What do you get when a deconstructionist joins the mafia ?

An offer you can't understand.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

San Giorgio Morgeto families who settled in Guelph

According to Pat Bowley's Guelph Historical Society essay The Italian
Community, in St. Patrick's Ward, Guelph Ontario, 1900-1939, a Mrs. C
Ferraro had a photograph of the village of San Giorgio Morgeto, beneath which
she had made a list of the families who had settled in Guelph. It is that list I use
when I speak of the Morgeti and the San Giorgiosi who moved to Guelph.

Those clans according Mrs. C. Ferraro's are:
Addario Agostino Albanese Alviano Ammendolia Belcastro Bellantoni Anselmini Bombino Cacciatore Capra Cassone Collura Cardillo Consiglio DeMaria Fazzari Furfaro Giovinazzo Carere Consentino Ferraro Cotrone Fonte Leo Luccisano Macri Magnoli Longo Lieto Mammoliti Marchesano Morabito Muscatello Raco Maugeri Monteleone Nasso Pezzano Raso Rao Scarfo Seminara Sorbara Sorrenti Silvestro Simonetta Tedesco Varamo Valerioti

The names are not a complete list of San Giorgiosi and Morgeti who came
to Guelph, Tony Legato for instance, who was executed for a murder
committed in 1915 was from San Giorgio, Domenic Luberto is another
instance, as are the Spataros, the Zezares, the Vernis and the Varone's.


Anonymous said...

a question that few have regarding your work is why would you want to rehash guelph's mafia history and exploit many family names? why anyone would want to read this book on things that happened over 70 years ago just baffels me. why you would want to publish these things in a book is completly disrespectful to the families of the people mentioned in your book. The things that happened 70 years ago should stay 70 years ago, the families of the people written in the book do not want to have to deal with the backlash that they may face and have to deal with the deaths and shady history of their families. this book is a disgrace to all italians and guelphites, its completely biased, not to mention HALF of your information IS FASLE. if your going to publish a book, get your facts straight. shame on you and mind you own business.

Jerry Prager said...

Certainly you raise important questions. Certainly the simple answer to those who question the writing of history is that those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it, and clearly that has been going on in Guelph. I can certainly understand that families are discomfited by the actions of their ancestors, the only problem is, without knowing the history and those who were involved there is no way to know what is going on in the present, or what actions in the present even mean.
The feud in Calabria between the Facchineri and the Raso-Albanese has claimed 100 lives since 1963, the Guelph Morgeti cannot be unaffected by that war, and therefore neither can public life in Guelph.
I'm not sure in what way this book is a disgrace to Italians, from my perspective what was dis-graceful - what was without grace - was the way that certain individuals from certain families behaved towards certain other individuals and certain other families. How it is a disgrace to Guelphites in general is even less clear to me. The disgrace to Guelphites is that they refused to tell the story of their community honestly for so long.
If there are FALSE facts in the book I would certainly like to know what they are and what your evidence is that proves your facts to be true.
I actually have no axe to grind in this, I am not anti-Italian, and I refer you to my post on the Italians involved in the Libera project to help assure you that there are a great many Italians who know all too well that historically, other Italians were their worst enemies.
Mob apologists have a long history of crying racism, and in some case racism is real, but you have to understand as well that over riding sense of pride that British-Canadians took was in their institutions: they firmly believed that however badly Italians had been treated by the many foreign rulers who had governed them, that British law would actually prove itself superior to all others in its capacity to deliver justice. The fact that Italian Canadians are now among some of the most respected people in the country proves the case for British-Canadian law. The secret Italian society's may have been semi-legitimate protection rackets defending peasants in the past, but they became nothing but extortion rings for other Italians in Canada.
That's why so many Italian Catholics joined Pope John Paul in his call for an end to the mafias.
As for my sense of shame, I actually have an over developed sense of shame in general, and felt the only way to avoid it while writing this book was to do as much to honour the dead as I could.This book is dedicated to their memory, to all their memories, the good and the bad, because they were as much victims of their times as they were of their own choices or the choices of others.
As for minding my business, as a citizen of Guelph I listen to the business of Guelph on a daily basis, and since a portion of that business is founded on secrets and murders and lies, then it is the business of all citizens to discover the truth as much as they can.
So, again, if you have proof that HALF the book is false, what is your evidence, prove it to me and I will print it.

