Demore Family

1846 - 1977

The Demore name was originally the Italian d’Amore, a patronymic name from the personal name Amore, which means “love”. Sometimes, it denotes an illegitimate son or “love child”. It was anglicized sometime after our ancestor’s arrival in the United States. Many other “Demore’s” in the United States are actually alternate spellings of the French D’amour or patronymic from the nickname More.

Our Demore family begins with Donatantonio d’Amore who was probably born circa 1715 and married Anna Sabba. They had at least one known child in Pacentro, L’Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy:

  1. Vincenzo Domenico d’Amore (b. abt. 1740)

Vincenzo Domenico d’Amore was born in Pacentro but at some point between the births of his sons in 1772 and 1788, he moved to Sulmona. He married Maria Antonia d’Angelo Carafoni. They had at least three known children:

  1. Donato Antonio d’Amore (b. 1772)
  2. Domenico d’Amore (b. abt. 1784, d. 1815)
  3. Amadio d’Amore (b. abt. 1788, d. May 29, 1839)

Amadio d’Amore was born in Sulmona, L'Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy where he also worked as a farmer in adulthood. Sometime before 1809, he married Maria la Casasanta Fasciano, who was born about 1791, presumably also in Sulmona. They had at least four known children together:

  1. Maria Domenica Anna Giuseppa d’Amore (b. Sep 1, 1810)
  2. Antonio Luigi Camillo d’Amore (b. Jun 1813)
  3. Domenico Antonio Giovanni Luigi d’Amore (b. Jun 1815)
  4. Liborio Giuseppe Onofrio d’Amore (b. July 23, 1820, d. before 1891)

        Liborio was born in the parish of Sant’Agata in Sulmona and baptized the day after his birth on July 24, 1820 in the San Panfilo Cathedral. As an adult, Liborio was also a farmer. He married Maria Francesca Camilla Majorano in Sulmona in July of 1848, making him twenty eight years old at the time, and her thirty two. They appear to have only had one child:

  1. Agostino D’Amore (b. Aug 13, 1849)

Unlike his father and grandfather, Agostino did not become a farmer but instead joined the Carabinieri, the Italian national police force. By early 1887, it was probably his service which had taken him to Polizzi Generosa, Palermo, Sicilia, Italy where he met Rosaria Potestio. He was in his late 30s while she was twenty four, and they were unmarried when she gave birth to their first child in October of 1887. A few years later, Agostino had left the Carabinieri, moved their small family to Pachino, Siracusa, Sicilia, Italy, and become a clerk or servant. In the latter months of 1890, it must have become clear that Rosaria was pregnant again and this time, they were determined to make it official, so on January 1, 1891, they were married and six months later, they were blessed with their second daughter.

They had a total of six children:

  1. Maria “Marietta” Rosaria D’Amore (b. abt. 1887)
  2. Domenica “Mami” D’Amore (b. abt. 1891)
  3. Raffaela “Fala” D’Amore (b. abt. 1893)
  4. Giovanni “John” Liguria D’Amore (b. August 12, 1895)
  5. Mario D’Amore (b. abt. 1903)
  6. Irene D’Amore (b. Feb 1904)

The family lived in Pachino, Sicily where the rest of the children were also born. Maira also went by Marietta and Mary, all different forms of the same name, much like nicknames. Though she appears more frequently on documents as Maria or Mary, she signed her marriage record as Marietta which suggests it was the form she preferred and therefore we will refer to her as such.

On July 21, 1905, the family began migrating to the United States when Marietta and her husband Salvatore Ciavola boarded the ship Perugia and arrived in New York on August 4th of the same year. Marietta was all of seventeen years old, having been married two years earlier when she was just fifteen. They first joined Salvatore’s brother, Vincenzo Ciavola, in Newark, NJ before finding themselves in Washington D.C. by 1907. They initially lived on 714 L Street SE but moved to 1101 (or 1107) 7th Street SE in 1910. This address is not far from their original house on L street - in fact, the two roads intersect. It was a boarding house run by a widow named Annie M Wise who had four children to look after. This is where Agostino and two of his other daughters, Mami (19) and Fala (17), joined Marietta and Salvatore after leaving Palermo (the capital of Sicily) on August 5th, sailing on the Regina D Italia, and arriving in New York on August 18th. By this time, Agostino was a simple laborer and would be for the rest of his life in America.

