Ciro Terranova
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Ciro Terranova (1887 - 1938)

Ciro "The Artichoke King" Terranova
Born in Corleone, Palermo, Italymap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 25 Apr 1909 in New York, New York, New York, USAmap
Died in New York, New York, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 18 Nov 2014 | Last significant change: 22 Jul 2020
08:05: EditBot WikiTree edited the Biography for Ciro Terranova (1887-1938). (Renaming category: Genovese crime family) [Thank EditBot for this]
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According to the his marriage record, Ciro Terranova is born and baptized on 24 June 1887 in Corleone, the son of Bernardo Terranova and Angelina (Angela) Piazza.[1] A certificate of birth recorded by the city gives his date of birth as 20 July of that year.[2] Ciro's godparents are Calogero lo Jacono and Leoluchina di Miceli, a married couple. A margin note on his baptism records Ciro’s marriage in New York on 25 April 1909 to Teresa Catania.[3]

His brothers Vincenzo, and Nicolo', parents, and four sisters all immigrate to New York to meet his older half-brother, Giuseppe Morello, in 1893.

Bernardo Terranova, age 40, his wife Angela Piazza, 44, and children Lucia, 16, Salvatrice, 12, Vincenzo, 7, Ciro, 6, and Nicolo', 3, immigrate together on the SS Alsatia from Naples, arriving in New York 8 March 1893. Bernardo is listed as a laborer, and literate: his wife and children are not. Unlike almost everyone else they travel with, who have one or two pieces of luggage with them, the Terranovas have sixteen bags with them. Bernardo has six, Angela has four, Lucia, two, and each of the younger children has a piece of luggage.[4]

Ciro, Vincenzo, Nicolo, and Giuseppe found the powerful Morello crime family.

From Wikipedia: "Ciro earned his nickname, "the Artichoke King", by purchasing artichokes at $6.00 a crate from California, then selling them in New York at a 30-40% profit. Ciro's violent reputation preceded him, frightening vegetable sellers into buying them."[5]

Ciro marries Teresina "Tessie" Catania (30 April 1892, Palermo - d. 1978), the daughter of Calogero Catania and Anna Montala', in St. Lucy's Church in New York on 25 April 1909.[6] Witnesses are Gaetano Lo Monte and Rosa Portoghese.[1]

Ciro and Tessie have nine known children:

  1. Bernard, born in 1910
  2. Angelina/Angie, born around 1913
  3. Angelie, born around 1914
  4. a second son named Bernard, born around 1916
  5. Josephine, born around 1917
  6. Anna Nicolina, born around 1918
  7. Vincent, born around 1921
  8. Norma, born around 1924
  9. Bessie, born around 1928

In the 1910 federal census of Manhattan, taken 30 April, there is a household headed by “Agnes Walter” at 2037 2nd Ave. Her family, listed with her, are given two different addresses: while Agnes and Harry appear at the first address, young Eugene Orlando is at 220 East 105th St., and Ciro Terranova and his family are at 216 East 105th St. Agnes is not old enough to be the mother of the adults in her household.

Agnes Walter, 30 (b. 1880), heads a household with son Harry, 10 (b. 1900), son Eugene, 3 (b. 1907), and with her son “Siro Terranova”, age 21 (b. 1889), married, his wife Theresa, 17 (b. 1893), and son Nicholas Terranova, 20 (b. 1890). Siro and Nicholas are matches for Ciro, 23, and Nick Terranova, 20.[7]

In the 1915 New York state census, taken 1 June, Ciro Morello, 27 (b. 1888), plasterer, and his wife Tereza, 21 (b. 1894), live at 229 E. 107th St. with their daughter, Angelina, 2 (b. 1913), born in the US. He has lived in the US for 20 years and is a citizen. Tereza has been here for one year.[8]

Ciro Terranova, age 29, registers for the draft for WWI on 5 June 1917. He lives at 350 E. 116th St., NYC. He was born 20 July 1888 in Palermo, Italy. He has declared his intention to become naturalized. He is self-employed as a plasterer at 238 East 107th St. He has a wife and two children. Ciro is of medium height and build with brown eyes and hair.[9]

In June 1920, Ignazio Lupo’s sentence is conditionally commuted by Pres. Harding June 1920 and he goes to live with his wife Salvatrice and the Terranovas at 338 E 116th St. Ignazio and Salvatrice live there until 1927, when they move to Brooklyn, into an "elaborate" house they build on a lot given them by Ciro and Tessie Terranova in May 1926.

