ANCESTOR OF THE WEEK
Domenica was my 2x-great-grandmother. She died fifteen years before I was born and I just wish I had the opportunity to know her. Her story is quite remarkable to me and there are so many questions that I would have loved to ask her.
Domenica was born in Vizzini, Catania, Sicilia on 22 SEP 1870. She was one of six children born to Evangelista Maugeri and Giovanna Gullotta. She also had two half-siblings from her father's previous marriage. Domenica had three younger siblings, but they all died in infancy, so Domenica, in retrospect was the youngest child to grow to adulthood.
If she was sitting in front of me at this moment, one of the questions I would ask is if her marriage was arranged or was it a marriage of love? The reason why this question gnaws at me is because her husband, Carmelo Inserra, was sixteen years her senior. That may not seem like a very large gap, but it still raises the question.
Domenica Maugeri and Carmelo Inserra were married on 3 NOV 1892 in Vizzini. Domenica was twenty-two at the time of the marriage and Carmelo was thirty-eight. They had their first child thirteen months later, my great-grandmother, Sebastiana Inserra. They continued to have two more children, and then in 1903, Domenica gave birth to a set of female twins who both died within their first month of life.
Making the Move:
Now, I don't know what sparked Domenica to make a major life decision, but in 1914, she decided to make the journey to America with her son, Ignazio Inserra, who was seventeen-years-old. Her husband, remained in Vizzini. As far as I know, Carmelo never came to America and lived out the remaining twenty-two years of his life in Vizzini. He is buried in the cemetery on the outskirts of Vizzini.
This story fascinates me. Relatives also tell me that my 2x-great-grandmother had a boyfriend while she lived here. Well, isn't that something! Was my 2x-great-grandmother a cougar? I do know that when she arrived in 1914, she purchased for herself a gorgeous cameo (she is wearing it in the picture). Apparently, she enjoyed the finer things in life. She stood no taller than 4'11", but I'm sure her personality was larger than life.
Where Are You?:
Unfortunately, I cannot locate any census records for her after 1920. I have tried several variations of her name and possible misspellings, but have come up dry. What's interesting on this census record is that she is listed as being married, but she left her husband. I wish I was the fly on the wall in 1914 understanding what had transpired. I guess it's just one of those mysteries that needs to remain a mystery.
While in America, Domenica divided her time among her three children, who all immigrated at different times. She would spend time with each child and visit her grandchildren, and eventually great-grandchildren. My mother often talks about how much she used to love visiting her great-grandmother when she would be dismissed from school. Mom said that she would always try to put a smile on her great-grandmother's face. Domenica seemed to know all about smiling. It's nice that the majority of photos I have of her depict her with a smile. That's nice to see.
Domenica passed away in 1961 and is buried here in Staten Island. She shares a grave with her daughter (my great-grandmother), and her son-in-law (my great-grandfather). I often look at her picture while I'm researching. I feel that she is part of the cheering section every time I locate a hint.
Dedicated to you, Grandma "Meenica"
Thanks for reading and happy hunting!