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Benilda Albina Victoria Frazzini

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My mother was born in San Pietro Avellana, Italy on 24 Sep 1912 to Emiliano Frazzini and Lucrezia Carlini. She was baptised at the parish church, SS Pietro e Paolo, on 12 Oct 1912. Her godmother was Gina Carlini, daughter of  Giovanni Carlini and Enrichetta diTella. The priest at her baptism was her great uncle Sabatino Frazzini.

She died on 18 Oct 2007 in her home in Aliquippa, PA.

Benilda was born a US citizen since her father was naturalized in 1904 - before she was born.

Benilda Frazzini and her mother Lucrezia Carlini Frazzini.
My mother Told me these photos were taken to use for a passport to come to the US about 1916 when she was about 4 years old. They didn't come to the US, though, until 1926. These photos were given to me by Dennis Diullo. It was in a photo album owned by his grandparents Filiberto diIullo and Rosina Rossi.

My mother Benilda Frazzini.
unknown year
Photo is imprinted with name of photographer from Castel di Sangro.
This photo was given to me by Dennis Diullo. It was in a photo album owned by his grandparents Filiberto diIullo and Rosina Rossi.

The back side of the photo above of my mother Benilda Frazzini (notice that the printing is in English).

Bill Thayer (Gazetteer of Umbria) sent me this cleaned up transcription and translation:

Al compare Filiberto,
ricevi un cara saliti dalla tua
comare Lucrezia queste e un ricordo
della cara figlia Benilde e vi manda
i più cari baci

To my pal Filiberto,
Fond greetings from your pal Lucrezia. This is a
memento of our dear daughter Benilda and she sends
her dearest kisses.

Bill also wrote:
Compare/comare is a difficult word to translate. Properly, they mean "godfather/godmother"; but also, I am your compadre if we share a grandchild but are not otherwise related. By extension, it can also mean someone who is of roughly the same age and "like family" - "kissing cousin", if you wish.

1918, My mother and grandmother. Taken in Italy. Benilda Frazzini and Lucrezia Carlini.

Most likely taken in Italy at Benilda Frazzini's First Communion. The parish church is SS. Pietro e Paolo (Saints Peter and Paul). There was a copy of this photo also in the photo album owned by Filiberto diIullo and Rosina Rossi. Written on the back:
Ricordo della
prima caminione
Augurio buona
festa Natalinia
baci a Dara e
a Quido

This helps to date the photo. I'm pretty sure that Dara and Quido are really Dorothy and Guido (Gene), the children of Filiberto and Rosina. Dorothy was born in 1920 and their third child, Marion, was born in 1923. Since this writing refers to Dorothy and not Marion, the photo must be from between 1920 and 1923.

Benilda's zia Elvira made this dress from her wedding dress. Elvira Carlini was a seamstress.

about 1922 Benilda Frazzini. From top right corner, down one row and she is third from the right. Just in front of the flag.
The man in the photo is the schoolteacher named Giacomo Scocchera.
Click on the image for a larger version.
Click here for the photo with index numbers.

This photo, taken about 1922  in San Pietro Avellana, shows my mother Benilda Albina Victoria Frazzini (index #12) with her school mates. Here is my mother, maybe 10 years old, a US citizen at birth who speaks no English and is not aware of the big changes coming in her life. Her father became a naturalized citizen in 1904 even before he married. At this point in her life, Benilda had seen her father only 2 or 3 times for short periods of months.

Her father did what many Italian immigrants did, worked in the US (in his case, mines in MN and CO) for long years going back to Italy only to father children. Once enough money was saved and the proper paperwork completed, the entire family could be finally united in the US. In  my mother's case, this was four years after this photo was taken in 1926.

The man in the photo was a well known school teacher in San Pietro Avellana by the name of Giacomo Scocchera. I have several photos of him and he is still remembered by the people of the town.

My mother could not remember the names of any of the others in the photo. During my 2004 trip to San Pietro, I showed this photo to several of the oldest residents of the town but they could only identify one of the schoolchildren. See the emails, click here, for more info from Concetta diCianno. We are fairly certain now that all of these children were born about 1912 and are in the same school grade.