Ciro Terranova, born in Corleone on 20 July 1888 (actually, 1887), applies for a US passport. His father, “Beney” Terranova, born in Italy, is dead. Ciro emigrated from Palermo in May 1893 (actually, March), has lived in NYC from 1893-1921. He was naturalized in the State of New York Supreme Court on 11 February 1919. He lives at 338 East 116th St., NYC. He works as a plasterer. He has never been outside the US or had a passport. He plans to travel for commercial business to Italy, the British Isles and Switzerland, departing on the Cretic from NY on 22 October 1921. He signs his name 14 October 1921.

Ciro is described and his photo appears on this application. He is 33, stands 5’6”, has a straight forehead, brown eyes, medium nose and mouth, round chin, black and gray hair, medium complexion, and round face.

He is identified by Giovanni Pecoraro on 14 October 1921. He lives at 1122 First Av, NYC, and has known Ciro for 20 years.[10]

On the SS Colombo, sailing from Naples on 24 January 1922, arriving in the port of New York on 9 February:

13. Giovanni Pecoraro, 54 (b. 1867), married, 1122 First Av, NY

14. Ciro Terranova (“Ferranova”), 32 (b. 1889), married, 338 E. 116th St., NY[11]

In the 1925 New York state census, taken 1 June, at 338 East 116th St.:

Ciro Terranova, 36 (b. 1889), head

Tessie Terranova, wife, 32 (b. 1893). Ciro and Tessie both born in Italy. Ciro has been in the US for 34 years (since 1891) and was naturalized in 1915. He has a vegetable market and works on his own account. Tessie was in the US for 22 years (since 1903). Their children were born in the US.

Angelina Terranova, 13 (b. 1912), daughter

Bernard Terranova, son, 9 (b. 1916)

Anna Terranova, 7 (b. 1918)

Norma Terranova, 2 (b. 1923)

At the same address:

Ignazio Lupo, head, 46 (b. 1879)

Dora Lupo, 42 (b. 1883), wife, and their children. Ignazio and Dora were born in Italy and their children in the US. Ignazio has been in the US for 30 years (since 1895), naturalized in 1905, and Dora for 32 (since 1897). Ignazio is a fruit dealer, working on his own account.

Onofria Lupo, 19 (b. 1906)

Angelina Lupo, 17 (b. 1908)

Rocco Lupo, 15 (b. 1910)

Josephine Lupo, 4 (b. 1921)

Jean Lupo, 2 (b. 1923)

Angela Terranova, grandmother, 75 (b. 1850), alien resident from Italy been in the US for 35 years (since 1890).

Angelina Terranova, 11 (b. 1814), niece

Josephine Terranova, (nephew, male), 8 (b. 1817)

Vincent Terranova, nephew, 5 (b. 1820)[12]

By December 1929, Ciro and his family -- six Terranovas plus two children of his brother who was killed by racketeers and his 80-year-old grandmother -- live in a $52,000 Spanish type home at 989 Peace Street in "fashionable" Pelham Manor, New York.[13] Ciro paid cash for the home, a very rare occurrence. Neighbors suspected shady dealings in the Terranova home -- Ciro allegedly would stay up late at night after his children and grandmother went to bed and "fast moving cars would come up to the Terranova home. Men with caps drawn low over their brows would enter the house and before long, would leave again. Guards lurked around the was noticeable the Terranova limousine never came from Harlem Market by the same route on two successive days."[14] Ciro denied all of this and maintained that he was "just a young fellow from Sicily making his way in the world."

In the 1930 federal census of Pelham Manor, in Westchester County, New York, Ciro Terranova, age 40 (b. 1890), heads a household. He owns his home, worth $50,000. His wife, “Gessie” is 37 (b. 1893); they married when he was 20 (in 1910) and she was 17. The children were born in New York: Angie, 17 (b. 1913), Angelie, 16 (b. 1914), Vernon (actually, Bernard), 14 (b. 1916), Josephine, 13 (b. 1917), Anna, 12 (b. 1918), Vincent, 9 (b. 1921), Norma, 6 (b. 1924), and Bessie, 2 (b. 1938). Ciro is an artichokes importer. He and his wife, both from Italy, are naturalized citizens. Ciro immigrated in 1892 and his wife in 1902. The next couple in the census, William Ruenoz, 30 (b. 1900), from Spain, and his wife Margaret, 24 (b. 1906), born in New York of Italian parents, do not have their own household number, and are initially listed as the chauffeur and maid, respectively, but those are crossed out and replaced with Head and Wife, respectively. William immigrated in 1920. Their occupations are listed in the appropriate column.[15][16]

