Love is in the Air

How romantic to get married on Valentine’s Day. The date is shared by at least two couples in the George line that I know of – Custode Iacobucci and Adriano George and Elaine (Lainey) George and Richard McGreevy. Thankfully Lainey and Rick have had a much longer run than Custode and Adriano. Happy 47th anniversary Lainey and Rick!

Custode and Adriano married in Pittsburgh on February 14, 1899 and parted ways sometime around May 20, 1912. I’ve never found any indication that they ever got a divorce. According to Custode’s testimony in a lawsuit in the summer of 1912, May 20th was the last time she saw her husband and she didn’t think he was ever coming back. It looks like her hunch was correct – I’ve found nothing to suggest that Adriano ever returned to America.

None of their children are alive to shed any light on what happened or how their father’s absence affected them. Most of Custode and Adriano’s grandchildren say that their family never talked much about Adriano.  The leading theory of why he left, which was the only thing Joseph George told his daughters, is that the Black Hand was coming in the front door (of the grocery store) while Adriano was going out the back.

Another theory, shared among some of the grandchildren is that Grandmother might have had an affair with a boarder, which prompted Adriano’s sudden departure and apparent attempt to leave her, and their eight children, without support. We’re not likely to prove that theory without DNA testing but it could be done. We know that Frank, the last child born to Custode, was born sometime in 1912 or 1913. If Adriano were his father, he and any of his male descendants would have the same Y chromosome as  any other male descendants of Adriano and his sons. We know that Frank George had a son named Gerald George, born in Pittsburgh (I think) on September 16, 1937. If that son, or any of his sons, were willing to take a DNA test, we might know the answer to the mystery of whether or not Custode was unfaithful to Adriano. Of course, that wouldn’t prove that was the reason for his departure, but it would be interesting.

It’s still a mystery as to where Adriano went when he left Pennsylvania. In her testimony Custode speculated he may have gone out west or to South America. Some of his grandchildren remember hearing from their parents that he went to Argentina. If he did go to South America, Argentina’s a good guess because during the peak of Italian emigration, from the late 1800s to 1930s, Argentina was second only to America as the destination for Italian emigrants. From 1857 to 1958, 46% of all immigrants to Argentina were from Italy.

I’ve searched for Adriano Giorgio and Andy George in immigration records to Argentina without success but I do know there were quite a number of emigrants from Castel di Sangro – Custode’s home town – who settled in Argentina – beginning as early as 1857. I’m creating a spreadsheet to see if I can make a connection in Italy between those immigrants and the Giorgio or Iacobucci families. It’s taking awhile but it might help identify known relatives in Argentina.

But back to the more romantic facts about this day. Here is the marriage license application filed by Custode and Adriano in Alleghany County, which is the source for the date of their marriage. The April date at the bottom of the document is the date the marriage return was sent back to the county courthouse from the officiant performing the marriage ceremony.

And here’s an excerpt of Custode’s testimony in the summer of 1912

Custode George (the orator in the complaint) is a resident of Fayette County, Pennsylvania and resides in Dunbar. The defendant, Andy George, was, until on or about May 20, 1912, a resident of Dunbar, but that his present residence is unknown to Custode.

Custode avers (says) that she and Andy George, were married on February 13, 1899, at Pittsburg, PA and that from that day until May 20, 1912, lived and cohabited together in the relationship of husband and wife. They have resided in Dunbar for the past eleven years and that there has been born to them eight children, the oldest of which is now twelve years old, the youngest one year, all of whom are still living.

For the past seven years Custode and Andy have been in the grocery business in Dunbar and during that time they devoted their time and attention to that business, by reason of which they have acquired considerable real estate and earned a good living for themselves and their family.

With the profits they made and by their thrift and energy, Custode and Andy acquired certain real estate in Dunbar, defined as follows: three separate lots with improvements each of which was originally conveyed to Andy and Custode, jointly.

On February 24, 1912, at Andy’s suggestion and request, Custode signed over her interest in the property to him. This was done by a deed, which legally vested title to the property (all three lots) to Andy.

