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Benvenuti! This is the DOLCEACQUA side of my family tree. It begins with my mother's father, CAMILLO DOLCEACQUA, because he was reportedly "abandoned" somewhere along the northern Italian side of the border of France and nothing is known of his true parents. I'd like to to know more about him and his origins.
Camillo was "adopted," in 1880, by a single woman, Filomena Cotieri from Pierella, on the beautiful southern coast of Amalfi. Filomena "wet nursed" and raised Camillo along with her biological son, Ralph Cotieri, and another step-son, John Conca whose name was changed to "Congo" upon immigration to America. "Dolceacqua" means "sweet water" and there is a town by the same name in Liguria Province on the northern coast. The old city, high on a hill within the walls of ruined Count Doria's castle, is still occupied and surrounded by the newer city, and hosts thousands of tourists each year. But there are no Dolceacquas in Dolceacqua. Only Camillo's descendants carry on the name. It was the practice at the time to name "illegitimate" children after royal or noble families or geographic areas. It was common for an "unwed mother" in 1880 to claim that the natural father was a local aristocrat. From the 1860 until 1929, the Italian state (Kingdom of Italy) refused to recognize Catholic marriages, only civil ones. Very few church archives have been preserved for birth records access. Often a birth certificate without indication for parentage was issued. Camillo met and married his wife, Maria Benevento, whose mother was a Marino, in London, where he owned a confectionary store and where Maria (from Salerno) had been an indentured servant. On 2/17/06, when he was 22, they left England with 3 children and $15 cash and immigrated to America aboard the SS New York via Ellis Island, arriving 2/25/1906. Camillo rose from street peddlar selling fruit from a pushcart to a real estate entrepeneur. When he got into some trouble and left town, abandoning Maria and 10 children in New York City, Maria and her family settled in New Haven, Connecticut, where most of their descendants still live.
I visited Amalfi and Dolceacqua in 1987 (photos of the towns are displayed on these pages). I plan to return there in Y-2000... to research my roots... and for my book , "In A Family Way," about the five generations of my family tree that have been splintered by secret adoptions. I would love to hear anything about the people or towns. I am a publisher and author. My books include several Italian cookbooks, including ITALIANS of ALL NATIONS with LOVE (traditional & exotic Italian recipes from Italian restaurant chefs worldwide).... also The Ultimate Search Book (for finding our relatives in all 50 states & 200 countries), and Chosen Children.
This page is a work in progress, so my e-mail is provided for any any input for my book or any "missing links" to aid my search for Italian roots...or just to say "Hello, cousin!"
(an exchange between two schools about Dolceacqua, Italy):
ITALIANI IN AMERICA: http://www.italianiinamerica.com