In an effort to introduce my 4-year-old son to his family’s history, I began researching my husband’s family on Ancestry.com. My husband’s stepmother is Italian, and her maiden name is DiDio. I’m half Italian, and my maiden name is Santagati.
While I was researching my husband’s family, I naturally started looking up my own family’s history as well. As I searched through the site I came upon the Ellis Island passenger manifest for the S.S. Berlin. On it was a listing for my great-grandfather, Santo Santagati, my father’s grandfather.
As I went down the list looking for the name Santo Santagati, I noticed that the name di rectly below it was Giuseppe DiDio. Curious, I called my stepmother-in-law and asked her if she knew a Giuseppe DiDio. She did – he was her great-grandfather.
It turns out that my great-grandfather and my stepmother-in-law’s great-grandfather came to America on the SAME boat and were checked in to Ellis Island, consecutively. This also means that they were likely in line together for a very long time. And that they probably even struck up a conversation or at the very least said “hello” to each other. I wish I could know more.
Who would have known that almost a century later Santo’s great-granddaughter – me – would meet and marry Giuseppe’s great-great-grand-stepson – my husband – especially considering that my husband grew up in Idaho and I grew up in South Carolina.
—Ancestry.com member, Elisa Santagati Kadel
(Click here to see the passenger list on Ancestry.com)