Blog All About It Challenge July 2018

Posted July 13, 2018 by Sophia Rose in Blog All About It Challenge / 28 Comments



Lately, I’ve been working on a little family history project for my cousin’s daughter. Missy and I put together a short family history and I’ve pulled out a few of the pictures to share some of our Bomarito family SPIRIT with you today.

The couple in the picture is my Nonna Rosie and Nonno Joe who were the first of my family to immigrate to America from Sicily.  Guiseppe- or Joe, as he came to be called- was sponsored by one of his older cousins and was able to come in 1911.  He worked for two years and earned the passage for his wife, Rosalia, and daughter, Grace.  He and Rosie moved to St. Louis where there was a large Sicilian community to support them as they adjusted to living in a foreign country.  He took a job with the railroad.  They were doing well until some of Joe’s extended family who had already come over to the land of opportunity started pressuring him to join their mafia family.  He had purposefully left all that trouble and pressure behind in Sicily and wanted a new start, but here it was again.

The railroad gave its workers a vacation once a year and one of the perks was a chance to ride to any destination along their lines for free.  Joe grabbed his family and they left with all they could carry, taking advantage of this to move clear across country to Monterey Bay, California.  Joe had more relations who settled there and worked in the fishing and canning industry.  Thus, he eluded getting dragged into the Mob and finding a better situation for his growing family that now numbered eight children including my Nonno Dom (the single male in the picture).

During the WWII years, part of my family including Joe and Rosie lived in an internment camp because all first generation Italians were considered as much as a potential threat as the Japanese living within fifty miles of the coast so they had to register and then leave their home for the duration of the war.  The internment part happened when Joe and a few others went back to check on their homes and were caught.  I had the opportunity to visit a couple internment camps this past summer, but that is a story for another time.

My grandfather, Dom, and his next oldest brother, Vito, fought in the European Theater of the war with distinction.  After the war, they opened a bar (see the picture).  I draw attention to this because for all those John Steinbeck literature buffs out there, the bar and the crowd of guys there is featured in Steinbeck’s book, Cannery Row.

So, there you have a bit of my family SPIRIT.  Any fun stories from your family history?  Do Tell!

If you are interested in the details about this challenge hosted by Anna @ HCBS, here is the link:

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.


  • Karen

    That is amazing. I’m so glad you have those mementos. We just visited the WWII museum in NOLA when I was at ALA.

    My family doesn’t have too many pieces of their history left but my husband’s side does. His mom made all of us a cookbook for Christmas that has all the family recipes in one place.

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

    • Sophia Rose

      I love that you got to go visit the museum. I’d like to see it.

      That is so neat that your MIL did that cookbook for you all. That is the one thing I wish we had gotten from my Nonna Rosie before she passed.

  • Carole Rae

    Oh my goodness! That is so fun! I love ancestors stuff! I’ve been digging through ours too. 🙂

    • Sophia Rose

      Oh cool! I hope you find some fun family stories, Carole.

  • Mary Kirkland

    That’s awesome. I love looking at old photos.

    • Sophia Rose

      Me, too! My grandmother gave us the pictures and I love framing them and putting them up on our wall.

  • vvb

    Lovely post! Wow! interesting to learn about the Italian internment history you mentioned.

    • Sophia Rose

      Yeah, I didn’t realize they were interned. It was brief remark that caught my attention and I asked about it and learned about them ending up briefly for the last part of the war.

  • Crystal @ Lost in Storyland

    It’s cool how much you’ve put together about your family history. I’ve read about Japanese interment camps but hadn’t known that other ethnic groups were targeted as well. My family is from Taiwan, which was bombed by the U.S. during World War II because it was under Japanese control. My great grandmother survived a bombing, but she lost an infant daughter.

    • Sophia Rose

      From what I understand, the Italians weren’t interned as a group, but only if someone broke curfew or had a past that was suspect. In my family’s case, they went back to check on their home or business when they weren’t allowed to be within 50 miles of the coast and got caught so had to ride out the rest of the war in a camp.

      And, see, I had just a vague idea about the bombing to Taiwan. I knew that war had struck there b/c of some pictures a friend brought back after a trip. Your great-gran must have been one strong lady to deal with all that she did, Crystal. Thanks for sharing a bit of your family history.

  • Lola

    That’s interesting you know so much about your family history and when you family migrated to the US. That’s neat Joe avoided getting sucked into the whole mob thing and managed to move to the other side of the country.
    I actually don’t know a lot about my family history, just a few things about my grandparents and my mom, but that’s about it.

    • Sophia Rose

      It has been fun digging into things with Missy. We’ve both enjoyed learning new things about our family and I’ve started remembering things that I heard as a child when the older family members were reminiscing.

      Maybe someday, you’ll get some of your family stories from your mom or older family members, Lola. 🙂

  • Carole @ Carole’s Random Life in Books

    What a great story! I don’t think that any my family’s history involves the mob but maybe it does and they just didn’t say anything to me. I love these old photos. One of my cousins recently posted a photo of my great great grandfather working in a field with a horse drawn plow and I am still amazed to have the chance to see such a thing.

    • Sophia Rose

      Oh cool! That is neat to see the older photos and know its your ancestor going about their daily life.

      I got copies of pictures from my great aunt when she learned that I was interesting in the family’s past. My nonno and aunt were the ones to tell me these stories. It was fun to listen.

  • Angie Elle

    This is a fantastic post, Sophia. I love that you shared a piece of your family history with us. And that your Nonno was able to break free of family expectations and blaze his own trail. What an inspiring legacy!

    I can’t believe it’s over hafway through the year and I never jumped on the Blog All About It bandwagon. I will have to be better about it next year. I do love the posts it has inspired you to do.

    • Sophia Rose

      Thanks, Angie!
      I’m so glad my cousin’s kiddo asked for help discovering her family heritage. I had such a good time and learned a great deal, myself. 🙂

      Ha! I was actually nervous to try the challenge b/c I’m so private, but I really did want to share about myself with others. Hopefully, you can join this next time. It would be fun to see your posts.

  • herding cats

    Oh how neat! It’s fun looking into the past and seeing what everyone has done and gone through. That’ll be a wonderful thing for your cousin’s daughter to have.

    • Sophia Rose

      Yes, that is the fun part of delving into the past. I loved getting the stories.

  • shootingstarsmag

    What a fun project! And I love how you used the word Spirit. I really wasn’t sure how to use this word…haha I’ve missed quite a few months, but I would like to get back into this challenge.


    • Yes, spirit was a challenge. I was just typing up a report to send to Missy when it occurred to me that I could use part of our project for the challenge. Bingo! 🙂

  • Greg Hill

    Wow what a fascinating story! Especially the internment camp part (how disgraceful of our country- still blows my mind) and the Steinbeck connection. Wow! Some of my family members put together a family history a few years back and I learned so many things I never knew once I read it. Amazing stuff.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Fear and war can make things rough on folks, for sure, Greg.

      Yes, it was fun discovering the photo in my nonna’s things and seeing the note on the back about the Cannery Row connection. 🙂

      Isn’t it neat learning about our past?

  • What a rich history and so lovely that you shared. My husband’s maternal side has a rich history from when they immigrated to Philadelphia from Sicily.

    • I had a really good time working on this with my cousin. She motivated me and then it was like solving a mystery by hunting for the clues.

      Neat about your husband’s heritage offering up some good family stories, too.

  • Cool! I love this post 🙂

    • Thanks, Sharonda! I had a really good time working on it and the family project.

      Hope you’re having a good summer break. 🙂