Tracing your roots back to Sicily

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As LoveSicily we do not offer a specific family tracing service for those who want to trace their families back to Sicily, however, over the years we have helped a few people and have answered several requests. In this post we just want to list a few points that might be of help if you want to start looking for your roots in Sicily.

  • If your family surname is also the name of a town, it does not automatically mean that you come from that place. So it is better not to focus your search only on that town. For example, if your name is Modica or Cassaro, it does not mean that your family are from Modica or Cassaro.

  • If you cannot find the town your family came from on a map or on the internet chances are that the spelling of the name is not correct. Try to find some written documentation or ask your relatives to help clarifying. If even this does not help, it is possible that the name was originally misspelled by the officer at the immigration office; in this case, the best option is to write to someone in Sicily, like ourselves, and ask what real town name sounds similar to the one you have. For example, someone wrote to us asking about a town that could not be found on any map of Sicily, “Gala de fimi”, we immediately suggested that this could only be Calatafimi and, indeed, it was.
  • If you know the name of the town, it is worth doing some research on the town itself to find out how many inhabitants there are and how many people have the same surname of your family there.
  • The website has the full directory of Italian cities and towns. Put the surname in the “Cognome” field and the name of the town in the “Dove” one and find out how many people share the same surname in the town. If the list is manageable you can try to contact them to ask whether there might be a chance of you being relatives. People tend to be kind in these situations, so you can give it a go.
  • The local authorities of a town could also be of help. Look for the website of the town and try to get in touch with the Ufficio Anagrafe. Usually it is enough to write “Comune di” plus the name of the town in a search engine.
  • A good source of information can also be the many online databases that hold genealogical information, the Ellis Island immigration database and the Family History Library

If you do not manage to find out if you have relatives in Sicily or you are not that keen in searching for them, the only final suggestion we can give is to come and visit the island anyway. Over the years, we have met several people of Sicilian origin who came to Sicily for the first time and they all had a wonderful emotional experience.

We cannot forget Maria’s wet eyes when seeing the reproduction of a typical Sicilian house of the early 19th century at the Anthropological Museum in Palazzolo Acreide. She said she felt like visiting her grandmother house, as the place was exactly as “nonna” described it when she was a child.

And then Michael, for us Micheluzzu, whose family came from Sciacca. He was happy to find that many traditions of the Sciacchitani community in New York, like festivities, processions, special food, were really true to what is still done in Sciacca. During the cookery courses, it gets even more interesting and emotional as memories are awaken by senses through the tasting of food that takes people straight back to childhood.

Patricia, for example, found that the sweet taste of the tomato sauce we made during the lesson was exactly the same as the one her aunt used to make in Brooklyn; she always thought that the use of sugar in tomato sauce was up to her aunt’s eccentric character but she discovered that this is actually what most people still do here.

Similarly Barbara could not believe she would have ever tasted her grandmother’s best delicacy again, a bite of dry quince jam at breakfast and a small tear and a sweet smile said it all.


It' s always a pleasure to find blogs about our beautiful country!!!

Visit us soon,



I would like to know the address my grandparents lived at while in St. Giesseppi Jato. here is some information on them:
Natale Candela and Giuseppa Mirabile were married on 23 July
1895 in San Giuseppe Jato. He was single, 19 years old, and a farmer born in this town and living in this town. He was a son of Antonino (Candela), living in this town, and the late Vincenza Coniglio. The bride was single, 15 years old, and a homemaker born in Chiusa Sclafani and living in this town. She was a daughter of Francesco (Mirabile), living in this town, and Emanuela Genovese living in this town.

can we be realated? i have a

can we be realated? i have a grandfather who migrated from sicily to detroit! joseph candela

Searching for Roots

Two years ago I have the supreme pleasure of visiting Sicily! I was overwhelmed by the kindness of the people, the superb food, and the sheer beauty of the island! I came 'close' to the town I later found out was the one my maternal grandfather lived in -- and though I have yet to find the roots of my great grandparents or the place of origin for my paternal grandparents, I fell in love with Sicily and IMMEDIATELY felt as though I had come 'HOME.' I will return there soon .... but it can't be soon enough!

Sicilian Roots

Lin - the feeling of being "home" is something that we have experienced through many of our guests and they have all described it just like you did. We are happy you enjoyed your visit to Sicily and hope you managed to come back soon

My Roots

This site is the 1st I have found that gives so much attention to the settings and life in the country. That which is not focused on the well known places and attractions.

I'm trying to find the location(s) of my ggreat-grandfather' home there before his immigration to the U.S. The family name is Gotto and He was

Antoino Marion Gotto
Born January 8, 1809
Birthplace: Italy or Sicily
Died March 12, 1912

Thank You For this site and My Regards to all in Sicily.