Licia diTella remembered that the last name of the second girl to the right of Scocchera is "Angelaccio" (index #5). For more about Giacomo Scocchera, click here.

For more about this photo (including identifications of the children) and related school photos click here.

This photo was used on page 35 of Vincenza Scarpaci's book The Journey of the Italians in America. You can order a copy of Vincenza's book at Amazon.

1926 What remains of the 3rd class ticket on the Conte Biancamano, Lloyd Sabaudo Line. Third class passage for Emilano, Lucrezia and Benilda Frazzini. From Naples to New York. Arrived in New York on 3 May 1926. I have the New York arrival manifest. They were all US Citizens at the time of their arrival (my grandfather was naturalized in 1904 at Trinidad, CO, my grandmother by virture of marriage, and my mother was born a US citizen in Italy).

The Conte Biancamano was the sister ship to the Conte Grande, the ship that trasnsported my father, Pasquale DiVecchio, to the US in 1930

The Conte Biancamano was interned in Pamama at the start of World War II where the US commandeered it. It was renamed the USS Hermitage (AP-54) (more here) and pressed into duty as an American troopship. In 1947, it was returned to Italian control.

New Galilee, PA
Betty Frazzini

From top right, she is third from the right. Just to the left of the boy with his hand raised. Betty has a white necklace on. This must have been taken soon after her arrival in the US. Maybe 1927 or 1928.

Betty Frazzini 1932. She is in the lower left.

Same hat as the previous photo but not the same outfit. This photo was sent to me by Dennis Diullo. It was in the photo album owned by his grandparents Filiberto diIullo and Rosina Rossi.


1936 Aurora Lodge Picnic
Wise's Grove

My mother, Benilda Frazzini is on the right. I believe this is the Butler, PA lodge of the Sons of Italy. I need help identifying the other people in this photo. My mother lived in Beaver Falls at the time so many of these people may be from there.

Dec 2004: I just returned from PA after a visit with my parents. My mother and I worked on the photo we had discussed. Here is what she remembered.

She said it was definitely the Beaver Falls lodge of the SOI. And it was the Aurora Lodge. Maybe the Aurora Lodge moved to Butler some time after the photo was take in 1936. Wise's Grove was a picnic area off Wise Grove Road in New Brighton, PA. That town is right next to Beaver Falls.

My mother could only identify a few of the people in the photo. Here is what she remembered; from left to right:

1.  male - ?
2.  female - Amelia (Millie) Romano
3.  female - (just head visible) Florence Lonnet
4.  male - ?
5.  female - Mary diMario
6.  male - ?
7.  female - ?
8.  female - ?
9.  female - ?
10. female - my mother Benilda Frazzini

These three woman lived near my mother in Beaver Falls.

I was able to date this photo to 1936 from a note written on another photo where my mother is wearing the same dress.

1936 Mary DiMaria and Benilda Frazzini
Based on the clothing, this must have been taken at the Aurora Lodge picnic as well. The DiMaria family owned a grocery store on 11th Street in Beaver Falls, PA.

1936 Benilda Frazzini and Unknown
Based on the clothing, this must have been taken at the Aurora Lodge picnic as well.

My mother, Benilda, and Amelia "Millie" Romano
I'm pretty sure that this photo was taken on 11th Street in Beavert Falls, PA.
Millie's sister, Lena, married Amico "Jim" diMuzio.
Millie's sister, Alma, married Richard Costanza, who was my doctor when I was a child in Aliquippa.

1940 Labor Day
Taken in Washington DC
My mother, Benilda, is third from left.
Second from left, short, in print dress, is the wife of George Lapore.
The Lapores lived in Washington. Betty stayed at their house.
I've found that the Carmelia LaPore married Samuel Romano - they are the parents of Millie Romano shown above.
I'm not yet sure how George LaPore is connected.

April 1942. Mayer China, Beaver Falls, PA. Betty started working there in 1936 or 1937. She is on the left in the photo. She worked there until she became pregnant with me in 1948. She commuted from West Aliquippa after she married my father in 1947.

