Friday, September 11, 2009

Grandpa Lanzillotto's Passport Application - October 1919

This is the passport application of "Grandpa Lanzillotto" aka Charles Lanzillotto, my great-grandfather. He applied for a passport to go back to Italy in 1919. This simple little document is an absolute treasure trove of information. He tells us he was born in Bitetto, Provincia di Bari, Italy on July 16, 1894. He left Italy on 8 February 1908, and that he was naturalized at the Bronx County Courthouse on 20 October 1919. (I think it's cute that he puts everything else in English, but writes Ottobre in Italian.) He has only resided outside of the United States when he was in France and Germany with the AEF (American Expeditionary Force) from August 1918 to September 29, 1919. He lives at 281 E. 155 St. in the Bronx. (Google maps can't find that address.) He's an ice dealer. He wants to go back to Italy to visit his parents, to return within 6 months. He wants to leave on November 1st.

On the next page, Grandpa Lanz is described as 25 years old. (Which is accurate!) He's 5'8", has a high forehead, brown eyes, a medium nose, small mouth, and square chin. His hair is black, his complexion fair, and his face "full," whatever that means. He has no distinguishing marks. He and his witness appear to have mixed up how to fill in the "Affadavit of Identifying Witness." It starts with "I, Charlie Lanzillotto. . ." when it should say "I, Stefano Marzigliano. . ." since Stefano is the one signing the affadavit. Stefano lives just down the street from Charlie, at 285 E. 155 St. And then, at the bottom of the page, we see Grandpa's picture! Wasn't he handsome?

The right-hand side of the page should just be the first page of the next person's application, but it's not. It is what appears to be the translation of a letter from Charlie's father telling him they'd like him to come visit them.

"Dear son I just got your letter from you. I was very glad to here that you are in Best of health and same here with us everything is O.K. Dear son I received too other letters from you and I din't not answered just as you wrote to us. One the letter was date 25 July and the other was date 11 Agost. Dear son we also have learned that you spent your fourlough in Francia and also your Company had going to the America and you are detach to another Company. We have learn that you can't not get the Bord line to come to Italy but still and all hope the will send you back to American soon and every think is clear to that you can come to see us soon and also why your too other brothers don't the come and also your sister with their family. We hope to see you all soon as we can't caus we are growing very old.

Your truly Father,
Giuseppe Lanzillotto"
The third page just has the continuation of the letter, the entirety of which I tried to transcribe above. My knowledge of Italian makes me think that the letter was written in Italian and was translated more or less word for word, which is what gives it the broken English sound. (This from clues like the double negatives and the constant use of "dear son," which is awkward in English where "Caro figlio" would be appropriate in Italian.

The only thing here that doesn't jive with what I thought was the case is the part of the letter about his brothers and sister. It sounds like Giuseppe is asking Charlie to bring his siblings to visit, while I was unaware that Grandpa Lanz had siblings in America. This is something I'll have to ask Grandma about.


Richard said...

Hi..I'm Richard Lanzillotto...a first cousin of your Mom. Your Aunt Susan refered me to this blog. I really enjoyed reading this..very nice work. As for Grandpa Lanz having siblings living in the USA, I believe he had at least one; a brother. I don't believe the two of them got along well. My father (Sam; the younger brother of your Grandma - Laura)has recalled that as a kid he went to see this Uncle and was basically told to get lost. :-) Thanks for the post. Give my best to your family. Rich

Katie O. said...

Richard -

I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the information, too, about Grandpa Lanzillotto's brother.

I'll have more Lanzillotto posts, soon, so you can check back if you're interested, and feel free to share my blog with anyone from your branch of the family who might be interested!