More Sicilian roots

Hi Everyone

I am also looking for family information, Both my Grandparents were Born in Aragona, Sicily. I would love to know how you go about looking them up over there. Any help would be great!

Grandfather: Raimondo Salamone b. 1892
Mom's maiden name was Picona
Grandmother: Serafina Tirone b. 1903
Mom's maiden name was Fraccambrino{sp}?

St. Giesseppi

Was in Sicily last May 2007, felt like I came home, even though I had never been there before. Found the Church in St. Giessepi Jato that my grandparents celebrated their marriage and the court house where they were married at. My grandmother's name was Mirable and grandfather Candela. I believe I still have relatives living there but not sure. I do want to go back as soon as I can get the money to do so. I fell in Love there and so did my husband.


Both my grandfathers were born in Ganzirri, near Torre Faro on the northeast corner of Sicily. Both first names were Nicola. Both surnames were Ruello. They claimed they were not related.

I have been able to trace my paternal grandfather back a bit, but there is nothing on my mother's people. Her cousin was a judge and move to the mainland a long time ago.

An uncle told me that records had been destroyed in the earthquake in Messina way back. Is there any other way of obtaining information? No one in Torre Faro, where my father's people live, seem to know anything about my mother's family.

Thank you.

Grandmother's birthplace


Just reading your blog and am wondering if someone out there can be of assistance. I am putting together a little family history book for my nieces and nephews and would like to find out exactly where in Sicily my grandmother was born and the date she came to the U.S. Her name was Jennie Bellitti and dob was 5/7/1907. I think she was born in Sciacca. Thanks so much.



I am trying to locate some of my relatives in Chiusa Sciafani, where my grandparents, Paolo Librera and Maria Rizzuto originated. The relatives I know of are in the construction trade and the family name is Rizzuto. I would appreciate any information. There are a number of Rizzutos in the town but don't feel I should just call people. Any information would be appreciated!

Dianne Librera


My family is from there also cerasa cherry in English

my relatives


I am trying to locate the rosina pizzitola family.

married a Germani. Maybe from Palermo. Born 1887 moved to Portland, maine.

Thanks you

great grandmother and grandmother musso

my grandmother and her family lived in aragona sicily,she and her mother came to new york city in 1917 aboard the patria it departed palermo sicily.i would love to find any family history or if i have any living family members in aragona sicily.
thank very much

looking for my family

My family Lives in the Provence of Agrigento, Sciacca;
Paulo Perrone
Piazza Matteotti -12

Paulo Perrone
Pizza Marconi -11A

Paulo Puccio
Piazza Don Minzoni -19

Giuseppie Perrone
Via Amnto -22

Francesca Bono
Via Pietro Gerardi
Cortilie Bellanca -20

Eugene Perrone

Looking for Eugene Perrone who was deported from NY in approximately 1948. It is believed that he found some trouble, and was sent back to Sicily. He would be approximately 82-85 years old now. Any help would be Greatly appreciated... Bob

Seeking info. on the name Candella & region of origin


My paternal grandmother was named Rosalie Candella and immigrated to the U.S. in the early 20th century. She first arrived in New Orleans and then settled in Chicago. I am hoping to find some information about the origin of her name and, hopefully, what region she came from. I am pretty certain she was born in Sicily, but unfortunately do not have a birth date or the name of my great-grandparents. ANY information I could find would be most appreciated. Many thanks.



I know that I still have relatives in Villalba Sicily, my mother and her entire family came from this town. Their last name was Scarlata, my mother's first name Contadina (Dina). Would love to contact any relatives that still live in the area. Also grandmother's maiden name Paniterri, (not sure if it is spelled correctly)mom's cousins surnames were Spera, any information would be appreciated. Contact

Grandparents from Sant'Agata di Militello

I am researching my grandparents Basilio Giallombardo b.1880 d.1941 and Benedetta Sberna b. 1886 d.1924 who came to the US as did many others from Sant'Agata in 1913. My sisters and I hope to make a visit there and tour Sicily sometime next year 2010. My grandparents settled in Cleveland, Ohio in the Little Italy neighborhood. We found my grandfather's entry documents in Ellis Island records, but my grandmother entered the US with my Auntie Bessie (then age 4) through Philadelphia - she came by herself as grandfather was already here. Her father's was Francesco Sberna according to those records. I am anxious to learn more about Sicily to understand what brought them to the US - We know from my grandfather's writings that there was tremendous devastation throughout the NE area by the Messina earthquake in 1908. His first trip to the US was as a single man in 1902. He returned once or twice after he married. Six more children were born here, my father in 1917. All but the youngest three, my father(now 92) and his 2 sisters, have passed on. We're hoping to locate any Giallombardo or Sberna relatives in Sicily. check on Sue GiallombardoWalker


My mothers maiden name was Giallombardo. My grandfather, Rosario, immigrated from Balestrate, Sicily in 1900, which is 30 or 40 k west of Parlermo I think. At some point the family changed their surname to "Lombardo." I don't know anything about his parents, but he married my grandmother, Giavanna Toia and they had 5 children. Based on Ellis Island records, several others from the town of Balestrate also settled in Ohio. Good luck with your research. I wished I had asked more questions about my family when my parents were alive.

