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Sons of Italy, Aliquippa, PA

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The Sons of Italy Band (West Aliquippa, PA)

from Norma diFrancesco Milas, August 2005:

"The year was 1912. The place was West Aliquippa, PA. I have been told it was, at that time, mandatory that every boy, age 12, learn a musical instrument.

My uncle Arthur Paolini is the small boy on the far left holding his trombone. My grandfather is on the far right, standing on the hill to the left of the man holding a trombone. The gentleman (front row, 4th from the right) is Carlo d'Atri. (I think Carlo was the band director.)

Some men in this photo were just social members and not band members."

Date:            Wed, 03 Aug 2005 09:58:14 -0400
From:            norma milas <vze24q5gverizon.net>
Subject:         west aliquippa

I just ran across your web site and noticed some West Aliquippa photos.

My family lived in West Aliquippa, do you know the names Di Francesco,  LaLama, Paolini?  My aunt was school principal there, her name was Madeline LaLama Paolini. I enjoyed your site very much.  I have an old photo of the 1912 Sons of Italy in West Aliquippa, my uncle Arthur and my grandfather Carmine Paolini were members.  Glad to share it with you if you'd like.  Do you have any old photos of the band or Sons of Italy?

Norma Di Francesco Milas

Thanks for your email.

I don't remember those names from West. I will ask my father. My parents still live in Aliquippa.

I don't  have any  SOI photos. I would like to see the one you have and, if its OK, I might want to use it on my website. Can you identify any of the people in it?


I'll be happy to send the photo to you and I will identify my grandfather and my uncle in the photo.  I have no problem with you using it on your web site.   I am having trouble scanning and sending anything since I upgraded my Netscape, so if you can give me an address where I can send it snail mail, I'll be happy to do so.


I mailed the photo today.  It is not necessary to return it to me....this is a copy I made for you.  Let me know when you get it. Again, thanks for bringing back old memories of West Aliquippa with your web site. It was a joy!!  If your dad remembers any of my family...Paolini, LaLama, Di Francesco...let me know.  Incidently, I remember a small corner store in W. Aliquippa owned by a Mancini family (Beaver Av., if I recall correctly)...any relation to you?  My Aunt Madeline and Uncle Arthur Paolini were Godparents to the late Henry Mancini.  I have researched my family back to 1721!!  We originated in  Abruzzi.


Got the photo today. Thanks a lot. I will show it to my father but I don't think he will recognize anyone. But never know.

My greatgrandmother was Agnese Mancini but I don't know if we were related to Mancini on Beaver Ave. I've never been able to make any connections between my great-grandmother and any Mancini's who came to the US.


I'm in Aliquippa this week and I spoke with my father about about you and the photo you sent.

The 1912 photo is way before his time. He immigrated to West in 1930. He remembers all the family names.

He does remember the Mancini store but he does not remember it on a corner. He says it was a small general store (like groceries, etc). He thinks it was
owed by Nick Mancini but is not sure. He is pretty sure that they were from a different town in Italy. (Mark's note: I'm pretty sure now that he was born in Sant'Eufemia a Maiella as was my father. See Nicola Mancini's web page.)

He remembers that, about 1931, he had a teacher Miss Paolini. Might that be your aunt before she became the principal? What subject did she teach?

We drove around West yesterday and saw the old school building and fire station. Not much left. We saw the old Steinfield Hardware store (corner of Main and 4th) and the movie theater next door. You can still see the entrance to the tunnel. (Mark's note:  I've added all the photos and postcards to my Aliquippa web page.)

If you would like photos of anything else, let me know.

What town in Italy was your family from?


Thanks for the update on West Aliquippa. The photo was great, Mark, I loved it, thanks a million.  I was able to open the photo of the hardware store but not the other photo attachment, do you think you could send it some other way?  It would be greatly appreciated since I try to include all the photos of West Aliquippa in my research records that I can lay my hands on .

