My last name comes from Calvello, Potenza Province, Italy, from which my great-grandfather, Giuseppe LaRocco, emigrated as a violin player in a musical troupe, whose leader and most of whose members were murdered in Denver in October 1875. He was known as Joseph or Joe here in the United States, where he gained citizenship in March 1882 in Bear Lake County, Idaho. Known and assumed details about Giuseppe and his genealogy are found in this book, which contains contributions by my father, Franklin Samuel LaRocco, and others and which was provided to me by Paula Maureen LaRocco Bone of Salt Lake City, a daughter of my father's cousin, Phillip Paul LaRocco Sr.
Giuseppe's parents were listed in a book, possibly an old family Bible, as Francisco LaRocco and Hannah S. Garrold, but the only birth certificate we have been able to find in this time period shows his parents as entirely different people, Giuseppe LaRocca or LaRocco and Maria Dell'Aquila. I am currently operating under the premise that his actual parents were Giuseppe and Maria and that he was adopted by Francisco and Hannah. I am currently seeking additional information on all four persons.
I am assuming that LaRocco is the proper name because my father once asked his voice coach, an opera singer by the name of Noami, to visit Calvello, and she returned with pictures of a commercial truck and local business bearing the name LaRocco. Our name is commonly misspelled, however, and was probably misspelled even more commonly in the 19th century, when most people in southern Italy were illiterate. Thus, laRocco, laRocco, LaRocca, La Rocco, Rocco, da Rocco, etc., all might be the identical surname. Even in the genealogical records that I possess, the name, as well as many other names, including the place name of Calvello, are written incorrectly or misspelled.
It's interesting to note that Giuseppe most likely died of colon cancer with some sources saying he suffered from stomach cancer or a bowel obstruction. I was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2004, but it was the earliest cancer ever reported at the Logan Regional Hospital and was removed along with 13 or 14 inches of my large intestine, including my appendix, and considered 100 percent cured. As this is written, I have only five years to go to outlive my father, who outlived his father, who outlived his father. I'm hoping my longevity turns out to be much longer, like my maternal grandfather, who lived to be 94 years old.
As one-eighth Italian, I'm seven-eighths Anglo-Saxon with ancestors from England and Wales. Here is my genealogical fan chart. One of my ancestors was Ira Allen, a Mormon pioneer who founded Hyrum, Utah, and an acquaintance of Brigham Young. Here is a story about Ira's willingness to sacrifice for the church. Ira is listed as one of the perpetrators of the infamous Mountain Meadow Massacre in southern Utah. I take the same position as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which condemns the murders. Though only one of the perpetrators was convicted of the crime, all the others will stand before the judgment bar and answer to God for their actions, whatever they might have been.