Years passed and I had done nothing with the information I had, other than transcribe the newspaper articles. All I had was the basic story. No background. No conclusion. Then came the day when I discovered that the internet was a great addition to a computer. It was no longer just a word processor!
I quickly discovered search engines and started looking for the names of the people in the articles. There was more about the police officers who investigated the homicides than there was about the victims or the perpetrator. I found more than I could put in a single novel.
Then I discovered a small editorial, dated 1922, in a Bridgeport, Ct. newspaper. It was a discussion about domestic abuse. In it was a reference to a murder which had taken place in Hartford ten years before. The editor commented on the fact that the police were of the opinion that the double homicide was a case of domestic abuse, at first. But, then, as they investigated the days leading up to the murder, and the consequent flight of the murderer, they dismissed that theory in favor of a planned homicide. That information had not been given to the journalists in Hartford and it had not been discussed in the newspapers.
There was one interesting line in the article: It was known that Giuseppe Amato, our killer, had moved to British Columbia soon after his escape from police. That explained why I never made a connection with any Giuseppe Amatos in Connecticut! I now had to broaden my search.
I decided to find out any information I could about the Amatos previous to their coming to America. And the best place for me to look first was the amazing LDS (Mormon) files. At the time all these files were on microfiche. Files for Serra San Bruno covered the years 1801-1910. And, at $5 per roll of microfiche, I could hold them at the LDS center near my home and research them in the hours that it was open to the public. It was there that I found, after hours of fighting the poorly maintained readers and comparing names and dates, marriage certificates for Maria Amato and Domenico DeFrancesco, Carmela’s sister, and a baptismal certificate for Maria Teresa Amato, first daughter of Carmela and Giuseppe. Her godfather was named Salvatore Timpano. I meant to go back for more but I found a better choice.
The website ancestry.com had been out a few years by the time I joined. I combed the forums and put out feelers, addressing anyone who mentioned “Serra San Bruno” or “Amato”.
I also found a website, named italiangenealogy.com, where one can ask questions and people on both sides of the ocean will attempt to help answer them. Two women at the site, Tessa and Suanj, having great amounts of research knowledge, helped me with my very elementary questions. I thought that anyone with the names Giuseppe and Carmela Amato had to be my Giuseppe and Carmela. But, of course, research is not that easy when you have common names. The Amatos who came in via Boston were not mine. The Amatos who married in Vancouver were not mine. Over the space of several weeks, we discovered that Giuseppe had come alone, twice, and Carmela came later, with a new baby girl, Maria Teresa, in 1904. And they moved in with Domenico and Maria on Asylum Ave. They also found the ship manifests which listed who came with Maria when she came in 1903, who traveled with Giuseppe when he returned to America in 1904. And for the first time, I found a reference to Giovanni Tassone and his wife, Rafaella Gentile, outside of the newspaper reports. These two hardworking ladies found dates of arrival of each and the marriage certificate issued in 1901.