The ship was named S.S.Romanic. She sailed from Naples Italy on February 29, 1904 headed for Boston, Massachusetts with my mother
,grandmother ,aunt and two uncles aboard.
(The two masts are indicative of the reluctance to rely completely on steam power.)
below was obtained from a copy of the ship's manifest. There were other data such as "Whether To Join A Relative Or Friend, " which
listed Husband and Father
Name Relation To Mike G Date of Birth Occupation Read/Write Race Possession of $50
Cristina Staffiere Grandmother 1858 Wife No/No Southern
Angela Staffiere Mother 1892 Yes/Yes Southern Italian
Giovanni Staffiere Uncle 1890 Tailor Yes/Yes Southern Italian
Staffiere Uncle 1894 Yes/Yes Southern Italian
Angela Maria Staffiere Aunt 1897 Yes/Yes
Although the ship's menu provided bologna and sausage, most likely the family brought their own aboard for the trip.
.My uncle John ( Giovanni) listed his calling or occupation as " tailor". He was 14 years old. I remember him as a successful tailor
who had a clientele of wealthy people and high-ranking military officers.
My grandmother listed her " wealth" at the time as possessing
$8.00 . She had to pay out $18.00 for her ticket and possibly $9.00 for each child before boarding in Naples.
My mother, Angela , with her parents Cristina and Antonio, in 1904. She was 12 and they were in their mid -40s.
The early immigrants
suffered intense discrimination. Notice the listing of "Race" as " Southern Italian" They were looked upon as being inferior to a
better" race "of Italians from the north. If one lived near the border,his fortune could be vastly improved by moving across, but
that wouldn't happen because Southern Italians had a fierce loyalty to their village or region. They were " Pugliese" before they
The family lived in a tenement on Putnam Street in East Boston. Their early struggles centered around earning enough
to feed everyone. They also lived through World War I and the tour in France of Francisco.( See Three Telegrams in The Attic for an
account of a cousin who lived nearby). After the war, they survived the Spanish Flu pandemic , Italian Anarchists who were blowing
up government buildings and making discrimination worse , and the rupture of a tank of molasses that inundated streets close to their
Francisco and Giovanni had successful careers as a store executive and tailor. Angela and Angela Maria married and along
with their brothers had large families with children who also became successful productive citizens.
To understand the Italians who
settled in the area, read the currently published book by Stephen Puleo,The Boston Italians. It is informative, interesting and if
you are old enough to remember some of the times, you will be heart-warmed.