1942 Mayer China, Beaver Falls PA

Pauline Bisceila Petrella (left) with my mother
Pauline was a bridesmaid at my mother's wedding in 1947. I don't know when this photo was taken.

Comments from my mother, Benilda Frazzini DiVecchio:

Pauline's grandparents were from San Pietro Avellana. DiCianno was the family name. They were farmers in New Galilee.
Mother's name was Stella, Stella married a man from Lombardo. Stella had 3 children.
When she got out of High School, she got a job (via Ercole Colaianni) with the Pennsylvania Railroad in Beaver Falls. She could not commute so she lived with Benilda Frazzini for a few years.
Married a  Petrella from Aliquippa, PA.

Pauline attended my wedding reception in Aliquippa when Sally and I were married in 2004.
Pauline died on 28 Dec 2012 .

Old postcard, Greetings from S. Pietro Avellana. Can't read the postmark. Photos on the postcard date it to before the destruction of San Pietro in 1943.

Reverse of post card. Addressed to
<unreadable> Frazzini Benilda and Family
1316  2nd Ave
Beaver Falls, PA
North Americ

Appears to signed: "Emma e Anselmo"
On my 2004 trip to San Pietro, I found this tomb of Anselmo Ercole Carlini (n: 10 Dec 1886) and Eleonora Maria Carlini. Here are close ups of the two photographs : Anselmo and Eleonora. They were brother and sister, children of  Eliodoro Carlini and Bernardina Carlini.  Bernardina was the sister of Giuseppe Carlini. My grandmother (Giuseppe's daughter), Lucrezia Carlini, was their first cousin.

There was an Ellis Island record that might be this person:
Anselmo Carlini, arrived 26 Aug 1903, 17y, going to cousin Felicito Frazzini, 2140 15th Street, Box 747 Denver, CO. Travelled with Deliderio Colaianni, Oresti Gatti,  and Carmine Carlini.

My mother remembers that Emma was the wife of Anselmo. She was not sure of her full name.

My one guess is Ermina Scolastica Frazzini (n: 10 Feb 1886) daughter of Aminta Frazzini and Vincenza diSanza. When I was in SPA, I found her tomb along with her father, mother and brothers. It is in the small building at the cimitero with "Famiglia Aminta Frazzini" over the door.

1943 Betty Frazzini - She was on her way to visit her Uncles Felice and Armando in Ely, NV. She was travelling with a compare from San Pietro Avellana, Ercole A. Colaianni (1898-1993). The Colaianni's were another big family from SPA. Betty's great-grandmother was Luisa Colaianni.
Click here for another photo of this trip.

1947 ca Betty Frazzini DiVecchio with mother (left) Lucrezia Carlini Frazzini and mother-in-law Lucia diGiovine DiVecchio.

My mother and father first met in December 1946 and were married the next year. Click here for photos of their married life.

Memories of My Childhood            12/3/2004
Benilda Frazzini

I was born in 1912 to Emiliano Frazzini and Lucrezia Carlini. My baptism godmother was Gina Carlini.

I lived in a 3 floor house. I lived on the second floor with my nonno, Ippolito Frazzini, his daughter Maria, and my mother Lucrezia Carlini. I never knew my nonna Albina Salvatore. She died before I was born. Maria never married and I believe she was mentally retarded. My father lived in the United States except for short times when he returned to San Pietro for a visit.  In that house, the four of us each had our own bedroom. I remember my room which had a large mirror. In the back of the house, there was a large room with containers for holding wheat and other food. There was a table like container used to hold bread after it was baked. In the kitchen, there was a fireplace and a long table where we ate.

Ippolito's brother, zio Enrico, and his family lived on the first floor. I remember he had two girls but I don't remember his wife's name.

On the ground floor was a 'bar' where men played cards and drink wine. I remember that the balconies of the house were unsafe because they were badly damaged by earthquakes.

