Matteo was my mother’s brother.  He was born in Partanna, Sicily in 1893.  His last name differed from his siblings.  This anomaly has been prodding my curiosity for several years.  Recently I wrote to Partanna to request his birth certificate.   Unlike others I’d received, this one did not show his parents.  Then I requested a copy of his Social Security application.  There he named his father.  Assuming he had the facts correct, now we know his father’s name.  But what happened to his father?  His mother, my grandmother, remarried when Matteo was around 5 years old.   

Matteo (Matthew) Calzanera, 1893-1960.  Digital portrait

He immigrated in 1915. I remember him teaching me to use utensils the continental way, fork in left and knife in right, and now switching back and forth.  He was a very quiet guy as I recall him.   My brother me he was quite active in the garment workers union in NYC, as was his sister Anna (Annette). He married a woman named Nellie who died in the early 1940’s. I think they married in Newark, at least I found a record of a Matthew and Nellie in the marriage records and as this is a uncommon combination of names it’s likely to be them.   He died when I about 10 years old.


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