Trunzo History

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The Trunzo History by Paul Trunzo


          The history of the Trunzo family begins with the birth of its patriarch, Salvatore Trunzo, who was born on March 19, 1877 in the province of Catanzaro.


          Salvatore married Angela Vaccaro on June 13, 1895. Rose was born on Dec. 3, 1896. Salvatore departed Italy early in Jan. 1901 on the ocean liner, Kohenzollern, which arrived port of New York on Jan. 24, 1901. Angela with daughter, Rose, arrived Ellis Island on March 17, 1904 on the ship Palatia.


          A "patrone" had recruited many laborers to come to America to work on the railroad in the Pittsburgh area. The "padrone" advanced travel expenses and received reimbursement from future earnings of the immigrants.


          Salvatore had $18.20 in his pocket when he boarded the train bound for 609 Webster Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. He began work on the railroad in Pitcairn and soon rented an apartment near his work site.


          A daughter, Vienna (Anne) was born 1908, then Angela and new born child died in 1909. Salvatore arranged a marriage for 14 year old Rose with a railroad worker, John Vaccaro. Children Lorenzo and Kathryn were born the next two years.


          Early in 1912 Salvatore bought passage for a young maiden to come to America to be his bride. Marie Montesanti became Mrs. Salvatore Trunzo. Angeline was born in 1912 in Bentlyville, Pa.

             During the year of 1914, John Vaccaro notified his family that they were going to Italy to meet his family. John left the ship before embarkation which left young Rose with two infants going to a foreign country.  Rose was then married off to another Vaccaro, Michele, father of Mary Zipparo.          

Fate changed the scenario on May 3, 1917, when John was killed by a train in Braddock, Pa. Rose was notified and she immediately returned to the USA with family in tow.          

The Trunzo family moved to Glassport, Pa. in 1914 near the Glassport-Clairton bridge. Victor, Joseph, Paul and Nick were born "near the railroad tracks."          

In 1921, a six room house was purchased at 634 Maryland Ave. The house was located next door to the Polish church in the center of an almost total Polish inhabitants.           

Victor and Joe were constantly at odds with our neighbors. The 'home' we moved into had a double outhouse for toilet facilities. There was no electiricity, no radio, no telephone, no refrigerator and no heat.          

All eight members of the family were crowded into two bedrooms. Ernest, Elizabeth and John were born in the ensuing five years. Our sister, Anne, escaped the turmoil at 634 Maryland Avenue by eloping with Anthony Santangelo on July 31, 1924.          

In 1927, conditions began to ease when the 3rd floor two room apartment was not rented and was then converted into two additional bedrooms.          

The outhouse was demolished and a commode was installed in an adjoining shanty. The modern day miracle, electricity, spread its lines to 634 Maryland Avenue.            

Early in the year 1932 a disaster, called the Great Depression, descended upon the world. It was especially hard on those existing at 634 Maryland Avenue.          

Salvatore continued working because of his seniority, but his hourly rate fell to $3.12. At that time, there were 10 people in the house that depended on that pay to sustain them.            

During this period, Joseph left home to 'ride the rods,' as many unemployed men were doing at that time. He returned home after four months passing up an opportunity to enroll in the University of Kansas. He returned home to marry Mary, and add another member to our family.          

After their child, Carol, was born in 1938, Joe began working at the Copperweld Steel Company and continued for the next 40 years.                   

We lost another of our crowd when Ernest enlisted in the U.S. Army. Since he was under 18, I forged our father's signature so that he could go.          

Victor was drafted for one year in 1940, which was extended to duration in the following year. Nick was drafted in 1941. Angeline married Nick D'Antonio in November, 1940. Lee married Peter Ploskina in November of 1941.          

Due to the marriages, the house numbers were down to four persons-Mom, Pop, John and Paul.          

I, Paul, was drafted in June of 1943 and returned home in 1946 with a French war bride, Olga. When I returned to my home I found that my sister Angeline's husband, Nick, and their four children had moved in to help the aging parents.           

With the return of Victor and Nick, along with my two additions, our total household number went to 12, the same number that we had in 1938.            

In 1847, we gained one more member when Paul and Olga had their first child, Paulette. Nick married Betty and moved out of the house. Eventually, Olga and I moved to 710 Monongehela Ave., then to 631 Ohio Avenue.          

The following was excerpted from an answer to a genealogical query submitted to the Heraldic Coccia Institute in Florence, Italy.           

"From a preliminary investigation effected in our heraldic archives, we can serenely affirm that great was the notoriety achieved in the past centuries by the Trunzo house.          

As to the Trunzo house, we have records advising us that we are not of Calabrian origin but we may have originated in Venice wherefrom they moved to the Neopolotan area and then to Calabria during the years of Emporer Charles V, 1500-1558.          

Among the personages that history has underlined, we shall cite Giuseppe Trunzo who was judge at the tribunal of Catanzaro--its province includes the Commune of Nocera Tiresnese--in 1577. He then answered the same charge at the Great Court from 1582 to 1592.          

 Francesco Trunzo, by privilege dated October 10, 1644, was rewarded with the titled of Nobel Lord of St. Anne. 


            From the 18th century onwards, the Trunzos are located in the area of Nicastro where they are still fourishing at our days and are very well known."