Italian Families in Alexandria

About the Map

This map was set up to be an interactive experience. It follows the lives of five different Italian families, the Giuseppe family with two brothers James and John Albert, the Pulzone Family, focusing on husband and wife Felix and Mary Pulzone, the Guiffre family, examining its head Tony Guiffre, and the select members of the Caporaletti Family (there are more members than those who were included on the map, but the four covered – Dominic, Alfred, Antonio, and Joseph were selected because they had lots of documentation provided about their lives). The idea with this map was to show the places the immigrants lived during their lives. The darker the color, the older the event and the lighter the color the more recent event. At each location, there are pictures with what the house look like today, along with the pictures showing the historical documents, which provided their locations. There is also information regarding the various families and how the family grew and changed.


Family Overviews

  • James Giuseppe
    • -Immigrated in 1912
    • -Wife: Annie
    • -Had 6 Kids: Rita, Elizabeth, Eugene, John, Mary, and George
    • -Worked as a car repairman and carpenter for Fruit Growers Express
    • -Brother: John Albert Giuseppe
  • John Albert Giuseppe
    • -Immigrated in 1914
    • -Wife: Mary
    • -Had 4 Kids: Anthony, Dorothy, Ernesto, and Mary
    • -Worked as a car repairman for Fruit Growers Express
    • Brother: James Giuseppe
  • Felix Antonio and Maria Pulzone
    • -Immigrated in either 1910 or 1911
    • -Wife: Mary L. (Immigrated in 1913)
    • -Had 9 Kids: Rosena (Immigrated in 1913), Edgar, Orlando, Gillene, Manuel, Raymond, Joseph, Cecile, and Paul
    • Worked as a car repairman for Fruit Growers Express
  • Tony Guiffre
    • Immigrated between 1883 and 1887
    • Wife: Theresa K.
    • Had 4 Kids: Guy, Joseph, Labra, Catherine
    • Worked as a shoe repairer for a shoe shop that his family owned, and then he went on to own his own beer distribution company
  • Caporaletti Family
    • Dominic Caporaletti
      • Immigrated from Montepagano Italy between 1904 and 1913
      • Wife: Sophia
      • Had 5 Kids:  Lewis, Anthony, Marian, Johnny, and Annie
      • Worked as a Laborer for the Fruit Growers Express Company and Car Repairer for Southern Industry Railways
      • Relations – Brother – Alfred, and Antonio; Cousin – Earnest, Joseph
    • Alfred Caporaletti
      • Immigrated in 1906 from Montepagano Italy
      • Wife: Mary
      • Had 3 Kids: Jean, Laura, and Julius
      • Worked as a car repair man for Fruit Growers Express and then later as a cook for the Mayflower Hotel
      • Relations – Brothers – Dominic, Antonio; Cousins – Earnest and Joseph
    • Anthony Caporaletti
      • Immigrated in 1912 from Montepagano Italy
      • Wife: Selma (immigrated in 1912 from Brazil)
      • Had 6 Kids: Estelle, Victor, Virginia, Raymond, Robert , Margaret R.
      • Worked as a car repairman for Potomac Yard and as a box car builder for Stream Railroads
      • Relations – Brothers – Dominic, Alfred; Cousins – Earnest and Joseph
    • Joseph Caporaletti
      • Immigrated in 1915 from Montepagano Italy
      • Wife: Angelica (immigrated in 1919 from Italy)
      • Had 4 kids: Rosa, John J., Mary P., Annie V.
      • Worked as a Jitney Driver and in an auto dealership
      • Relations – Cousins – Dominic, Alfred, Antonio, and Joseph

Trends Seen in the Map

One trend, which can be seen in the map, is that Italian immigrants tended to live in small groups located all around the city of Alexandria. The first cluster group is located around the roads of Randolph Avenue, East Raymond Avenue, Clifford Avenue and Route 1. This cluster has five houses in this area, and they lived in close proximity to Potomac Yards, which was a railway company that many immigrants worked for. This might indicate that living close to their jobs was something that may have been important to the Italian immigrants. Another cluster is congregated around North Fayette Street, Queen Street, and Columbus Street. This group is comprised of mainly the various members of the Caporaletti Family, primarily Dominic, Alfred, and Antonio. This overall trend shows that Italian immigrants stayed in small communities spread out in the city. While not all the Italians lived in the same area of Alexandria, it seems rare that Italians would not live in close proximity to a small number of similar immigrants. This helps to speak to the greater connection to the extended network of families and friends that Italian immigrants established once settling in the United States.

Another trend that can be seen from the map is that while the families may have moved, but the houses were a only a few blocks away from each other, indicating that they once they settled in a particular neighborhood, they seemed likely to stay. For example, in 1932 James Giuseppe and his family lived at 307 East Raymond Avenue, which was listed in the 1932 Alexandria City Directory. [i] His family moved just down the street to 301 East Raymond Street. [ii] Alfred Caporaletti was another immigrant, who despite moving, remained in the same neighborhood, according to the U.S. Census Information. In the 1930 Census, Alfred was listed as residing at 312 Queen Street. [iii] By 1940, Alfred and his family were living just down the street at 414 Queen Street. [iv] Again, this trend reinforces the notion that immigrants had a tendency to remain close to the established network of other Italians in the Alexandria community.


