Welcome to cofrancesco.net, a web site for and about Cofrancescos and their close relatives. Much of the material appears in both Italian and English. You can select either language by clicking on the flags that appear above. Additional material will be translated into both languages as time permits.
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Merry Christmas and Happy 2015
Visiting Massa (2014) At Massa di Faicchio (2014) by Arlene Cofrancesco Willis
On July 1, my family and I visited the
Cofrancesco and Di Leone Family in Massa for the 4th time in 6 years. I
wanted my young grandchildren, Lachlan and Molly to see the land where
their great great grand parents lived. My brother Richard was supposed
to join us but unfortunately had an emergency dental issue and sadly
could not fly. As usual Pacifico Cofrancesco, his lovely wife Anna and
her sister Ada treated us to a magnificent lunch (feast) in their
Arlene and her family at Massa (2014) - Slideshow
Arlene at Massa (2014)
After lunch, once again we visited St. Nicholas Church where my
grandfather, Clemente, was baptized and where my great grandfather is
buried. We took photos of the home where my grandparents were born
with four generations of Cofrancesco's and walked through the small
village. I always feel so at home when I visit Massa with the
beautiful mountains and freshness in the air.
Pacifico and his family
and extended family, Antonietta and Michele, always make us feel so
special and at home. I feel sad that my father, Louis Cofrancesco
never had the opportunity to visit Massa and experience what I and my
children have. All Cofrancesco's are fortunate that Pacifico, has
researched our family back to the 1600's. The research he has done, and
the time Involved in doing so, is amazing. We should all salute his
efforts and accomplishments.
I am looking forward to our next visit
with great anticipation.
Photo of the day Poppies in January at Cerreto Sannita
Cerreto Sannita (Italy). January 12, 2014 Matteo Cofrancesco in the ruins of the old Cerreto,
destroyed by the heartquake of 1688.
This Winter is so warm that we found some poppies in flower!
I recently had the opportunity to visit the location of my roots in
Italy, Massa di Faicchio (40 miles from Naples), and to finally meet my
cousin Pacifico. We only had one day together, but it was a very full
day – I think I did not fully appreciate it until I got back home and
had a chance to reflect.
On August 7, 2010, while reviewing old
documents at the State Archives of Benevento (Italy) my wife Anna Di
Leone came across the will of Ferdinando Cofrancesco(1762-1827),
which was written on June 2, 1827, just 8 days before Ferdinando died.
The document, which Ferdinando dictated to a Notary because he could
neither read or write, is highly sophisticated and reveals much about
the man’s character.
Ferdinando's house in Massa today Photo by Pacifico Cofrancesco
This is a brief account of the life of Pietro Cofrancesco who
immigrated at the age of 15 with little more than the clothes on his
back. He worked hard, married, and raised two children, both of who
went on to college and became successful in their chosen profession.
Somewhere ‘twixt Naples & Foggia, or should I say between the
rainbow’s end and beyond, lies the little village of Massa—or should I
This little village in Italy, not far from Benevento, is home to around
600 people; about 500 of them are Cofrancescos or related to them, my
mother’s family. Two of her Uncles, Biagio & Giuseppe remained in
Massa to head two prominent families living there today.
We found the first Cofrancescos living in Massa in the Cadastre of 1754.
But when and why did they move there, giving rise to one of the two
main branches of the family? In this paper we answer this important
question for our family.
A song... for Massa
A song for Massa
A song for Massa by Roberto Albanese. Lyrics by his late father "Ciccio" Albanese, who was born in Massa di Faicchio, where he lived all his lifelong.
Meeting the Cofrancescos of Gioia Sannitica... for the first time
Apr 11, 2010. Gioia Sannitica (Caserta, Italy) From left to right: Pacifico Cofrancesco, Carmine Cofrancesco,
and Giovanni Cofrancesco.
Pacifico and Carmine share a great-great-grandfather,
who is Giovanni's great-grandfather too.
Anna and I, we went to Gioia Sannitica (province of
Caserta, Italy) because we knew that some Cofrancescos lived in this
little town, not far from Massa di Faicchio, but till then we never
could contact them. Finally we succeeded and we met two Cofrancesco families, whose ancestor, Giovanni Cofrancesco (I1379) came from Massa di Faicchio in the middle of 19th century!
Their ancestor Giovanni Cofrancesco is my great-great-grandfather too! We learned a lot about their family and soon their branch will be added to our family tree.
"I had been anticipating meeting Pacifico and Anna for over a year.
Pacifico and I started corresponding after he found my Grandfather’s
name on Ancestry.com"
When Anna Di Leone was a young girl she used to listen to her paternal
Grandmother, Anna Mazzarella, tell the story of "Zi' Clemente" (Uncle
Clemente), who immigrated to the USA at the beginning of the last
century. He returned to Massa in 1949, where he lived with the Di Leone
family for about eight years before dying there in 1957. Anna's
Grandmother did not know much about Clemente's family in the USA.
Added to our family tree
Thanks to Arlene Cofrancesco Willis and Anna Di Leone an entirely new branch has been added to our Family Tree. It extends from Bartolomeo Cofrancesco (1855-1934) to Arlene's daughters. In particular, you will find the descendants of Clemente Cofrancesco,
who was born in Massa di Faicchio, province of Benevento (Italy), in
1887 and immigrated to Paterson, NJ (USA) in 1909, where he got married
and had many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren...
On the basis of research carried out at parish archives in the
Province of Benevento and the State Archives of Naples and Benevento,
the genealogy of the Cofrancesco family can be traced from the the 16th
to the 21st century. In particular, the common origin of all current
Cofrancesco families around the world is highlighted.
In the Cofrancesco family, the name Umberto is quite common,
particularly in the last generation. But the Umberto Cofrancesco – son
of Lorenzo, captured at Bardia and prisoner of war in Australia as
cited in a “Service and Casualty Form” that Ivan found - did not match
any of the known Umberto Cofrancescos, living or dead. Our research did
not provide any useful results. One day last June 2008, something
I had the opportunity to travel with my husband Michael on a
business trip to Italy. For both of us this would be our first time
traveling to Italy. We flew into Milan and spent most of the ten days
staying in Chiavari so that we would be close to his work, which was
the boat show in Genova.
When I married my husband my name changed from Phyllis Masotta to
Phyllis Cofrancesco. I have always loved my marriage name but thanks
to John Cofrancesco, Ivan Cofrancesco and others, I knew a lot about
the Cofrancesco ancestors and little about my Masotta ancestors.
As the 19:50 Trenitalia from Naples approached our destination
station of Telese-Cerreto my thoughts were of how it all began in 1994
with the purchase of a certificate providing a brief, and as I was to
later learn, erroneous history of the Cofrancesco surname. This was the
start of my efforts to learn more about my Italian ancestors.
If you are an Italian American who has never been to Italy you are
in for a treat. Many people consider Italy to be among the most
beautiful and historically significant countries in the world. And even
if you have been to Italy before, there is nothing like a return trip
to visit the birthplace of the Cofrancescos, San Lorenzello, and the
nearby towns in the Province of Benevento, particularly if you have
been fortunate enough to have established contact with a relative in
the area. Take a look at A visit to the Home of our Ancestors by
John A. Cofrancesco, on this web site to get an idea of what a trip can
be like. Then look for information on our web site about San Lorenzello
and the nearby towns under Our Towns.
I can remember my father, a first generation Italian American
growing up in Hamden, Connecticut, USA telling me about his childhood
and how he remembered his father making wine. The children would help
in the “stomping of the grapes” and drink wine with their meals
starting at an early age.