Search billions of records on
Ralph's Genealogy
Paternal Line
Ganis - Gangarosa
This page created October 31, 2000 by Julie Hampton Ganis
In the early 19th century in the picturesque town of Comiso, in Sicily, Italy, located with a view of Mt. Aetna and having a famous "Fountain of Diana" in the town square, there lived the two families of GANGAROSA and BELLASSAI. It is thought the GANGAROSA name may have signified family colors, white and red.

GANGAROSA (GANGAROSSA) family, although having some males in the lineage in the priesthood, were essentially craftsmen of the stone-cutting and stone carving trades. They worked in Comiso and other nearby towns of Ragusa, Modica, Licata and Terranova.

SALVATORE GANGAROSSA, born about 1840, was a large man, about six feet tall, having fair but ruddy complexion and blue eyes. As a young man he served under the great Italian patriot, Garibaldi, about the year 1860. Later he married THERESA LAURETTE, a beautiful blonde woman of light complexion and blue eyes. They had four children: SALVATORE, THERESA, BIAGIO, and JOHN.

THERESA GANGAROSSA went to Tunis, where she married a wealthy Frenchman much older than herself. After THERESA died, her brother SALVATORE went to Tunis to settle her estate, which turned out, went to her surviving husband. When SALVATORE heard this, he had a heart attack and died.

JOHN GANGAROSSA went to America sometime before 1912 and stayed until about 1920 when he returned to Italy, where he stayed. It is not known whether he has any descendants or not.

BIAGIO GANGAROSSA, born April 20, 1875, inherited his father's stature and coloring. In his turn, he learned to do fine stone-cutting and carving, and in this art he surpassed his father in skillful workmanship. BIAGIO was called to serve in the army and was sent to Ancona, on the Italian mainland. When he returned from the service, he acquired a limestone quarry, married CARMELA BELLASSAI (see below) in 1906, and built a fine home in which the floors were of highly polished stone. For several years his business flourished.

mother, THERESA, made quilts to sell. She carried them even to nearby towns, as well as selling them in Comiso. She was very industrious and hard-working. She died at an early age, and was not living when her husband Salvatore came to live with BIAGIO and CARMELA.

In the Spring of 1913,
BIAGIO'S stone quarry business did not prosper. He began talking about going to America, where his brother JOHN lived in Niagra Falls, NY. BIAGIO leased his stone quarry for 10 years, bought passage on the new steamshipRe d'Italia, left his father in charge of their home and sailed from Sicily in May, 1913, bound for New York. After settling in Niagra Falls, BIAGIO got a job as a stone-cutter with no difficulty.

In 1920, the family moved to Rochester, N.Y.  Many years later, in an effort to "Americanize" the Gangarosa name, some of the children of
BIAGIO and CARMELA changed their names to GANIS. Today, the GANIS and GANGAROSA families are spread around much of the United States.
The family of BELLASSAI were well stationed and respected in Comiso, Sicily, Italy. Their vocations spread from high positions in the church and court to leather-goods craftsmen. CARMELA'S parents were NUNZIO BELLASSAI and GIUSEPPINA (JOSEPHINE) BAGLIERI.

NUNZIO was born about 1855 and JOSEPHINE about the same time. They lived all their lives in Comiso and died there. In CARMELA'S lineage, some ancestors were in court positions, one being a Judge, at least two in the priesthood, and an Arch-deacon. All lived in Comiso.

CARMELA'S father had been apprenticed to his father, a skilled leather craftsman and boot-maker, who maintained a school for apprentices.

NUNZIO and JOSEPHINE had five children:
MARION BELLASSAI - married Mr. DIERNA, a Comiso merchant.

SARA BELLASSAI - married Mr. BENATO, a skilled bootmaker and they moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina. She lived to be about 90 years old.

GIOVANNI (JOHN) BELLASAI - moved to Asuncion, Paraguay (South America) with brother JOSE, where there was a need for skilled boot-makers. They established a fine trade which flourished into a prosperous business. 

JOSE BELLASSAI - married MARIA ______. Moved to Asuncion, Paraguay (South America), with brother JOHN. He had seven children and many grandchildren.

CARMELA BELLASSAI - married BIAGIO GANGAROSA (born April 20, 1875) (see above).
The above was abstracted from a family record, but it is not known who the author was.