You chose to post your comment anonymously, obviously people would recognize you if you gave your name, and they would be able to develop an opinion of your real purposes for themselves.Presumably that's why you chose to post anonymously. For my part I suspect I know who you are, we've met I think. I could be wrong.
Your one concern,however that of a backlash because of the actions of ancestors, I do share. If my book is about nothing else, it is about finding a new way forward. Vendetta and the cycles of revenge breed tragedy for everyone, and that is the lesson of Guelph's mafia history.

Anonymous said...

I will post a comment and give my name!! Mr Prager

I passed by this website purely by luck after googling my last name. After reading the small article and seeing my last name being put into a paragraoh that refers to my ancestors as Mafia members is a disgrace to my family name that i carry. You have no proof to these legends you have written about. There ae nothing but fables or myths. MR . Shakespeare oops..I mean Prager

Mr. Prager you write " who question the writing of history is that those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it, and clearly that has been going on in Guelph". Mr . Prager this is a statement used by historians when they talk about the second world and the destruction it has caused on the world fifty years ago. To make this statment about the italians in guelph is ridiculous. I don't need you to lecture me on my family history in San gorgio Morgeto I have been there ten times and I know that simple minded people like you would not be able to tarnish that beautiful city with your so called legends.
I have an idea for your next book since you love history so much. why don't you write about the Pope that was born in San Giorgio Morgeto.Why don't write about him that way my children can be educated by you and since history repeats itself maybe they to will be pope.
MR. Prager Guelph is not the only city in Canada were people from San Giorgio Morgeto live and seems to me this article has only hit the Guelph area. I don;t think you realised how many people you have just offended.

Joseph Sorrenti

I will definitely Reply to any reamrks you may have!!!

Jerry Prager said...

I tried googling 'Pope born in San Giorgio Morgeto' and found no reference. The town site in Calabria says nothing about a Pope, and one would think that that would be something a town would celebrate.
If you could leave a link to a webpage that talks about such a pope I would be happy to post it. What was his name ? Maybe I could try searching that way.

You need to do a little research about the mafia in Canada on your own before you start calling my research ridiculous however. The number of murders committed by those born in San Giorgio Morgeto in Guelph, Hamilton, Welland etc, as well as the numbers of Morgeti murdered in this province are not fables.
The government of Italy and the caribinieri do not think the one hundred people killed in the feud between the Facchinerei and the Raso-Albanese over control of SGM since 1963 are fables.
I find the control of Guelph by gangsters (not just Calabrians, but Sicilians, Slavs, Chinese, Vietnamese) to be far more offensive than your pretense that the Guelph mob is a fable.
The land developers and speculators who have taken laundered money from organized crime and sprawled their ugly, small-minded, mean-spirited way across this province fills me with an outrage that you cannot begin to imagine. The landscape of this province was once a jewel, now it has been whored by gangsters, raped and pillaged and turned into a veneer of respectability, and covered with ticky-tacky housing and malls and plazas and is now so interwoven with corruption that it is rivaled only by some of the worst places in Italy, like Naples.
Maybe the fact that Pope John Paul II wasn't Italian is what allowed him to go into Sicily and denounce the mafia, because no Italian Pope ever had the courage to take on the mob.
There is a reason I have consistently divided the sheep from the goats by dividing the San Giorgiosi from the Morgeti. The San Giorgiosi would be those whom San Giorgio would be happy to know, the Morgeti are those who wouldn't get the time of day from the saint.
The fact that you want to raise your children to be San Giorgiosi, is an honourable thing to do, but if you want to pretend the Morgeti don't exist I don't know what else to say to you.
Since you want to answer whatever I post, perhaps you could conclude by telling the people of Guelph where the body of Joe Nasso was put ? Or was his disappearance in 1938 just a fable too ? Something his family imagined ? Something they pretended to suffer.

