This is the family tree and the recorded events of how the Meli and Puglisi families came to America.

This is written by Giuseppina {Josephine} Meli who married Carmelo Puglisi. The story told in these pages will give you a picture of the struggles of coming to America at the turn of the century. It is Frank Giurleo's wife Gae's {formerly Puglisi} grandmother who wrote this narrative.

Credit to Bob Meli 3/30/09


Giuseppina {Josephine} Meli

This is Giuseppa (Josephine) Puglisi. Her name before marriage was Giuseppa Meli.  Born in 1884, she was the fifth child of Filomena and Gaetano Meli,and the older sister of Ben and Ralph Meli.  She was the Aunt of Tom Meli and Salvatore Meli.  Affectionately known as Giuseppina, to her grandchildren, she was known as “Nana".

Nana's Parents: Gaetano Meli and Filomena Zisa, and her two brothers Ralph and Benny

Information about this photo provided by Elizabeth (Puglisi) Andrew and Edith (Puglisi) Terzano, grandchildren of Nana, January 22, 2020.  Edith Terzano’s husband is Gary Terzano who served in the Army during the Vietnam War.

To answer your question, my name is Edith Puglisi Terzano and my sister's name is Elizabeth Puglisi Andrew.  We are Nana's grandchildren.

I've made a couple of corrections for the caption:

Filomena (Zisa) Meli and her husband Gaetano Meli, seated in front, were the parents of ten children, while living in Sicily. The tallest person standing in the back row is their ninth child, Biagio (Ben) Meli, who was born in 1895.  Standing to his right is their tenth child, Ralph Meli, who was born in 1898.  The young girl in the photo is their granddaughter, Gaetana Falcone.  Not in the photo is Gaetana's mother, Maria, who was born in 1880. Maria was the third daughter of Filomena and Gaetano.

In 1906, Filomena traveled to America with her two sons, Ben and Ralph, her daughter Maria, and Maria's daughter Gaetana.  This photo was probably taken around the time of the 1910 Federal Census when Ben Meli would have been 16, Ralph Meli,13 and granddaughter Gaetana Falcone would have been 9 years old.  












Ellis Island Certificate
Ellis Island Certificate Meli and Puglisi

During the 1980s, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island were restored.  To help fund the restoration, people were able to make a donation entitling them to a brick with a name engraved on it. They also received a Certificate of Registration.  The above Certificate of Registration was received from my Aunt Philomena Meli, who is the sister of Tom Meli.  The name on the brick is Biagio G. Meli their father, which was Ben Meli’s name when he came through Ellis Island as a little boy of around 11 years old in 1906.  After living in America as the family assimilated to the culture, Biagio used the first name "Ben." I, Bob Meli January 22, 2020, never heard my grandfather called anything but "Ben" or Benny" my entire life.



Background image of the Main Building on Ellis Island obtained from: