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Angelillo (Angelo) - Documents for Family History

Table of contents for the Family History of Raffaele Angelillo (Ralph Angelo) (1888-1965) of Sant'Angelo d'Alife, Italy; Bristol Borough and Croydon, Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Maple Shade, New Jersey.

Sant'Angelo on the map of Italy, 3 KB
Sant'Angelo d'Alife is a village in central southern Italy.

Background: Name Origins. My father's father Raffaele was from what he called in English "St. Angelo, in the State of Naples", which is now known as Sant'Angelo d'Alife in the northeast of the Region of Campania, southern Italy.

Nicola Angelillo, Raffaele's father, was the first of my family to come to America, and the first to use the family name "Angelo". He was the pioneer.

Raffaele was born in the Kingdom of Italy, but his father Nicola was born in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (to which the Kingdom of Naples belonged), and I was born in (the time of) the Republic of Italy. Raffaele's way of identifying Sant'Angelo seems to belong to his father Nicola's time, or even earlier.

Raffaele came alone to America in 1901, to Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania, to join his father Nicola (who had arrived in 1894, or maybe earlier but traveling back and forth) and Raffaele's older brother Michele. Raffaele was twelve years, nine months old, at the time of the sailing of the S.S. Werra. He traveled alone (There is no reason to believe he knew anyone else on the ship), and was detained at Ellis Island to wait for his father to come for him.

In America, Michele and Raffaele sometimes used the surname "Angelo", and like their father their deaths were recorded with that name: "Nicola Angelo" (on his death certificate, though Nicola Angelilli on his gravestone), "Michael Angelo", and "Ralph Angelo".

Name Changes

Raffaele used the surnames ANGELILLI and ANGELO it seems indifferently and at the same time, although "ANGELILLO" and "ANGIOLILLO" were the official (Italian state civil register) spellings. Until he was 57 years old Raffaele appears to have thought his legal name to be "Angelilli" which was the signature Raffaele's father Nicola used in S. Angelo Alife. Raffaele changed his legal name to "Angelo" in 1943.

Nicola Angelillo's signature on the birth record of his son Giovanni, 2 KB
Nicola Angelillo's signature
on the Atto di Nascita of his son Giovanni,
Santangelo d'Alife, 3 MAY 1893

The surname ANGELO was first used in America by Raffaele's father Nicola and later by Raffaele himself. It confused the Italians (who thought Nicola's given name was Angelo), but it was less confusing for anyone who did not speak Italian. Now it confuses everyone. Sometimes I am called Robert ANGELO, sometimes Angelo ROBERT. [About my father's mother Eleanor's religion and my singular name "Robert Wesley Angelo"]

Sant'Angelo d'Alife was called at various times "Santangiolo Raviscanina", "S. Angelo a Raviscanina", "Santangiolo di Piedimonte", and "S. Angelo Alife"; "Santangelo" is a variant spelling. The village was in the Terra di Lavoro of the Kingdom of Naples, but it is now in the Province of Caserta, Region of Campania, about 35 miles north of Naples, at the southwestern foot of the Matese Mountains. (Three historical document stamps from the civil register of Sant'Angelo d'Alife: 1. Comune di Santangiolo Raviscanina, 2. Ferdinando II Re del Regno delle due Sicilie - Comune di Sant'Angelo Raviscanina, and 3. Vittorio Emmanuele Re d'Italia - Comune di S. Angelo a Raviscanina.)

The name "Angelo" comes from the Greek word angelos meaning "messenger". Hermes was the messenger of the Olympian gods, but in Christian times Hermes was replaced by the Archangel Michael (cf. OCD 2e, "angels"). And indeed the "holy angel" (sant'angelo) that the village is named after is the Archangel Michael. Many of my ancestors were given the name "Michele Angelillo", as was Raffaele's older brother, but almost all died in childhood.

The family of Raffaele in America and the ancestors of his wife Eleanor Becker in America: my paternal family, with information about where they came from and where they are buried.

