Our Family Tree Roots are Getting Deeper!

Rick and I are always excited to hear from our Giorgio famiglia but especially last week when Irene George Veri wrote that she’d found another relative. Not just any relative mind you, but one who’s been doing genealogy research since the 1990s! No surprise – it didn’t take long for me to call our new “cousin” Wilberta Illig DiVincenzo.

In light of what follows, it’s funny that Irene began her email to me almost apologetically by saying that she’d found a relative on her mother’s side . . .  “but don’t despair . . . this may bring us a lot of information about Custode” (understatement of the year!)

Irene’s mother, Mary Giampaolo was about 16 – 18 years younger than her older sisters Marianne (1880 – 1945) and Amelia/Emilia (1882-1955). Both of her older sisters were born in Castel di Sangro, Italy and emigrated to Pennsylvania in the late 1880s with their parents.  Wilberta’s mother Angeline (born in 1920) was the youngest daughter of Amelia, whose married name was Mariani.

The reason Wilberta would have information about the Iacobuccis is because her grandmother’s older sister Marianne Giampaolo married Joseph Iacobucci. Joseph is Custode’s older brother and he lived in New Castle so perhaps in some of her research Wilberta may have accumulated some information about the Iacobucci family.  Just maybe – if we’re lucky – it’s possible – you never know.  Just maybe she’ll be able to provide new information about our family. Just maybe . . . she might.

Ummm. . .  boy howdy did she!

Thanks to our phone call last night and Wilberta’s willingness to share her records,  I now have a copy of the Italian marriage record of Custode’s parents – Agostino Iacobucci and Filomena Petrarca. They married in 1857 in the church of Santa Maria in Castel di Sangro – a church that is miraculously still standing! (Most of Castel di Sangro was destroyed when the Nazi’s skedaddled at the end of World War II.)

So other than being incredibly excited that Rick and I might one day be able to see the church where his great great grandparents were married, I was equally excited to see that our grandmother Custode was named after her father’s mother – Custode Carlone Iacobucci – who worked as a spinner in Castel di Sangro, Italy in 1857. I have always loved the name Custode so of course I think it is cool that our Custode was named after her grandmother. I’m also excited to have a new name to research – Carlone.

Italian marriage records have a lot of information about the families of the bride and groom. In addition to listing the groom, Agostino’s profession – a shepherd, and age (25) we learn that his father Guiseppe Iacobucci was also a shepherd.  We don’t learn as much about the bride’s family because both of Filomena Petrarca’s parents were dead when she married (at age 19) which in and of itself adds a bit of sadness to the story.  We do learn their names – Nicasio Petrarca (her father) and Barbara Buzzelli (her mother).  Aha – didn’t have to go too far back to find the Buzzelli connection. This might explain why Rosallia Iacobucci’s first husband was Peter Buzzelli.  It was not unusual for second cousins to marry.

So I’m beyond excited to extend our family tree a generation further back.  When I mentioned to Wilberta that Adriano’s first wife was from Castel di Sangro and was named Marianna Frattura – she recognized the name and said she had some Fratturas in her family tree.

Rick has commented on this before but isn’t it interesting that all three of Adriano’s wives were from Castel di Sangro, a small mountain community mid-way between his town of San Vito Chietino on the Adriatic and Naples, on the Mediterranean. I’m curious if there was some family connection between the two towns or if he was just passing through when he met his first wife. The mountain scenery must have agreed with him because it seems to be the last place he called home. Alas – he still holds so many secrets but I’m not giving up.

Yes Irene – you were quite right to suggest that Wilberta DiVincenzo might be able to provide some information about the Iacobuccis. Quite right indeed!

Many, many, thanks to both of you.

The brides parents names are on the last two lines. You know they are deceased by the “fa” and “fu” that precede their names. The letter in Nicasio that looks like a cursive “f” is actually a lower case “s” back then.



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