Since May 20, 1912, Andy has willfully, maliciously and without reasonable or just cause, deserted Custode and their children and since that date has neglected and refused to provide for suitable maintenance for his wife and children even though he has sufficient means and ability to.

Notice that in her testimony, Custode cites as their marriage date as February 13th, which doesn’t quite match the official records.

We find evidence of Adriano’s return to Italy in the margin note of his birth record copied below. The note indicates he contracted to marry Maria Flamminio on June 1, 1913.  Unfortunately, the marriage records for San Vito Chietino for 1913 are not available on line and the margin note is hard to read so I can’t actually determine whether or not the second date is the date of their actual marriage or something else.  It is certainly possible that Adriano could have returned to Italy and never told anyone about his marriage to Custode in America but how sad to not have any contact with their eight (or perhaps nine) children.

Before ending this post I want to wish a belated happy anniversary to Carole Ann George and Glenn P. Johnson who were married on February 8, 1964. This picture is from the local paper published shortly after the wedding. Congratulations on 54 years of marriage!



Happy Birthday Irene!

I woke up this morning with this song running through my head but with slightly different lyrics. Not the sad blues version first recorded in 1933 by Louisiana bluesman Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter

and popularized by the Weavers  in the late 1940s –

but a happy birthday version for cousin Irene Rose George Veri. Happy Birthday Irene!

When I met her I asked Irene if she knew where her name came from. I think she said she didn’t (I always hesitate to recount what Irene told me about things because her memory is better than mine, but I’m pretty sure she said she didn’t know who she was named for other than her middle name Rose.)  Her middle name might be from her father’s Italian family – specifically Custode’s sister Rosallia. Rosaria is another form of that name and was the name of Nick George’s aunt, Rosaria who was married to Ciro Giorgio, Adriano Giorgio’s older brother. Ciro died in 1926, but Rosaria Giorgio and her children, including Josephine Bucci, lived in New Castle, PA near Irene’s family. Several girls in the George family have Rose in their name, usually as a middle name, so I think there is a family connection for Irene’s middle name.

What Irene did tell me is that her father often wrote songs and she was his secretary. They preserved the copyright for the songs Nick wrote by mailing them back to themselves so they’d have an “official” date (the postmark) of when they first created the lyrics.

My hunch about Irene’s name is that it came from the song Leadbelly Ledbetter sang at every show he performed. It became his “signature” song and you can read more about it here . His music was discovered in the early 1930s when John Lomax from the Library of Congress was sent to record American folk/blues music, specifically “Negro” songs of the South. He visited Southern prisons because he reasoned that the folk music he was after was going to be in songs by people who’d had a hard life. He recorded Huddie Ledbetter’s music in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in 1933.

Nick and Mary George followed the Italian naming convention for their children – first son after the paternal grandfather, first daughter after the paternal grandmother, but by the time Irene, their last child came along, I think they chose a name just because they liked it. I realize it’s probably more likely they knew someone with that name but I like to make up fun theories to explain family history, and given Nick’s love of music (and my love of this song, which I can remember my grandmother singing to me) I’m sticking with my theory that Nick’s love of music influenced Irene’s name.

Be sure to check out this version by Ry Cooder, which has all the gruesome lyrics of love gone wrong. I linked it because of the accordion – when was the last time you heard an accordion in a band?

Whatever the reason for your name, I’m sure glad you were born and wish you many happy returns of the day!

Irene George and Andrew (Butch) Veri

Irene George and ???

Irene and Eleanor

Irene George on left, cousin Eleanor George (daughter of Fred and Betty) on right.

A Horse with No Name

The band America had a hit in 1971– A Horse with No Name

“I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain”

Of course I remember the song because I was in high school when it was a hit.
In fact, it might have been playing in the background while I worked on my high school year book – carefully inserting the names of the seniors beneath their pictures – probably in alphabetical order. Enabling future generations to find their parents, or their father’s girl friend.

