This site has been developed for the purpose of searching and keeping alive the history, achievements and traditions of The Potorti Family. I am Marian Potorti Tetor; your host, storyteller and site builder. Within the following pages, I've attempted to preserve the background of a family with roots in The United States and Europe. To me, the photos, historic material and stories are priceless.
Contributions of historic photos, comments and information are welcomed and appreciated. However, should any family descendant find offense or material needing correction in anything posted herein, please contact me, and such items shall be immediately corrected or removed from this site.
And now, let's begin our journey.........
Let me introduce you to Mariano Roberto Potorti (Mario), born December 19, 1879 in the town of Pellaro in the Province of Reggio di Calabria of Italy. According to living relatives in Italy and official documents from Reggio, he was the son of Domenico Potorti (January 16, 1837) and Carmela Pavone (July 24, 1836).
Pellaro is in the southwestern portion of Italy, and was originally settled by Greek colonies. Browsing through Pellaro church records of the 1600's, some of the early given family names of the Potorti family were Demetrius, Paul or Octavius - obviously of Greek origin.
Mario Potorti - 1914
Notice the watch fob on his lapel. Of course, those were the days before wrist watches. Mario was a lover of clocks and watches throughout his life. Living on the shores of a seaside town, he became an excellent swimmer and eventually traveled to foreign lands as a naval seaman. In his early years, Mario attended a Roman Catholic seminary in hopes of becoming a Catholic priest. Just before ordination, his heart was changed, and a decision was made to pursue a different course. Thank God!
In the year 1908, an earthquake and tidal wave hit the region of Pellaro, killing thousands. Among the dead were Mario's mother, two sisters and other friends and relatives. Devastation of the Messina/Reggio earthquake can be found in historic writings.
Potorti descendants, now living in France, have provided information that Mario had a brother, Carlo (born 1866), who visited The United States twice at the turn of the 20th century. Other siblings of the Potorti family were: Paola, Romana and Elvira.
Mario boarded the S.S. Liguria out of the Port of Naples, Italy at 25 years of age. He arrived at Ellis Island, New York March 24, 1904. Unlike many other immigrants about to set foot upon a strange new land, Mario was able to read and write in Italian, English, Latin and a little French. When he eventually settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was able to help other Italian immigrants in his neighborhood with official papers and letters.
It didn't take too long for love to blossom. In the early part of the 20th century, Mario met and fell in love with Maria Rosa Pinto. They lived in the same boarding house in Philadelphia. At first, Maria Rosa's brother, Tony, did not approve of their courtship. Subsequently, true love prevailed, and they were secretly married in the year 1909 at City Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Marriage license #237517, Image #00213, Folder #4141908)
Maria Rosa Pinto was born in Roseto Valfortore of the Province of Foggia, Italy in October or November, 1881.
Left-Official seal of the Province of Foggia, Italy.
Above-Official seal of the Province of Reggio di Calabria.
Both emblems indicate the strength of Christianity in those regions by defeat of the dragon & serpent.
Throughout the centuries, Reggio di Calabria has been a place of small metal-working companies. This is evident by the numerous ornate wrought-iron balconies of homes and buildings. In 1972, two exquisite bronze statues of ancient Greek origin were discovered off the sea coast of Reggio.
Note for Ancestry Seekers: Family name was incorrectly spelled on Ellis Island U.S. immigration records as "Petorti." Also, when family members in Pellaro, Italy moved to Melito Porto Salvo, name was incorrectly spelled as "Putorti" in Melito town hall records. In some Reggio di Calabria records, it is spelled "Purturti."
Document below is the official record of birth for Mariano Potorti from Pellaro, Reggio di Calabria, Italy