In celebration of the Italian-American Heritage Month, The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center would like to highlight materials relating to Italians and Italian genealogy.
In our collection, we hold an array of materials documenting the Italian population in Scott County. One collection documents immigrants becoming citizens of the United States.
The Scott County Naturalization records contains federal immigration records released from Iowa District Court of Scott County which include declarations of intent, petitions, affidavits of witnesses, correspondence, indexes. These records date from 1868 to 1929. Below we will feature some Italian immigrant stories.
Antonio D’Eramo was born in Bugnara, Italy on April 8, 1887. He married Neva DiTommaso in Bugnara in 1920. Antonio came to Davenport in 1920 two years before his wife Neva and his daughter Lena. His declaration to become a citizen was made on December 6, 1921, and his petition signed on November 20, 1926. Neva became a citizen in 1942. He worked as a foreman steelworker for the International Harvester Company until 1947. He was also worked for the Bettendorf Company.
His daughter, Lena, married Frank J. Tomei of Davenport in 1947. In 1961, Antonio and his wife moved to Mesa, Arizona. He passed away on August 14, 1974 in Mesa, Arizona at the age of 87.
Giovanni (John) Petruccelli was born in Italy on November 22, 1888, to Donato and Maria Theresa (Calvella) Petruccelli. His last residence in Italy before migrating was Viggiana, Italy. In the naturalization documents below, his declaration was made on June 21, 1921, and his petition signed on December 16, 1926. He was married to his first wife, Marguerite (Margaret) Tronzo from 1925 to 1931. They had four children, Mrs. Mary Mason (husband Russell), Donato Angelo Francisco (Dan), Domenico J. Petro, Vincenzo J. On August 4, 1937, Giovianni married Josephine Elizabeth McKee. He and his two brothers, Vincenzo and Domenico, “established the Bay State Shoe Repair in the 200 block on Harrison Street and in 1948, the shop was moved to the 300 block on West Third Street” in Davenport (“Vincenzo” 5).
A interesting fact is that Giovanni was the uncle to Donato A. (Don) Petruccelli, who was Davenport Mayor from 1957-1961.
Santi Caturegli was born in Pisa, Italy on May 18, 1881, to John and Alice (Vanniccia) Caturegli. He married Teresa Simonetti (or Scimanetti) in Pisa in 1903. They arrived in the United States through New York’s Ellis Island on June 10, 1907. Santi and Teresa had three children, two daughters, Mrs. Mary Meyer (husband Ervin) and Mrs. Laura Dean (Virgil) and one son, Hugo G. Caturegli. He worked at the Bettendorf Company and was a member of the Davenport Moose Lodge. Santi passed away on October 17, 1962.
The records below detail his naturalization to become a United States Citizen. His declaration was made on August 18, 1924, and his petition signed on December 15, 1926.
Another resource where we find information about Italian-Americans is the United States Census records. They will list the names of family members, their age, where they were born, where their parents were born, what languages they speak, and their occupation. This resource, like the city directories, is helpful for tracing ancestors.
Lastly, in our book collection, there are books about Italian genealogy and history. Here is a bibliography of Italian books in Special Collections.
These records provide a glimpse into lives of Italian-Americans. We hope you enjoy researching our collections! Happy Italian-American Heritage Month! Ciao!
Stiamo festeggiando means we are celebrating in Italian.
“Vincenzo Petruccelli, Mayor’s Father, Dies”. Morning Democrat. Davenport, Iowa: October 29, 1958, page 5.
(posted by Kathryn)