Genealogy Chat

Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

Welcome to the Genes Reunited community boards!

  • The Genes Reunited community is made up of millions of people with similar interests. Discover your family history and make life long friends along the way.
  • You will find a close knit but welcoming group of keen genealogists all prepared to offer advice and help to new members.
  • And it's not all serious business. The boards are often a place to relax and be entertained by all kinds of subjects.
  • The Genes community will go out of their way to help you, so don’t be shy about asking for help.

Quick Search

Single word search

New Scottish Census

New Scottish census records

Do you have Scottish ancestors?

Perhaps you do and you just didn't know! Search our brand new Scottish census records today and discover if you have Scottish roots.

Search Scottish Census


  • New posts
  • No new posts
  • Thread closed
  • Stickied, new posts
  • Stickied, no new posts

Italian Imigration to England c1875-1912

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Christine Report 13 Sep 2013 15:48

I'm a newbie to this genealogy business and naively thought it would be easy to trace the Valente name in Sunderland at the times shown above.....I thought we would be the only wrong I was ( I have traced quite a few of my relatives from my great grandparents although it did take some narrowing down).
I would now like to know the background ....could anyone give me information on why so many Italians from the Cassino in Frosinone region of Italy came to England, particularly the North East and Yorkshire areas and were all involved in the ice cream business? Does anyone know how I can find out what surnames were the most common in Frosinone region in the mid 1800's.
I understand there was a particularly large emigration from Italy c1885-1910, due to economic reasons, but thought it was mainly to the U.S.
Any info would be gratefully received,


Reggie Report 13 Sep 2013 15:57

Migration was,as you have said, usually for economic reasons............

As for why they were in the ice cream business..................that was surely a traditional Italian trade, and one which they could ply wherever they lived

For info about Italy...................try contacting the Italian Embassy - they may be able to help, and may be pleased that you are interested


KathleenBell Report 13 Sep 2013 16:09

I have Amerigo relatives who came from Italy at a similar time. They were also in the ice cream business - in fact some of them still are (also in the north east - Hartlepool).

Kath. x


Christine Report 13 Sep 2013 16:41

thank you for the tip re: the Italian Embassy.....will certainly check it out.
Frosinone was a predominately agricultural area, with a limited population (Cassino in c2000 population 30000, area now has a Fiat plant)... just seemed a high incidence of ice cream makers!

would like to know with most ethnic groups, the Italian ice cream families married into one another, I seem to be coming up with same surnames again and again.



KathleenBell Report 13 Sep 2013 16:48

This is my uncle by marriage in the 1911 census (Alfredo). His father came over from Italy. He was an organ grinder in 1911 but started an ice cream factory later and sold ice cream from carts before opening an ice cream parlour. However his wife was English, not Italian:-

1911 census transcription details for: 29 Streatham St West Hartlepool

National Archive Reference:
RG14PN29635 RG78PN1718B RD545 SD1 ED35 SN175
Reg. District: Hartlepool
Sub District: Hartlepool
Parish: West Hartlepool
Enum. District: 35

Address: 29 Streatham St West Hartlepool
County: Durham

Name Relation Condition/
Yrs married Sex Age Birth Year Occupation Where Born

AMERIGO, Guiseppe Head Married M 37 1874 Orgon Grinder Picinisco P Caserta
AMERIGO, Elizabeth Wife Married 11 years F 27 1884 E Hartlepool C Durham
AMERIGO, Franziesco Son Single M 10 1901 W Hartlepool C Durham
AMERIGO, Guiseppe Son M 6 1905 W Hartlepool C Durham
AMERIGO, Alfredo Son M 3 1908 Sunderland C Durham<<<<<<<<<
AMERIGO, Alberto Son M 0 (11 MONTH) 1911 W Hartlepool C Durham

Kath. x


rootgatherer Report 13 Sep 2013 18:07

Just to add, if you look at the 1901 Scottish census for the surname Coia born Italy and lived Glasgow, you will see that many of them were Ice cream sellers or owned Ice Cream shops. The Glasgow Museum of Transport has on display a reconstruction of a well known Glasgow Italian cafe. Indeed the Coia family still run a cafe in Glasgow.

