Poggioreale in America is a group of descendants of the original immigrants
who left their beloved Poggioreale in order to pursue a better life in America. Many descendants have studied their family history; some have written stories about their immigrant beginnings. Some created and recorded family trees, held reunions of varying sizes, or researched the fascinating history of Poggioreale itself. Sadly, these valuable materials were never collected in one place so that they could be effectively shared with family members on a larger scale, or better yet to be shared with other families whose ancestors immigrated to America from Poggioreale. Our group, Poggioreale in America, was create to collect, record, and share that rich information and connect descendants across the United States. We have grown since inception and have reached new heights
by connecting Poggioreale descendants internationally!
Co-Founded in 2018 by cousins Ross Todaro, Jr. and Christine (Todaro) Anderson, Poggioreale in America has grown in its scope, reach and accomplishments. PIA started with a Facebook page that now boasts nearly 2000 members. This website was created to be an online library of materials dedicated to Poggioreale, its history, and its people. We organized our First Poggioreale in America Reunion in 2019 and later that year conducted our first Group Trip to Poggioreale. We have also published our first book in a series dedicated to presenting historical information that has not been available to English speaking descendants until now. Join our group and be a part of our growth as we begin to connect more groups of descendants in America than ever before. We will also continue to develop relationships with descendants on other continents as well as current residents of Poggioreale.
We dedicate this modern, living online library to the memory of all the brave immigrants of Poggioreale who came to America to find a new lives. Once they left Sicily and created their families in America, they created us, their grateful descendants who appreciate their hand in making us who we are today.
We will never forget them or the lessons they taught us.
FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO LEARN MORE, you might start with PIA's first publication entitled
Love Letters to Poggioreale, Sicily: A Translation of Books
by Arciprete Nunzio Caronna, 1901-1906.
A lifelong businessman in the Bryan and Houston general areas, Ross has always devoted time to the practice and preservation of the traditions that his maternal and paternal Poggiorealesi grandparents brought with them when they bravely came to America for a better life. From the time he was a little boy, his love of family and their vibrant and emotional stories about their Sicilian roots and experiences when the came to America to begin life anew, it instilled in him a passion for further knowledge of his ancestral home. Although Ross participated and loved the Sicilian traditions, foods, and values all of his life, it wasn’t until visiting Poggioreale just a few years ago that his passion was set ablaze. He began researching family roots in earnest, looked for “new” family members, and quickly realized that he wanted to meet and connect with people well beyond the boundaries of his immediate family in Texas. In 2018, he met and joined hands with a “new” cousin, Tina Anderson from Chicago, and they began to turn mutual goals into reality using social media, expanding research, and attracting a large following spanning continents. His brainchild for the FB page has attracted nearly 1400; their website is ever growing, now international, and developing. And this is just the beginning, he is quick to tell you!
and VICE PRESIDENT
A former educator and business co-owner, Tina now devotes her time to the Poggioreale in America Association she co-founded because it expresses her strong passion for the Italian and Sicilian family and cultural studies. Although her maternal Poggiorealesi grandparents were gone before she was born, she became acquainted with them in the stories, writings, and traditions her mother lovingly taught her starting when she was a small child. As a result, the love of family, tradition and culture was indelibly imprinted. It set the stage for her future endeavors. Her activities over the last several years have led her to find family in Texas, other states, and in other countries. After meeting her “new” cousin Ross Todaro in Houston, they developed and refined similar dreams to create modern repositories for such research using social media and websites. This led to their Facebook page, this website and authoring books. Whether the research she collects is from others who studied and recorded it before her, or others who have newly created it, the goal is simply to make this knowledge available to both current and future generations. After all, she is happy to point out, it is through learning about our mutual Poggiorealesi history and relatives that we can see how it has impacted our individual development.
Sarah Campise Hallier is a California native with a love of family that stems from her Sicilian roots. She has a passion for genealogy, writing, and learning as much as she can about her ancestral towns of Poggioreale and Bivona, Sicily. Getting to know her cousins, extended family, and new network of friends through Poggioreale in America has been a dream come true. Sarah, her mother and son travelled to Bryan, Texas for the June 2019 reunion, and it was an exciting moment to visit St. Anthony's Church, meet the Mayor of Poggioreale, and learn more about her family's journey to America from Sicily in the 1880s. Later that year, as part of the group on PIA’s first Sicilian tour in September 2019, Sarah experienced first hand the importance of fostering the connections to our ancestral town and keeping the communication open and flowing. Her goal is to help keep the memories of the old town alive, while learning as much as she can about why the new town, and the wonderful people who live there, are so special. Soon she joined the leadership team at PIA and has contributed to their development and activities. When she’s not working on expanding her family tree or engaging with family she enjoys traveling with her husband and four children. Next stop – Sicily, she can be heard to say!