It might be okay to be in a desert on a horse with no name but it is definitely not okay to create a high school year book without names. Yet that seems to be exactly what the staff of the Union High School Yearbook of Burgettstown PA decided to do in 1941. The year my father-in-law was a high school senior.

Seniors Union HS. 1942

I could live with names being out of alphabetical order, or even having to flip from one page to the next to match the location of the picture with a list of names on another page. But in this particular yearbook there is no way to make the connection between the picture and the “senior statistics” that appear on the following pages.

Now fortunately, because we have pictures close enough in time, we know that my father-in-law, Frederick William George,  is third from the left on the fourth row up from the bottom. But that doesn’t help us much in finding the friends he remembered from high school: Jay Jackson, Glenn Nichols, Donald Tope, Clark McKenzie, Frank Rumbaugh, Donald Bywaters and Dwayne Reed.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know what they looked like? But alas, we can’t tell whose picture is whose because for some reason the staff of the Union HS Yearbook in 1941 thought it would be a good idea to just sort the seniors in random order without putting their names under,  or even on the page beside, the pictures.

They knew how to alphabetize things because the “Senior Stats” on the pages that follow the pictures include the favorite expressions, career aspirations and hobbies of each Senior. That’s how I know that my father-in-law Fred wanted to be a doctor (and he became one) and that his hobby was playing the saxophone. And his favorite expression was “Did ja know.”


It’s the USC philosophy of no names on the backs of the football players’ jerseys. “We’re a team – it’s not about the individual wearing the jersey.” I’m a fan, so I accept that – and #16 will always be Rodney Peete and # 42 will always be Erik Affholter (sorry Ronnie Lott and Ricky Bell but you were before my time). It might work on the gridiron but definitely has no place in high school year books.

What’s amazing is that back in the early 1990s when we lived in California about 5 minutes away from Dad, Rick and Dad spent time together on Tuesday nights. Sometimes it was a movie and dinner and sometimes it was sitting around Dad’s family room with Rick asking questions and Dad reminiscing, while Rick captured those memories on a cassette recording. And it is great to have those recordings and to be able to hear Dad’s voice eighteen years after he died.

And it is quite remarkable that Dad had such a good memory of his high school days more than 50 years later. So now that the wonders of the internet make it possible for me to see Dad’s high school year book, wouldn’t it be great to be able to look up the names he mentioned and see what his friends looked like?

Yes it would, but it’s not going to happen because for some reason that defies all logic – there are no names beneath the pictures of the seniors in the yearbook !!!

Oh well, we must content ourselves to know that two of Dad’s friends wanted to be doctors (Glenn Nichols and Jay Jackson) and to know that his friend Donald Tope wanted to be a petroleum engineer. Interestingly several of Dad’s friends listed their hobbies as hunting and fishing (four of them) but his was playing the saxophone.

I’ve searched the other Union High School yearbooks from the time period and fortunately a couple of years later, in 1943, when Dad’s younger brother Richard was a senior, the names and senior statistics appear with the photo, which is why we have this picture of Uncle Richard.

HS Senior.YearbookPic.1943



Iacobucci Family Research

Here’s the revised post about the Iacobucci family.

Trovando Famiglia

I’m using a day off in the middle of the week because of a big Southern snow storm to dig a little deeper into my husband’s Iacobucci ancestors. His great grandmother, Custode Iacobucci George, was born in Castel di Sangro, L’Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy on May 27, 1880. She immigrated to America with her older sister Rosie (Rosallia) when she was 16 years old, arriving in New York in April 1897. Their immigration papers indicate they were coming to visit an older brother named Vincenzo who lived in Brandeville, PA.

This post will identify the Iacobucci siblings I’ve discovered through my research and provide the basis for why I believe that their parents are Agostino Iacobucci and Filomena Petrarca of Castel di Sangro. If they are all the children of this pair, it would mean Filomena had her first child (Vincenzo) in 1861 when she was 23 and her last child…

View original post 1,434 more words

Iacobucci Family Research

I’m using a day off in the middle of the week because of a big Southern snow storm to dig a little deeper into my husband’s Iacobucci ancestors. His great grandmother, Custode Iacobucci George, was born in Castel di Sangro, L’Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy on May 27, 1880. She immigrated to America with her older sister Rosie (Rosallia) when she was 16 years old, arriving in New York in April 1897. Their immigration papers indicate they were coming to visit an older brother named Vincenzo who lived in Brandeville, PA.

This post will identify the Iacobucci siblings I’ve discovered through my research and provide the basis for why I believe that their parents are Agostino Iacobucci and Filomena Petrarca of Castel di Sangro. If they are all the children of this pair, it would mean Filomena had her first child (Vincenzo) in 1861 when she was 23 and her last child (Custode) in 1880 when she was 42. Certainly possible, reproductively speaking. I have confirmed Filomena’s birth date as November 19, 1838 from Italian online records although I have not found her death date.

Using the immigration records for Custode and Rosie – we know that they are sisters. This fact is supported by the 1910 census in Dunbar PA when Rosie Buzzelli is listed as the sister-in-law to the head of household, Andrew George whose wife is identified as Christine. Rosie would have to be his wife’s sister because if she were the wife of one of his brothers (the other way she could be his sister-in-law) her last name would be George or Giorgio, not Buzzelli. Finally, since most of her grandchildren, who knew Custode as Christine, have fond memories of their grandmother’s sister Rosie, the relationship of Custode and Rosie as sisters has never been in doubt.

But let’s see what we know about their brothers and how we know they all have Agostino and Filomena as parents. Newspaper obituaries are a great source for identifying family relationships and marriage records often include the full name of the parents of the couple getting married, including the maiden names of their mothers. This is actually how we found Custode’s maiden name, way back in the summer of 2013 when our search began. We had only known her as Custode George or Christine George, but when we found the marriage records for her daughters Philomena and Lena in the courthouse in Uniontown, PA, we finally knew her maiden name was Iacobucci. I can still remember how excited we were to make that discovery on the last day of our week long genealogy vacation!


Vincenzo Iacobucci is the oldest of the Iacobucci siblings. He was born in Castel di Sangro to Agostino Iacobucci and Filomena Petrarca on June 8, 1861. His Italian birth records are available online and identify his parents and date of birth. Those names match the parents named on his death certificate from Derry, Pennsylvania dated November 18, 1943.

1943.DeathCertificate.Derry PA

We first learned of Vincenzo Iacobucci  when we got Custode’s marriage license and saw that Vincenzo Iacobucci was listed as her guardian and was considerably older than her. However, that record didn’t indicate their relationship and we wondered if he might be her uncle. Thankfully the immigration records for Rosie and Custode indicated they were coming to visit their brother Vincenzo.

The relationship is also confirmed by one of Custode’s grandchildren, Carole Ann George Johnson, who remembers visiting two Iacobucci sisters who lived in Derry, PA. Vincenzo had three single daughters living with him in the 1940 Census at 118 South Ligonier Street, Derry PA – Mary (41),  Ellen (30) and Margaret (27). It seems very likely that Vincenzo is Custode’s older brother and that Carole remembers visiting his daughters.


Joseph Iacobucci’s connection to his siblings is highlighted in his obituary that appeared in the New Castle News on June 6, 1942. After naming his wife and children who survived him he names two brothers:  Anthony of Akron, OH and James of Derry, PA and two sisters: Mrs. Christina George of Dunbar, PA and Rose Iacobucci of California, PA. JosephIacobucci.obit.8Jun1942.NCN.p2

According to the date of his birth listed on his death certificate (not shown) he died on his birthday – June 5th. He was 76 years old and had been in America for 55 years. This would make his immigration year 1887, which might be the earliest of any of the Iacobucci siblings. I’ve yet to find the immigration records for his older brother Vincenzo but maybe I should see if they immigrated together.

Joseph’s wife’s maiden name was Marianne Giampaolo, the oldest of three girls born to Fidenso Giampaolo and Angeline Gasbarro who were married in Castel di Sangro in February 1879.  Marianne and her next younger sister Amelia were born in Italy but their younger sister, Mary Frances, was born in Pennsylvania on May 3, 1898.

