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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Where’d They Go Wednesday? August 26, 2015

Frederick William George Circa 1919

Frederick William George Circa 1919

The first son born to Adriano and Custode – Frederick William George – is our connection to the Giorgio family. His first son, Frederick William George, Jr. is Rick’s father, although he changed the “Jr.” to the “III” somewhere between high school and medical school.

I find several things very interesting about the first child born to Adriano and Custode (probably in Pittsburgh) in November 1899. First and most interesting, Adriano and Custode – or should I say Andy and Christine – seem to have dropped the Italian custom of naming their first son after the father’s father. True – Nick George (Adriano’s first son who was born to Marianna Frattura in Italy) does have his paternal grandfather’s name. But where in the world did Frederick William come from? It doesn’t sound the least bit Italian – was that intentional? Continue reading

New Cousin Contact

Since North Carolina finally got some of the white stuff I’m home today and taking a bit of break from work to get caught up on some genealogy. Unfortunately – the white stuff we got was not the predicted 4-6 inches of snow (my mother in Richmond got that) but about 1 inch of snow and 1 inch of sleet on top of it. Thankfully – no ice damage and no power outages for us. The cold temps, which are getting even colder as the week goes on, mean that the snow and sleet aren’t going anywhere so school could be out for awhile. In fact, we just got word that schools are closed tomorrow.

On February 12th I had a great phone call with Carole Ann George Johnson, daughter of Gene and Nora George. Carole Ann and Rick’s father were first cousins (their fathers were brothers) although they never met.  Rick’s father Fred did not keep in touch with his father’s side of the family (his parents divorced when he was young) so it was great to have Carole’s first-hand accounts of Grandma (Custode/Christine) and other family members.  The list of George cousins is growing!

Also last week, I got a wonderful email from Irene Veri with some of her recollections of her family, especially her father.  Nick George was Adriano’s first son, born in Castel di Sangro, Italy to Marianna Frattura and Adriano Giorgio in 1896. Although I still haven’t found Adriano’s first arrival in America, I know he was here by April 1898 because the ship’s log for his younger brother Pasquale indicated that he was coming to visit his brother Adriano. We also know he was here on February 14, 1899 when he married Custode Iacobucci in Pittsburgh.

It seems likely that Adriano made several trips between the US and Italy one of which was to bring his son Nick back to live with him in Dunbar PA. Adriano (age 32) and son Nicola (age 8) were passengers on the SS Roma that sailed from Naples and arrived in New York on December 19, 1904. Interestingly, Nick’s recollection of his arrival date, as indicated on his Declaration of Intention to become a US citizen filed on September 17, 1919, was that he arrived in New York on the 15th day of February in 1903.

By the 1920 census (but I would guess well before then) Nick was living in New Castle, Pennsylvania and he was a laborer in the tin mill.  My guess would be that he moved to New Castle about the time Adriano left Custode, which would have been May 1912.  Nick would have been 15 years old and might have moved to New Castle where he might have lived with one of his uncles and worked in the tin mill. (More about the tin mill in a future post.)

Nick George and Mary Giampaolo were united in marriage by Reverend N. De Mita on November 11, 1915. This is the date on the bottom of their marriage license that was on file in the Lawrence County courthouse but Irene’s parents celebrated their anniversary on October 30th.  It may be that the priest certified multiple weddings that had occurred over several weeks using the same date. Mary’s mother Angeline signed the consent for her to marry Nick since she was only 17. As an interesting research note, I found a copy of their marriage license on someone else’s page on Ancestry.com.

NickandMaryGeorge.1915

Mary Giampaolo and Nick George November 1915

Nick and Mary had six children and Irene Veri is their youngest child. Irene provided this picture of her parents on their wedding day. Rick and I had the pleasure of meeting Irene, two of her daughters and one grandson when we made our family history research trip to Pennsylvania in July 2013. When we visited Irene and Terry Colaluca, who is responsible for us ever finding our George family, we didn’t know Custode’s maiden name.  We learned it a few days later when we visited the courthouse in Uniontown, the county seat for Fayette County. If we had known it when we met Irene, we might have realized the connection – one of Irene’s aunts – Marianne – was married to a Joseph Iacobucci. Though I haven’t figured out how Custode might have been related to Joseph, it seems likely there was a connection.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Custode Iacobucci George

I continued to be surprised at how many people are into genealogy and the number of creative and informative blogs available for people trying to capture their family history.  This post is in response to an idea posted on a blog entitled “No Story Too Small” that encourages other bloggers to post a story each week about an ancestor. In my case it might only be 37 ancestors since I’m not starting until April 21st but that’s still a good start.

