My grandfather's story has always been a bit confusing. He left Italy in
1910 with his father, the family remembers the exact day, because they
were waiting for his younger brother to be born. They snuck onto a train
that took them to the seaport, and best I can tell, they went to Argentina.
The quotas for the United States were full, so they went to the "other"
America. My grandfather and his father Francesco Torchia didn't really
like it in Argentina, so after some time, they returned to Italy.
Then in 1914, my grandfather boarded a boat from France and was registered as a "Northern Italian" perhaps for his light skin, and arrived in the USA in June of 1914. He stated that he was going to meet his friend Francesco Bubba in Pittsburg, who interestingly enough, arrived in the USA the following December. Scant days after my grandfather arrived here, World War I began. He never went back to Italy.
Shortly after he arrived here, he met my grandmother, Maddalena Terzo, a young woman of diminuitive stature who came to this country alone from Agira, Sicily. They were working in a doll clothes factory, and he became infatuated with her, to the point that he was jealously watching her from a hole in the factory floor while she sewed below him. The only thing they told me about their romance is that he came up and kissed her and told her she was cute, and she slapped him.
They lived together for over 60 years, and produced 6 children, 3 of which lived to be my father, Alfred, my aunt Theresa, and my uncle Frank, named after his great grandfather Francesco. Francesco eventually followed my grandfather to Newark, NJ where they did Factory work for a time before Francesco opened his own shoe repair
business. The city directory that I found lists both my grandfather and my great grandfather as working in a button factory.
Francesco left behind in Sersale a wife and several children. My grandfather kept a correspondence with his mother and older sister for his entire life. Through that link, I was able to establish contact with the cousins that stayed in Sersale.
If you would like to write to the TORCHIA - TERZO family use the form below.