Although we slept in this house, I spent most of the daytime across the street in the house of my other grandmother, Doristella diTella and her husband Giuseppe Carlini. Giuseppe was a farmer. My zia Elvira also lived in that house. Elvira, who married Luigi Iasella, was a seamstress.

I was the first grandchild of Giuseppe and Doristella. I sometimes slept with them in their large bed.

My grandfather, Ippolito, was sick most of the time. He never worked out in the fields. He did own fields which he hired men to work. I sometimes helped my mother prepare food for the men and bring it to them at mid-day.

One time when I was very sick, my mother wrapped me in a sheet which she soaked in water. My zio Luigi Iasella went up into the mountains to get snow to cool my fever. (zia Elvira married Luigi Iasella.)

I remember zio Modestino and his daughters Albina, Rina and Venustina. That family lived in a big house. We were not close to this family. I do remember when he married his second wife who was from Ateleta.

My zio, Sabatino Frazzini, was the archprete of the SS Pietro e Paolo Chiesa. I remember his funeral procession when he died in 1921.

The last time my father returned to Italy was the longest time he was there since I was born. He wanted to return to the US but the government would not let him go unless he took me and my mother.

I remember the day my family left San Pietro for the United States. The year was 1926 and I was 14 years old. Zia Elvira was was there to see us off. She made eggs. Nonno Giuseppe Carlini (papa'pepino) kissed me goodbye. I remember that when he died (in the 1930's) I had a dream that he kissed me.

We took a carriage (la carrozza) to the train station in some nearby town but I don't remember which town. We took the train to Napoli and then a boat to New York. I entered the US as a citizen since my father got his US citizenship in 1904.

I was sick on the boat for the whole trip (mal di mare). We were in third class. My zio Pasquale Carlini was in second class and he took me up there to see if I would feel better.

(Pasquale first came to the US about 1911 (entered via Philadelphia), he, his wife, Filomena and his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Pasquale was a stonemason, He died of cancer. He had one son Elio and two daughters, Linda and Louise.).

In the United States, we first went to the home of Luigi Iasella in Pittsburgh. We only stayed there for about one week. Then we moved to Beaver Falls, then to New Galilee and then back to Beaver Falls. In Beaver Falls, we lived on 2nd Ave (this is where my brother was born in 1928), 12th St, 3rd Ave and 11th Street.

We moved because my father, Emiliano, changed jobs. In New Galilee, he worked at a brickyard. In Beaver Falls, he worked in a factory on 11th Street - might have been the  Armstrong Cork Company. For awhile, he worked at a clothing factory on 1st Ave.

I learned English by reading books and studying words.  I never took any English classes. I went to school for only three years after I came to the United States. I went from the 4th to the 7th grades. I remember that I was always the oldest person in the class. In Beaver Falls, the school was on 5th Ave.

My brother, Ippolito Giuseppe (Paul Joseph) Frazzini was born in Beaver Falls in 1928. (He died in 1989.)

By about 1930, I attended Duff's Business College for a short time. I studied typing and math. My parents wanted me to go to school but could not really afford to pay for it.

We used to take in boarders to make ends meet. I remember one time we had a group of stonemasons from Philadelphia. They were in Beaver Falls during a summer to work on the construction of a church. Most boarders were just short term. I only remember one man who was with us for a longer time but I don't remember his name. I don't remember the boarders ever eating with us - they just had beds in the house. Once we moved to the house on 11th Street, it was too small for us to have boarders.

Around 1935, I worked at a the Hamilton Leather Company sewing leather gloves.

We were in Beaver Falls in 1936 when I started working at a company named Mayer China. At that company, we made dishes and cups. I got this job because the son of the owner of our rented house on 11th Street worked at Mayer China.

I worked there for 12 years, until 1948. I married Pasquale DiVecchio in 1947. For my last year at Mayer China, I took the train and sometimes carpooled between West Aliquippa (where we lived) and Beaver Falls. I worked up until July 1948, one month before the birth of my first child. I have three children, Marco, Patricia and Diana. Pasquale and I live in Aliquippa, PA, nearby to Beaver Falls and Pittsburgh.

