Pasquale Giorgio was born in San Vito Chietino, Italy on May 20, 1877. He died on November 17, 1958 in Wayne County, PA at the Farview State Hospital where he spent the last 21 years, 8 months and 11 days of his life. Perhaps more than any of his brothers’, Pasquale’s story illustrates the difficulties and heartaches that were part of the immigrant experience.
Not only are there a lot of Pasquales in our George family tree but also in census reports, immigration records and other public records available on Ancestry.com. This is why confirming facts with family members is so important. I’ve gotten a lot of information from Terry Colaluca (Pasquale’s great granddaughter) but I know there are more descendants out there so if you’ve got different information than what I provide, please let me know.
We are halfway through the Giorgio brothers’ family headcount and left off at 75 last week when we finished Adriano’s family. This count includes each of the Giorgio brothers who immigrated from Italy, their spouse(s), their children and children’s spouses, and their grandchildren but not their grandchildren’s spouses or children. It’s an arbitrary cut off but if I don’t stop somewhere I’ll be counting forever.
Pasquale appears in immigration records (ships’ logs) more often than any of the other Giorgio boys. He first arrived in New York on April 13, 1898 when he was 21. He left Naples, Italy on a ship named Bolivia. The information on the passenger log indicates it was his first time in America and he was coming to visit his brother Adriano whose address was 77 Olive Street (no city). To illustrate why it is so important to know as much as you can about relatives and place of origin of anyone you are researching, I might never have found this record because it is indexed on the Ancestry.com database as the record for “Gatyuale Giorgio.” But since the age seemed about right for Pasquale I decided to investigate further. When I saw the details of his brother’s name and that he was from San Vito Chietino, I knew this was our Pasquale.
In the 1930 census, Pasquale reported his arrival year as 1899 (pretty close) and also reported his age at the time of his first marriage as 23. This would mean he married after arriving in Pennsylvania, probably around 1900 and this is consistent with the ship’s log, which indicates “Gatyuale” was single.
Pasquale’s first wife was Concetta Iavicola/Yavicola (sometimes spelled with an “i” on the end and one of the most misspelled surnames in our family.) I do not know where they met or whether they knew each other in Italy before arriving in America. I haven’t found their marriage record yet but my guess is that they married in Pittsburgh. I haven’t found any of the Giorgio brothers in the 1900 census, which would be extremely helpful.
I know that Pasquale spent most of his life in New Castle and had a long career with the B&O Railroad that ended abruptly on December 16, 1936 when Pasquale shot his boss in the back, three times at a distance of 15 feet. It seems that the day before the shooting Pasquale heard voices saying the government was going to put him in jail. He believed that his boss, Sam Ross, was the one speaking. This prompted him to get a revolver that he’d stored in a trunk for 20 years and shoot Ross the next morning at work.
And you wonder why I find this family so fascinating! Terry knew from family stories that Pasquale had mental issues. She’d heard it had a lot to do with losing two wives and having so many young children to care for that he was forced to give up his youngest son and then felt guilty about that decision. People say that after that happened he just wasn’t himself anymore.
On February 8, 1937, a panel of two psychiatrists and a lawyer interviewed Pasquale at the Lawrence County Jail and determined that
Pasquale Georgia is in fact insane and is in such condition as to make it necessary that he be cared for in a hospital for mental diseases. The facts upon which we base this conclusion are as follows: hallucinations of persecution of self and members of his family, talks excessively, outbreaks of violence against various people, imagines people are saying things detrimental to his family, previous hospitalization in St. Francis hospital, no conception of the seriousness of his crime.
Terry was very close to her grandmother Mary and had always believed that Mary was Pasquale’s oldest daughter. She knew her grandmother was born in PA on June 1, 1906. From the records I’ve found, Mary was actually the third child born to Concetta and Pasquale as indicated by the birth order listed in the box at the top of the form.
Though I’ve yet to find a birth record for their first child (who may have been born before Pennsylvania started keeping birth records) a son named Vito was born to Pasquale and Concetta sometime around 1904. Sadly, he died on June 21, 1907 when he was three years old.
