Snow Day – Let’s Dig out Info from the 1900 Census for Derry, Pennsylvania

It’s about 4:30 pm on Saturday January 7th – which also means it’s the first Saturday of 2017. It started snowing in Greensboro, NC last night around 11 pm and didn’t stop until 1 this afternoon. There’s nothing better than a snow day on a weekend when you don’t have to feel the least bit guilty about not going anywhere or doing anything (or even getting out of your pajamas for that matter).

It’s also a perfect time to get back to blogging. I sometimes worry that I don’t really have anything new to say but since I’ve spent a good part of today reviewing facts that I’ve accumulated on Custode Iacobucci – I might as well share them.

I wanted to review the various sources that give her age because there’s been some confusion as to whether she was born in 1880 or 1881. It’s not unusual for dates to be off by a year or so and there are lots of ways discrepancies can arise. It’s a good idea to look at each record and consider who provided the information. Did the informant really know the birth year of everyone in the household when the census taker came calling?

The good news for Custode is that her age is consistent in four of the five census reports that are available for her (1900 – 1940). Beginning with the first report in Dunbar in 1910, she aged by 10 years in each census report and the age given in each of them calculates to a birth year of 1880. The discrepancy occurs in the very first census report (1900) where she and Adriano appear as husband and wife, along with their first son, Frederick William George, who was born in November 1899.

The 1900 Census is a great find because it is the only one that lists the birth month and year for each person. Later census reports only list the person’s age, which can create errors when calculating the person’s year of birth. People were supposed to answer the census question stating their age “as of” a set date, but there was often confusion in how well the census taker understood his instructions and in how well the respondent understood the census taker’s questions.

For the longest time I couldn’t find the 1900 census for Adrian and Custode and now I don’t remember how I found it. I think reading someone else’s account of how they found their Italian ancestors may have led me to it but it was somewhat of a fluke. One reason it was hard to find is that Adriano Giorgio is listed as Henry George. But take a look at the screen shot of that page and I think you will agree these are definitely Adrian and Custode and their first born son Frederic (spelled in this case without the “k”) even if they are listed as “Henry and Christola.” (And Aunt Rosie appears underneath them with her husband “Peter Bootsaddle” but no child yet. The two columns to the right of her name are for for # of children born/#of children living and they both have “0.”


One of the most interesting things about this census is that “Henry” reports his immigration year as 1893 and his citizenship status as “NA” which means he had become a naturalized citizen by 1900. This means that there should be some naturalization records I’ve yet to find and they might provide more information about him. It would also explain how Custode gained her citizenship status and why I haven’t found any naturalization records for her.

So it’s great to know that Adriano became a US citizen because that would be how all of our more immediate ancestors (the children of Adriano and Custode) gained their citizenship. Back then, it wasn’t enough just to be born here. During this time frame, if a woman who had been born in America to American parents married an alien, she actually lost her US citizenship! Up until sometime in the 1920s women could not file for their own citizenship status – it had to come through their father or their husband. (That’s a simplified version of a very complex set of immigration rules.)

Here’s a link to an article with more than you probably want to know about women’s citizenship status but I find it fascinating.

But take a look at the date listed for his immigration year – 1893! That definitely throws a wrench in my guess work as to when he arrived. And of course I’ve still never found his immigration records. But if he first immigrated to the US in 1893, it means he went back to Italy to marry his first wife Marianne Frattura and consummate their marriage leading to the birth of Nicola Vitus Giorgio in Castel di Sangro in 1896.

And we know that Uncle Nick (aka Irene’s father) was born in Italy. And we have a record of him immigrating to the US with Adrian in 1904. I had always assumed Adriano came to the US shortly after Marianne died, but this new information creates another possibility.

And while we’re on the topic of marriages – take a look at the number of years Aunt Rosie and her husband Peter have been married – 5. So if that is correct, she was married to Peter Buzzelli BEFORE she immigrated to the US in 1897. And we do know that is her immigration year because I found that record this summer.

There are several trees on with lots of information about the Buzzelli family from Castel di Sangro but the only connection it shows to our family is the marriage of Adriano and Marianne Frattura. I sent a message to the owner of that tree awhile ago to get more information but he didn’t respond. Here’s a link to his tree in case IRENE and DOMINIC might take a look and see some familiar names. He has some interesting pictures and he has actually visited relatives in Castel di Sangro recently.

So now I have a few new mysteries to run down but I thought I’d get this on the blog so that other folks can weigh in with their ideas about this. I love hearing from my extended Giorgio family and posting on Trovando seems to be the best way to keep in touch.

Hope the New Year is good to you and I will try to get back to a more regular posting schedule.





2 thoughts on “Snow Day – Let’s Dig out Info from the 1900 Census for Derry, Pennsylvania

  1. Comment on Aunt Lena. I had never seen her smile. She & Phil were close even though they seemed to be polar opposites.
    Aunt Phil always upbeat. Even when she was angry, she presented I. A way that was funny.
    Aunt Lena, I don’t think was ever happy.. her marriage to Uncle Nick Renzi was arranged by grandma.
    She was reall mean to Dom & Gene, her step sons. .


    • Carole Ann – Good to hear from you. Also interesting to know that Phil and Lena were close even though they were opposites. I suppose they had a common cross to bear – being Custode’s daughters. Someone told me (although now I can’t remember who) that Custode seemed to favor her sons over her daughters. I think Aunt Phil wanted to study nursing but Custode wouldn’t let her (does anyone remember telling me that?)
      Snow is a good excuse to spend time on Ancestry. Check out my new post on Aunt Rosie.


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