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"Beginning a New Life IV: Corrado LoBasso" posted January 31, 2009 at 07:54 PM

or "How Corrado became Antonio became Corrado"

In the 1920ís, getting all the necessary papers to be allowed to immigrate to the United States included passing a physical examination. My father's cousin, Antonio Zaza, was unable to make the cut because of some physical disability (unknown). But a passport had already been paid for, a little money set aside for the voyage, and so it was decided that someone was going to use this opportunity to go to America and start earning money to support the family back in Molfetta, Italy!

Antonioís cousin, Corrado LoBasso already had a brother, Gennaro, in the United States, so since he would have somewhere to live he was chosen to replace Antonio. Whatever passport doctoring was needed and how it was done was never revealed by those who told us about this switch, but it was accomplished. And Corrado came to America in 1920, as Antonio Zaza. These facts are hard to verify since there is no one alive to check with, and Ellis Island records were expunged when he was given citizenship. But we do know that Corrado did indeed enter the United States under an assumed name.

Corrado settled in Hoboken, New Jersey, living with his brother Gennaro, keeping a low profile and working at whatever was available for a young man of 16 or 17. Sometime in the mid 1920s, an amnesty was offered to immigrants who had entered the United States illegally, and Corrado presented himself to the authorities. He was granted a visa to stay in the U.S., eventually gaining American citizenship. His first order of business was to save enough money for a visit to Italy to see his mother and family. Unfortunately, he received word of his motherís death in late 1929. But he was determined to return to Molfetta for a visit as soon as possible, and did so in early 1930, staying there until September 1930, according to the date of reentry to the U.S. on his passport.

During his stay in Italy, he was asked to accompany a young man and his two sisters to America, where they were to join their mother. He agreed to do so, but then decided to stay in Molfetta longer and was not able to fulfill his promise. What he didnít know was that seven years later, the younger of those two sisters would become his wife!

On January 17, 1937, Corrado married Mary DeGennaro. They had two daughters, Marie, in 1939, and Irene, in 1943. They raised their girls in Whitestone, New York, a suburb of Flushing. In 1962, Marie and I were married, and eventually moved to Ohio. Upon retiring, Corrado and Mary also moved to Ohio, where they lived together until his death in 1982 at age 77.

Click all images for larger:

LEFT: Corrado LoBasso in the 1920s; RIGHT: Corrado LoBasso with family (clockwise from top left: Marco, Marie, Stephanie and David Zaza, Mary and Corrado LoBasso)

Corrado's Italian passport

The small silk American flag given to Corrado upon becoming a U.S. citizen


Corrado LoBasso / Born March 26, 1905 - Died April 1,1982

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