Anonymous said...

The fact that you name last names and associate families with the Mafia is my problem !! Is every Donnelly in Canada a murderer. NO!! You don;t Realize there are many families with the same last name in San giorgio Morgeto. For example my last name there are probably about ten different families with the same last name as mine and half of us aren't even related. Many of those families you named in the top of this page fall under the same circumstances families with the same last name who are not related.
You need to specify who's who this way you won't offend people.

The Pope's name was Pope Gregory (in English) and he was Pope about a thousand years ago. Go to San giorgio and ask the citizens of that town they will be more then happy to prove it to you through books rather then the word of mouth. I'm sure you could find it your a historian.
I'm way to young to now of the people you are talking about! (nasso).However, I do know alot of the people who live in San Giogio Morgeto now and that's all that matters to me. I don't see these types of people a spend my summers with as Mobsters or even those families you named now in guelph.

Joe Sorrenti

Anonymous said...

You seem to be a man to want lots of proof so I found this by googling San Giorgio MOrgeto. This a list of last names in San Giorgio and how many people with that last name.

Calabrian Surnames Search Engine results

The ten most common surnames in town of San Giorgio Morgeto .

The search tools are after the results.

The following results can be order with the column name buttons.

In the left hand column is displayed the estimated number of individuals having the given surname shown in the right hand column.

The numbers are shown with a two-decimal precision, meaning that a number of 106.10 estimates there are at least 106 people in the town with that name, while the number 75.78 means there are likely 76 people in the town with that name.


Number Surname
129.36 Mammoliti
123.48 Fazari
114.66 Raso
99.96 Giovinazzo
82.32 Agostino
55.86 Macri`
52.92 Fazzari
47.04 Sorbara
44.10 Raco
38.22 Carere

Sorrenti 30 people

It is possible to obtain specific information about Calabrian surnames by using this search engine.

Data will be presented subdivided by province, with the same provinces listed in alphabetical order.

For each province all of the towns will be listed where the surname occurs, ordered via a numerical value representing the estimate of the number of individuals having the requested surname.


Insert the surname:

Exact surname
Start with

Insert the town:

Exact town
Start with

Joe Sorrenti

Jerry Prager said...

Mr. Sorrenti,
I was aware of the Calabrian name search, I used it in my book.

I went to the online Catholic Encyclopedia and searched all the Pope Gregorys but none was born in SGM. I searched that Encyclopedia for the word Morgeto and the word itself apparently does not appear in any article in the encyclopedia.

I have no vested in interested in the facts of the matter of a Pope Gregory from SGM, I can find no evidence of him. If you can find out more, I'd be happy to know about it.

I also want to say that your concerns about my book, do concern me. In distinguishing between genuine Catholics - San Giorgiosi, and 'ndrangheta secret society members - Morgeti, I am actually trying to distinguish between non-mobsters and mobsters.

I am not trying to paint everyone with the same brush, I am trying to detail which clans are involved in organized crime, and by extension, which clans are not.

I don't know if you've ever lived in a small town, but one such as SGM, with a long history and a relatively isolated locality does tend to create an environment in which nearly everyone is related in some way or another, even if the relation is several generations back.

The problem for me in identifying families and individuals involved in organized crime is that some of the San Giorgiosi know the truth and dare not speak it. Others know the truth and deny it altogether.
A few admit the truth, and would like to make things better.
I can understand people who are afraid to speak about what they know. I can respect people who want to make things better. Those who pretend it doesn't exist, I have no use for...
But certainly, to those San Giorgiosi who are upset because the entire clan system of the town is being brought into the light, all I can say is that those who live in the light will not fear the light.
I would prefer it if the San Giorgiosi stood up to the 'ndrangheta and said 'enough is enough. Go to www.libera.it and see what extraordinary things Italians are doing in their fight against the mafias.