I also remember zia Rosina, my father's sister. I visited her in Castel di Sangro after she got married. She and her husband, Giuseppe Buzzelli, moved to Cleveland, Ohio in the United States. They had a daughter named Helen. Giuseppe had a daughter, Angelina, with his first wife. I visited them many times in Cleveland. I remember that Amico (Jim) diMuzio usually drove us there.  Both Rosina and Helen died of tuberculous (tubercoloso). I remember going to zia Rosina's funeral with Jim diMuzio (Helen was dead also by the time that Rosina died). Giuseppe had a lot of brothers in Akron.

Benilda Frazzini DiVecchio

My mother died after a short illness at age 95, just a few weeks past that birthday. She was active and involved in her household duties until just a few months before. We brought her home from the hospital on Friday the 12th of October, 2007. She rallyied somewhat for a "last visit" with family and friends on Sunday and Monday. She sat on the sofa in her living room and had a few visitors both days. She died on 18 Oct 2007.

Betty DiVecchio, 95, of Aliquippa passed away peacefully on Thursday, October 18, 2007 in her home.

Born Benilda Albina Victoria Frazzini on September 24, 1912 in San Pietro Avellana, Italy, the daughter of the late Emiliano Frazzini and Lucrezia Carlini, and granddaughter of her fondly remembered grandmother, Doristella diTella.

Betty immigrated to the US in 1926, first living in New Galilee until settling in Beaver Falls where she worked for Mayer China until her marriage in 1947.

She was a devoted parishioner of St. Titus Roman Catholic Church and a member of the Confraternity of Christian Mothers, CDA Court Woodlawn 565 and the Queens of Columbus, all of Aliquippa. She loved playing cards and bingo and for over 7 years was a volunteer at Golfview Manor.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother, Paul Joseph Frazzini, a brother-in-law, Anthony DiVecchio, two sisters-in-law, Eufemia Pantalone and Annina Politano, and her favorite uncle, Luigi Iasella who gave away her hand at her wedding.

Surviving Betty is her loving husband of 59 years, Patsy (Pasquale) DiVecchio, and her family: one son and daughter-in-law: Mark and Sally DiVecchio, of San Diego, CA, two daughters: Patricia DiVecchio, of Arlington, VA, and Diane DiVecchio of Aliquippa, and a sister-in-law Maxine Frazzini of Beaver Falls, and many loving nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be Sunday from 2-4pm and from 6-8pm in the ANTHONY MASTROFRANCESCO FUNERAL HOME, Inc, 2026 McMinn St, Aliquippa, where a service will be held on Monday at 9:00am followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 9:30am at St. Titus Catholic Church.

Entombment will follow in Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery, Hopewell Township.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Titus School,107 Sycamore St, Aliquippa, PA 15001.

Here is a printable PDF of the obituary.

Giacomo Scocchera

Here are two pictures. The first, sent to me by Franklin Smith, is of an Army or Militia unit in San Pietro Avallana - "SPA Militia". The photo is ©Franklin Smith. Click Here (179Kb). The second was given to me by my mother. She is in the photo - the 8-12 year old girl right in front of the flag. Click Here (228Kb). Franklin noticed something that I didn't - ITS THE SAME MAN IN BOTH PICTURES. My mother does not remember who the man is or why the pictures were taken. I just reviewed all my old photos again and there is a THIRD picture with the same man. This photo is also from my mother. The man is right in the middle of the group of children. Click Here (280Kb). Again, my cousin, Giuliano Colajanni has helped me out. Giuliano's mother, Licia diTella, remembered the following (from his email):

Ciao Mark                 30 Nov 03
First info relating your photos
a) gang picture or "SPA Militia"
 a1) The person with black dress and cap is school teacher with last name "Scocchera". The same person is present on the other two photos
 a2) First person at left of Scocchera is "Eugenio Iannone"
 a3) Third person at left of Scocchera is " Luigi  Lembo"
b)  school photo with gun
 b1) second girl at right of Scocchera is " Angelaccio" as last name

During my trip to SPA in 2004, I got an index to the "gang" or Milita photo. Look on this page.

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