18 August 2017

Which Clubs Did Your Ancestors Join?

If you're missing key information on an ancestor of Italian heritage, there is a resource that may help you.

The Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA) is a national organization of Americans of Italian heritage founded in 1905. The order promotes Italian culture, traditions, language, and contributions to the world.

Go to Ancestry.com and search the card catalog for "sons of italy". You'll find enrollment applications, lodge records, and mortuary fund claims. As of this writing, they have documents from:
  • Pennsylvania
  • Massachusetts
  • West Virginia
  • California
  • Illinois

this membership application has crucial family tree information
A very family tree-friendly membership application.

I found OSIA applications for two of my grandfather's first cousins, Henry and Anthony Pilla. Here's what I learned (or confirmed) from their applications:
  • Full name
  • Father's name (mother's name if father is dead)
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Wife's name
  • Citizenship
  • Medical information

Today OSIA offers its members discounts on insurance, travel, car rental and more. Generations ago their death benefit may have been a big attraction.

this card was updated with the member's date of death
Enrollment card, updated for his death.

Here is an enrollment card for Gennaro Muollo that tells me:
  • His father was Angelo
  • He was 40 when he was initiated on 27 April 1919
  • His relative Giovanni was 32 on that date
  • His death benefit is $400
  • He died on 29 June 1937

Check your family tree for any Italian American men or women who may have belonged to an organization.

Find out what you can about that organization. It may lead to helpful documents that will add to your family tree.

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