Mary Lanza
(Maria Lanza)

Born: 26 April 1913 ~De Lancey, Pennsylvania
Married: 21 January, 1936 ~ Buffalo, New York

Died: March  16, 1993 ~ Amherst, New York


Meaning of Lanza (LAHN-zuh): from 'lancia', lance


        Maria 'Mary' Lanza was baptized at the Church of St. Adrian in De Lancey (formerly Adrian) Pennsylvania, on the first of June, 1913.   The Church of St. Adrian still exists as a building, but the parish no longer exists, and the building is now a Mission of the Ss. Cosmas and Damian Church of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

         Contacted in 2015, 'Jean' from that church's office provided me with a photocopy of the register containing the baptismal record.  That record is shown below.  Some explanation is necessary.  The record was written in Latin by a Polish priest. 

Photo courtesy Jerry Bosak

      The given names are in Latin, while the surnames appear to have been written phonetically, with Polish spelling. 'Maria' is the same name in both Latin and Italian, and also in Polish ('Mary ' in English).  Later copiers of the record evidently assumed the original name was Mary.  Since her mother and father, and godparents, were all Sicilian with little proficiency in English, it's virtually certain that they gave the priest the infant's name as Maria.  It can be seen that both her father's and godfather's given names were originally written as 'Samuel', then written over as Salvatore, or vice versa.  Paolina Bellanca's given name was also spelled in the Latin form, 'Paulina'.

         Below the record is a transcription of the information just as it was written in Latin/Polish, and below that are the entries as they should have been.  'Junii' is Latin for 'of June'.  The variations in the names are examples of how names may be misspelled and modified after repeated copies are made.



Maria    Lanso   

26 Apr. 1913

Junii 1

Salvatore Lanso
   Paulina  Belanka

  Samuel   Turzeo
  Maria  Genko

J. N. Z



Maria    Lanza


  Salvatore Lanza
  Paolina  Bellanca
Salvatore  Tuzzeo
  Maria  Genco

Maria's original baptismal certificate is not available, but during her life, she received three extracts copied from the original register. They are reproduced below, with notes.  In each, Maria's name is given in its English form.  Below them is a 'mock' certificate in English, containing corrected names.





Copy made 14 November 1933


"Samuel Lanza"
is incorrect

Paulina Belanda"
is incorrect


"Salvatore Tuzero"
is incorrect

"Mary Gento"
is incorrect



  Copy made 6 January 1936
(Probably for her 21 January 1936 wedding.)

"Paulina Belanda"
is incorrect

"Samuel Tuzzeo"
is incorrect

"Mary Genta"
is incorrect






Copy made on 11 January 1943


"Pauline Belanso"
is incorrect


"Salvatore Trunzo"
is incorrect

"Mary Lanto"
is incorrect



Reconsituted Certificate of Baptism

Church of St. Adrian                  Baptisms, Volume 3, Page 38
De Lancey, Pennsylvania, 1 June 1913  

I, Reverend Joseph N. Zubrzycki
today baptized Maria Lanza, born 26 April, 1913
daughter of Salvatore Lanza and Paolina Bellanca

Godparents were Salvatore Tuzzeo and Maria Genco

[Note: Salvatore Tuzzeo and Maria Genco were man and wife,
and were relatives of the Lanza family from Mussomeli, Sicily.]


Mary, Josephine (Jessie), and Salvatrice (Teresa) Lanza
~ Probably at 126 Front Street, Buffalo in about 1925


                                                                                     January 21, 1936
                          Unknown       Unknown                                                                                    Angie Lopresti         Joseph Giullari

                                                        Mary Lanza    Sam Bongiovanni


Mary Lanza Bongiovanni
& Sam Bongiovanni ~ 1944

Mary & Angela Yvonne Bongiovanni
1944 ~

Mary, Angie  & Sam Bongiovanni
~ 1944 ~



Angie and Mary
Before the wedding, 1961

Sam and Mary Lanza Bongiovanni


Mary Lanza married Salvatore Bongiovanni on 21 January, 1936 in Buffalo


Angela Yvonne Bongiovanni 7 June 1937
~ (Married Angelo Felice Coniglio)


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Last revision: 22 April 2015 ~ Angelo F. Coniglio,