In 1915, Mary Frances Giampaolo married Nick George.  Irene Veri (their youngest daughter) and I have speculated that her parents may have met because Joseph and Custode were siblings. I can attest to the fact that there is no shortage of Gasbarro, Giampaolo, Iacobucci, Buzzelli and Petrarca unions in the town records of Castel di Sangro but I’m still puzzled by the connection to San Vito Chietino, where the Giorgio boys were from.


The connection to a brother named Anthony is found in Joseph’s obituary. I don’t think any of Custode’s grandchildren can confirm this relationship but Irene Veri remembers visiting relatives or knowing about relatives in Akron. (Help me out Irene – you always remember more than I do!)

I first learned of Antonio Iacobucci in the immigration records where I found Custode and Rosalia who immigrated in April 1897. I wrote about those records here: Day 4 GRIP – Exciting Discovery .  It was also in those records that I found Antonio Iacobucci arriving in October of 1897 and going to Pennsylvania to visit his sister Rosallia. At that time he was single but it turns out, he actually got married in Uniontown, PA about ten years later. Unlike his siblings, he always spelled his name with a “Y” instead of an “I.”

Here is the marriage license for Tony Yacobucci and Marianna D’Angelo from 1907. Although they were married in Uniontown, PA their residence at the time was Dunbar. Coincidentally this is where Custode was living at the time. This is an important connection because it helps link the Tony Yacobucci who shows up mostly in Ohio records to our line of the Iacobucci family. And notice the names of his parents: Agostine & Filomena. His age in 1907 would mean he was born in 1876, which would put him in between Rosie and Custode. 

We know that Tony stayed in Dunbar at least through 1909 because two of his children were born there – Frank Paul Yacobucci born in 1908 and America Michael Yacobucci born in 1909. Notice Tony’s job is listed as “beer agent” on his son Frank’s birth certificate. 

As an aside, the doctor who delivered Frank “W.W. Warne” was also the doctor who delivered Lena, Custode’s second daughter born in 1906.

I think we’ve got a fairly strong case that Vincenzo, Giuseppe, Rosallia, Antonio and Custode Iacobucci, were all the children of Agostino Iacobucci and Filomena Petrarca. The records that exist in Pennsylvania and Ohio provide strong evidence that they left Italy in the late 1800s and made America their permanent home. From Joseph’s obituary we know these are the siblings who survived him and he doesn’t mention any other siblings. There could be some who died before him but are not mentioned in his obituary.

The online records from Italy provide evidence of at least one other son born to Agostino and Filamena. His name was Luigi Giovanni and he was born on June 23, 1864. He isn’t mentioned in any of the records of his siblings in America and I’m curious to know more about him.

BirthRecord.LuigiGiovanni.23June1864There are several Luigi or Lewis Iacobuccis in Ohio records and trees on but the ones I’ve explored so far are not the right age or have different parents. Lainie George McGreevy found an obituary for a Lewis Iacobucci who was born in Castel di Sangro and was a shepherd there before he immigrated in the early 1900s, but he was not the right age to be this Luigi Iacobucci. It is possible that if this son died as a child, his parents might have named a later born son Luigi but it’s curious that none of the none Iacobucci siblings’ obituaries refer to a brother named Lewis.

From the birth dates of the Iacobucci siblings we know about (1861 to 1880) we are left with an eight year gap between 1866 when Joseph was born and 1874 when Rosie was born. It seems likely that there were other siblings born during those years but whether they did not survive to adulthood or perhaps stayed in Italy, it may be hard to determine, especially since the online records for Castel di Sangro births end with the year 1865.

I’d love to hear from any Yacobuccis or Iacobuccis or Jacobuccis or even folks with the last name John, which happens to be another variation I’ve seen in some records.  Maybe some of the Ohio descendants of Anthony Yacobucci don’t even know about all your Pennsylvania relatives but if you happen to be reading this – don’t be shy about reaching out.