Giallombardo Balestrate Sicily

This is in reply to Joan. My great-grandfather's name was Rosario Giallombardo, and my grandfather's name was Guiseppe Joseph Giallombardo. They lived in Balestrate. My grandfather immigrated to the U.S. in 1915, and married my grandmother, Elizabeth Saputo, in 1923. He moved to Detroit, MI and then married my grandma (Nona). They had three children; Anne, Russell (my father), and Mary. My grandfather died in 1942; he may have had two sisters who lived in Balastrate; my grandmother gave them the family home which my grandfather Guiseppe owned when he died. I wish I knew their names, it would make searching easier! I would love to talk with you! E-mail me back; I am also on Facebook as Denise Giallombardo.

family in Ribera

Hi I'm trying to locate any family from Ribera Sicily. My great grandfather was Calogero Scatturo and his wife Felippe Renda Scaturro. My Grandfathers name was Giuseppe Fortunato and my grandmother was Anna Scatturo. They were all from Ribera. Any information on how to find existing relatives would be greatly appreciated. I have been to Sicily twice and am planning on moving there in the next year or so. Thank you Contact

Help with Geneology

I am searching my ancestors history. They were from Siccia, Sicily. I want to contact the Ufficio Anagrafe there, but im need an address, Does anyone know an addres that i can send a letter to request Info. My Great Grandfathers name was "Bacci". Thanks !

trying to find the family LaSpina in Catania, Palermo ???

I am looking for the family that married into the Coco family from Sicily. Many of the LaSpina and Coco families came to America after the war and settled in Brooklyn, NY
Please if you have any information please contact me:
tele# 321-784-9847

Searching for Relatives - Spatola or Bullaro

My grandparents came from Casteltermini in the around 1915 to New Jersey--Francesca Spatola and Giovanni Bullaro. I am trying to find any relatives that might still be there.
Thank you.

Searching for relatives in Casteltermini - Spatola or Bullaro

My grandparents came to New Jersey from Casteltermini around 1915--Francesca Spatola and Giovanni Bullaro. I am trying to find any relatives that may still be there. You can contact me at
Thank you!

Latino family from Aragona

I am looking for any family from Aragona, Sicily. My great grandfather came over in 1912, and settled in Massachusetts. Any information on how to find existing relatives would be appreciated. I hope to travel to Sicily in the next year.

Giallombardo/Reply to Joan's comments 09/07/2009

Hi Joan:

My name is also Giallombardo, and my grandfather Giuseppe Giallombardo, immigrated to the U.S. in 1915. His father's name was Rosario; I'm not sure of his wife's name. He immigrated from Balestrate, Sicily, and came thru Ellis island, eventually moving to Detroit, MI in 1916. Hemarried my grandmoterh, Elizabeth Saputo, in 1924 and they lvied in Detroit, MI until his death in 1942. Does any of this sound familiar to you? if so, please write back.


My grandfather Francesco Crisafulli born 1886 from massa Santa Lucia,Messina Sicily. He was in the Italian navy somewhere between 1904-1911. How do I find out when and where he served? Any other info on Crisafulli will be appreciated.
Thank you,
Frank Crisafulli

looking for any Totaros from Mount Palermo, Sicily

My Sicilian great grandfather first settled in Louisiana, USA then went to western ny. Anyone have any info regarding my maternal Grandfathers roots? I would love to travel to Palermo someday to walk the land of my ancestors.
Please email me or reply to blog if you have any information that may be helpful!