Custode Iacobucci, my husband’s great grandmother, seems like a good person to start with. She was born in Italy on May 27, 1880 and immigrated to western Pennsylvania in 1886 or 1887. She lived in Pittsburgh with a guardian named Vincenzo Iacobucci, but exactly what relation she was to him is unclear. He signed the consent to marriage form when she married Adriano Giorgio on February 14, 1899 and identified her as his ward. My guess is that he was her uncle or older brother.

Wedding Photo 1899

Wedding Photo 1899

Sometime before December 1901, Custode and Adrian moved to Dunbar PA with their young son Frederick William George, where their second son, Luigino Anthony George, “Gene” was born on December 19, 1901. They had six more children and all but one of them, Lucia Lydia, lived to adulthood. Lydia died of scarlet fever in 1916 when she was 7 years old and is buried in the St. Aloysius church cemetery in Dunbar.

After the 1910 US Census when Adrian was listed as head of household in Dunbar with Custode, their children and Custode’s sister Rose Buzzella, Adrian, who sometimes went by Andy, disappeared. Custode George shows up in Dunbar in the 1920, 1930 and 1940 US Census reports but Adrian is not on the list. To make it more complicated, in the 1920 and 1940 Census Reports, Custode is identified as widowed, but in the 1930 census she is listed as married.

In May 2013, my husband found a third cousin when he had his DNA tested (her great grandfather was Adrian’s brother, Pasquale). We visited her in July 2013 and met other relatives, including one of Custode’s granddaughters who remembers visiting her in Dunbar although she knew her as Christine. We knew we were on the right track but there were still so many mysteries.

The last stop on our week-long ancestry trip to western PA was the courthouse in Uniontown, county seat for Fayette County, the county where Dunbar is located. Since two of Custode’s and Adrian’s daughters lived to adulthood and married, we were able to find their marriage licenses and that was how we finally discovered Custode’s maiden name – Iacobucci. All references to Custode before these used the last name of George. We also found Custode’s will, which provided information about the property she owned and the names of her children. The will was made in 1966, just one year before she died.

Perhaps the most interesting find was the record of a 1912 lawsuit that Custode brought against Adrian in an effort to keep their house after he abandoned her. Adrian and Custode ran a grocery/general store in Dunbar. They also owned property, one piece in her name, one piece in his name and one piece in both their names. According to Custode’s testimony, in February 1912 Adrian forced her to sign over her interest in the properties to him so that he was the sole owner. He threatened to kill her if she refused. In May 1912, Adrian left Dunbar and went to New Castle, PA where his brother Pasquale lived. The court in New Castle entered a judgment note in favor of Pasquale to collect $3,000 that Adrian “owed” him. (Coincidentally the value of the three properties just happened to be $3,000.) The court issued an order to the sheriff in Fayette County to force the sale of Adrian’s properties to satisfy the note. This would have forced Custode and her children out of their home but Custode brought a law suit to stop the forced sale. She claimed the note that Adrian issued Pasquale was fraudulent. Although she lost the case on a technical point (the court in one county doesn’t have the right to second guess another court’s decision) she got some help from an unexpected source when Adrian filed for bankruptcy.

In the bankruptcy action, Adrian’s creditors tried to foreclose on the properties he owned in Dunbar. Since this action was in the county where Custode lived she was finally able to have her day in court and got to keep two of the three properties. As far as the records go, Adrian never returned to Dunbar. Family stories suggest that he may have gone to Argentina and started a new family there. Other accounts indicate that he returned to Italy and died there around 1950. Custode stayed in Dunbar and provides a good example of what one determined woman can accomplish when she’s willing to fight for what is rightfully hers.