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D'Oria Family Originating from Martina Franca (Puglia) Italy

Updated January 31, 2002

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Donato "Dan" D'Oria, his wife Angelina Sofia DiRenzo, and their three year old daughter Maria Domenica, emigrated to the U.S. in 1919. In 1921, Donato sponsored five of his siblings (Anna, Maria, Vito, Antonia and Martina)into the U.S. On May 9, 1921, his five siblings sailed from Naples, Italy on the steamship San Rossore and arrived at the Immigration Center at Ellis Island, N.Y. on May 25, 1921.

As a young man, Donato moved to San Galan, Switzerland to find work. Since he was born and raised on the family farm in Martina Franca where they grew grapes and olives, he decided that he did not want to become a farmer. Instead, he moved to San Galan Switzerland where he apprenticed, and later became a very good stone mason and bricklayer. In San Galan, Donato lived in a boarding house where he met and later married the owners' daughter Angelina. Angelina was 17 years old when they were married, and Donato was 23.

In 1918, during WW-I, Donato received his draft notice from the Italian Government. He was instructed to return to his hometown in Martina Franca to be inducted into the Italian Army. By the time he returned, the Armistice had been signed and he was not required to serve. Instead of returning back to Switzerland, Donato decided to move his family to America where jobs were plentiful and the streets were paved with he had heard.

Donato and his family departed from Naples, Italy on the steamship Taormina, probably in 3rd class stowage, and arrived at Ellis Island, New York, on Christmas Day, December 25, 1919, along with hundreds of other Italian immigrants. After being processed at the Immigration Center, the family moved to Utica, New York where Donato found a job in the construction industry as a bricklayer. Even during the depression years, Donato found work to provide for his family. When construction jobs were scarce, Donato worked on WPA projects, thereby continuing to put bread on his family's table during those lean years.

While living in Utica, Donato and Angelina had two more children...Anna (b. April 11, 1921) and Natale (b. February 21, 1925). In 1934, the family moved to Washington, D.C. where jobs in construction were plentiful, although the streets were not paved with gold as they initially thought.

Prior to WW II, Donato and Angelina separated and later divorced. Shortly after the divorce, Donato married Anna Fontana and they both continued to live in Washington, D.C. until their deaths....Donato in 1974 and Anna in 1982. Angelina and her three children continued to live together in Washington, D.C. until, one by one, they were married and moved out of the household. When her son Natale moved to Ocala, Florida in 1986, she moved in with him. In 1989, Angelina died in Ocala at the age of 96. She is buried at the Highland Memorial Park Cemetary in Ocala, and both Donato and Anna Fontana are buried at the Ft. Lincoln Cemetary in Washington, D.C.

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