The Path That Led Us to Custode

It’s time for me to set the record straight. It is true that I currently spend more time than Rick does researching the George family. But it is also true that Rick is responsible for getting us on the path to finding his family.

If you’ve read this blog for awhile you know that when Rick got a DNA test in April 2013, he found a match who turned out to be Terry Colaluca who we met in July 2013. Terry’s great grandfather was Pasquale George, Adrian’s brother.

But before that, when Rick was researching his father’s name in hopes of finding his grandfather, he came across this draft card from 1917 on

The card is really cool because:

  1. It has Fred George’s signature, which is VERY neat. Someone made sure he had good handwriting – hmmm… wonder who?
  2. It tells us that on September 12, 1918, Fred George was a clerk at P.R. Rys Co. (a drug store maybe) in Dunbar, Pennsylvania.
  3. It tells us that at age 18, Fred was short and slender with brown eyes and dark hair.
  4. It tells us that a woman named Custode George, who has the same address as Fred, is someone who will always know his whereabouts.

And that’s how Rick discovered that his great grandmother’s name was Custode George. (Finding her maiden name is another story but I’ll save that for another post.)

The discovery of her name (thank goodness her first name was unusual) led him to a google search for “Custode George,” which led him to this result which is from a 1912 lawsuit. He found it on Google Books.



This image is really sad, because the court goes on to rule against Custode on the grounds that the court in one county can’t overturn the decision of a court in another county. It seems that “Andy” and his brother Pasquala George, were in cahoots to find a way to deprive Custode (AND HER 8 CHILDREN!) of the house they lived in.

Okay, I get it, “Andy” may have been trying to escape the Black Hand (one version of why he left Dunbar) but he obviously took time to go to New Castle and give his brother a promissory note for $3,000 before he skedaddled. I may be reading between the lines but it seems that he really had it in for Custode and didn’t care too much about his own children who would suffer the consequences.

But of course, the REST of the story is that Custode did not take one adverse ruling against her as an answer. She pursued legal action for at least two years and in the end she got to keep two of three properties.

When Rick and I stopped by the courthouse in Uniontown on our way out of Pennsylvania last July, we didn’t have long enough to study things thoroughly, but in the deed books it seems that Custode may have owned several more pieces of property than the two that were the subject of this lawsuit. We definitely need to plan another trip for some more research.

How can you not be totally impressed with Custode Iacobucci George?

A young Italian immigrant woman who had been abandoned by her husband had the wherewithal to fight against what she knew was wrong and to keep fighting until she prevailed. This was before women could even VOTE in this country! After less than 10 years in America she owned property in her own name! And even though her husband forced her to sign it over to him, she fought and got it back.

That is ONE AMAZING woman who leaves so many of us (probably more than she ever knew) forever indebted to her.


So let’s not forget to thank Rick for setting us on the path that brought us together.





2 thoughts on “The Path That Led Us to Custode

  1. It certainly looks like my dad’s handwriting – neat and controlled. His place of employment was a drug store, where he was working while in high school. He was very young, but had taken over filling prescriptions for the druggist/owner who was usually in the back of the store sleeping one off. That is how and why he became a pharmacist–it was the only working experience he had and really had no idea of what he wanted to do with his life. Who does at 16? Or even 20. As it turns out, pharmacy was not a good fit for him and he was miserable the entire time he worked at it. He was a born salesman. He was charming, interesting and smart. My mother used to say he could sell a hat rack to a moose. How I wish I could talk to him today. I understand so much more about him and what made him tick. For that, I thank Rick for kick- starting this entire process and to dear Kalen for her diligence and tenacity in holding on to this adventure like a Rottweiler with a bone. I am forever grateful and blessed that we have connected and I know, with all of my heart, that Frederick William George, the First, is proud and happy to know that Freddie and his family have been found.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Her story is why I say that she is an inspiration to all women. An immigrant and a single mother with eight children prevailed through one of the worst times of her life. Such an amazing and enigmatic woman.
    The unsung hero in this story is her attorney, John Duggan, Jr. Her case would have entailed hours upon hours of work on his part. All the pleadings and appeals would have been typed by hand and court appearances would have been very time consuming.
    What was his motivation? Did he do this for Grandma George pro bono because it is such a heart wrenching story or was there another reason? Did she have enough money to pay Mr. Duggan in an account that Adriano never knew about?
    I wish that I knew more about him and his career. It appears that a very kind and smart man came into that family’s life when they were at a low point and gave them support. I feel very indebted to this man for his act of kindness to my father and his mother and siblings. Thank you John Duggan, Jr.!!

    Liked by 1 person

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