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Tuesday, November 28, 2023
According to the 1881 census, there was one person living in Windsor who was born in Italy and three of Italian origin. That person was Michael Cauzillo, who at the time of the census was 26 years old, Catholic and married to Mary, 20, born in the U.S., Catholic and of German origin. They had a daughter Minnie, 1 year old and born in Ontario. His occupation was listed as a “fruit dealer”. In the 1891, census Michael Cauzillo had five children. In the 1897/1898 Windsor Directory, Mary Cauzillo is listed as the widow of Michael. We know that Mary was born in the U.S. and maybe she returned to the States. There were seven Cauzillos listed. As it turned out, they were all grandchildren or great-grandchildren of Michael and Mary Cauzillo. Michael Cauzillo was born in Genoa and he came to Windsor with his sister and brother-in-law in early 1870, at the age of 17. He died in 1896, at 42 years old, and was buried at St. Alphonsus Cemetery. He and his wife had 8 children. After her husband's death, Mary was persuaded by her daughter, Minnie, to sell the business and move to Detroit.

A study called "Michigan’s Italian Community: A Historical Perspective", compiled for the Office of International Exchanges at Wayne State University by a retired Italian consulate for Detroit by the name of Vittorio Re, speaks of a Pasquale Palmieri. He was born in Naples in 1826, and in 1849 fled to France, then to England, where he studied to be an engineer, and later to Quebec. After touring Canada and the United States with the protestant preacher Alessandro Gavazzi, he became a teacher of language in Buffalo. By 1856, he was a photographer in Detroit after a brief stay in Windsor. Between 1868 and 1871, he resided in Windsor with his wife Mary. He then moved back to Detroit, but in 1910, at the age of 84, Palmieri returned to Windsor to live with his daughter, Mrs. George Mitchell.

In looking at the 1891 census, the majority of the Italians who were living in Windsor at that time most likely came from rural Italy. There is listed a ditch or drain digger by the name of Joseph Maurillo (or Morillo). He had a wife, Josephine, and 4 sons, 2 born in Italy, 1 born in Quebec, and 1 in Michigan. The fact that the children were born in different places speaks of their family movements prior to settling down in Windsor.

This demonstrates how in researching any community here in Windsor, you just can’t avoid doing research in Detroit. (Nevi Rusich. Part of the presentation given to the Ontario Genealogical Society of Ontario/Essex County Branch in February, 1988)

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The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.


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