I came home from my Ancestry.com conference yesterday determined to find Custode and Rosie and “the ship they came in on….” At about 2 a.m. this morning I went to bed discouraged. (WARNING – Don’t start a genealogy habit if you value your rest. It WILL keep you up at night. Sometimes even after I turn off the computer the names, dates and places keep swirling through my head.
I’ve mentioned before that Custode is not a common name and rarely shows up on passenger lists. Even a search for Custode without a last name in the passenger list database on Ancestry.com yields very few results.
So this morning I decided to search for Adriano again. So far he has eluded me in my search for his immigration records. In the 1920 census Custode reports her immigration year as1897. That seems reasonable since she was born in 1880 and was married in Pittsburgh in February 1899 (her first marriage according to the marriage license.)
Family lore suggests that Custode and Rose (her sister) immigrated together and that she met Adriano on the ship. That’s a good tip and it gave me the motivation to dig deeper into some passenger records using the search techniques I learned yesterday.
1. I started with Adriano Giorgio in my family tree on Ancestry.com and hit the search button. Even though I could have searched the card catalog on and gone straight to the Passenger List for New York Arrivals database to search for Adriano, the suggestion from yesterday was to start with the person in your tree and search from that person’s page. You will get a large number of hits because of how the search function works (a topic for another day)because it uses all of the information on that page including other names, dates and relationships.
2. Sure enough – there were a lot of hits – 46,311 to be precise but this is a wide ranging list including city directories, birth marriage and death records, civil war soldier records and others. I’m POSITIVE that Adriano did not fight in the American Civil War.
3. From the list of options I selected “New York Passenger Lists -1820 -1953,” which had 685 hits – much more manageable than 46,311 but still a lot to search.
4. NEW STEP I learned yesterday. Even though 685 is still too large to search each record, before you narrow your search further, open a few of them and browse the first few entries. This gives you a feel for how the information in that record is arranged. The example from yesterday showed that one ship’s log used first initials instead of names. It is good for you to know that because if you were searching a full name rather than initials, it would never bring up anyone from that log even though your ancestor might be in it.
5. After browsing a few lists, I narrowed the search by clicking “Edit Search” in the left hand column of the search page. I limited the search to arrivals between 1890 and 1900 (by selecting 1895 as the year of arrival and selecting the +/- 5 option in the drop down window below the arrival date.)
6. I used 1871 as Adriano’s birth date with +/-2 in the drop down menu. This search yielded 87 results, which I browsed but none were even close to Adriano. Plenty of Pasquale Giorgio’s and di Georgia’s and even Gatyual Giorgio but no names that sound like Adriano. The closest was Antonio.
7. I tried another filter on the search. I removed the birth year, and narrowed the arrival year to 1897 +/- 2. You might think this would result in a smaller number of hits but in fact it yielded 112 , probably because of a broader range of birth years.
8. BUT GUESS WHAT – I think I found him!!! Take a look
“Andlee Di Giosgio” – #31 out of 112. Sure – it doesn’t sound like Adriano but it is a lot closer to Adriano than Gatyuale is to Pasquale. I know that I have Pasquale’s actual immigration record but it was indexed as “Gatyuale” instead of Pasquale because the person creating index misread the handwriting in the ship’s log. Pasquale arrived in New York in 1898. The ship’s log indicates it was his first time in the US and that he was going to visit his brother Adriano whose address was 77 Oliver Street (but no city was listed.)
9. Before I got too excited, I disciplined myself to continue through the entire list of 112 names (and I’m not great at self-discipline.) I right-clicked on each entry that even started with an A and opened each record in a new tab (another trick I learned yesterday.) By opening each record in a new tab, you don’t lose your place in your original search after you check the record and it beats hitting “BACK” about 20 times which is how I used to go back to my search before I started opening the results in a new tab!
10. Okay so now I’ve got about ten tabs open with possible names that could be Adriano but I go immediately to Andlee di Giosgio who is on screen 240 of 1246 on the microfilm images. His age is 19 and his name looks more like Andrea di Giorgio to me . What do you think?
11. So given that the arrival date matches Custode’s recollection of the year she immigrated, I thought it might be worth browsing the ship’s log to see if there were any names similar to Rose and Custode – or any two unmarried sisters traveling together. But was I going to have to search 1246 pages?
12. GOOD NEWS – this particular microfilm that has 1246 pages, contains the logs from multiple ships that arrived in New York in 1897. I only had to search screens 226 through 240 to see the names of everyone on the ship.
13. As you’ve probably surmised by now names almost never appear the way you think they will but I did find a few interesting entries that lead me to believe I’m on the right track. Here’s what I found:
• Several entries for Rosario, Rosaria, Rosalia – but none with the last name of Iacobucci or Buzzella.
• A laborer named Giacomo Busselli (21) whose last residence in Italy was Castel di Sangro. Busselli is close to Bostella and Buzzella so it looks like Rosie may have met her future husband on the ship too.
• Someone named Ignacio Jacobelli – which gave me the idea of searching for Jacobucci instead of Yacobucci or Iacobucci.
• A family at the bottom of page 238 traveling to New Castle – hmmm – that’s pretty specific information and happens to match where Ciro Giorgio was living at the time. Ciro is the oldest brother who was the first to immigrate. The last name isn’t familiar to me but the location is worth noting. And take a look at where they’re from in Italy – Roscaramarro (sp?) – more on that later.
• At the top of page 239 – Concetta age 17 is identified as “daughter” – suggesting it’s a carryover from the family list on the preceding page. The name Concetta is much more common than Custode so it wouldn’t surprise me that someone might have written it incorrectly. I can hear the ship’s clerk thinking to himself – “It’s one of those weird Italian girl names that starts with a C,” and Custode becomes Concetta. Her age corresponds to the age Custode would have been in 1897.
• It’s not clear how Piglia relates to Iacobucci but I’m not gonna worry about that right now because the rest of this info is really good! It’s possible that Custode was traveling with friends of her family so the ship’s clerk assumed she was related to them and listed her relationship as daughter.
I’ll close with a bit of Italian geography. There’s a town in the mountains of Abruzzo named Roccamorice located 97 kilometers north of Castel di Sangro. It would be about an hour and a half drive today. Roccamorice is only 72 kilometers from San Vito Chietino and would be about an hour’s drive. On the map, it is almost due east of San Vito Chietino but because of the terrain you have to drive north along the coast and then turn inland to get there. It may be impossible to know for sure if we’ve found the right record, but it certainly seems closer than anything I’ve found so far.