City directories that list the Terranova family at 989 Peace St call Ciro a mason in 1930 and 1934, and a baker in 1936.[17]

Anna Nicolina, age 20 (b. 1917), marries Thomas Domenico Orecchio on 25 July 1937 in Manhattan.[18]

Death of Ciro

On February 18, 1938, Ciro Terranova suffers a stroke. He dies two days later at Columbia Hospital, age 49. "Ciro was the only one of the four Terranova brothers to die in bed."[19] His residence at the time of his death is listed as 338 East 116th Street in Manhattan. He is buried at Calvary Cemetery.[20][21]

Teresa dies in March 1978, the month before her 78th birthday.[22] She is buried with her husband and in laws in Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, Queens.[23]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Italia, Palermo, Diocesi di Monreale, Registri Parrocchiali, 1531-1998," images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 5 February 2016), Corleone > San Martino > Documenti matrimoniali 1845-1909 > image 93 of 191; Archivio di Arcidiocesi di Palermo (Palermo ArchDiocese Archives, Palermo).
  2. Certificato di nascita, part I, record no. 602, Ciro Terranova. Stamped and dated by the municipality of Corleone on 13 January 1998. Received by Justin Cascio from Vivian Lima on 1 September 2016.
  3. Baptism of Cyrus Terranova, record no. 386, 23 July 1887, "Italia, Palermo, Diocesi di Monreale, Registri Parrocchiali, 1531-1998," images, FamilySearch ( : 20 May 2014), Corleone > San Martino > Battesimi 1884-1888 > image 288 of 398; Archivio di Arcidiocesi di Palermo (Palermo ArchDiocese Archives, Palermo).
  4. Ship manifest, SS Alsatia, arriving 8 March 1893. Accessed online 31 January 2016.
  5. Wikipedia entry: Ciro Terranova. Accessed 17 November 2014.
  6. "New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940," database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 February 2016), Ciro Terranova and Teresa Catania, 25 Apr 1909; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,439,690.
  7. Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1015; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0345; FHL microfilm: 1375028
  8. New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 02; Assembly District: 28; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 28
  9. Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York; Roll: 1786968; Draft Board: 165
  10. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1758; Volume #: Roll 1758 - Certificates: 90750-91125, 14 Oct 1921-17 Oct 1921
  11. Year: 1922; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 3079; Line: 1; Page Number: 54
  12. New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 25; Assembly District: 20; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 81
  13. "United States, New York Land Records, 1630-1975," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 23 March 2020), Westchester > Grantor index (Pelham) 1898-1931 > image 307 of 348; county courthouses, New York.
  14. "Artichoke King Claims He Has Been Framed." The Pittsburgh Press 29 Dec. 1929: 2. Google Newspapers. Web. 11 Mar. 2016. (,5685865).
  15. (1st page) "United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2015), New York > Westchester > Pelham Manor > image 29 of 38; citing NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002).
  16. (2nd page) "United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2015), New York > Westchester > Pelham Manor > image 30 of 38; citing NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002).
  17. Mount Vernon, New York, City Directory, 1930; New Rochelle, New York, City Directory, 1934; Pelham, New York, City Directory, 1936.
  18. "New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940," database, FamilySearch ( : 10 February 2018), Thomas Domenico Orecchio and Anna Nicolina Terranova, 25 Jul 1937; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,674,935.
  19. Critchley, David. The Origin of Organized Crime in America: The New York City Mafia, 1891-1931. Routledge: New York, 2009.
  20. "New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949," database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 January 2016), Bernardo Terranova in entry for Ciro Terranova, 20 Feb 1938; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,107,687.
  21. Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 14 April 2020), memorial page for Ciro “Artichoke King” Terranova (20 Jul 1889–20 Feb 1938), Find a Grave Memorial no. 7034, citing Calvary Cemetery, Woodside, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .
  22. Social Security Number: 095-42-6613; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: 1964
  23. Accessed 22 January 2018.

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Ciro by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Ciro:

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