searching for relatives in aragona sicily

My grandparents both came from aragona, immigrated to America through New York, early 1900's. They lived in Massachusettes. I would love to vist their home town in Sicily. I would like to know if anyone knows how I could find relatives in Aragona.
Thanks for all your help

relatives from Mazzara

my paternal grandparents immigrated from Mazzara in 1913 and settled in Flint, Michigan. My grandfather was Gaetono Pintacura/Pintacuda (1875-1948), his parents were Giacomo Pintacura/Pintacuda (died 1883) and Maria 'unknown' (died 1920). my grandmother was Grazia Mattorella (2/28/1886-Nov 1977), her parents were Salvatore Mattorella (1855-1908) and Ludovica Gandolfo (1859-1935). Ludovica immigrated to the U.S. December 1920 and died in Flint, MI. Anyone with further info or might be related please e-mail

finding someone

I visited with a cousin in Sicily in 1959. She was a nun serving in an orphanage in Palermo. I am going to visit sicily in Nov. & would like to find her. Where do I begin. I know her name. Also going to the village my father came from ( Mistretta ) there are 21 families with my last name. How would I go about finding out if any of them are relatives ? I know my Grandmother died there & one uncle never left. He was handicapped ( deaf-mute ) I don't know if he ever married. Really appreciate any help.

My Maternal Grandmother

I am looking for the Orphanage that my Grandmother was sent to when her mother died giving birth to her little brother. She had two older brothers Albert, and Joseph. Her younger brother was Anthony. Her name was Concetta. She also said they called her Cunchitina. Not sure of that spelling. Their last name was Santoro. She said she was in the orphanage until 21 when her and her three brothers came to America. The Orphanage was in Palermo, Sicily. She said the nuns raised her, and she actually called the place a Convent not an Orphanage. She became a teacher there. Her needlework was amazing. I have many pieces of her clothing, and nightgowns that still have beautiful work on them, and her initials are embroidered on each piece. She was born in October 8th 1892, and came to America we believe in 1913 or there about. She married Samuel Puleo in America after he followed her to the United States when he found out she was leaving for here. I would love to find this Orphanage/convents name where they housed children. Thank you for any help.

Paglia, DiSilvestro, Grasso, Alvarez (Ramacca,Catania, Sicily)

Hi All,
Seeking any information or relations to the above surnames. What I know to be fact:

My Father – Joseph Paglia (born 1924 and raised in Catania)
My Mother – Josephine DiSilvestro Paglia (traveled to Catania & married my father in 1948, believe the Church to be St. Guiseppi but cannot find anything on this church.

My Maternal Grandfather – Paolo DiSilvestro born 1884 lived in Catania came to US thru Ellis Island in 1912.
My Maternal Grandmother – Filippa Paglia DiSilvestro born 1883 lived in Catania came to US thru Ellis Island 1913.

My Paternal Great Grandfather – Antonio Alvares.

My Paternal Grandfather – Giovanni Paglia born 1888 lived in Catania.
My Paternal Grandmother – Rosa Alvarez Paglia born 1896 in Spain.

My Father & Mothers Great Grandparents – Giuseppi Paglia & Angela Grasso Paglia.

Would love to hear from you!
Josie Paglia Kriss

Looking for information on Grandfather Guy Parisi

My Grandfather Guy (Gaetano) Parisi was born oct. 4, 1875 in Messinia (Sicily) Italy.
His parents were Josephine and Gaetane Parisi. His brothers were Leo, Anthony and Dominic.
He had 3 sisters. He came to the U.S. in 1887.


Hi, i am trying to find my uncles franco miranda or nino miranda both from palermo,What can i do to see if there children have facebook or even an email thank you.Sandro

my grandfather nazerino fucile was born and bred in catania

i am trying to trace any relatives in this area he was born in 1888 and went to sunderland uk to work when he was 18 he served in the british army married my grandmother and fathered 16 children and like so many sicilians made and worked in the ice cream business does any one know of the family in catania thank you W.F

my grandfather nazerino fucile was born and bred in catania

i am trying to trace any relatives in this area he was born in 1888 and went to sunderland uk to work when he was 18 he served in the british army married my grandmother and fathered 16 children and like so many sicilians made and worked in the ice cream business does any one know of the family in catania thank you W.F

Tracing my family back to sicily

Can anyone help me to trace my scicilian family.My great grandfather was Antonio SAITTA,born24th August 1859 in Messina, Sicily. He was married to Clara Saitta(nee Priddle) british born from Dorset and they had three children , Minnies, Antonio (my grandfather) and Amy. All children were born in London 1902, 1904 and 1906 respectfuly. My great grandfather left sicily in or about 1916 for a new life in England. He was a respected musician in Sicily (Mssina)and was invited to play for the then Queen of italy at the Casa Di Regina.
. I have a hand written letter dated 1881. His father was Giaconio Saitta also of Messina. My great grandfather Antonio Saitta also served in the 28th regiment, infantry , Italy as a bandsman from 23rd sept 1877 to 1880. I believe that in Messina he was a maestro of music and a professor of the same. Please can anyone help me trace the history. I will be going to Sicily in October to continue any leads that may come to light. Bernard Goodman.

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