Table of Contents

From Italian government Archives

From My Archives

Village History Background


List of the Family's 22 Known Surnames

The names are linked to their Italian Civil Register records (see Italian Civil Register Records below for a brief description of the records).

List of the Family's Given (or First) Names

There are twenty-three unique men's names and sixteen unique women's names.

The Family Tree of Raffaele Angelillo

Note: the links in the List of Surnames and the Family Trees lead to the same information in the Italian Civil Register records. (The Angelillo family tree charts in the old format still exist.)

Italian Civil Register Records:

The records are arranged alphabetically by Family Name, and within Families arranged from Oldest to Youngest, for the most part Translated into English.

Women are listed under, what in English would be called, their maiden names (Note that an Italian woman keeps her father's surname all her life, and that a woman is married is indicated by the Italian word 'in', as e.g. "Maria Martone in Angelillo"). Marriage records will be found under the surname of the husband. An asterisk (*) in front of a name indicates direct-line of descent.




These records were mostly drawn from microfilm copies of the Stato Civile ("Civil Registration records") from 1809-1910 of Sant'Angelo d'Alife (which include copies of related church documents from circa 1750-1808) stored in the Archivo di Stato ("State Archives") of the Province of Caserta, Region of Campania, Italy.

Italian to English Vocabulary

This glossary is intended to help with reading Italian Civil Register records.

Family History Research - Some Resources for Southern Italy

As these notes were written before Internet research became possible, they are now mostly only of historical interest. They are focused on Sant'Angelo d'Alife, but they also apply to all the other villages in central southern Italy for which I have done some family history research. (There is a special note about processetti or "marriage documents")

Travel Companion to this Angelillo Family History

With a large map of central southern Italy showing the places named in this history.

The Origins of Sant'Angelo d'Alife

Sant'Angelo d'Alife is a comune (village and its agricultural land, i.e. township or borough) in the Province of Caserta, Italy. Between Sant'Angelo and its neighbor Raviscanina there are the ruins of a medieval castle. There are photographs of Sant'Angelo d'Alife and the Castle of Rupecanina by Sue Greco, and maps.

"Sant'Angelo d'Alife - Municipio, Castello, Panorama", three photographs by Bill Sheffield (Easter 2007).

Family Photographs:

Raffaele Angelillo of S. Angelo Alife in 1942, when he was 53 years old. This photograph was taken when Raffaele applied to become a citizen of the United States of America and changed his legal name in the United States to Ralph Angelo.

• Piano version of a song Raffaele Angelillo used to sing in Italian at Christmas: RealAudio (62 KB), or MPEG3 (253 KB), or MS Windows' Wave Sound (33 KB). This was recorded one evening many years ago and contains a false note; my father was playing from memory alone something he had last heard fifty or sixty years earlier.

The music is an old French carol called in English Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabella ("Bring a torch, come swiftly and run. Christ is born, tell the folk of the village"). I am grateful to Rosemarie Vitale for sending me the song's title (30 November 2003).

Raffaele also used to sing Santa Lucia luntana ("Santa Lucia Faraway") when he worked on his few acres of farmland in Maple Shade. He had a strong voice, his youngest two sons said.

Ralph Angelo (Raffaele Angelillo of Sant'Angelo d'Alife) in 1965, the year of his death at the age of 79, in Maple Shade, New Jersey. He is buried in Locustwood Memorial Park, Cherry Hill, New Jersey beside his wife Eleanor. Ralph when he was 62 or 65 years old, in a restaurant in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Leon Nicholas Angelo in 1964, in Oceanside, California, when he was an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. My father died in April 2003. He was born in July 1931 in Philadelphia. Link: Miei genitori

Photograph of Giovanni Angelillo (1893-1918) as a young man, before his death in France during World War One.

Documents and Stories:

• The arrival of Raffaele Angelillo in America aboard the S.S. Werra on 6 May 1901, with a description of the voyage and passenger manifest of the steamship. Raffaele was 12 years, 9 months old, and, it seems, traveling alone from Naples (20 April 1901), to the Port of New York.

