Italian Ancestry

Picturesque town in Abruzzi Region


The Europeans had a massive immigration to America around the turn of the last century, much like the Asian influx of recent years.  My great grandfather came to this country with wife and children, on a ship of course…1896?   His family was six including the parents’.  He came to this land from the province of Abruzzi, (pronounced a·brutṭ· si,) Italy.  That province is southeast of Rome on the Adriatic Sea. My grandfather was still a boy.  The reason they left for America was the same reason that people immigrate to the U. S. today; a chance for a better life. Many foreigners think of (or at least they used to) America as having streets paved with gold.  The U.S.A. was and is a country where dreams can come true. They were aboard a ship that went north from New York Harbor to Boston harbor and then made their way to Cumberland, Wisconsin and that was where they settled. I don’t know their reason for settling in that little hamlet and don’t know if there was a reason.  Maybe it was a nice day, and or, a comfortable spot to put down roots.  There were dozens of other Ricci’s on that boat and some stayed along the east coast and other places on their way west but many remained in Cumberland as well. There was a time in the ‘60’s when I went to my uncle’s cabin in Cumberland and I recall seeing our name displayed on many a business window.  The spelling, Ricci, (that was the original Italian spelling) was also prominently displayed.  At the time Richie was the biggest name in that town.

Grandpa took his already large (by today’s standards) family and moved to St. Paul because it provided more opportunity for work.  He was a self-taught carpenter. My dad, was the first born in St. Paul.  He was exactly in the middle of the large family. Dad was the seventh child born, there were seven older and seven younger, eight sisters and six brothers.  How’s that for being right in the middle of all the action?

Anyway, back in the early 1900’s when my Great Aunt Lizzy, your Great-Great Grandpa’s sister told me that while she was in grade school she spelled her name Ricci and the teacher told her that she was in America now and so would spell it the American way…hence, Richie.  Back then, it was a disgrace not to speak American English if you lived here.  Nowadays, they let every language in the world be spoken and encourage the diversity. But you know, even in the Philippines (a third-world country) where there are 70 different dialects spoken there is 1 common, national language spoken throughout the islands. However, my dad told me that the name change occurred in the ‘40’s.  The name had been legally Americanized but that his brother, my uncle John, was in the Navy at the time and so never had his name changed.  Uncle John and his family still spell it, Ricci. If I had more time I could gather much more information but you told me you need it soon so this is what I’ve got.  I hope it helps some.


Note the boy peeking out the screen door - uncle George.  Dad is in the middle of the line-up wearing the bib overals
Note the boy peeking out the screen door – uncle George. Dad is in the middle of the line-up wearing the bib overalls
All not present, but my grandmother is holding the youngest, Virginia...
All not present, but my grandmother is holding the youngest, Virginia…

Wisconsin, State Census, 1905

Name: John Ricci
Residence Place: Cumberland town, Barron, Wisconsin
Age (Original): 10y
Birth Year (Estimated): Abt 1895
Birthplace: Italy
Relationship to Head of Household (Original Language): Son
Race: White
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Single
Parent 1 Birthplace: Italy
Parent 2 Birthplace: Italy
Family Number: 64
Page: 235
Line Number: 43
GS Film number: 1020439
Digital Folder Number: 4236845
Image Number: 00524
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
Carmino Ricci Head M 42y Italy
Carmine Ricci Wife F 37y Italy
John Ricci Son M 10y Italy
Josephine Ricci Daughter F 8y Italy
Ernestina Ricci Daughter F 6y Pennsylvania
Frank Ricci Son M 4y Pennsylvania
Philomene Ricci Daughter F 1y Wisconsin
Citing this Record:
“Wisconsin, State Census, 1905,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 Sep 2014), John Ricci in household of Carmino Ricci, Cumberland town, Barron, Wisconsin; citing p. 235, line 43, State Historical Society, Madison; FHL microfilm 1020439.

1920 United States Federal Census

John Ricci

Mary Ricci and husband, John Ricci
Mary Ricci and husband, John Ricci

                                                                                                                                                     Age: 24
Birth Year: abt 1896
Birthplace: Italy

                                                                                                                                             Home in 1920: Cumberland, Barron, Wisconsin

                                                                                                                                             Race: White
Gender: Male
Immigration Year: 1895
Relation to Head of House: Son
Marital Status: Married
Spouse’s Name: Mary Ricci

Carmine Ricci and wife, Carmina Ricci
Carmine Ricci and wife, Carmina Ricci

Father’s Name:  Carmine Ricci    

Father’s Birthplace: Italy

Mother’s name: Carmina Ricc

Mother’s Birthplace: Italy

Naturalization Status: Naturalized
Occupation: Laborer
Industry: Farm
Name Age
Carmine Ricci 57
Carmine Ricci 54
John Ricci 24

Mary Ricci 20 (possibly Lombardo.. wife of John Ricci)

Fluma Ricci 16
Frank Ricci 13
Josephine Ricci 11
Lizzie Ricci 9
Annie Ricci 1 (Granddaughter of Carmine and Carmina)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
1930 Census – St Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota 1930

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              John Ricci 34
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Mary F Ricci 31

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Born in Wisconsin/Ages

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Anna C Ricci 11 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Carmen A Ricci  9
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     George A Ricci  7
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Esther J Ricci  6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Palma L Ricci  5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Loraine Ricci  3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       John L Ricci 2


Born in Minnesota

             Alfred J. Ricci 0                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              


               Famous people & Their Provinces

Pacentro is in Abruzzi’s Apennine Mountain Range.  It is high above sea level and so when Pacentro’s castle, Colle Castello, was built in the 14th century attacking or advancing troops could be seen while still in the distance.  Colle Castello majestically stands in this gorgeous medieval town that was built by Cantelmo lords in the 14th Century.   The castle was in possession by several powerful families up until 1957.  Then the Cipriani-Avolio family sold the castle to the town government.

(Some of the)Famous People From the Abruzzi RegionIn 1901 and 1902 Gaetano Ciccone and Michelina Di Iulio the grandparents of Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone (yes, Madonna the singer) were born and where today her relatives still live.
    “The King of Cool” Dean Martin (Dino Crocetti)
    Henry Mancini Composer/Conductor (Scanno)                                                                                                                      
    Perry Como- American singer and television personality (Palena)

    Only undefeated champion in Heavyweight Boxing history…                                                                                                                                                                Tommy Lasorda – American Baseball Player/Coach/Manager (Chieti)

    As a young player for the same team he woud later manage to World Series status and wins
    As a young player for the same team he woud later manage to World Series status and wins
    Rocky Marciano – Boxer (Chieti) 



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