Anthony said...

I think Joe needs to take a chill pill and walk around outside in the real world. Just because your last name is associated with gansters from the past means no disrespect to anyone who bears that name. That would be liek saying anyone with the last name of Simpson or Bernardo would be hated on a continuos basis. And furthermore not just as a citizen of Guelph, but as a student history is meant to be learnt and there is no shame in learning the past. If this were the case I think that there would be a much bigger grudge towards Germany than there would be of your little Italian town. So take it easy man, this guy is doing a good thing writing about the history of Guelph because it educates those interested. All it does is show the readers how Guelph was and has changed to what it is now.

Anthony Campbell

Nito said...

I believe this attrosity spoken is a malicious sack of lies,the names mentioned were and are hard worker and family men they helped create and build this great city we love, all these lies writen about us is a shameful display of a man's greed to make money by printing this garbage just so he can cash in on sales of this book I suggest that no one support this writer and buy his book or ever read it because you will be buying in on him makeing money off of things he does not properly exibit in this trash jornal. in itlalian their's an old saying that goes,ce me costava no che creroe, ba per nente te creroe.

Belu said...

In this great Country we have the right of free speech,I will defend with my life this right but what we haves here in this so called clans of San Gorgio in Guelph is nothing but slanderous lies full of half truths and old ficticous stories told and interperted diffently everytime it get's told to an additional party,this book should be classified under fiction because it probable makes for a good tale such as stories written by King,patterson or even Delany. If this so called author even did minamal research he would see himself the dribble he has written to be less than appropriate in the eyes of even the most inexperienced socalled author's of our time, My oppinion take up another hoppy your carrear as an author is not your bag,And in the future don't write about what you know nothing about,Beware

Jerry Prager said...

Every story in these books is based on newspaper coverage of trials, inquests and police investigations, as well as on genealogical research from birth death and marriage records, border crossing records, ship manifests etc.
It is true however, that half the families named in Mrs. Ferraro's list of those who settled in Guelph are not connected to organized crime and I say so. The other half are, whether directly, or indirectly. As for the existence of Calabrian organized crime it is such an insidious force in Italy that civil society is being threatened there every day. Drugs and arms. It used to be about respect now its about money and nothing but money. Gangster capitalism I call it.
Either you're burying your heads in the sand, or you're part of it, either way you're mistaken about how much research I do.

Jerry Prager said...

I should also restate that just because organized crime functions as family crime, not all family members are involved, especially as the family extends through marriage and into generations. Nonetheless, these are clan-based societies. Which means that even as they extend and thin out, they are also extend and concentrate down specific family lines. So that one branch of the family becomes intertwined with other crime families, like all dynasties, leaving numerous members of the clan outside the crime branch.
The problem of sorting out individuals and their immediate families requires a great deal of time and effort because it's not unlike cancer, where the agency of sickness doesn't come from outside the body, but is a mutation of cells. And if you think organized crime families are myths and fictions then you probably think cancer is too.

Anonymous said...

A few questions/comments:

- Is this a published work with a ISBN?

- Were any "authentic" criminals of San Giorgio Morgeto heritage actually interviewed/quoted?

- Do you take into account the fact that a person's last name rarely indicates definitively where they are from? For example, my last name is Cosentino and my father is from SGM, however I have met more Cosentinos whose origins are from other parts of Italy. Have you verified the origins of the these so called 'Morgeti'. As you must know many early Italian immigrants came to Canada "With Out Papers". I've seen Mrs. Ferraro's list before, and as here my last name is misspelled. I really hope this 'accurate' list is not the basis for you 'text'.

