Fox and Friends’ Jedediah Bila’s Family History Revealed

Fox and Friends’ Jedediah Bila’s Family History Revealed

Back in February, Yvette Corporon visited Fox and Friends where she revealed to Griff Jenkins his MyHeritage DNA results live on air.

Yvette returned to the set of Fox and Friends to provide their new co-host, Jedediah Bila, with her ethnic breakdown and some interesting tidbits from her colorful family history.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Jedediah was always cognizant of her Italian and Sicilian ancestry. All of her great-grandparents came from Italy and resided in Naples and Sicily before moving to the United States. Most of them eventually settled in Brooklyn. She always wondered if there were other pieces of her family’s past that she didn’t know about.

Watch the video here:

Ethnicity Estimate  

In addition to her strong South European origins (69.4%), Jedediah has strong roots in West Asia (19.1%), North Africa (6% ) and the Middle East (4.7%). It’s very common for people from Southern Italy to also have Asian, North African, and Middle Eastern roots, as they are descended from the same groups of migrating tribes. This ethnic diversity is representative of historical migration patterns in the region and the people who settled in the area.

DNA Matches

Jedediah has over 150 DNA Matches from across the U.S. and Europe, including some very high matches with first and second cousins!

Family History

Jedediah’s great-grandfather, Pasquale Mazza, was born in Castellammare di Stabia, which is situated on the Bay of Naples. He immigrated to the U.S. and is listed in the 1910 census as a metal worker in a hardware factory. At the time, Pasquale was living at 143 Wooster Street, New Haven, Connecticut, which was the “Little Italy” of New Haven.

Starting in the late 19th century, a wave of immigration from Southern Italy brought thousands of Italian immigrants to New Haven. Many lived around Wooster Square. The hardware factory, New Haven Works of Sargent & Co. even went to Italy to recruit employees!

The New Haven Works of Sargent & Co. is still around today.

We followed Pasquale and located his WWI draft record from 1917. He is listed as a milling machine worker, living at 199 Wallace Street, still in Little Italy. From the description, we can see that he was blind in one eye.

Another of Jedediah’s great-grandfathers, Salvatore Ruscitto (1888–1955), was born on the island of Ponza, which the largest island of the Pontine Islands archipelago, off the west coast of Italy.

Ponza, Italy.

Ponza, Italy.

He immigrated to the U.S. in 1910 and married Mary, who was born in the U.S. to Italian parents. His marriage to Mary, who was 11 years his junior, was his second marriage. The first time hew as married he was only 15 years old. Salvatore and Mary lived in Kings County, Brooklyn.

In the 1920 U.S. Census, Mary is marked as an “alien”, as is her husband. Back then, an American woman who married a foreigner automatically lost her American citizenship, whereas an American man who married a foreigner could pass on citizenship to his new wife.

Salvatore Ruscitto in the 1920 United States Federal Census (Click to zoom).

Salvatore Ruscitto in the 1920 United States Federal Census (Click to zoom).

Salvatore couldn’t read, write, or speak English, but Mary could.

On her father’s side, Jedediah’s great-grandparents, Antonio and Isabella Bila, were both born in Southern Italy.  In the 1920 U.S. Census, they are listed with their 2 children, Ignatius (Jedediah’s grandfather) and Rose. They also lived in Brooklyn where Antonio was a barber in a barbershop.

As they acclimated to life in the U.S., they became more American. On his World War I Draft Registration Card, Antonio is listed as Anthony.

Twenty years later, in the 1940 census, the family owned their own house in Brooklyn, and their names had become even more Americanized. Anthony was now Tony, and his son Ignatius (Jedediah’s grandfather) was now “Jack,” and working as a printer in a printing shop.

Home of Jedediah’s great-grandparents, Antonio and Isabella Bila, 1098 Belmont Avenue, Kings, New York.

Home of Jedediah’s great-grandparents, Antonio and Isabella Bila, 1098 Belmont Avenue, Kings, New York.

Jedediah’s other paternal great-grandparents, Vincenzo and Theresa Granata, were both born in Italy. At the time of the 1940 census, they were living with their 3 children in Queens, New York. Vincent was a glazier and owned his own house. Theresa was an operator in a blouse factory, and their daughter Frances (Jedediah’s grandmother) was a typist at Mortgage Co.

Jedediah loved learning more about her family history. She always believed she was mainly Italian and was shocked to discover that she has such a diverse background.

She was also able to relate to her past on a different level after gaining insights into the lives of her great-grandparents — with tales of a complicated love story on one side, and the classic American dream on the other.

Order your own MyHeritage DNA kit today to discover your family history.