Another family, The Jaconelli family were also Confectioners and Ice Cream sellers from Italy. Again there is still a Jaconelli business in Glasgow.


Christine Report 13 Sep 2013 18:27

thanks for well as ice cream sellers, I also encountered quite a few organ grinders/barrel organs along the way. Apparently my great grandmother came to England as a child with an uncle, working their way across Europe, on foot, with a barrel organ. She returned to Cassino, met my great grandfather and told him of the opportunities in England, and so they came to Sunderland....or so the story goes....I have yet to authenticate it.
I should also add Nardone to the names I'm researching.

thanks.....this could make interesting viewing.



SylviaInCanada Report 15 Sep 2013 05:40

what else could they do??

Try to put yourself in their shoes.


probably very little English

usually little money

They would know about Italian cooking, making ice cream, possibly shoe repair .......... because that's what they would do at home when they were not out working

so the family would pool their resources, and set themselves up.

It would be very different from today .................. no "elf and safety" for example.

so Mamma could make the icec ream in the kitchen of their one room home, and father and sons could take the cart out to sell. Slowly build up their money, buy a bigger cart, move to a slightly bigger home with a bigger kitchen area, make more ice cream, and so on .................... until finally they achieved a shop of their own.

Replace ice cream with "food", same scenario,

or with "shoe repair", done on their own doorstep,

Just as immigrants do today ............. work at what they can do, even if it is not what they did as "work" in the old country.


ArgyllGran Report 15 Sep 2013 12:09

From this site:

The people from Parma were predominately organ grinders, while the Neapolitans from the Liri valley (now under Lazio) made ice cream. According to Sponza’s research, the occupational structure of the immigrants, up to the 1870s, remained "substantially the same." After this date all itinerant employment crossed regional demarcations. (The example of some members of my own family who migrated from the Liri valley to Manchester and Liverpool in the 1880s, and then 1905, bears this out. They were sometimes described as organ grinders, ice cream makers, plaster figure makers, confectioners, and finally shop keepers.


ArgyllGran Report 15 Sep 2013 12:32

I expect you've researched these and many other similar sites, Christine?


ArgyllGran Report 15 Sep 2013 12:40

Re Frosinone surnames:

click "Search the ITA-FROSINONE archives", then enter "surnames" in subject box.

Or add a message yourself.


Christine Report 16 Sep 2013 10:24


many thanks for the very useful links you have posted.
I have only been researching for about 4 weeks, and in a few short minutes your links have given me probably more background, and some specific, information than I have so far found myself.
I had already been informed of the Minchella link, and Guiseppe & Cresenza Valente, mentioned at the beginning of their 'about us' page, were my great grandparents. I believe the old family photograph shown on that page is Guiseppe Valente and family and one of the girls is my grandmother, Mary. I have contacted the Minchella family through their website asking for information, but have had no response. I have heard that someone else also tried to contact them about the same thing but with no if anyone out there knows more about Guiseppe Valente and/or family I would be very grateful for the info.
once again, many thanks for the links.


ArgyllGran Report 16 Sep 2013 11:26

You're welcome, Chris - good luck with your search!
Just google any relevant words, and all sorts of stuff comes up. Here are a few more:

Re surnames:


safc Report 16 Sep 2013 11:40

hi Christine

You could also try here


Christine Report 17 Sep 2013 13:49


Additional thanks...for the additional links!!!....I'm finding this so absorbing.....have had to purchase 'tired eye drops' due to spending so long staring at the screen.

I have now contacted several potential 'cousins', hopefully they will respond.

A big thank you.

.......and also to safc...some of the photos on that site brought back many memories. (looking at your username, you may be interested to know that as a child I lived opposite the gates of the Fulwell end for 15 years, and way back Bobby Kerr used to pinch my school hat and kick it about the mitigation he was just an apprentice then lodging in Hampden Road)

best regards