Maltese americans






by Diane Andreassi

Overview

A European country often called "the mouse that roars," Malta is also referred to as "the island of sunshine and history." Malta covers 122 square miles in the center of the Mediterranean Sea and is comprised of three inhabited islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. Malta, 17 miles long and about nine miles across, is the largest of the three islands. Gozo, the northern island, is 35 square miles and is known for its grottoes, copper beaches, and the third-largest church dome in the world. Comino, at one square mile, has a small population and is located between Malta and Gozo. The uninhabited islands in the archipelago are Filfla and St. Paul's. The topography of Malta lacks mountains and rivers, but the island is characterized by a series of low hills with terraced fields.

The weather, more than any other feature, has made Malta a key tourist resort in the center of the Mediterranean. It never snows in Malta, and the total average rainfall is 20 inches annually. The summers are warm and breezy and the winters are mild, with an average winter temperature of 54 degrees. About 606,000 tourists from all over the world, including the United States and Europe, arrive annually. Tourists boost the economy significantly by spending approximately $3.6 million each year on the island. The Maltese weather and lifestyle also call for afternoon breaks, when shop owners close and the island people rest. Everything resumes again later in the day, when the sun is not as tiring. The climate, sea, and terrain also provide perfect backdrops for movies; for instance, the movie "Popeye" was filmed on the island in the 1980s.

Malta is located 58 miles south of Sicily and 180 miles north of North Africa. The total population is 350,000, which places it among the most densely populated countries in the world. Ninetysix percent of the population is of Maltese descent, two percent are British, and the remaining people are of various other heritages. The chief languages are Maltese, English, and Italian. Ninety-seven percent of the population is Roman Catholic. A high priority is placed on education, bringing the literacy rate to 96 percent. Education is mandatory for Maltese children from age 5 to 16, and by age four there is already almost 100 percent enrollment. Instruction is available in state as well as private schools, with the private sector catering to about 27 percent of the total population.

HISTORY

The first Maltese were late Stone Age farmers who immigrated to Malta from Sicily before 4000 B.C. Structures believed to be temples were the biggest reward of these early people, and their remains can be seen in the megalithic buildings. At least one underground temple catacomb has been associated with the cult of a Mother Goddess. By the year 2000 B.C. these early arrivers were replaced by bronze-using warrior-farmers of the Alpine race who likely arrived from southern Italy.

Phoenicians were to follow during the Iron Age period around 800 B.C. , and they were succeeded by Carthaginians. Due to the Punic Wars, Malta became part of the Roman Empire, and inhabitants were well treated by the conquerors. During this time, the Maltese enjoyed peace and prosperity based on a well-developed agricultural economy. Aghlabite Arabs, by way of Sicily, invaded Malta in 870. Then came Count Roger, a Norman who conquered the Arabs in Sicily and brought Malta back into the Christian and European orbit. For four- and-a-half centuries, beginning in 1090, Malta's history was nearly identical to that of Sicily.

In 1530 Malta was granted as a fief to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, who as the Knights of Malta defended Christianity against Islam and fortified the island. The Knights of Malta were responsible for building grand churches and palaces, especially in the city of Valletta, Malta's capital. The decline of the order hastened when Napoleon landed with his Republican Army in 1798; however, the insurrection of the Maltese that same year brought the end of the French rule. Malta was granted to Britain in 1814. The British built a first-class dockyard and concentrated her fleet on Malta's magnificent harbors.

Malta's strategic position in the Mediterranean Sea made the islands an important ally during World War II. This key location also made Malta a target for overwhelming bombing by Germany and Italy during the war. Surviving the unrelenting attacks, the Maltese people were awarded the George Cross by English prime minister Winston Churchill for their fortitude and dogged determination. Evidence of the bombings, including buildings reduced to rubble and torn up streets, was still apparent decades after the war. The island became independent after a 164-year British occupancy. In 1974 Malta became a Republic.

MODERN ERA

Malta has limited natural resources, and the land is not suited to agriculture. The small size of the country and its isolation dissuades industrialization. Economic growth was spurred until the eighteenth century by a low rate of population growth, income gained from trade of cotton, and the European estates of the Knights of St. John. This began to unravel, however, following the era of the Napoleonic Wars, when an economic downswing was coupled with a surge in population. Early in the nineteenth century the government tried to obtain an ideal population—220,000 inhabitants by the twentieth century. As part of this plan, the government encouraged immigration to other British colonies in the Mediterranean and to the West Indies. The Maltese preferred northern Africa, and by 1885, 36,0000 Maltese immigrants moved to Algeria, Egypt, Tunis, and Tripoli. The rise in cheap native labor in northern Africa later pushed the Maltese people to find other locations in which to settle.

THE FIRST MALTESE IN AMERICA

The earliest Maltese settlers in the United States came in the mid-eighteenth century, mostly to New Orleans. These settlers were often regarded as Italians, and in fact tombstones sometimes mistakenly noted the deceased as "natives of Malta, Italy." The burial grounds were inscribed with such common Maltese names as Ferruggia (Farrugia), Pace, and Grima. By 1855 there were 116 Maltese living in the United States. In the 1860s, it was estimated that between five and ten Maltese came to the United States every year. The majority of the migrants were agricultural workers, and in New Orleans the majority worked as market gardeners and vegetable dealers.

The greatest number of Maltese people came to the United States during the first decades of the twentieth century. Their move coincided with the discharge of skilled workers from the Royal British Dockyard in 1919 following the end of the World War I. More than 1,300 Maltese immigrated to the United States in the first quarter of 1920, and most found work in automobile manufacturing. The Detroit Free Press reported in October 1920 that Detroit had the largest Maltese population in the United States, at 5,000 residents. In 1922, the Detroit Free Press reported that the only Maltese colony in the United States was in Detroit. Over the next few years, it is believed that more than 15,000 Maltese people settled in the United States and became citizens. They apparently intended to stay for a short time and return home. However, opportunities in America seemed more plentiful and stable than the uncertainties at home, and many Maltese people remained in the United States. By 1928 New York had an estimated 9,000 Maltese immigrants. San Francisco also had a large Maltese population.

After World War II, the Maltese government launched a program to pay passage costs to Maltese willing to emigrate and remain abroad for at least two years. As a result, a surge of Maltese left their homeland. In 1954, a reported 11,447 Maltese left the islands. This program enticed approximately 8,000 Maltese to come to the United States between 1947 and 1977. For more than a century Malta's government encouraged emigration because of the tiny size of the overpopulated island nation.

SETTLEMENT

Settlement in the United States was concentrated in Detroit, New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago. It has been estimated that more than 70,000 Maltese immigrants and their descendants were living in the United States by the mid-1990s. The largest estimated communities are the more than 44,000 Maltese in the Detroit area and the 20,000 Maltese in New York City, most of them in Astoria, Queens.

Acculturation and Assimilation

Possibly due to the small size of their nation and the large numbers of countries that once occupied the islands, the Maltese are often ignored or confused with other nationalities when studies are done. However, signs of Malta can be seen in fire stations in most cities, small and large, throughout the United States. Firefighters are identified by a badge that designates their company. The majority of badges worn by firefighters take the shape of the Maltese Cross, which is an eight-sided emblem of protection and badge of honor. The history of the cross goes back to the Knights of St. John, who courageously fought for possession of the Holy Land.

Malta's involvement with the United Nations is substantial. The island country became a full member in December 1964 after gaining independence from Great Britain. Issues Malta has been involved in, or spearheaded, include the Law of the Sea Convention in 1981; the United Nations Conference on the Aged; and an initiative to raise questions about the effects of climate change.

Although the people of the Maltese islands are not particularly well known, there are a number of Maltese influences in United States culture. For instance, many people are familiar with the Maltese, a tiny fluffy white dog. The movie The Maltese Falcon, a drama about a detective trying to find a priceless statue, is a classic part of American cinema, although another movie, The Maltese Bippy, is less known. Oftentimes people with the surname Maltese are Italian by heritage, not Maltese.

TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS, AND BELIEFS

Maltese have traditions and folklore dating back centuries. They are wide and varied—and mostly forgotten today. One popular belief was that if someone gave you "the evil eye," you would have bad luck. To rid their houses of those bad spirits, some Maltese would undergo an elaborate ritual involving old dried olive branches, which were blessed on Palm Sunday in place of the palm branches commonly used in the United States on the Sunday before Easter. The Maltese would burn the olive branches in a pan and spread the incense through every room of their houses, saying a special prayer and hoping the evil spirit would be chased away.

In other folklore tradition, some Maltese believed women who were menstruating could taint new wine, so they were banned from the cellar while wine was made. The same thinking was applied to making bread.

Others thought bad luck would follow if you dropped a knife. Another sign of bad luck was the sighting of a black moth. Good luck was sure to come when a white moth was seen, however. Some believed, also, that you should never kill a moth.

The tradition of matchmaking involved an elaborate sequence of events. For instance, if a young woman were ready for marriage, her parents would place a flower pot on the front porch. A matchmaker would take note and alert the single men about her availability. Interested suitors would then tell the matchmaker they wanted to marry. Next the matchmaker would approach the father of the prospective bride and obtain his blessing.

In the United States a matchmaker was not involved. However, during the first half of the twentieth century, men interested in marrying a Maltese girl still spoke to the girl's father, and in some cases brothers and other members of her family, for permission to marry. This tradition has faded with time.

Most of these customs and beliefs were gradually forgotten as the Maltese people were assimilated into American society. However, some lingered even if they were only jokingly remembered.

CUISINE

Maltese cuisine involves a tasty mixture with many influences. Garlic is a mainstay. The most popular Maltese dish is pastitsi, made of a flaky dough similar to the filo dough used by Greeks. A meat or ricotta cheese mixture is wrapped inside the dough enclave, which is usually about the size of a hand. The ricotta mixture includes ricotta cheese, egg, grated cheese, salt, and pepper. The meat mixture has ground beef, onion, tomato paste, peas, salt, pepper, and curry powder. This cheese or meat mixture also can be cooked in a pie form and served as a meal. Baked macaroni, imquarrun fil forn, is another popular dish. The macaroni is cooked in salt water. The sauce includes ground beef, tomato paste, garlic powder, eggs, grated cheese, and a dash of curry powder. This dish can be served without baking, in which case it is called mostoccoli.

Rabbit cooked in various ways, including stew, is a Maltese mainstay on the island and in the United States. Pastas with ricotta and tomato sauce are common meals, too. Fish is extremely popular, likely because of the abundance available from the Mediterranean Sea. Fried cod, octopus stew, and tuna are typically on the menu. Stuffed artichoke and eggplant are regular meals as well.

For dessert or treats, date slices, or imqaret, are found in most Maltese homes in Malta and the United States. This deliciously deep fried pastry has dates, orange and lemon extract, anisette, chopped nuts, orange rind, and lemon rind. Cream-filled or ricotta-filled cannoli shells are common, too. These Maltese sweets are often served at functions like showers, weddings, and baptisms.

This Maltese American woman is participating in a parade in New York City.
This Maltese American woman is participating in a parade in New York City.

TRADITIONAL COSTUMES

Up until the 1950s some of the women in Maltese villages wore a ghonella, or faldetta, a black dress with a black cape with a hard board black veil. In the modern era many of the fashions are dictated by Italian styles. In the United States, Maltese Americans wear typically the same fashions as other Americans.

DANCES AND SONGS

The traditional Maltese dance is an interpretive routine called miltija, which describes the victory of the Maltese over the Turks in 1565. Old-time singing was called ghana. This involves bantering, oftentimes between two people who good-heartedly tease each other. They use rhyme and jokes in a relay of comments about each other. Maltese folk singer Namru Station was best known for this form of singing.

HOLIDAYS

The Maltese love festivals, and between May and October almost every town and village in Malta and Gozo celebrates the feast day of its patron saint. The festa is the most important day in each village, where the church is the focal point of the event. The churches are elaborately decorated with flowers. Gold, silver, and crystal chandeliers are placed on display as a backdrop for the statue of the patron saint. After three days of preparation, the statue is carried shoulder-high along the streets of the city or village in a parade like procession, including bands and church bells. Since the Maltese specialize in making elaborate fireworks, colorful displays are part of the party. Cities and villages compete with one another to put on the best show. Maltese in the United States privately commemorate and remember the patron saint of their town, but gone are the big festivals and fireworks.

Since the country is officially Roman Catholic, the Catholic traditions and celebrations dominate in the Maltese culture. Holy days include Christmas, Easter, and an annual observance of February 10, which is the day St. Paul, Malta's patron saint, shipwrecked on the island. Legend has it that when he was shipwrecked with his crew, the people made a bonfire to make them warm. Later, a viper snake came out of the wood and went toward St. Paul. The people were awed that this man had escaped the ravages of the seas, and they were curious to see what would happen with the snake. When he was not bitten, the people thought for sure this man was God. He told them, "I am not a God, but I came to talk to you about God."

Other public holidays in Malta include January 1, New Year's Day; March 19, St. Joseph's feast day; March 29, Good Friday; March 31, Freedom Day; May 1, May Day; June 7, Sette Giugno; June 29, St. Peter and St. Paul feast day; August 15, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; September 8, Our Lady of Victories or Victory Day; September 21, Independence Day; December 8, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary; December 13, Republic Day; and December 25, Christmas Day.

On patriotic days, the Maltese flag is flown. It has two vertical stripes, white in the hoist and red in the fly. A sign, of the George Cross awarded to Malta by His Majesty King George the Sixth on the April 15, 1942, is carried, edged with red in the canton of the white stripe. According to tradition the national colors were given to the Maltese by Count Roger in 1090. Roger the Norman had landed in Malta to oust the Arabs from the island. Out of regard for their hospitality, Roger gave the Maltese part of the pennant of the Hautevilles to serve as their colors.

PROVERBS

Unless the baby cries, he or she will not be put to the mother's breast; Build your reputation and go to sleep; Who I see you with is who I see you as; Little by little the jar will fill; Essence comes in small bottles; Cut the tail of a donkey and it's still a donkey; If you want it to be it never will be; I'll be there if I'm not dead; A friend in the market is better than your money in the hope chest; God does not pay every Saturday; He who waits will sooner or later be happy; Only God knows when death and rain will happen; Always hold onto the words of the elderly to show respect and to gain from their wisdom.

HEALTH ISSUES

Many Maltese people have been stricken with thalassemia. It is also called Mediterranean anemia, because it usually strikes people from that region. In the United States most cases occur in Americans of Maltese, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, or Levantine background. Thalassemia refers to a group of hereditary disorders of the control of globin synthesis, causing too much or too little synthesis of either the alpha or the beta globin chains. In some cases a wrong kind of chain is produced. In beta-thalassemia deficient amounts of beta chains are produced, and in hemoglobin-Lepore thalassemia the beta chain grows longer than the normal 146 amino acids. When the gene is taken from only one parent, a mild anemia usually results; however, when the gene is from both parents the results are devastating. This blood disease is usually discovered during infancy.

Language

Like its people and history, the Maltese language is varied. It is Semitic, chiefly Arabic, written in the Roman alphabet, with words and phrases taken from the Italian, Spanish, English, Greek, and some French. The official languages in Malta are Maltese and English. Many people also speak Italian. When English is spoken it is often heard with a British accent, likely a remnant of the 164-year British occupancy of the country.

GREETINGS AND OTHER POPULAR EXPRESSIONS

Typical Maltese greetings and other expressions include: bongu ("bon-ju")—good morning; bonswa ("bon-swar")—good night; grazzi ("grats-ee")— thank you; taf titkellem bl-Ingliz? ("tarf tit-kell-lem bilin-gleez")—do you speak English?; kemm? ("kem")—how much? The word sahha ("sa-ha") can be used as a greeting, as good-bye, or as a toast—it is the Maltese equivalent of "good health."

Family and Community Dynamics

There were many changes in the family structure when the first Maltese immigrants came to the United States. Typically, the patriarchs came to the United States without their families. Sometimes they would bring sons, but the wives and children were often left on the homeland. The plan was that they would bring their entire family after they established themselves in their new country and were more financially stable. Oftentimes years lapsed before the entire family was reunited. In other cases, single men came to the United States and lived with relatives or close family friends who had come to the country earlier. They lived in communities that were heavily populated by other Maltese and often married Maltese women who came to America with their families. These Maltese couples then raised a generation of full-blooded Maltese children who had never lived in the mother country. In downtown Detroit and neighboring Highland Park, the largest Maltese community in the United States, there was a heavily populated Maltese area. However, by the 1970s many, but certainly not all, the Maltese in this area began moving to Detroit suburbs.

Maltese family members were usually very close, and aunts, uncles, and cousins were often regarded as immediate family. Before 1980 most Maltese families were large, with four or more children as the norm. In later years, however, the Maltese, like most other ethnic groups in the United States, were beginning to have smaller families, with two or three children commonly found in each household.

There were a number of gathering places, like clubs, where immigrants and first-generation Maltese could find camaraderie. New immigrants also turned to the Maltese clubs and organizations for information and direction on life in their new country. They were a good place to meet other Maltese, who spoke the language and could help in the assimilation process.

WEDDINGS

A Maltese bridal shower is usually very elaborate, with a multi-course meal and a sweet table. The party often is held in a hall or banquet room to accommodate the large number of family and friends who are invited. In Malta the typical wedding is based on the Roman Catholic mass. The bride would be accompanied by several bridesmaids and the groom had one male, the best man, at his side. In the United States, however, the Maltese wedding is usually dictated by typical traditions followed in the United States.

BAPTISMS

Again the Roman Catholic religion dictates much of what happens at baptisms. A parrina, or godmother, and a parrinu, or godfather, are chosen. Usually, these people are close family members, like brothers or sisters of the baby's parents. In Malta a party celebration with tables of cookies, ice creams, and drinks will follow the religious ceremony. However, as the customs changed in their new country, the Maltese Americans adopted new traditions, like having a full meal at the party after the baptism.

FUNERALS

The Maltese in the United States have adopted the wake tradition. In Malta when a person died they were usually buried within 24 hours, and very few people were embalmed. In the villages during the early part of the twentieth century, a local person would visit the home, clean the body, and dress the deceased. This person usually was on the lowest rung of the social ladder. Superstition prevailed, and some people were afraid of the undertaker to the point that when village people saw him walking down the street they would walk on the other side of the road. As time passed, however, these traditions faded in Malta and most certainly were not followed in the United States.

Religion

Malta's strong Roman Catholic history has been imprinted on those who came to the United States. The religion dates back to a cadre of important visitors to the island, including the Apostle Paul, who was shipwrecked on the island in 60 A.D. The hospitality shown to him by the locals was well documented in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapters 27 and 28, in the New Testament of the Bible. "The natives showed us extraordinary kindness by lighting a fire and gathering us all around it, for it had begun to rain and was growing cold," a passage reads.

Malta's historical and religious background was also greatly influenced by the Knights of the Order of St. John during the eleventh century. In the Holy Land, the Order's original duties were to care for the sick and wounded Christians. The Knights became soldiers of Christ and maintained huge estates in the Holy Land. With the loss of Acre—their head-quarters—to the Moslems in 1291, however, the Knights withdrew to Rhodes. They were shields against the Turks until 1522, when Suleiman the Magnificent ousted the Knights from Rhodes. In 1530 they moved to Malta. They quickly improved trade and commerce on the islands by building new hospitals and erecting strong fortifications. Although heavily outnumbered, the Knights fought off an attack by Suleiman during the Great Siege of

Maltese American children in traditional costume celebrate their homeland.
Maltese American children in traditional costume celebrate their homeland.
1565. They were assisted by Maltese and Sicilian reinforcements. The Turks retreated and the Knights of St. John protected southern Europe and Christendom. A blossoming era in culture, architecture, and the arts followed, when the fortress city, Valletta, was built. The fall of the Ottoman Empire marked the end of the military life of the Order. To this day, 97 percent of the Maltese are Roman Catholic.

In the United States the Maltese maintain their strong devotion to the Catholic church by attending mass weekly and becoming active in their local parishes. Since attendance among Maltese Americans is high, church is another common place where they meet one another. For instance, in San Francisco, St. Paul of the Shipwreck Church at 1122 Jamestown Avenue is heavily populated by Maltese. And in Detroit, the Maltese have attended St. Paul's Maltese Church since the 1920s.

Employment and Economic Traditions

Many of the Maltese who came to the Detroit area worked on the assembly line at one of the three automakers, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Chrysler Corporation. Other Maltese immigrants worked at various jobs on ships, in restaurants and hotels, selling real estate, and in religious orders as priests and nuns.

Politics and Government

The Maltese government is a Republic with a president and prime minister. The major political parties are the Malta Labor Party and the Nationalist Party. In Malta, the first American consul was nominated in 1796, which made Malta among the first countries to have a consular office of the United States.

MILITARY

Maltese involvement in supporting the United States during war dates back to at least the American Revolution. Maltese seamen enlisted in the French navy, which was supporting the colonists against Great Britain. About 1,800 Maltese sailors went to Toulon to join the French in this effort.

RELATIONS WITH MALTA

During the first decade of the nineteenth century American ships brought a variety of goods to Malta, including flour, rice, pepper, salted meat, rum, tobacco, and mahogany wood from Boston and Baltimore, as well as dried fruits, cotton, wax, pearls, goat hides, coffee, potatoes, drugs, and sponges from Smyrne and the Greek archipelago. During 1808, 33 American vessels entered Valletta, Malta's capital city. Trade would rise and fall cyclically. Malta's biggest boon of American shipping was during the Crimean War, between 1854 and 1856, when Great Britain and France were fighting Russia. Malta also emerged as a stepping stone in the wool trade between Barbary and the United States because it received wool from different ports in North Africa for shipment to America. Later, American tobacco was shipped to Barbary and Sicily through Malta. About 1,500 Maltese were employed in making cigars, which were exported to Italy, Barbary, Turkey, and the Greek Islands. Malta also imported petroleum, rum, pepper, flour, logwood, pitch, resin, turpentine, coffee, sugar, cloves, codfish, wheat, cheese, butter, and lard. Meanwhile, the island nation exported to America items such as olive oil, lemons, sulphur, ivory, salt, rags, goat skins, stoneware, soap, squills, sponges, and donkeys of the largest and most valuable race in the Mediterranean.

Individual and Group Contributions

ACADEMIA

Professor Paul Vassallo, formerly of Marsa, Malta, headed a consortium of eight universities in the Washington, D.C. area. The Washington Research Library Consortium is a national model of the U.S. government that demonstrates how university libraries can keep up with the volume of new material. Vassallo, born in 1932, immigrated to the United States when he was 15 years old. His mother and siblings lived in the Detroit area.

FILM, TELEVISION, AND THEATER

Joseph Calleia, a Maltese native and actor, appeared in a number of Hollywood movies, including Wild Is the Wind in 1957.

MILITARY

Joseph Borg went to the United States at the time of the American Revolution. He was described as having been a sea captain who fought in many battles for American independence.

Brigadier General Patrick P. Caruana commanded the 50 B-52 bombers flying out of Saudi Arabia, England, Spain, and the Indian Ocean during the Persian Gulf War of 1991. The fleet pounded the Iraqis incessantly and helped break their morale. Caruana, a St. Louis resident, was also a KC-135 tanker pilot in Vietnam and commanded the 17th Air Division and its fleet of bombers refueling tankers and spy planes.

MUSIC

Oreste Kirkop, an opera singer, appeared in Student Prince. Legend had it that he was encouraged to change his name to increase his fame, but he refused to take the suggestion and instead returned to Malta.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

John Schembri, a Pacific Bell employee, has two patents to his name and a third pending. He holds degrees in electronics, engineering, mathematics, and industrial relations and is a recognized expert in the design and application of optical fiber transmissions systems.

VISUAL ARTS

The Liberty Bell was made in England in 1751 for the Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania, to be used in the State House of the City of Philadelphia. However, when it was being tested the bell cracked. It was recast in Philadelphia by John Pass, a Maltese immigrant, and John Stow, who added a small amount of copper to make it less brittle. Pass appears in the painting "The Bell's First Note," which hangs in the U.S. National Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Although Pass is not a Maltese surname, there is no doubt about his heritage: the speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly referred to him as hailing from Malta. It is likely that his name in Malta was Pace, and he either changed it, or it was misspelled in documents.

Media

Malta Messenger. Contact: Charles Hogan, Editor and Publisher.

Address: 72 West High Street, Ballston Spa, New York 12020-1927.

Telephone: (518) 885-4341.

Fax: (518) 885-4344.



Maltese Center Update.

Formerly Malta Gazetta.

Address: 27-20 Hoyt Avenue South, Astoria, New York 11102.

Organizations and Associations

American Association, Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Address: 1011 First Avenue, Room 1500, New York, New York 10022.



Committee for Maltese Unity, Inc.

Address: P.O. Box 456, Mount Vernon, New York 10551.



Friends of Malta Society, Inc.

Address: 3009 Schoenherr Road, Warren, Michigan 48093.



Institute of Maltese American Affairs.

Address: Malta Overseas Press News Service, Allied Newspapers Limited, Malta House, 36 Cooper Avenue, Dumont, New Jersey 07628.



Malta Club of Macomb.

Address: 31024 Jefferson Avenue, St. Clair Shores, Michigan 48082.



Maltese American Association of L.I., Inc.

Address: 1486 Lydia Avenue, Elmont, New York 11003.



Maltese American Benevolent Society.

Serves social and patriotic needs of Detroit's Maltese population, estimated to be 66,000 and believed to be the largest in the U.S. Supports children's services. Offers activities for members and their families.

Contact: John Caruana, President.

Address: 1832 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48216.

Telephone: (313) 961-8393.

Fax: (313) 961-2050.



Maltese American Club.

Address: 5221 Oakman Boulevard, Dearborn, Michigan 48216.

Telephone: (313) 846-7077.



Maltese American Community Club.

Address: 17929 Eton Avenue, Dearborn Heights, Michigan 48215.



Maltese American Foundation.

Address: 2074 Ridgewood Road, Medina, Ohio 44256.



Maltese American Friendship Society, Inc.

Address: 32-57 45th Street, Astoria, New York 11103.



Maltese American League.

Address: 1977 Le Blanc Street, Lincoln Park, Michigan 48146.



Maltese-American Social Club of San Francisco, Inc.

Address: 1769 Oakdale Avenue, San Francisco, California 94134.



Maltese International.

Address: 10 Columbus, Berea, Ohio 44017.



Maltese Social Club.

Address: 27-20 Hoyt Avenue South, Astoria, New York 11102.



Maltese Union Club.

Address: 246 Eighth Avenue, New York, New York 10011.



San Pablo Rectory.

Address: 550 122nd Street, Ocean Maraton, Florida 33050.



Sons of Malta Social Club, Inc.

Address: 233 East 32nd Street, New York, New York 10016.

Museums and Research Centers

Maltese American Benevolent Society.

Contains a library covering Maltese issues, concerns, and background.

Contact: John Caruana, President.

Address: 1832 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48216.

Telephone: (313) 961-8393.

Fax: (313) 961-2050.

Sources for Additional Study

Balm, Roger. Malta. Blacksburg, VA: McDonald & Woodard Publishing, 1995.

Dobie, Edith. Malta's Road to Independence. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1967.

Early Relations Between Malta and U.S.A. Valletta, Malta: Midsea Books, Ltd., 1976.

The Epic of Malta. Odhams Press Limited, 1943.

Luke, Harry. Malta: An Account and an Appreciation, second edition. [London], 1968.

The Malta Yearbook. Sliema, Malta: De La Salle Brothers Publications, 1991.

Price, Charles A. Malta and the Maltese: A Study in Nineteenth Century Migration. Melbourne, Australia, 1954.



User Contributions:

joseph
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Apr 22, 2007 @ 3:15 pm
I, never imagined there are so maltese in the usa.
This was news for me, and thanks to your contribution,
I, learned something new.
Keep on doing your good excellent work.and good luck
Cons
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Jun 23, 2007 @ 7:07 am
Very nice article indeed. If you had email contacts added, it would be so beneficial. I have been doing a research of my own about athletes abroad of maltese descent for many years and would appreciate if any one reading this could please contact me.
Regards and thanks

Cons
Cons
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Jun 23, 2007 @ 7:07 am
Anyone willing to contact me about the research mentioned in the article above may do so by emailing me on consaxisa@yahoo.com
Thanks once again
Cons Malta
Carl
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Jun 27, 2007 @ 12:12 pm
Very interesting article. I once lived in Astoria, New York
and remember seeing the Maltese Social Club on Hoyt Avenue.
There is a lot about this country that people can learn and
the culture and customs are quite interesting.
Scott Sciriha
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Jul 3, 2007 @ 9:21 pm
Being a Maltese-American I enjoyed this artical very much. I actually just moved from Detroit to Chicago. In Detroit most of my relatives lived in Dearborn. I attended the University of Michigan in Dearborn. I wanted to know if there are any Maltese clubs in Chicago. If there are could you please E-mail me? Thank you very much.
Megan
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Jul 14, 2007 @ 4:16 pm
Being a Maltese-Australian (now living in the US) l greatly enjoyed this article. I never realized how many Maltese there are here.
Having grown up in a large Maltese community in Melbourne Australia, being here l feel l miss a lot of the Maltese culture. Thank you for articles like this. Reminds me of my roots!.
Chris Turano
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Aug 4, 2007 @ 9:09 am
I am quite familiar with the great Maltese diaspora in Australia, Canada and Britain - including the story of the "Maltese of New Caledonia" - but was completely ignorant of the Maltese experience in America. Thanks for this well-researched and detailed article. A revelation!
Flora
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Aug 21, 2007 @ 7:19 pm
I've read with great interest the material and postings at this site. I'm a retired college professor who leads educational trips to other countries through a local college. I've traveled in Malta, love the country and find it fascinating. I'm leading a trip to Malta next May. It's open to all U.S. citizens living in the continental U.S. and to citizens of other countries who live in Illinois. If you're interested in learning more about Malta and about this trip, please send an e-mail to me at Thanks very much.
Chris
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Sep 1, 2007 @ 9:09 am
A well-researched and informative article. As a Maltese-Australian, I was well aware of the Maltese contribution to Australian life, and knew of Maltese communities in Canada and Britain. I had no knowledge of the Maltese experience in the States, of the clusters of population or their long history in the Americas. Well done.
Joe Zammit
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Sep 7, 2007 @ 9:09 am
Hi,
Maybe you can help me out in corresponding with a long time friend of whom I had lost contact, by the name of John Caruana, born in February 1962, son of Lawrence and Josephine nee Carachi. Used to live at Paola, Malta till December 1983. From what I know, after leaving Malta, John used to live at Queens, Astoria, NY.
I had many a times searchedand hoped on finding his address, I appreciate your help and thank you in advance.
Best Regards,
Joe Zammit.
Joe R.
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Sep 11, 2007 @ 12:00 am
This is a great website. It's hard to get this history. I'm not Maltese, but it's very interesting.
Joe R.
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Sep 11, 2007 @ 1:01 am
This is a great website. It's hard to get this history. I'm not Maltese, but it's very interesting.
rose micallef
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Oct 4, 2007 @ 7:07 am
hi

My name is rose im from maltese background but born in australia
my daugther will be traveling to New York early next year as for she will working for Pricewaterhouse Coopers for 2 years. if she to go to the maltese american friendship soc to get some information regarding my father migration to the usa in 1953 would they be able to help her

regard rose micallef maiden name spiteri
joseph a grech
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Nov 3, 2007 @ 5:17 pm
it makes me proud to be maltese,a very informative site.viva america,and viva malta.

joseph a grech
remax,ny
Kurt Laferla
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Nov 5, 2007 @ 6:18 pm
A very nice article, enjoyed reading every sentence of it, especially the history of the first Maltese arriving to America with the french, to aid the colonists. I never knew of this, and it was of great satisfaction. Also the addresses are of great help, as I intend to emigrate to the U.S. (New York City) soon, to further my studies and hopefully work in the law enforcement area.

K. L.
JOE CAMILLERI
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Jan 19, 2008 @ 10:10 am
I WAS BORN IN MALTA BUT EDUCATED IN NEW YORK AND NOW I LIVE IN FLORIDA..THIS IS GREAT LEARNING ABOUT THE MALTESE HERITAGE AND RECOMEND THIS SITE..
Helen Caruana
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Jan 21, 2008 @ 10:22 pm
I enjoyed reading this article very much, nowing more about my birth country was delightful. So many clubs in the USA, alot more than I hear in Canada.
Thanks a lot. Keep it up
Brooke
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Mar 2, 2008 @ 7:19 pm
Thank you for an interesting article. I, too, was surprised about the number of Maltese-Americans. My mother was born and raised in Malta (Sliema/Kappara) and came to the U.S. when she married my American father, a U.S. Army officer stationed in Malta in the early 1970s.

Living in southern California, we never ran into anyone of Maltese background. I spent every summer in Malta growing up and am so happy to have a strong connection to my family there and the culture.
Renee Vassallo
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Apr 25, 2008 @ 4:04 am
Of Maltese Heritage, My Grandfather's family immigrated to Australia, I am very proud and honoured to read this article and find information on my hertage that I had been searching for for so long! Thank you and congratulations on a great job!
Ren Vassallo
F. Busuttil
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May 13, 2008 @ 2:02 am
Fantastic site-I am a first generation Maltese-American--My parents came to the USA after WW2--We lived in Detroit (where I still have family) and eventually settled in San Francisco--I can't wait to show my family this site
tammy
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May 23, 2008 @ 9:21 pm
this has helped me alot to find out about my background i never knew half this stuff that i read it was good to fing out what maltese people are really like and what there blfies are
Vivienne Borg Critelli
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Jun 23, 2008 @ 9:09 am
Intersting reading......Had no idea that the population in New York from Maltese extraction was so large.
I along with my mother and brother came to the States at age 14 and settled in Brooklyn, where I continued my education.......I only know two families from Maltese Extraction......since right away we assimilated into the American way of life.
robert borg
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Aug 29, 2008 @ 10:22 pm
I am a maltese/australian and i knew there where maltese people in the u.s.a but i never knew how vast it was and i am proud that the maltese people in the us.a have made such a great contribution to the u.s.a as we have done here in australia. We are separated by distance but bounded by blood.
Celeste
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Sep 18, 2008 @ 5:17 pm
I really wish there were more maltese clubs in California. I am maltese ans grew up in Michigan my whole life and used to go with my nunna( grandma in maltese) to the clubs. But, now shes too old to travel and never goes. She also is too old to travel back to Malta and sold her home there. I am planning a trip there soon
PETER SCHEMBRI
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Sep 28, 2008 @ 4:16 pm
HI,
I'M A RETIRED NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICER, NOW RETIRED. PROUD TO BE OF MALTESE BACKGROUND. I WAS BORN IN BROOKLYN N.Y. PROUD TO SERVE, THE LAST YEAR, WORKING AT THE WORLD TRADE. I WOULD LOVE TO GIVE MY STORY, SO EVERY MALTESE PERSON WOULD KNOW THAT WE ARE PEOPLE WHO HELP.

IF ANYONE IS WOULD WANT TO KNOW.
PETER SCHEMBRI
PAZZPETE@YAHOO.COM
George A. Farrugia
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Dec 14, 2008 @ 1:13 pm
Hi . My name is George A. Farrugia, I left Malta at the age of almost 17 years old, originaly, I'm from Hamrun. I now live in Chico California U.S.A. This web site, is out of this world. The information on Malta is awesome. I thought I knew every thing about Malta, but you have proved me wrong. Now I like to share my wish with all those that might be interested. I would like to start an international Maltese club, it will be called "M.A.F.I.A." =Maltese American Family International Association. If you like the idea. Please write to me at my E-mail address. hamrun1@msn.com or write to me at 717 Serrano Court chico, Ca. 95928 U.S.A. Thank you for a great Job on Malta.
arlette
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Jan 13, 2009 @ 5:17 pm
hi everyone
Were is all the Maltesers here, i just moved to florida im in fort lauderdale married an american and want to see if i can meet any maltese people around here let me know thanks
sahha for now viva malta
Eleanora Mizzi
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Apr 5, 2009 @ 4:16 pm
The part that you wrote of St. Paul is incorrect. He actually did get bit by the viper but he never swelled up and now there are not poisoness snakes. Another mistake is that you should always captalize the word "Mass" because mass means a group of something opposed to the Sacrifice of the Mass which is very holy.

Thank you.
Lino Scicluna
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Nov 9, 2009 @ 7:07 am
I am Maltese and emigrated to England in 1951. Considering that the Maltese are not well known in the USA, I find it amazing that there are so many of my country people over there, a small number of whom are my siblings and their families in and around Eastchester New York. This is a very educational site and I will pass it on to other relatives around the globe.
Carmen Mangion
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Feb 21, 2010 @ 8:08 am
My grandfather emigrated to the USA in 1920 (but stayed only for one year)
How possible is it, to find any relevant information about his stay in the USA?
Charles
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Mar 28, 2010 @ 8:20 pm
Hi...my grandparents also emigrated to the USA in the early 1920's and returned to Malta during the great depression. Ironcally, 6 of their children returned to the USA in the 1950's and 60's.

I now am retired in live in Florida.

It is possible that your grandfather would have passed thru Ellis island when he arrived in the USA the year u mention.
Lookup as much info as u can on ELLIS Island and their Archives which I believe now are computerized.

Regards,
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Apr 14, 2010 @ 11:11 am
Thank you for the informative website. I am a college student, who studied abroad for year in Malta and became very fascinated by Maltese culture and history. I made several Maltese friends, and am now planning to return this summer (2010) to conduct research dealing with cultural NGOs in Malta. During the next school year, I would like to apply this research to a thesis on Maltese cultural organizations in Michigan and Ohio (as I live in Toledo, Ohio... I am very close to Detroit and Dearborn, Michigan). If Diane Andreassi or anyone that has posted here has more contact information for the Maltese organizations in Michigan and Ohio, and is willing to pass that on to me, I would greatly appreciate it. If you are interested in assisting with my research, please contact me by e-mail at bentcobra@hotmail.com
Grazzi Hafna!
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Apr 19, 2010 @ 6:06 am
I am Australian born of Maltese parents. What a great presentation of the Maltese in the USA this is. Like the USA and Canada, Australia received plenty of Maltese migrants after the 2nd World War. Much of the old culture still remains instilled in the children of these migrants and what a blessing it is. I used to have an uncle (Father Joe Cacciottolo) who served as a Catholic priest in the USA (Mechanicville) durning the 1970's and I also have 2nd and 3rd cousins there that I have never met. Oh what a joy it would be to one day get together and exchange stories. Saha
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May 2, 2010 @ 12:12 pm
Way back in 2007 I had written about my research for athletes of Maltese descent on this site. My main area of research is for basketball players.
Since then our NT has recruited players from Austalia, Canada & the USA. Namely:
Rebecca Brincat Thoresen, Australian Pro athlete, who plays in DBBL Div 1 Germany for Wasserburg,
Loretta Ellul Soria, Australian, Chicago State University NCAA Div 1 alumni, now playing in C&C All Stars Pro-Am League and coachies at Indiana University Northwest NAIA Div 2.
Ashleigh Vella, Austalian, freshman at Idaho State University, NCAA Div 1
Kaila Agius, Canadian, Brock University alumni, playing for Depiro BC, Malta
Godrey Gauci, Australian, playing in the SBL in Sydney Australia
Tevin Falzon, American, Newton North High Jr player from Mass, USA
Aaron Falzon, American, Newton North Junior High player from Mass, USA (to play this year)
The female players have helped our NT win 3 european championships medals in our level, whilst Falzon was part of the winning team in the Under 18 European championships.
The most difficult part of this research is finding those athletes of Maltese descent, where the Maltese surname has been lost. Who knows how many there are out there ???
Any assistance is highly appreciated.
You can contact me on athletesomd(AT)gmail.com (athletes of maltese descent)
Thks and regards from Malta
Cons
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May 20, 2010 @ 1:13 pm
I grew up in Michigan, now live in Mississippi I appreciate the pastitsi reference, I,ve been trying to explain this to my southern wife. We called he baked macaroni "maroon" the top was a hard baked crust,delicious.
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Nov 5, 2010 @ 4:16 pm
Hi everyone,

I am a Maltese born Australian. Part of the Flynn clan that settled in Malta about 1830. I am interested in a net meeting my cousin William Flynn, who immigrated to the USA with his mother after the untimely death of his Father about the early 1950's.

We do not know where William Flynn and his mother settled in the USA. Any assistance would be very much appreciated.

Ed
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Jan 14, 2011 @ 2:14 pm
Ed Cato: I knew your uncle Joe. My family lived next to the church and Fr. Joe was a frequent visitor to our back yard for coffee on summer nights. In fact, he taught me how to count to 10 in arabic which I didn't know I could still do until now! I was very young (about 10 or so), but he would play basketball with the kids in the church yard and we liked him because his 11:00 mass was the fastest!! He was a nice man and well liked in the community.
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Jan 31, 2011 @ 8:20 pm
Professor Paul Vassallo is my uncle. He was born in 1937, not 1932. He is a very intelligent, accomplished man, fluent in 5 languages. My father, Charles Vassallo, born in 1938, is a retired engineer from Ford Motor Co. and spends 6 months a year as a missionary in the Bahamas. Their siblings live in the Metro Detroit area. My brother, Chris Vassallo retired from the Navy after serving on submarines for 21 years and now continues to work for Naval Intelligence as a civilian. My sister, Juli Vassallo Corlew, is a hotelier in Tampa, FL (Mainsail Hotels), my other sister, Jani Lynch teaches high school math in a small town near Lake Huron where many Maltese have summer cottages. (Lexington, Mi) I live in SE Michigan and have a BA in Actuarial Math and Economics. My cousin, Geoffrey Vassallo, lives in California, is a talented artist and taxidermist. I enjoyed your website and was surprised to see my uncle's name!
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Feb 21, 2011 @ 4:16 pm
very interesting article, very informative indeed! An uncle of my father emigrated to the united states in the 1930s or before, i dont know exactly. His surname was Farrugia and he was from Tarxien. My father's name is Guzeppi Farrugia from Tarxien. His father's name (my grandfather) was Salvu Farrugia. I would be happy if some relative of my father makes contact with me. My father died in 2009.
Stephen Conte
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May 8, 2011 @ 4:16 pm
My name is Stephen Conte. For the past 23 years, I have been hosting and producing a cable TV program in New Jersey called FAMILY HISTORIAN. This is a how-to program on genealogy. In the past, I have produced shows on various ethnic areas of genealogy: Italian, Irish, German, Swedish, Polish, and many others. I am now interested in producing a show on Maltese genealogy. To do this, I must have the right person to be my guest on the program. This person should be knowlegdeable about tracing a Maltese family tree, articulate, and enthusiastic about appearing on television. Since my show is taped in Summit, New Jersey, a person who lives nearby would be preferred. Please contact me by e-mail: gentelc@aol.com or by calling my cell phone: 973-747-5294 Thank you, Stephen Conte, host and producer of FAMILY HISTORIAN.
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May 13, 2011 @ 1:13 pm
I stumbled upon this web site while trying to locate my birth parents. My birth mother was born in Malta in 1948 and her father moved the family to the US in 1951, then eventually to San Francisco in 1959. She was one of eight brothers and sisters had me in October of 1963 while she was only 15 years old and in high school. I am hopeful that anyone who may know anything about my birth mother and sees this comment please contact me at pcentofa@yahoo.com. My birth last name as stated on my original birth certificate that I recently received from the SF Human Services Agency is Kent. Thank you. And this site is very informative and I really enjoyed learning about 1/2 of my heritage!
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May 23, 2011 @ 1:13 pm
Hello
I am a Maltese American born in Brooklyn. My Father Victor Attard was born in the city of Veleta Malta, and moved here in around the depression time. The reason I'm writing is to make contact with some of the people who I grew up with and through the years lost contact with. My father was once the president of the Sons of Malta (Brooklyn Branch) in the 50's & 60's. We had been friends with the (excuse my spelling) Zara's
Corbet's, Calayeras Matzellies,Rockas, and so many of the Maltese families. We use to go to Belmont State Park every spring and share a day with so many of the Maltese families. I now reside in AZ and haven't been in touch with anyone with my heritage for some time now. I would so like to I find some of my relatives that still live in Malta, so I can find out more about my past history.
Thanks for your help
Arthur Attard
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Aug 4, 2011 @ 10:22 pm
Great work. I'm from Balzan, but born in Gozo, spent years with the British Army, REME, then served
in England and Hong Kong. came across just one other Maltese in the military. There are so few of us that I really look forward to articles such as this. Thank you.
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Aug 4, 2011 @ 11:23 pm
I'm in S. California, in the city of Hawthorne. For those who are in S. California , and are not aware of it, we do have a fair sized group of Maltese, and Maltese married, and descendants out here. We meet at least once a year at a local park for a whole day of Maltese food and socializing. All who are interested are welcome .
Next "PICNIC", is August 21. Contact me for info at REMEsquaddie@msn.com. SAHHA to all.
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Aug 26, 2011 @ 4:16 pm
I really enjoyed reading the article about Malta as well as everyones comments! My father was born in Naxxar and came to California at the age of 13. My grandparents on my fathers side are both from Malta and my grandmother on my mothers side is from Malta. I'd love to visit the country one day as I still have relatives there and to see where my family is from. I now live in Mississippi and have not met one Maltese person so far. Look forward to reading more on Malta.
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Aug 28, 2011 @ 5:17 pm
Gafinti!

This is a wonderful site! My family is from NAXXAR as well, Mary (response #45). My grandfather, Grazio/Orazio/Horatio (pick one!) GAUCI journeyed from Malta to San Francisco in the early 1900s. He remained there for several years before returning home to Naxxar, working in the SF area to earn money for his family back home on the island. As a carpenter, he helped build the main doors of his village church in Naxxar, Malta, and possibly worked as a carpenter during his stay in San Francisco. It would be wonderful to learn about my nannu's stay in this country; I offer many thanks to any who might have something to share. My father, Lazarus Emmanuel Gauci (b. 1918), founded the Band Club of St. Paul's Bay just after WWII. He immigrated to the 'States in 1950, arriving Christmas eve in NYC. My uncle, Charles Gauci (b. 1900), came to the states prior to WWII (the exact date I do not know). We have wonderful family (the Dimechs) in Mississauga, Canada. I also have missing cousins (Fenechs and Grechs) in the Detroit area and Bonnicis in NY/Arizona; I would greatly enjoy reconnecting with them. If anyone out there has any stories to share, our family would enjoy hearing them! Please feel free to contact me at vicky@dreamscape.com .

Grazzi hafna ~
vicky!
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Oct 11, 2011 @ 1:13 pm
I am a Maltese woman who lives in Fresno, CA. I am a retired high school teacher who specialized in Reading Education. As many have mentioned, there are no Maltese people around my area. Oftentimes when I tell people where I am from I get a bewildered look and I have to explain and tell them about the island. I still have many relatives in Malta and I visit often although I have some trouble speaking Maltese. I have a sister who lives in England and another sister who lives in Australia. I would like to hear from other Maltese who live in the U.S.A. or elsewhere. Sahha.
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Oct 30, 2011 @ 8:08 am
Most interesting information. I noticed that you forgot to include another great Maltese person, holder of the Congressional Medal of Honor!!
I am referring to Orlando Emanuel Caruana . He was a Hero of the American Civil War!! He was born on the 23/06/1844 in Malta and died on the 14/09/1917 at Washington DC. Lot 33] He is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetry, WA [Plot Sec.3 Lot.33]
Hope you will include him in your list!!
Victor Cassar
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Feb 27, 2012 @ 5:17 pm
Reading the above articals makes me feel proud to be Maltese even though I left Malta in 1960 and made my home in London UK where I'm well embeded in the British way of living.
I'd like to point out that under the headng "Music" Reference to Oreste Kirkop, the movie that he appeared in was "The Vagabond King" and not "The Student Prince"

Thanks
V,Cassar
Daryl Harrison
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May 28, 2012 @ 4:04 am
Hello, I'm in Australia and are trying to find information about my Great Grandfather who migrated from Malta to the USA in the 1920s and died a US citizen in Malta in the 1950s. We have limited information but he appears in the 1930 Manhattan District Census. I was wondering if you could suggest where I could start researching him and his life in NYC in the 20s & 30s?. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Daryl Harrison
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Jul 30, 2012 @ 3:03 am
hi i m a student from malta doing a research on maltese in usa. please provide me with your stories by sending an email: vellabernardette@yahoo.com
YOUR HELP WILL BE MUCH APPRECIATED
Jim Benson
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Aug 25, 2012 @ 12:12 pm
I'm 1/16th Maltese but my family was not aware of this connection. So I'm investigating a very interesting and, for me, exotic branch of the family. My 2nd G Grandmother was
Vincente Crucifixa Josephine Carmela Rose Virginie Mizzi (Birth 5 May 1830 in Qormi, Malta). She lived, married and died in Bone, Algeria. Her father was Calogero. He came to New Orleans in 1860. Her mother was Giulia Micallef, who died in 1859. I'd be most interested in connecting with distant cousins either in Malta or the US (Louisiana). Regards, Jim Benson 1benson99@charter.net
joesph attard
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Aug 28, 2012 @ 2:14 pm
Hi berna..my name is Joseph Attard who emigrated in the late 50’s. The only hardship I faced was in the beginning as I sometimes met rude quality pedestrians. I never felt any form of threat. It was also a bit hard in the first few months to get accustomed with the vast environment. The geography, the landmarks, buildings and vistas were all new. I can say I was lost a couple of times however, I never went so far so I was always near my neighbourhood and being polite, I always found someone to help. I remember I found a job immediately upon arrival. Obviously there wasn’t any more cheerful sight than chatting or working with a local Maltese. Funnily enough my wife had placed olives and sun-dried tomatoes in my small luggage, thinking I would die of starvation. Another thing was that in the beginning I could not shut down my eyes and sleep. I could not get used to the timing. The shops, restaurants, grocery stores, the deli and leisure did not finish early like in Malta. Lights were everywhere and the preoccupation of work meant that I had to accommodate new time-table as after work I had to cook, wash clothes and anything else. For some time life revolved around a box which was either the working room or else at home. However, calculating the money seemed to dissolve any hardships and I am proud to say that living in the States was one of an experience.
Paul Buttigieg
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Aug 31, 2012 @ 8:08 am
Bernadette I live in Detroit, Michigan where I have my family and relatives who were the prim helpers when I first set foot here at the early age of 17. In the 50’s photo-marriages were common and coming here was like jumping from the home sofa into the tv screen and arriving in the fast life working long hours, fighting against time and meantime I enjoyed the hearing of new songs played as we fixed cars ... Taf int ta’ tfal li kont... Anyway I do not complain for having set my roots here and educated myself as I later on kept working and attended a course which led me in becoming a health and safety officer. The two years it took me paid a wage I could not have dreamt in a lifetime earning in Malta. The only thing which I often regretted was that I invested so much here to make a return back. Thanks to my uncle who had supported me in the beginning I am what I am today. God bless u nselli al huti maltin!
M Camilleri
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Sep 5, 2012 @ 10:10 am
Thanks to you I m going back to memories. When I got here my wife got pregnant and I hardly spoke English. One time I went to buy drugs from the store and I told the salesgirl I needed something which stopped vomiting because my wife was buying a baby instead of being pregnant and she king of laughed. Min jaf kemm il darba dahhakt nies bija. You know when I was outside and met other Maltese I tried to lower my voice cause the Americans looked at us with suspicion as if we were arabs. Ir razzizmu kien jaffettwana xi ftit avolja mahniex arab. U veru I don’t blame them ax many didn’t know that malta existed. Ahseb u ara fejn hi. So we used to say we are Italians and more than us they could not speak English well. It was hard for them to pick up u li jidraw id-djalett so we took the advantage to say we were Sicilians or Italians instead of arabs. Mandi xejn kontra imma la darba kien em mil-process ta amerikanisation u razzizmu the more you can help yourself’s image the more you can compete. I have spent four years in the 50’s and returned to Malta but my daughter who bought a house, I came here to fix it for her, spend a year with her children here because I am now retired and alone and when I feel like returning to Malta I will go back to my own house. M Camilleri
Julie Amato-Gauci
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Nov 1, 2012 @ 9:21 pm
Hi,

I'm a second generation Maltese Australian, my great grandmother Rita Aquilina had emigrated here to Melbourne but her sister Lonza Camilleri (nee Attard) came to San Francisco with her husband, who hailed from Mosta. That's all I know about them and I would love to see if any family is still there and to contact them. She most probably isn't alive any more but I'm sure she must have had a large family. Does anyone know anything?

Julie
carmen borg
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Nov 19, 2012 @ 11:11 am
Hello Ber, my name is Carmen Borg. I have accompanied my husband and settled here permanently. One reason was that we bought a house in Michigan and secondly the business was doing too good to let go. I am sharing this with you as if you have a dual citizenship it is still better off even in today to come and work here specially if you are educated. I often hear that there is a low labour market even for graduates. When I came here I hardly knew how to speak in English, I was scared to talk assuming that I will do mistakes and people will fool me but after a few errors I gripped a good grasp of it. I attended English lessons, found a job in an office, I then took a course and later became a personal assistant to a director. My husband started as a mechanic and then became an engineer. We had wanted to go in the year 1952 but relatives stopped us since there was unemployment in Detroit and we went just after when employment was again in full swing. Living here did not present a world of colours everyday. I remember when we were in rent, my husband being a mechanic and I was spending money for English tutoring, one time we ran out of wood and thought that if I bought wood then I won t have money for the rest so for heating my husband and uncle went to chop off a tree in the cold and they almost froze. They ran in with no wood and we had to bear a cold winter. Then for a while I was working and selling lace and then I used my brains by giving work to other Maltese, collecting it and selling it to two shops. Over here hand craft is appreciated as rich people invest in works of art and luxuries. By the 40’s to the 50’s a number of other women were seamstresses. In Corktown women inclusing Maltese dressed elegantly, often with high heels, make-up, gloves, brimmed hats and fur. There was the fashion that well off women put a fox around their neck. Even children used to wear hats and a handbag. Normally these were Maltese who had settled in the area for some years as newly arrived ones were just about to begin their adventure probably similar to ours. In other words usually an emigrant faced a difficult start and progressed along the years. Mandon Lake was a relaxing area in White Lake Township in Oakland County where Maltese invested. These summer homes provided a break from the busy life and a place which they could rent and obtain profit from. They Nevertheless in the 60’s we had cases of deaths as a result from the Hong Kong flu which developed into spinal meningitis. One such victim was Helen Fenech married to John Fenech from Valletta. Unfortunately some time after he died from cancer.
Manuel Agius
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Nov 19, 2012 @ 12:12 pm
People call me Manny but actually I am Manuel Agius. The hardest part was probably when it took days to save some money before departing from Malta and then if you got a job right away which was normal, that was fine but if you were unlucky and did not find a job immediately, those savings would have been eaten up and that’s when lightning would strike. In that case one turned to a nearby priest or the Maltese club, relatives if any but I do not know any case when the Maltese sent money to him from Malta. In the beginning it was also hard to see a Maltese lady in the club if not during a celebration but then as the Maltese community in the States increased, as more women settled, got a job and raised their children, the Maltese were living quite similarly to those in Malt. Obviously we did not have the beach nearby which could cool us of in the heat waves during August but those who were employed in offices and were free of rent could enjoy the air condition unlike in Malta. You see it was give and take. Another hard part was at the point of arrival when I did not know very good English and getting a good job often required good English so I did construction and later as my English got better I becam a superintendant. It took two years to get this job and this was actually the time when I was comfortable and sending more money to Malta. Luckily enough I managed to buy a piece of land, build a huge house, I then bought two farmhouses which I still rent and also bought a place for each of my two sons who are here. They visit Malta very often and each time I only ask for few packs of twistees and the Maltese buiscuits: gallette. Sahha
alfred fenech
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Jan 27, 2013 @ 10:22 pm
L live in melb Australia and have been to USA in 1980.enjoyed this web sit about the Maltese in USA and how they came to USA. History and time and events . The car industry Maltese contribution in USA,small country but with people of big heart.Maltese people should be on USA TV shows and entertainment industry.
Sharon
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Jul 31, 2013 @ 9:21 pm
I am looking for any information on the Maltese surname Sciberris ( spelling may differ ), my husband's family story is they changed their name to BOOTH ( his Father's Mother's maiden name) for safety sake ( why? no info on this either) . Maurice is my husband's name , his Father 's Name Maurice also, now deceased. His Mother may have lived in the Chicago area. Maurice has always lived in Detroit, Mi area. We live in Taylor now. Thank you for any information , Sharon
Mary
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Sep 24, 2013 @ 6:18 pm
Thank you . I am always interested in sharing any and all information on Malta with my two sons who are half Maltese. They visited Malta with me many years ago and we were happily surprised as to how much history the country/island has .

Mary
John Camilleri
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Nov 15, 2013 @ 8:20 pm
There is a Malteses group of peaple here in southern california , They have a picnic every year over here .I think its great that they have these get togethers .My grandfather migreated here to the US around 1910 from Sicily ,his father was from Malta , Things were bad in the early 18 th century in Malta . I always thought i was Sicilian , but it seems that im of Maltese decent ,I once went to one of these picnics , They knew who i was even before i said hello . They looked like they could be my realitives .I enjoyed that visit . John . PS if anyone needs info about these Maltese picnics email me .
jasonaquilina
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Dec 13, 2013 @ 4:04 am
A great website I came across real interesting read because i didn't know they were that many Maltese in the u.s only here in London i knew were alot and Australia in London though they are mainly in the eastend because you're never far from someone whose Maltese or descendent from Malta .
Jason Bonello
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Feb 13, 2014 @ 10:10 am
What a great bit of history and knowledge of my homeland. I was born in Detroit and am 100% Maltese. My family immigrated to Detroit. My father's family after WW1 and my mother's family after WW2. Much of my family is depicted in books about Maltese in Detroit. Corktown is the section of Detroit where my family lived and still lives. If any of you know any Maltese that live or have lived in Corktown then for sure you will know my family. I grew up with strong Maltese traditions and values. I went to Malta for the first time in 2013. Was amazing. I can't wait to go back. I now live in Hong Kong and I believe there is only 1 other Maltese person here. I could be wrong and hope I am. I'd love to meet other Maltese people in Hong Kong. I also have family in Canada, England, Malta and Australia.


Thank you and God Bless!
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May 1, 2014 @ 8:08 am
Very interesting and factual article. I am of direct Maltese heritage with both my parents being 100% Maltese born and breed with all the culture and heritage as mentioned in the article. I was born in Australia as my parents migrated there in 1950 (dad) and mum in 1951. They were married before immigrating and mum followed dad once he was settled. My father had a full and interesting life, being a somewhat mischievous boy to a decorated soldier to becoming a master craftsman, father of five and strong patriarch of the family etc etc. I never knew there were so many Maltese (and descendants) living in the USA. I have visited the US many times but have never came across a Maltese there. After having read this article my wife and I cannot wait to go back there and visit Astoria (NY)and the Detroit(Mich) area to seek out Maltese people there. I have visited Malta often since 2008, I even took my then 88 year old father with me in 2009 and I can tell you it is one of the best places on earth. Its people have retained the best parts of the culture and heritage of the islands dating back thousands of years but somehow have also progressed to the sophistication of today while still maintaining their heritage. I hope the Maltese in the USA have done the same, that is retained their heritage in a proud and stoic way as the Maltese do. I look forward to visiting the USA to find out. I do have some relatives there that I have never met from one of my aunts side of the family. I believe they now live in Florida. It should be an interesting trip when I do go. I look forward to any suggestions as to where to find any Maltese communities in the USA.
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May 3, 2014 @ 6:06 am
Great article, much work went into this I'm sure. Thank you.
Patricia Sabbatis
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Sep 12, 2014 @ 12:00 am
Arthur Attard My parents were Victor and Katie Bartolo. I'm Patsy and my sisters were Rose and Sherry. We belonged to the Maltese club in Bay ridge were close with the Matzellies and are still,close with the Roccas. My fathers friend was George Attard and I think he played Santa at the Christmas party. We came fro Sliema.

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