GRIP – Day 2

img083Let’s start with another picture from Irene’s basement. It is identified on the back as “Phil, Mother and Lena” and we know from others we’ve seen that this is a picture of Custode Iacobucci Giorgio and her daughters, Philomena George Galland and Lena George Renzi. There’s no date on the back but I would guess it was taken in the early to mid 1930s.

Now for an update on how my class is going. We’ve finished the language lessons for the course and I’ve learned just enough Italian and Latin to know some of the words I’m likely to encounter in genealogical documents. One of the most important words I learned was fu. When you see fu at the beginning of someone’s name in a record, it means that person is dead. I like fu – it’s easy to recognize, even in crazy 18th century Italian script, and it demonstrates a great economy of words.

Today’s class topics were:

8:30 – 10:00 – Latin for Genealogical Records

10:15 – 11:30 – Researching Catholic Ecclesiastical Records

1:00 – 2:30 – Marriage in the Catholic Church: The Council of Trent, Impediments and More

2:45 – 4:00 – Evaluating Evidence in Italian Genealogical Records

4:00 – 5:00 – Three Case Studies

Yup – long day!!! But I’m loving it!!! I don’t agree with some people I’ve met who say that these are the nicest dorms they’ve ever seen but I do agree that the cafeteria food is great. I had a wonderful dinner of salmon, brown rice and steamed vegetables. I’m not crazy about the breakfast options because the eggs are always cold and I HATE cold eggs, but everything else has been wonderful – even the coffee and unfortunately for my waistline – the desserts.

I’ve started talking to some of the people in my class including Jose who is 100% Italian but was born in Argentina. Both of his parents immigrated to Argentina from Italy in the early 1900’s. He gave me a website that might help determine whether or not Adriano immigrated to Argentina. He also offered to help if I don’t find anything. Jose lives in Chicago now but he was born in Buenos Aires.

I was a little stressed when I discovered I have a written homework assignment that has to be emailed to the instructor by noon on Thursday. It involves translating two Italian records and answering several questions about them. Melanie handed them out in class just before her lecture on how to apply the genealogical proof standard to Italian records and I breathed a sigh of relief when I got two documents that are on pre-printed forms. One is completely typed and the other has fairly legible handwriting (not the crazy hard to read script from the 1700’s that we’ve been looking at for the past two days). Whew!

After dinner I heard a lecture by Tom Jones entitled – “Can a Complex Research Problem be Solved Solely Online?” It was an interesting analysis of Thomas Edison’s father using on-line records (he had three wives, possibly more than one at the same time) but I must admit I wasn’t giving it my complete attention and after about an hour of it (and he wasn’t finished yet) my eyes started to glaze over. Earlier in the day someone had given me the name of a book that every genealogist simply must have – it explains the way to write a proof statement and all the genealogical proof standards and how to apply them. Guess who wrote it? Yup – Tom Jones.

Back to the topic of this blog and today’s Tuesday Tidbit. The last hour of class provided a perfect one. Melanie Holtz, one of the instructors who currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, was originally from western Pennsylvania. Her great grandfather, Antonio Lo Schiavo, immigrated from Italy to western PA in the late 1800’s. It turns out that her great grandparents were married in Pittsburgh in the same church that Adriano and Custode were married in – in the SAME year – 1899 – by the same priest – Father Lagoria!

There were three Italian parishes in Pittsburgh at the turn of the 20th century and Father Lagoria served all three. After a couple got a marriage license from the County court, they were able to be  married by the priest. After performing the marriage ceremony, the priest was supposed to send a document known as a marriage return back to the county court courthouse. This is the only proof that the ceremony actually occurred. Getting a marriage license is not sufficient proof of marriage because a couple could get a license but not follow through on the marriage.

In our case, Father Lagoria did file the marriage return and the document I got from Allegheny County shows the date of the marriage as February 14, 1899. In Antonio Lo Schiavo’s case, Father Lagoria did not file the marriage return and the only proof of the marriage is found in the ecclesiastical records. I do need to find out how to request a copy of the ecclesiastical records of Adriano and Custode’s marriage because they might have additional information about both of them.

Okay – time to get back to my translation and analysis of Giovanni Bettini’s records from Marsciano.


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