- A quick tutorial in genealogy: you inherit your last name from a single ancestor. Assuming that the 'cancer' of criminal clans has spread throughout this beautiful land is 4 generations old, then that means a person would inherit their last name from only 1 of 16 ancestors. To assume that a 'criminal clan' exists you would need to prove that this family has interbred and/or bred with only families of other SGM criminal clans. The very likely reality is that successive generations of Canadians have interbred with people whose origins are non-Italian and/or non-SGM Italian. You are inferring any persons of the young generation who are criminally intent and share the same last name of one of the Morgeti crime clans have received their criminal culture from that sole ancestor. That would mean the cultural morays and values of all other ancestors are discounted.

- The opening paragraph in this blog I assume comes from your 'text' and likens the spread and migrations of people of Italian origin throughout Canada as a cancer. If you really want to be taken seriously as an almost pseudo-academic you need to tone down the overt racism and start supplying little things called facts. The likely reality is that you are a hack writer who has stumbled upon some connections between SGM and Canada that are tenuous at best and are trying to cash in on peoples never-ending fascination on the mafia. Separating as you say the 'goats from the sheep' as 'Morgeti' and 'San Giorgiosi' is akin to the racist practice of classifying people as aither 'black' or 'nigger'. Let's be realistic...how can someone who traces their ancestry back to SGM not be offended by this tripe.

- One more comment: Biker gangs seem to be the prevalent force in organized criminal activity today and are responsible for more crime than any Morgeti ever were. Their members come from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. If you are so inclined to expose the cancer of crime why don't you grow some balls and do a book about them?

- Bruno Cosentino

Jerry Prager said...

Yes the book has an ISBN 978 1-896 312-02-6.

No one was interviewed, this is not an oral history, it's based on newspaper coverage of trials, supplemented with other archival materials.The genealogical aspects are based on published obituaries, birth, death and marriage records, border crossing records, ship manifests etc. All of which either say the person is from San Giorgio Morgeto, or not.
If you've ever looked at the Ellis Island records you know
the names are listed by place of origins, yes there are lots of people with the same name from other places, including your last name. There are something like 3500 Longos for example and about 12 from SGM.
I have hundreds of names from ship manifest lists, I have dozens of obituaries, I have page after page after page of Ancestry.Com birth, death, marriage, immigration and border crossing documents, all of which point not only to place of origin, but to parentage, wives, cousins destinations etc. I also have cemetery records and census records.
I probably have the most extensive data base for Sangiorgiosi who came to Canada a century ago in existence.
Obviously you haven't done much genealogical research if you think that the way that your family name is spelled in Mrs. Ferraro's list is different from the way you spell it means something. Different spellings are as common as the illiteracy of many immigrants, and as the inability of record-takers to hear a proper spelling from the lips of someone speaking with a thick accent. There are a dozen other reasons.

As for your tutorial in genealogy, in fact, you don't inhereit your last name from one ancestor, you inherit from your family, which is a vast web of old blood and new blood, all of which can be traced, which is the whole idea of clans.

And yes, after while, usually the second generation into the immigration cycle, all kinds of intermarriages with people of different nationalities occur, including marriages between Calabrians and Sicilians who have their own historical and "racist" views of one another. Some of those new in-laws are also criminals, some aren't.
Italians however aren't a different race (at least not from me or the dominant culture.) They are a nationality, or at least several cobbled together, much like Canada.

The idea that separating criminals from non criminals is somehow racist just because they are related is also particularly ludicrous.

And per ce, I haven't even begun to talk about present generations. The degree to which younger people may or may not be involved with criminal clans is a question that can only be answered through the exhaustive research that I employ.

What I say in my opening text is that immigrants fanned out from the port cities. Yes the criminal clans represent a cancer, a cancer cell being one that forgets how to be itself, in their case, gangsters have forgotten how to be human, Besides which, human beings are symbiotic life forms, with ancestral bacteria with their own DNA in all our cells that breathe and metabolize our food for us, they and their relations are in every creature and plant on the planet, it is far more accurate to say that life spreads across the planet like bacteria across an agar plate and like a cancer.

