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37 Amelia Martinelli.jpg

Emilia (Martinelli) Pellegrini

October 17, 1870 - February 1, 1947

According to later records, Emilia Martinelli was born in Marliana, Italy on October 17, 1870.  Records are unavailable for her father, Raffaello, so his profession and age are not known.  Her mother, Giuseppa, was born about 1850, in Marliana, and was the daughter of a Martinelli couple, Antonio Martinelli and Carolina Martinelli.

As with all research, there's always a chance that Emilia had more than the two brothers we know about, but for now, it is well documented that she had two younger brothers, Bartolomeo and Arturo. 

When Emilia was about 28 years old, she married Domenico Pellegrini on November 13, 1898.  Domenico was employed as a bracchiante, which roughly translates to "farm hand."  The two quickly started their family, with their first daughter, Giuseppa, possibly being born less than 9 months later and daughter #2, Ida, coming about a year after her.

At the same time as welcoming Ida, likely in early 1900, Domenico was preparing for his immigration to the United States.  Records appear to state that Domenico may have even left Italy before Ida (who was later known as Edith) was born.  Since no birth records exist for both Giuseppa and Ida, and the birthdates they provided later in life change like the weather, it's, at present, not possible to determine the exact timeline and how Domenico's immigration relates to Ida's birth.

What we do know is that when Emilia arrived at Ellis Island on August 13, 1903, she was pregnant with a child.  That child, born less than 5 months later, was my great-grandfather, Anthony Pellegrini.  Thanks to recent DNA research, I have been able to determine that there is absolutely no chance that Domenico was Anthony's father.  By comparing DNA of two people, both of whom are supposed to be the grandchildren of Domenico and Emilia, I found that they only share half the amount of DNA that they should, meaning that they only have one common grandparent, who in this case, would be Emilia.

After giving birth to Anthony in 1904, Emilia and Domenico had 6 more children:  Nellie, in 1906; Angelo, in 1908; Julia, in early 1910; Famie, in late 1910; William, in 1912; and Hilda, in 1914.  

Tragedy struck the family in 1918 when Domenico lost his life to the Spanish Flu that killed millions of people worldwide.  After his death, Anthony, who was just 14 years old, "went to work" and began helping to care for his siblings, who ranged in age from 19 to 4.  The family does not appear to have been enumerated in the 1920 census and in 1930, they were still living in Monongahela.  A few years later, Anthony moved to Pennsylvania and Emilia followed, settling in Paterson, where she spent the rest of her life.


Emilia died on February 1, 1947 in her home at 85 Madison Street in Paterson.  The following year, her brother Arturo died, and two him, their brother Bartolomeo also died, marking the deaths of all three Martinelli siblings in a three year span.

Emilia was interred in Calvary Cemetery in Paterson, NJ along with her granddaughter, Amelia "Babsy" Pellegrini, who died in 1936.  

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