The Fratellanza Society


Because my wife is of Italian heritage (three out of four of her grandparents had their ancestral roots firmly planted in Italy), I’ve always had a soft spot for the stories I am able to uncover regarding the Italian side of our family.  But this one did not originate from my wife’s relatives. It comes from my daughter-in-law’s.

Emmanuel Bombassei was born in 1881 in Auronzo di Cadore, Belluno, Veneto, Italy. Based on the birth records of his children, he emigrated to the United States between 1907 and 1908, settling in Missouri. He was a tailor by trade, owning his own business, and lived to a ripe old age of 98. He was my daughter-in-law’s great-great grandfather.

His obituary states that he was a proud member of the Fratellanza Society for over 50 years. According to their Facebook page, the Fratellanza, located in St Louis Missouri, is the oldest Italian American organization in the United States. It was organized on November 11, 1866 and incorporated on December 6, 1866 as a fraternal and benevolent society.

Their primary objective was and continues to be, to create an organization that will promote unity between Italians and their adopted country. 155 years later, they continue to meet every first Wednesday of the month at a restaurant fittingly known as “Guido’s on the Hill.”

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

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