Every Saturday I discuss one surname. I will talk about the people in my family who belong to this name and the places they have lived. If you happen to have one of these surnames in your family tree please, please, please, let me know in the comments! As a genealogist I am always eager to hear about new potential relatives! This week I am discussing the surname ‘Rapisarda’. It is the maiden name of my Nonna on my paternal side. It has its roots deeply embedded in Ramacca, a town in the province of Catania, which I discussed in Those Places Thursday: Ramacca, A Beautiful Small Town. The earliest ancestor that I have been able to find with the Rapisarda name is Simone Rapisarda, who was born in the 1700s. He was married to a Lucia (unknown maiden name). His son was Francesco Rapisarda who was born in 1807 and died 15 JAN 1867 in Ramacca. This is a very early time to be a resident of Ramacca. In 1861 there were only 1981 people living in Ramacca.
One of the most notable family members in the Rapisarda family tree is Francesco Rapisarda who was born on 19th December 1887 in Ramacca, Catania, Sicily, Italy. For a longer post on him check out my Ramacca post. He married Giuseppa Oglialoro on the 18th of September 1912 in Ramacca. He was a farm labourer. He also visited the United States. According to his son, his plan was live in America. He left from the port of Messina on the ship San Giovanni. (Pictured below.) On the 30th of September 1913 he arrived in New York . Francesco stayed for one year before the war started. He stayed with a cousin who lived in Ohio, Cleveland who was named Salvatore Privitera and lived at the address 1991 East 126th Street Cleveland Ohio.Franceso Rapisarda also served between 1916-1918 in the first world war.
On the 5th of July, 1943, Ramacca was showered by bombs from the Allied forces (Americans specifically). Giuseppa and Francesco hid their children underneath the staircase in their house to protect them. During this time Francesco went outside to help their cousin Lucia Librizi who had 2 children one around 3 years old and one who was around 6moths. Hee tried to save them to bring them inside for shelter but this is when the bomb went off. The mother and her six month old son who she held in her arms died along with Francecso, but Francesca the daughter of Lucia survived and later immigrated to Australia .There is a memorial plaque in the Commune of Ramacca. It lists all of the people who died on that day. Giuseppa Oglialoro is mistakenly listed. She didn’t die until 1968. Francesco is now buried alongside his wife, daughter Giovanna and Giovanna’s husband in Ramacca’s Cemetery. Note: Many thanks to my Nonna’s brother, son of Francesco Rapisarda, who gave me the facts of his death and told me of his involvement in the world war. I would not know these things without him.