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Friends and Contributors to Poggioreale in America

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 Marilyn Maniscalco

Founding Member, 
Research & 

MANY THANKS to Marilyn for being an important Founding Member of Poggioreale in America!


A native Houstonian, she has 75% of her Sicilian families from Poggioreale and 25% from Alia, Sicily. Family history and the study of genealogy were brought to life in 1989 by her mother’s double cousin who shared many stories and information about their Sicilian heritage and families. With that seed planted, Marilyn attended numerous classes and seminars, researched at on site facilities, including archives, libraries, courthouses and other repositories across the country to learn how to find additional details about the families. During that process, she became active in both the Austin & Houston genealogy societies, holding several positions, including President for 2 terms each. She was also active with a local POINTers chapter in Austin – one of the first national Italian genealogy groups – Pursuing Our Italian Names Together. Her newest collaboration with the Poggioreale in America group has brought about a new passion and excitement to learn more about the family stories that will someday be lost to time unless shared and to help promote the people and town of Poggioreale. Her contribution of ideas and talduring the founding of our First PIA Reunion in 2019, and this website, comes from her love of family and Poggioreale and will always be remembered and appreciated.

Catherine Candela of PIA

Catherine has devoted over 35 years to her own family's genealogical research. Her intense interest in family was inspired as a little girl. She was heavily influenced by her nonna and uncle who immigrated to Michigan in 1938.  Although her mom was born in 1940 America, she raised Catherine steeped in Poggiorealesi traditions and Italian was her first language! Her love of family was inspired by her relatives, and early on she started collecting 150 years of photos of family and events in Poggioreale and other towns like Roccamana, Partinco,  & Palermo. Her collection boasts rare books, including a first edition 1956 book written by and signed by Father Francesco Aloisio, along with other documents.  Catherine created her family tree and history by hand based upon her personal discussions with living relatives and studying their precious photos. Catherine’s grandmothers both taught her not only the Sicilian language, but also many of their important traditions like St. Joseph’s Day. Catherine has kept in close contact with  her families from Sicily and looks forward to retiring there one day.


Special Projects & Photos

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