancestry.com. About 6 weeks later I got the results back. It was no surprise that it showed I was 48% Sicilian, 48% Polish, and 4% various other European and Eastern European countries.
What was a surprise, was that I started getting messages from Ancestry.com that my DNA matched many other people. Some of them I already knew about, but many others I didn’t. I started to receive messages from some of these distant cousins and was able to view their family trees. The vast majority of the people who contacted me were on my Father’s side (the Sicilian side) of the family. All of them, except one, were connected to me through my grandmother, Felicia Augello. That was no surprise either because my Grandmother had many siblings, and I was able to trace her roots back to the 1700’s in Santa Ninfa, Sicily.
So what about that one exception?
In January of this year I received a message from Roseann Crescimanno. She had received a message from Ancestry.com stating that she and I were third cousins. She had a Palermo in her family tree and was curious as to how we were related. I messaged her back that we had to be related through my grandfather, Filippo Palermo. She gave me access to her full family tree and I was able to see that her Great-Grandmother on her Mother’s side of the family was named Giuseppina Palermo. I had never heard that name before, so I was curious as to how she was related to my Grandfather.
I clicked on Giuseppina’s name in Roseann’s family tree and found that she was born in 1855 in Santa Ninfa, Sicily. Since she was 29 years older than my Grandfather (born in 1884), she had to be either his mother or his aunt. Roseann checked with her Mother who remembers that her father, Rosario Paterno’s first cousin was Filippo Palermo.
Filippo Palermo came here from Santa Ninfa in 1910. He opened up a grocery store near where he lived on Montrose and Bushwick Avenues in Brooklyn. His cousin, Rosario Paterno, came here in 1911 and opened up a grocery store on Central Avenue and Bleecker Street in Brooklyn.
The Paterno Family
I always wondered if and how we were related to the Paterno family since there is a picture of them visiting my parents shortly after I was born. My parents were living in Richmond Hill with my grandparents at the time.
This is that picture:
Those Dominant Sicilian Genes –
The day before I flew back to Florida, I met Roseann for dinner near Woodbury Commons in NY. We spoke a lot about our families, her trips to Sicily and how much she looked like my sister Joanne and how I, “have her Grandfather’s eyes”. The picture below is a side-by-side head shot I created in Photoshop of Roseann and Joanne. You can figure out which is which!
Click here to view a transcript of my messages with Roseann on Ancestry.com.
Additional Photos –
Except for the last one, all of the following pictures were taken in Richmond Hill in November of 1948, shortly after I was born. The last picture with me on the bike, was taken shortly after my first birthday.
If any of my siblings or cousins know any additional information about Filippo Palermo’s connection with Rosario Paterno, please let me know.
I found some interesting documents about my Grandfather’s early years here in America and will post them shortly.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments, questions or information.