Genealogy Search Tips

Wikipedia and the Search for Rocky Colavito

We attempted to find some genealogy information about Rocky Colavito who was a baseball player for the Cleveland Indians in the 1950s. We searched Wikipedia and found that Rocky was born Rocco Domenico Colavito, Jr. in 1933 and that he grew up in the Bronx, New York.

Since he was born after 1930 he would not be in the US Census but we tried to find his father in the 1930 US Census. We found 5 Rocco Colavitos living in the Bronx in 1930 - 2 were born in the 1920s and so we eliminated them.

Each of the remaining 3 was married with a wife and children but there was no way to determine which was Rocky's father. We searched the United States Obituary Collection at but we didn't find any Rocco Colavitos.

Next we searched the Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage and Death Announcements (1851-2003) database at but found nothing. So we tried the Public Family Trees but no luck there either. We then went back to Wikipedia and clicked a number of the reference links but they didn't return any genealogy information either.

So we searched the web and discovered at NNBD that Rocky's mother's name was Angelina Spofadino Colavito. Knowing her first name we went back to the 1930 Census where we learned that both of Rocky's parents were born in Italy in 1900. In 1930 the couple, who had been married for about 7 years, had 2 sons and 1 daughter and lived on Bathgate Avenue in the Bronx, New York City.

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Frank Fazio - January 17th, 2011 at 9:35 AM

I was told that Rocky Colavito was a cousin of my father. If so, his parents may have emigrated from Italy and they would have been from La Provincia di Bari.

Emily Toth - January 26th, 2011 at 2:22 AM

I can add that Rocky Colavito's ancestors--maybe his parents?--were from Bari, Italy.

I was head of the Rocky Colavito Fan Club in the 1950s, and I remember he told me that his roots were in Bari.

I haven't had any contact with him for half a century, but still admire his kindness to a young teen (me).

Emily Toth

Visitor Comments

Sid - Cleveland - October 30th, 2009 at 2:21 PM

Years ago I saw him play in Cleveland.

Sharon Schwartzkpf, Yucca Valley Ca. - September 2nd, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Mike, Bronx, NY - May 22nd, 2016 at 10:56 PM

He was my grandma's first cousin. The Colavitos', specifically Rocky Colavito's family come from Grumo Appula, Bari in Apulia

Genealogy Search Tip

Search Census Records

In general the US Census is indexed by the words or terms found on the written census. So if there were spelling mistakes on the written census these misspellings will appear on the indexed census. If you can't find a census record for your ancestor try different spellings in your search terms.

You might also try different search terms that are spelled correctly. For example change the search for "Raymond Kane" to a search for "Ray Kane". If Ray Kane was transcribed from the written census then you will probably find your ancestor's written census record with this search term.

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