So Many Exciting New Discoveries – Where do I Begin?!?

Let’s start with a heretofore unknown brother of the Iacobucci siblings from Castel di Sangro, Italy who came to western Pennsylvania in the late 1800s. Previous posts have documented the relationship and birth order of the five who came to America – Vincenzo (1861), Giuseppe (1866), Antonio (1876), Rosallia (1877) and Custode (1880). The gap between Guiseppe and Antonio would suggest there were other siblings but none of them were ever mentioned in the obituaries for these five. Perhaps they died when they were young or perhaps the American siblings didn’t mention their siblings who stayed in Italy in their obituaries. There’s also enough of a gap between Vincenzo and Guiseppe and sure enough – that’s where I found Luigi Giovanni Iabobucci.

Unfortunately the records of births, marriages and deaths that I’ve been looking at on line end with 1865. So I should probably write to Castel di Sangro and get a copy of Custode’s birth record and a few other important documents – like maybe a death certificate for Adriano Giorgio or a copy of his marriage records – his 1894 or 1895 marriage to Marianna Frattura and his 1913 marriage to Maria Flamminio. Yes – I really should.

But something was bothering me about Custode having the same name as her paternal grandmother, especially since she was born so long after her parents married (23 years.) If her family followed the traditional naming convention, their first daughter would have been named Custode after Agostino’s mother. It was not uncommon for families to give children the same name as an older sibling who died so my hunch was that Custode had an older sister named Custode but unfortunately, I have not been able to verify this from the online records.

But while I was searching for an earlier daughter named Custode – I did find this:


Italian birth records are fascinating to me and very uniform. Within a few days of a child being born, someone who had witnessed the birth had to go to the town hall and report the date, time and place of the birth and names, ages and professions of the parents. (Maybe they even had to take the child – it seems I remember that from my class last summer but I’m not sure.)  Sometimes the father would appear but in all of the records I’ve seen for the Iacobucci family, it was the ostetrice or midwife who reported the birth.

This birth record is from 1864. You don’t actually get to the name of the child until the middle of the page, which is near the bottom of the clip above since I cut it at about the middle of the document.

Here’s a translation of the document:

In the year 1864 on the 25th day of June at the hour of 14 (2:00 in the afternoon) before me, Pietro Ruggiero Sindaso (?) an official of the Stato Civile of Castel di Sangro in the District of Sulmona, Province of Aquila, appeared Cassiadora Frabotta, age 52, occupation midwife, living in Castel di Sangro, who presented to us a male, which we have recognized, and she declared that the same was born of Agostino Iacobucci, age 30, occupation shepherd, living in Castel di Sangro on San Leonardo Street and of Filomena Petrarca, age 24, occupation spinner or seamstress, living in Castel di Sangro on the 23rd of June in the house of ….. (HELP!) it looks like  efsi couragi.

(Cugino would be cousin so maybe the handwritten part says they lived at her cousin’s house.)

And now for the important part – The same has further declared the name of the newborn to be Luigi Giovanni.

Good stuff – huh!  The part I cut off gives the names and signatures of two witnesses who were either at the birth or in this case – are witnessing that the midwife confirmed the birth to them. Interestingly, both of the witnesses were shoemakers. I do know that sometimes the same witnesses signed many official documents, first of all, because they could write and secondly, because they were near the town hall.

The right hand column gives the details of baptism of little Luigi – indicating that the parish priest returned the report sent by the town officials. It would have been completed after the necessary records came back. It can get confusing with so many dates but again – near the bottom just before the name, it says the sacrament of baptism was administered on the 25th of June.

I also found the following record for Vincenzo which is in a slightly different format because I found it in the baptism book not the birth records books.  Lots of records – gotta love it! I should go back and get his record that looks like the one above but interestingly on the record for Vincenzo,  Agostino and Filomena were living at the ancient square “Piazza Antica.” How cool is that ?!? Pretty cool if you ask me!






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.


Tuesday Tidbit – Iacobucci Siblings

This obituary appeared in the New Castle News on June 8, 1942. Joseph Iacobucci died on his birthday – June 5th. It helps establish family relationships. Apart from identifying his children, including the married names and location of his daughters, it names his siblings. It offers the connection that we’ve suspected but had not yet confirmed – Custode Iacobucci who married Adriano George and lived in Dunbar, PA was the sister of Joseph Iacobucci of New Castle. JosephIacobucci.obit.8Jun1942.NCN.p2

By identifying Joseph Iacobucci’s siblings, we can also confirm that the guardian who signed for Custode to marry Adriano George in 1899, Vincenzo Iacobucci, was her older brother. Later census reports consistently list James (aka Vincenzo) Iacobuci in Derry, PA.

Based on the information in the 1910 census report for Dunbar PA, the first and only mention of Custode and Adriano living together as husband and wife, we already knew that Rose was Custode’s sister because she was listed as Rosa Botsella and identified as the sister-in-law to the head of household – Adrian George.

It is likely that the connection between the Iacobucci and Giampaolo families that occurred when Joseph married Mary Ann in 1894, may have had something to do with Nick George marrying Mary Giampaolo almost 20 years later in 1915. Mary Frances Giampaolo was 18 years younger than her sister, Mary Ann Giampaolo who was married to Joseph Iacobucci.