Following them on his own in 1912 on the ship America was 17 year old Giovanni (or John, as he was later known in life). He left Palermo on December 21, 1912 and arrived in Philadelphia on January 15, 1913. He too carried on to Washington D.C. to join his father and three sisters. He had $25 with him, which today would be worth about $570. The Titanic had sunk in April of 1912, only 7 months before John made his journey but fortunately, sailing from Italy meant his ship wasn’t travelling through treacherously icy waters like the Titanic had been.

About a year later, the rest of the family (mother Rosaria and children Mario and Irene) left Palermo on January 15, 1914 aboard Taormina. They first arrived in New York City on January 28 but it appears they stayed aboard while the ship then sailed on to Philadelphia, arriving two days later where they finally deboarded and made their way to 1105 7th St SE, Washington D.C. (which now appears to be a parking lot). The family moved around a lot within this small area because within the year they had yet again moved, this time to 714 L Street SE, while Marietta and Salvatore were nearby in 710 L Street SE.

John was working as a Machinist for the Washington Steel and Ordinance Company in 1917 when he registered for the WWI draft, stating that supporting his father and mother were reasons not to be drafted. He had anglicized his first name from Giovanni to John soon after immigrating but the family name was still the original D’Amore, though sometimes it was written without the apostrophe (Damore). John was living on 1316 L St SE, while Fala was with sister Marietta and the Ciavolas at 710 L Street SE and Mami was in 1013 3d SE. Both Fala and Mami were working as dressmakers or tailoresses for Louis Adler and G.T. Keen, respectively.

On March 2, 1918, John was enlisted into the army anyway and it is said he gained his American citizenship from his service, however, he was not naturalized until November 25, 1942 when he was 47 years old. Since his children were born before he naturalized and he was still considered an Italian citizenship when they were born, his descendants down to his great grandchildren are eligible for Italian citizenship. John had served for about a year until May 11, 1919 and the war officially ended not long after on June 28th of the same year.

By 1919, the family had moved to Philadelphia and lived at 3440 Almond Street. Agostino was a laborer in a wool mill in 1920 while John was a machinist and Mario a weaver in probably the same wool mill as his father. Agostino and Rosaria had not yet learned to speak English by 1920 but the children did. Only a few streets away on Aramingo Ave, lived 15 year old Theresa Scioli who would marry John Demore two years later on December 7th, 1922. They probably met through John’s sister, Marietta, who lived only a few houses away from the Scioli’s on Aramingo Ave. John and Theresa had seven children:

  1. Josephine Marie Demore (b. Oct 14, 1924)
  2. Removed for privacy
  3. John Jr. “Jack” Demore (b. Oct 8, 1927)
  4. Robert “Bob” Demore (b. May 17, 1930)
  5. Removed for privacy
  6. Removed for privacy
  7. Removed for privacy

In 1930, Agostino was living with John and Theresa and their children on 3474 Amber Street, a home rented for $35 a month (about $470 today). John was still a machinist in a machine shop and Agostino , although 84 years old, was working as a rug printer in a textile factory. This is a sign of the times during the start of the Great Depression but both father and son were lucky to have actually been employed at this time. Rosaria may have been in a nursing home since she was not living with them, but she didn’t die until 1949 when she was 86 years old. Agostino died in 1932 when he was also 86 years old.

By 1940, the family had moved to 2848 Cedar Street where John’s epileptic brother Mario was living with them. John was now a diemaker in an auto manufacturer, working 40 hours a week and making $1,600 a year (about $25,700 today) but Mario was unable to work due to his epilepsy. By this point, the United States was just starting to come out of the depression so John was fortunate enough to still be employed.

As the Demore children grew up as had children of their own, John and Theresa became the respected patriarch and matriarch of their large family. John was described as a very focused man who commanded respect and admiration. Though he had thick, short fingers, he was very skilled at playing the mandolin.

Sometime before his death, John had moved his family out into the suburbs in Fairless Hills, Bucks County. Theresa died here on October 19, 1970 when she was 65 and John died seven years later on December 20, 1977 when she was 82 years old. They are buried in Rosedale Memorial Park Cemetery but the headstones are believed to have been stolen so their burial place is currently only marked by a blank base stone.

© Robin Bauer 2010-2013

Sources:

Demore Photos and Documents

Some photos removed for privacy

The Taormina, the ship on which Rosaria D’Amore (nee Podestio) and her two youngest children, Mario and Irene, immigrated to the United States in 1914.

The Regina D’Italia, the ship on which Agostino D’Amore and his daughters, Mami and Fala, immigrated to the United States in 1910.

SS America, built in 1908 (not to be confused with other ships by this name), which John Demore sailed on when he immigrated to the United States in 1913/4.