Pasquale and Concetta had three daughters who did survive to adulthood: Maria Elisabetta (Colaluca) (1906-1993); Cristina Maria (Panella)(1908-1985) and Vida Maria (Sforza) (1910-2000). Terry remembers baking Christmas cookies with her grandmother and Aunt Vi and has many of their recipes.
On with our headcount!
Maria Elisabetta married Romeo Colaluca in 1925 and they had five children; four boys and one girl. Only four survived to adulthood. (7)
Cristina Maria married Nick Panella and they had three children; two boys and one girl. (5)
Vida Maria married Gino (Egidio) Sforza (an easy name to find records for!) and they had three daughters who all moved to Connecticut, as did Aunt Vi. One of the girls became a nun. (5)
On April 13, 1913, Concetta gave birth to a still born baby whose sex was not identified on the death certificate. I haven’t found Concetta’s death certificate but the online index for the New Castle News reports the death of a Mrs. Pasquale Giorgio on January 13, 1914. This was nine months after the still born child, so it is not likely to be related to childbirth unless she had gotten pregnant immediately after the still birth. (Seems unlikely but her death certificate, which should be available but seems to be eluding me, would solve that mystery.)
So counting Pasquale and his first wife and the three children who did not survive to adulthood, we’re at 5. When we add the numbers above for his daughters and their husbands and children, we’re at 22.
On August 8, 1914, less than 7 months after Concetta’s death, 37-year old Pasquale and his new wife, 23-year old Filomena Ranieri along with Pasquale’s youngest daughter Vida, arrived in Philadelphia on the Stampalia. It seems Pasquale returned to Italy after Concetta died and came back with a wife. So much for romance! But if you think about it, how else could he have taken care of his children? I wonder what was going through Filomena’s mind when she arrived in Philadelphia – 101 years ago this Saturday?
Their names appear on lines 18, 19 and 20. From this record and the fact that Pasquale is identified as a US Citizen, we can deduce that he completed the naturalization process before 1914. Unfortunately I haven’t found his declaration of intent or petition to become a citizen. Some of those records even have pictures of the person but for now, we’ll have to settle for the description in the ship’s records; Pasquale was 5’3” with brown hair and brown eyes.
Pasquale and Filomena had five children. Vittorio (Victor) (1915-2004); Nicolino (Nick) (1916-1992); Luigi (Louis) (1917-1994); a daughter named Concetta born in 1919 who died in 1920 and another son born in December 1919 or early January 1920, who was given up for adoption because Filomena died shortly after his birth. The family who adopted him named him Luigi/Louis. The obituary for one of Pasquale’s sons, identifies a “brother” named Louis Perfi.
Here is the list of Pasquale’s and Filomena’s children. The number at the end of each name indicates the number that person, his or her spouse and their children add to the George family headcount.
Victor – who married and had four children; two boys and two girls (6)
Nick – who never married and was institutionalized at the Polk State School for the Feeble Minded (1) Nick was living at home when the 1930 Census was taken but by 1935 he was at Polk, perhaps another contributing factor to Pasquale’s mental turmoil.
Louis – who married and had children but I don’t have the details (let’s just say 4)
Concetta – who died when she was one year old (1) – (Does anyone else find it interesting that the only girl born to Filomena and Pasquale was named after his first wife?)
Louis Perfi – the child born to Filomena and Pasquale who was given up for adoption and lived in another state but sometime returned for family reunions. From what I’ve read, it seems likely that he knew he was adopted. I believe he married and had three children. (5)
Okay – these children and Filomena add 18 to the earlier count for Pasquale of 22 for a grand total of 40 descendants from Pasquale Giorgio. Adding that to the 75 descendants of Ciro and Adriano, Giorgio descendants now total 115. And there’s only one brother to go.
Let’s end with the end – Pasquale’s death certificate. I wonder what his years at Farview were like? I know the mid-1900s were not great for mental health care in this country but the hospital seemed to be modeled after a new approach to treating mental illness. The grounds look bucolic and the articles I’ve read indicate that the inmates worked on the farm, took care of the animals and grew most of their food. I’d like to think that at some point in his tortured existence, Uncle Pasquale found a bit of peace.