From this obituary we can confirm the family relationships among at least four Iacobucci siblings who came from Italy to America: James, Joseph, Rose and Custode. It may be safe to assume these were the only members of this immediate Iacobucci family from Castel di Sangro who immigrated to America since no others are listed in Joe’s obituary.

When we examine the death certificate for James Iacobucci who died in 1943, we find a bit more information – the parents of these Iacobucci siblings – Agostino Iacobucci and Philomena Petrarca.


By combining the information from these sources we find a lot of the details that were missing from what we knew about Custode including the names of her parents and the town in Italy she was from. So even though I’m still having trouble confirming her immigration date, many questions are answered.

But now for the hidden information from Joe’s obituary. His sister Rose is listed as living in California. This is 1942 so many of the Giorgio descendants who have fond memories of Aunt Rosie were very young. Dominic Renzi remembers her living on Limestone Hill with his family at some point while his father was married to Lena George, which would have been between 1939 and 1949, but according to her brother’s obituary, Rose was living in California in 1942. Other family stories suggest that Rose spent time with many of her nieces and nephews in Pennsylvania, so her time in California was short lived but an interesting adventure for our beloved Aunt Rosie.


March 16, 2017 – Update – I could never go back and try to update all my posts over the past three years as I find more information. Example – in July 2016 I did find Rosallia’s and Custode’s immigration record. See this post from July 2016 when I found their immigration record.

But for minor things that need updating – I’ll try to add these post scripts. I now know that California is a town on the Monongahela River in Washington County, Pennsylvania. That is probably where Aunt Rosie lived in 1943 when this obituary for her older brother Joseph Iacobucci was written.


The Giorgio Iacobucci Connection

What is the connection between the Giorgios and Iacobuccis? Interestingly, they are not from the same town in Italy. The Iacobucci’s are from Castel di Sangro, in the mountains that are inland from the coast and the Giorgios are from San Vito Chietino, which is on the east coast of Italy, slightly north of from the top of the boot – by which we learned the shape of Italy. Isn’t it interesting that Italy and California both have such distinct shapes!

When Rick and I had lunch with Irene Veri in July 2013, two things stood out to me about her memories of Custode.  First of all, she had not heard the name Custode and had always known her grandmother as Christine, which is the name that most of her grandchildren remember. Second, she did not know Custode’s  maiden name.

Rick and I met Terry and Irene when we were about mid-way through our family history trip to Pennsylvania, which proceeded in a counter-clockwise fashion around Pittsburgh, starting in Washington County, then New Castle, with a side trip to East Liverpool, Ohio and Midland PA, then to Burgettstown, where Rick’s father grew up, then to Brookville and Grove City , where Rick’s mother grew up and finally to Fayette County to visit Dunbar and the courthouse in Uniontown.  I remember being so excited on our last day of research to find the marriage licenses for Philomena and Lena George and to finally learn that Custode’s maiden name was Iacobucci.

On her marriage license in 1923, Philomena listed her mother’s name as Custode  Yacibucci and listed her father’s residence as Italy. In 1939, on her marriage license, Lena listed her mother as Christina Yacuobucci and listed her father as deceased. (The variations in spelling could be due to the clerk who took the information because handwriting on the form is different from the girls’ signatures.

When she learned of Custode’s maiden name, Irene wondered about the possible connection between her mother’s older sister Marianne Giampaolo who married Joseph Iacobucci and the connection between Adriano and Custode.  Is it possible that Irene’s parents met because Custode was related to Joseph? The missing piece in this scenario is the connection between the Giampaolo’s and the Giorgio’s but let’s examine that a bit closer.

If Custode was Joseph’s sister, she may have met his wife’s family the Giampaolos, but that wouldn’t explain how she met Adriano Giorgio.  We know that Custode and Adriano married in February 1899 in Pittsburgh.  It seems that Joseph Iacobucci and Marianne Giampaolo married at about the same time because their first son was born in 1901. I should probably search for their marriage license.

We also know that a Vincenzo Iacobucci gave permission for Custode to marry Adriano and his relationship to her was listed as “guardian.”  I found a Vincenzo Iacobucci who lived in Derry PA although I can’t know for sure that he is the same one who signed as her guardian.  What is interesting about his death certificate (he died in 1943) is that his birth place was Castel di Sangro and his father was Agostino Iacobucci and his mother was Philomena Petrarca.

I’m not going to be able to tie this up in a neat little bundle, but at least it will get me back on track with this mystery.  The interesting thing I learned when I checked the death certificate for Joseph Iacobucci (Irene’s uncle on her mother’s side) who lived in New Castle is that he was VIncenzo’s brother! The parents listed on each man’s death certificate are Agostino Iacobucci and Philomena Petrarca and their birth place is listed as Castel di Sangro.

Unfortunately Custode’s death certificate is not available on line but I may order it just to close the loop and find out if she is their sister.  She was born in 1881 so she would have been 20 years younger than Vincenzo and fifteen years younger than Joseph.  While that may seem unusual nowadays, it wasn’t that uncommon for a woman to start having children at age 16 or 17 and continue into her early 40s.

So if any of these new names ring a bell, or you remember anything about relatives in Derry PA, be sure to leave a comment.