• The 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census Records for Nicola Angelillo ("Angelilli" in the 1900 Census which says that Nicola came to America in 1894), and also for his wife Maria and three youngest children who came to America in 1905, at 436 (in 1900) and 434 (in 1910) Lafayette Street, Bristol Borough, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

The gravestone of Nicola Angelo (1853-1920) in Saint Mark's Cemetery, Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania.

The Arrival of Maria Martone in America aboard the SS Napolitan Prince on 23 July 1905 with her children Giovanni, Anna and Elisabetta Angelillo. With the U.S. Immigration Service's official definitions of the "Italian (North)" and the "Italian (South)" Races or Peoples.

• The 1920 U.S. Census Records for Ralph Angelo (Raffaele Angelillo) and Horace Iacovone, independent grocers at 334 Washington Street, Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania.

The World War One Service Records of Giovanni Angelillo, with a link to a very brief account of U.S. participation in the 1st World War, maps, and a description of the general circumstances of the death of Giovanni Angelillo, killed in action on 27 September 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive at the age of twenty-five. Grave in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in France.

The Marriage of Raffaele Angelillo and Eleanor Becker, 4 June 1924, at Croydon, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

• The 1940 U.S. Census Records for Ralph Angelo (Raffaele Angelillo), his wife Eleanor (Becker) and their five children, 211 Green Street, City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. 1950 U.S. Census Records for Ralph Angelo, his wife Eleanor and their three youngest children, 750 North Forklanding Road, Maple Shade, Burlington County, New Jersey.

• The World War Two draft registration card for Ralph Angelo (Raffaele Angelillo), from 27 April 1942, when he was 53 years old. This registration was for men 45-65 years old.

• The U.S. Naturalization Papers for Raffaele Angelillo (Ralph Angelo), 1941-1943, including the Petition for Naturalization, Affidavit of Witnesses and Oath of Allegiance, as well as the Notice of Objection to Final Hearing, and the Certificate of Naturalization.

World War One letter from the field in France to a parish in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Corporal Frederick J. Gerngross Sr, 1 December 1918, with a photograph and background notes about his military service.

Postwar. A soldier of the Great War who lost a leg going over the top, but came to regret the war's end: "out of uniform he had ceased to be a person of consequence" (Bruce Marshall, Luckypenny, a novel (1937)).

• Family Death Certificates

• A copy of the Certificate of Birth for Raffaele Angelillo (Atto di Nascita), from S. Angelo d'Alife, dated 4 January 2005.

Three Historical Italian Documents

The Processetti in the Unusual Case of Leone Rinaldo who married Rosa Stagno in Sant'Angelo d'Alife in 1813, and an identification of the "Comune of S. Martino in Provincia di Puglia" with San Martino in Pensilis in the Province of Campobasso. (Note: except for my notes that identify "S. Martino in Puglia", this page is in Italian.)

Supplementary to the above page is la monografia di San Martino in Pensilis from Giambattista Masciotta's Il Molise dalle origini ai nostri giorni ("Molise - From its Origins to Our Own Day").

Authorization of 23 January 1812 from Joachim Murat, King of the Two Sicilies, for the minor Silvestro Martino to marry. Silvestro Martino was 17 years old when he married Carmina Giardullo, age 20, in Santangiolo Raviscanina. (This page is in Italian only.)

Proceedings of the Family Council called to approve the marriage of Biagio Martone to Raffaela Rinaldi (del fu Leo, la sua paesana ... una giovane di buona morale, ed abituata nella fatica, "a young woman of good moral character, and accustomed to hard work"), future spouses of Sant'Angelo d'Alife, held at Piedimonte d'Alife on 20 November 1844. (This page is in Italian only.)

Contact Information

Send Internet mail to Robert with criticism of these Web pages, or with information about:

Raffaele Angelillo's Brothers and Sisters

Scrivetemi con critica o con informazioni sui fratelli e sorelle di Angelillo Raffaele.

The URL of this Web page: https://www.roangelo.net/angelo/

Copyright © 1998 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo and others as noted
Last revised: 16 September 2022 : 2022-09-16

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