Case Study: Finding a Place of Origin

Finding clues to lead you to the answer for Italian genealogy questions

Emilio Antonio Martino immigrated to the United States in 1912 aboard the SS America. His port of embarkation was Napoli, suggesting he lived in a central, southern, or Sicilian Town. His U.S. immigration manifest said he last resided in Valley Ariana and that his father, Dominica Martino, was his closest relative in this town.

So how could we learn more? We turned to other US records. Emilio Antonio’s WWI draft registration card clarified his birthday was May 5th, 1894, and stated that he was born in Frosinone, Italy. From researching Italian genealogy, we knew Frosinone is both a province and a town so while we were getting closer, we still had more research to do. No will or probate records were found for this ancestor in the town of death, and the 1920, 1930, and 1940 US Federal censuses all give his place of birth as Italy. However, his US death certificate provided the key information that he was born in Bov. Ernica.

We learned that Boville Ernica in the Frosinone province is the only current town in Italy that ends in Ernica. Well, if he was born there, why did his immigration manifest see he last resided in Valley Ariana? The resource, lists the following hamlets or neighborhoods for the town of Boville Ernica:

Area Castello
Colle Piscioso
San Lucio
Santa Liberata

We turned to other sources to learn more about Valley Ariana. The Family History Library has microfilmed civil records between 1871 and 1899, and Emilio’s birth falls within this timeframe. We found Emilio Antonio Martino who was born on May 5, 1894 in the contrada, also known as a “countryside neighborhood” of Valeriana, which was under the jurisdiction of Boville Ernica at the time. It seems very possible that Valeriana could have been misidentified as Valley Ariana. Plus the parents listed on the Italian birth record were the same as those listed on Emilio’s US death record and WWI draft registration card. And, since Boville Ernica is in central Italy in the Frosinone province, we solved the mystery!

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