Where’d They Go Wednesday – Pasquale George

For the past three years as I’ve searched the stories that accompany the four Giorgio brothers who came to western PA from San Vito Chietino, Italy, Pasquale George has captured my attention. So finding his picture was almost as exciting as when we discovered Custode Iacobucci’s maiden name.

I’ve wondered what Pasquale looked like and last night, thanks to a picture provided by Pasquale’s granddaughter – Phyllis Duffy – I found out. Here is his picture that hangs on her wall.

Pasquale.6.21.16

And here is a cropped close-up that I made from this picture of Pasquale, with one that of Adriano Giorgio his brother. Hmmm… the quality isn’t great so it’s not too easy to compare the two but what do you think – could the men in these pictures be brothers?

Pasquale.croppedAdriano.6.22.16

 

 

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Nick George -Where’d They Go Wednesday

Each of the four Giorgio brothers except Ciro had a son named Nick. (Although it is possible that Ciro’s first son was named Nick, but he did not live to be an adult.) ,For today’s post I’ll provide a bit of information on four of them and help sort them out.

Thankfully, an important piece of advice that I got from Terry Colaluca when I began researching the George family in New Castle, PA was not to confuse the Italian George’s with the Syrian Georges. That was a big time saver for me because it is easy to get them mixed up especially in reviewing newspaper articles. They also tended to have children about the same ages and often with the same names. (I think there is also a Greek George family – to make things more complicated!)

From oldest to youngest, the Nicks are Nicholas Vitus George (1896-1974) son of Adriano and his first wife Marianne Frattura; Nick Anthony George (1907 -???? ) son of Romualdo and Dorinda George; Nicolino George (1916 – 1992) son of Pasquale and his second wife, Filomena and Nicholas Frederick George (1928- 2002) son of Nick Vito George and his wife Mary.

Nick George #1

Nicholas Vitus George was born in Castel di Sangro Italy in 1896 to Adriano’s first wife Marianne Frattura. His mother died the week after he was born and his father, Adriano, immigrated to America,  married Custode Iacobucci on February 14, 1899, and began his new family. In 1904, Adriano returned to Italy and brought his son Nick to Dunbar, PA. All of the children born to Adriano and his second wife Custode Iacobucci considered Nick their brother.

Nick’s youngest daughter, Irene Veri, is able to provide first hand accounts of her father as have many of her cousins. Uncle Nick is universally described as fun-loving, happy and jovial. He loved to sing and his wife Mary was a wonderful cook.  It is clear that visits to Nick and Mary’s home on East Lutton Street in New Castle created a store of happy memories for many Giorgio descendants.

Nick loved to sing, made wine in his basement (which he shared liberally with his guests regardless of their ages) and was active in church and community affairs. He never had a car and either walked or got a ride with someone when he needed to go somewhere.

Here’s one of Irene’s early memories of her father:

“My earliest remembrance of my father was when I was about 4 or 5 years old . . . he was working at the Irwin Works in Irwin, PA . . . a cousin of mine, also with the name of Nick George, his mother was Dorinda, also worked at the Irwin Works. He picked my father up and off they went. Since it was too far to commute back and forth in one day, they left early Monday morning and came back late on Friday. I remember standing on the couch looking out the window on Fridays waiting for him to come home. He always brought me a surprise and I greeted him with a big hug and kiss.”

And here’s a newspaper article and picture of her father from the New Castle News in December 1956 when the Sons of Italy began construction of a new lodge. Nick George is on the left holding his hat in his hand.Nick.SonsofItaly.bldg.1956.NCN

Irene can fill us in on whether or not her father ever made a trip back to Italy. I think he was planning one some time in the late 1940s or early 1950s when he got word of his father’s death but as far as I know he never visited his homeland but one of his sons did.

Nick George #2

The next Nick George, Nick Anthony George, was born to Romualdo and Dorinda George in 1907, three years after his parents arrived New Castle from Italy. His delayed birth certificate is copied below and includes his parents’ names and their birthplace. NickAnthonyGeorge.Delayed birthcert.1907Many of the articles in the New Castle News from the 1920s and 1930s mention Nick George as a wrestler and as the coach of the YMCA wrestling team. Nick was state champion in his weight class for several years. His younger brother John was also a  wrestler. Many of the 478 “hits” that I got when I searched the New Castle News were for this Nick George. In this picture from the March 31, 1934 edition, Nick is seated on the front row, far right and his brother John is beside him. Handsome guys – I would love to see a picture of their father Romualdo. Interestingly – they seem to bear the classic male George – non-smile.

Nick&JohnnyGeorge.1934

Another interesting tidbit about this Nick George is that in 1942 he married a girl named Rose Colaluca, creating a second Giorgio/Colaluca connection. (The first occurred when Pasquale’s oldest daughter, Mary George, married Romeo Colaluca in 1928.)Nick

Nick’s younger brother John George was one of the first servicemen from New Castle, PA to die in World War II. You can read more about him here.

Nick George #3

Nicolino, Pasquale’s son, was born in 1916. Apparently he travelled to Italy with his father and brother Louis because the ship’s log from July 1925 shows them returning to America. It also gives his date of birth as August 1, 1916. I wonder if Pasquale returned to Italy in hopes of finding a new bride? It seems that is what he did after his first wife died in childbirth in 1914 only to have tragedy strike again in 1920 when his second wife died less than a week after giving birth to her fifth child in as many years.