Bikers are no where near as powerful around the world as organized crime families, because they lack the loyalty that comes with blood relations. If you think bikers are more interesting to write about, then go ahead, they don't interest me that much.
And quite frankly I have never had complaints about my balls yet so I don't see the need to grow them.

Jerry Prager said...

An addendum to my comment to Bruno Cosentino. Mrs. Ferraro's list of Sangiorgiosi that I used was first published in the Guelph Historical Society's quarterly magazine some years back, (the essay is about the Italians of St. Patrick's Ward Guelph) so I have never actually seen Mrs. Ferraro's list, the spelling used by the writer Patricia Bowley of the version of your name is spelled Consentino. My researches confirm your statement however, Cosentino seems to be the spelling used by Sangiorgiosi travelling to Guelph. Domenic Belcastro, who appears in Volume Two, was married to a Vittoria Cosentino.

Agostino (Augie) Ammendolia said...

Gentlemen,fell upon this blog searching the Ammendolia name.
Let me shed some light, as a descendent from San Giorgio Morgeto and Past President of the San Giorgio Morgeto Social Club of Hamilton, on the Pope who hailed from this ancient town of ours and its historical beginings.

San Giorgio - Morgeto is a small rustic village nestled into a picturesque mountain in the southern part of Calabria. Its history extends back to a time when Calabria was a Greek colony.
The town was founded at circa 1639 BC by King Morgeto, the son of the Greek colonist, Italo, who in turn gave Italy its name.

In the year 1050 AD, the name was changed to San Giorgio-Morgeto in honour of Saint George the crusader.

As well as being an Academic centre circa 1303 AD, where the Dominican Order helped establish the University of S. Giorgio and Polistena,making it an important centre for learning
Greek,Latin,and Arabic for four centuries,it was privleged to have been the birthplace of Pope Saint Eusebio who became the 31st Pope on the 18th of April 210.

As to Jerry Prager's Book "Legends of the Morgeti",which I havent read but certainly will look up and read, having an interest in Mafia stories.(who doesn't) and also because I recognize all the names mentioned and some being possibly distantly related to me.

Growing up here in Hamilton I would hear stories about certain people from our town living in Guelph being men of power and influence ala Godfather. Certainly the book would make interesting reading I suppose, even rivaling Hamilton's Mafia past if all the stories in Prager's book are true.

Well have to read the book and report back.

Anonymous said...

Mi chiamo ho uno dei nomi più antichi di san giorgio morgeto.. volevo solo far sapere ai canadesi che san giorgio è uno dei paesi più puliti della calabria chi è originario di li può vantarsi di essere san giorgese

Anonymous said...

This is so great, can't wait until I have time to read it.

We have all made the mess we see before us, indirectly directly, money plays games, and things are going to change, however slowly.

Thank You Jerry,

Forza Italia!


Unknown said...

Actually I am a Muscatello and I ins it interesting to know where my family came from , where my dad was born and my grandparents ,,, it's amazing to me to know more about my family , good or bad it's still mi familia

Unknown said...

Wow what a whirlwind of comments.

Just some thoughts; your name doesn't make you a criminal/ bad person, your actions do; also, one is based on the rule of law and the other on morals.

Two, history is meant to teach us about not making the same mistakes, by learning from the past we hopefully make the future better.

Finally, I was of the understanding that guelph had involvement with the mafia during prohibition and the underground railroad, apparently this is why the sleep an mansion has secret passages under it, any info on that?

Jerry Prager said...

The tunnels existed, but they have nothing to do with the Underground Railroad, slavery was illegal in the British empire from 1833 on, so all slaves were freed just by crossing the border, that's why they came by the thousand. My anti-slavery books, are on my blog Blood in the Mortar. http://abolition-emancipation.blogspot.ca/