Trends in Italian Family Migration

One of the major shifts in Italian migration from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century is that Italians migrants were not longer temporarily leaving and then returning to Italy, but were instead choosing to relocated permanently to the country that they migrated to. Not only were these new immigrants choosing to settle in these countries, but they began to help their families back in Italy immigrate as well. This trend is called a chain migration. [v] Chain migration worked with one person initially immigrating and settling and then they would proceed to help family members and friends to immigrate as well. Some of the most common family members that would be brought over were brothers, sister, and wives (as men typically would immigrate first). [vi] One example of this new trend would be the Caporaletti Family, who were initially from Montepagano, Italy (which was located in Southern Italy, which had high rates of immigrates leaving due to poor economic conditions.) There was a vast network of family members that immigrated between 1900 and 1915. The Caporaletti family had a series of brothers, cousins, and sisters migrated and ultimately settled in Northern Virginia, most setting in Alexandria, although some chose to live in Washington D.C. For example Alexander Caporaletti was listed as the brother of Antonio Caporaletti on the 1940 Census, where Alexander was recorded as living with his brother and his family. [vii] And in 1940, Dominic Caporaletti’s cousin Eanest was living with his family.[viii] The Caporaletti Family all tended to settle within the same couple of neighborhoods. This illustrates that the Caporaletti extended family remained not only physically not but most likely had strong emotional and relied on each other for support.

Another common trend within the chain reaction is that husbands would leave first and then in a few years the wife, and children if there were any, would join the husband. Women in the early twentieth century comprised a significant portion of those leaving Italy, and in 1900 women constituted 20% of migrants. [ix] One example of wives migrating to rejoin their husbands was when Mary Pulzone and her daughter Rosena immigrated to Alexandria to be with her husband Felix Antonio. Felix had immigrated to the United States in 1911 and two years later Mary and Rosena immigrated in 1913. [x] While women often follow their husbands in a few years time, it was also common for women to immigrate along side with their husbands. In 1913 both Dominic and Sophia Caporaletti migrated according to information on the 1930 U.S. Census. [xi]

Another example of this extended family trend is that many generations of the same families tended to live in the same home. It was common to see three generations (i.e. parents and their kids, and grandparents) all living at the same address. This illustrates that these extended families units were important to maintain. They could function as a support system for the main provider of each household. For example, grandparents could be in charge of watching their grandchildren during the day while the parents were off working. In the 1930 U.S. Census, Tony Guiffre was listed as the head of the household and living at 101 West Peyton Street (today 101 West Del Ray Avenue) and with him was his wife and daughter, Katherine who was twelve. But listed directly under Tony but at the same address was Guy Guiffre, Tony’s son. Living with Guy was his wife and their four children. [xii]


[i]. 1932 Alexandria City Directory, “James Giuseppe,” accessed November 15, 2016.

[ii]. 1940 U.S. City Directory (Population Schedule), Alexandria, Virginia, Enumerated District (ED) 101 – 21, sheet no. 10 A, James Giuseppe in the household of James Giuseppe, line 7, digital image, accessed November 15, 2016.

[iii]. 1930 U.S. Census (Population Schedule), Alexandria, Virginia, Enumerated District (ED) 101 – 12, sheet no. 8B, Alfred Caporaletti in the household of Alfred Caporaletti, line 97, digital image, accessed November 10, 2016.

[iv]. Ibid.

[v]. Donna R. Gabaccia, Italy’s Many Diasporas (London: Routledge Press, 2000), 66.

[vi]. Ibid.

[vii]. 1940 U.S. Census (Population Schedule), Alexandria, Virginia, Enumerated District (ED) 101 – 11, sheet no. 5B, Anthony Caporaletti in the household of Anthony Caporaletti, line 56, digital image, accessed November 12, 2016.

[viii]. 1930 U.S. Census (Population Schedule), Alexandria, Virginia, Enumerated District (ED) 101 – 7, sheet no. 9 – A, Dominick Caporaletti in the household of Dominick Caporaletti, line 31, digital image, accessed November 11, 2016.

[ix]. Donna R. Gabaccia, Italy’s Many Diasporas, 66.

[x]. 1920 U.S. Census (Population Schedule), Alexandria, Virginia, Enumerated District (ED) 5-, sheet no. 23 A, Philip Pulzone in the household of Phillip Pulzone, line 37, digital image, accessed November 18, 2016.

[xi]. 1930 U.S. Census (Population Schedule), Alexandria, Virginia, Enumerated District (ED) 101 – 7, sheet no. 9 – A, Dominick Caporaletti in the household of Dominick Caporaletti, line 31, digital image, accessed November 11, 2016.

[xii]. 1930 U.S. Census (Population Schedule), Alexandria, Virginia, Enumerated District (ED) 101 – 3, sheet no. 16 A, Tony Guiffre in the household of Tony Guiffre, line 47, digital image, accessed November 28, 2016.

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