Nicola.shiplog.22Jul1925

In the 1930 Census Nick was living in the home with his father Pasquale, his half-sister Vida and two brothers, Victor  and Louis but by 1935 he was institutionalized at the Polk State School for the Feeble Minded. I know that institutions bring up a host of horror stories but during the Depression it was very difficult for people to take care of their families, particularly if one of the children was a special needs child. According to Terry Colaluca, although Nick was institutionalized for most of his adult life, his intellectual disability was not severe enough that he would be institutionalized today. Pasquale’s grandson Patsy George, visited his uncle Nick George on a regular basis. I have noted that Nick lived until 1992 but I don’t have a source for that date.

Nick George #4

In the next generation we find Nicolas Frederick George, the last of four sons born to Nick and Mary George. He was born in New Castle on March 7, 1927 and died on August 6, 2002. Terry remembers that a Nick George owned a small printing company in New Castle and I’m pretty sure that is our Nick because I saw some ads in the New Castle News for his printing company. This would make Nick the third of Nick and Mary’s sons to work in the newspaper business. Two older brothers, Frank and Anthony, moved to San Leandro, California and worked in the newspaper business out there.

NickJr.classified manager.

Where’d They Go Wednesday

Wednesday May 25th is moving day for Irene Veri! After 46 years in her house on Mount Jackson Road, New Castle, PA, she is moving to Cranberry to be closer to her daughters. I talked to her last night and she is determined to feel cheerful as she drives away from her home today after the movers pack up everything.

I can’t imagine the process of downsizing somewhere you’ve lived for so long. And to think that our ancestors came to a new country with only a suitcase! I’m looking forward to visiting Irene at her new place in July before my genealogy course starts. In fact, when she picks me up from the airport in Pittsburgh on July 16th, it will be exactly three years from the day when Rick and I first met Irene and her daughters Lynnette and Andrea when this picture was taken.

DSC08891

George Cousins Reunited July 2013

Rick and I had spent the morning at the courthouse in New Castle doing family history research with Terry Colaluca (seated next to Rick in the picture above) and Irene had us over for lunch. At that point in our week-long research trip, Custode’s maiden name was still a mystery to us but a few days later when we found Philomena’s and Lena’s marriage license applications at the Fayette County courthouse in Uniontown, PA, we discovered the Yacobucci/Iacobucci name.

Here’s hoping Irene has many years of happiness in her new place as she treasures the memories from her life in New Castle. And knowing what a great memory she has, I know Irene is carrying a treasure chest full of memories with her today.

 

Victor Americus George – Where’d He Go Wednesday?

VictorAGeorge.obit.1960.NCNIn genealogy you learn to research people by learning about their “FANs” which stands for friends, associates and neighbors. You also learn to search for details about a particular person’s life by the things you find in his obituary.

It also turns out that newspaper articles are a big boost to learning about your ancestors and the digitized version of the New Castle News is one of the best sources for information about the Giorgio boys who lived in New Castle and their descendants.

When Adriano left Dunbar in 1912, he may have spent some time in New Castle with his brothers before leaving the country for good. We know that his oldest son Nick George was living in New Castle by 1915 and probably sooner, because that was the year he married Mary Giampaolo.

This article is from the New Castle News – July 11, 1960 and even though I found it while searching “Nick George” it offers a lot of detail about his younger brother Victor. Victor died at the early age of 49 – another victim of the heart conditions that plagued so many of the men in the George family.

This article provides a wonderful summary of Victor’s many accomplishments. Another example of one of the George boys leading a very civic minded life. How sad that he died on the night he would have been installed as President of the Midland Rotary club.

It’s also interesting that he graduated from Midland High School. I do remember that in the 1930 census, Victor was living in Midland with his brother’s Fred and Joseph. He must have been helping in George’s Pharmacy before he had even finished high school – a pattern that Frank, the youngest son, also followed.

Of the original Giorgio boys who came from Italy: Ciro, Adriano, Pasquale and Romualdo, all of them, except for Ciro, had a son named Nick. Other popular names for their sons were Pasquale or Pat, Louis and Victor. Filomena – or the Americanized version – Phyllis, Josephine and Mary seemed to be the most popular girls’ names.

Where’d They Go Wednesday – The Buildings of Castel di Sangro

My knowledge of World War II history is abysmal. For that matter, so is my knowledge of the first half of the 1900s. That’s an added benefit of doing genealogy now – I’m filling in gaps in my general knowledge of history.

It turns out that Castel di Sangro – most likely the home of Custode Iacobucci before she came to America – was held by the Germans during WWII. If the Italian genealogy source is correct, it is also where Adriano Giorgio was living after he left Dunbar and  where he married his third wife – Maria Flamminio – in June 1913.

If our estimate of when he died is correct (early 1950s) he would have been in Castel di Sangro during WWII. Given his birth date of 1871, he would have been too old to fight for Italy during WWII but he would have lived there during the German occupation.

Which means he would have experienced this after the Germans were forced out by the Allied Forces Eighth Army. This picture appeared in Pittsburgh newspaper on January 2, 1944. The fighting around Castel di Sangro occurred in late November 1943.

Castel di Sangro.1945

I wonder how our ancestors who were from Italy felt when they saw their home town in ruins? There were plenty of Georges and Iacobuccis who joined the American Armed Forces and fought for the Allies so I know our ancestors were proud Americans willing to fight for their new country. Most of those young enough to fight during WWII had probably never been back to Italy, but for those older relatives who grew up there, I imagine this would have been a heartbreaking sight.