Castellammare di Stabia
Part 3 - Brooklyn
Frank & Elizabeth
Lanzara Ancestral Chart
Causes of Death
The first Lanzaros to emigrate from Italy to America were Francesco and Elisabetta Lanzara and their two children, Giovanni and Grace.
The Lanzara name changed to Lanzaro when they got to America. However, there is some evidence that the name changed in Castellammare di Stabia before they emigrated.
For the time being, we will proceed with the understanding that the Lanzara's of Italy became the Lanzaro's of Brooklyn.
Besides the change in surname, many of our ancestors also Americanized their given names. Francesco became Frank, Elisabetta became Elizabeth and Giovanni became John. In October of 1887, they arrived in New York City. Shortly after, Grace died of unknown causes.
After settling in Brooklyn, three more children were born: Maria, Anna and Vincent. For reasons that have been lost to time, Vincent was known to the family as Jim.
Frank set up a barber shop and was providing a satisfactory income for his wife and four children when he died suddenly on January 6, 1892, leaving Elizabeth with baby Jim, 4-year old Anna, 5-year old Mary, and 10-year old John to survive on their own. Some family members later recall being told that Frank died from a heart attack, but his death certificate states it was of acute pneumonia.
When Frank died, there was no money for a funeral or burial in a regular cemetery. Instead, he was buried in a "potter's field" called County Farm. It was actually a large mass grave used by the adjacent Kings County Psychiatric Hospital to bury the mental patients who died there and were unclaimed. The poor residents of Kings County could also be buried there. This was Frank's case. There is no evidence that he was ever a patient at the Psychiatric Hospital. It took me several years of research to finally locate the area where the Psychiatric Hospital and potter's field used to be, immediately east of the newer Kings County Hospital on Clarkson Avenue, between Albany and Utica Avenues. The Psychiatric Hospital was torn down in the 1990's. The area is now a gated community of apartments. The bodies were all presumably moved a long time ago. I have never been able to find anyone who could tell me what happened to all the bodies and whether they had actually been relocated.