Yes, the Miss Paolini that you referred to  would definitely be my Aunt (before she became principal.)   I'm not positive as to what subject she taught.   There is an old Italian saying "Tutti il mundo e paese" .... hope I got it right...in other words......."It's a small world" or "we're all brothers".  My Aunt passed away about 7 years ago.  She was a remarkable woman and we all miss her dearly....we all learned a lot about life from her.

My dad, Florindo Di Francesco, was born in Rome but raised in Montenerodomo (Abruzzo). Several of my greatgrandmothers ( D'Atri, DeLollis, Alberico, Egizi, Antonacci, Pirrozzi,  Di Actis, Bianchi, Ciccodimarco and di Benedictis) were born in the following villages...Fallo, Caramanico, Popoli and Villa Santa Maria. I have done extensive research in all of these villages.My mom was born in Popoli, a beautiful small town that I  had the pleasure of visiting a few years ago. I am told (no documents to prove) that my mom's famil originated in Venice prior to the 1720's.  My Aunt told me that my grandfather did a family history and placed it in the barbershop window in West Aliquippa and from there it disappeared, sad to say. Are your ancestors from any of these towns in Italy, Mark? Yes, Mark, any photos of West that you can scan me would be terrific.  Again, you are a special person for sharing the photos and info from W.Aliquippa with me and I thank you for that; and if I can be of any assistance to you, just let me know..


A million thanks!!  The grocery store on the corner of  Beaver is the one I mentioned to you!!  How exciting for me, I can't wait to share these with my siblings.

Again, Thanks for your kindness.  If you know of anyone from Popoli, Italy....I inherited my Grandfather's post card collection through my Aunt Madeline.


(Mark's note:  I've added all the photos and postcards to my Aliquippa web page.)
Date:    Tue, 15 Dec 2009 08:30:12 -0800 (PST)
From:    Gino Piroli <gpiroliyahoo.com>
Subject:    1912 band

I believe I was in touch with you once concerning Patsy DiVecchio. The band photo was sent to me from some source in England by Lew Villa. I knew Arthur Paoline very well and his wife Madoline, Henry Mancini's Godmother. My Dad played in the SOI band and came to America in 1910 and worked on the railroad out of West Aliquippa and I think he is in the middle of the photo behind the man identified as Carl D'Atri.

I have a photo of the 1946 SOI band but don't think any of those from 1912 are in it.
Thanks for any help you can give
Gino Piroli
Date sent:    Sat, 27 Aug 2016 22:57:38 -0400
From:    suerrat <suerrataol.com>


My name is Brian Lalama, my family has ties to both Aliquippa and West Aliquippa. I saw some exchanges that took place on the site many years ago and I'm related to some mentioned.
I saw the photograph of the west Aliquippa sons of Italy.  I was wondering if I could somehow obtain a better file copy of the sons of Italy photograph. I could travel to you and compensate you for a scan.  It's a photograph I'd like to hang in my home.  
I'm in Columbiana, Ohio.
Thank you,
Brian Lalama

Thanks for your email.

I've attached the best version of the band photo that I have. Its better than on the web page but still not so good. You should be able to get a reasonable print from it.

If you can add any identifications to the men in the photo or other history, I would be interested in adding that to my web page.

Thank you Mark for the gesture, generosity, and prompt reply.

Walmart didn't take the tif format, so I saved as a jpeg.  I'll head back over and let you know how it comes out.  I'm of course a Lalama, and my father, his father, and his father grew up in Aliquippa Plan 7.  I know of the Mancini store on the corner and the aunt Madeline Lalama, referenced in a correspondence you received.  I'm almost certain she's still alive and I spoke to her on the phone about a year ago.  She seems to be the oldest surviving Lalama that still has their wits about them.   I'll try to fill in any blanks for you. I'm prepping for a vacation so I may do it during down plane time...or when I get back.

Thank you again

The Order of Sons of Italy in America            http://www.osia.org/

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