Tuesday Tidbits – All About March

I’m enjoying a quiet week at the beginning of what will be a busy month. I’m trying to organize the research I need to do when I go to Charlottesville VA on March 18th. My book club buddies and I will be attending the Virginia Festival of the Book from March 18- 20th. Three days of author talks and programs and for me, a full day of research at the courthouse in Charlottesville, Virginia, where my maternal grandmother’s ancestors lived from the late 1700s through the 1800s.

The line I descend from moved to Richmond VA during the Civil War. I’m pretty sure my great great grandfather James Albert Powell married the nurse who took care of him after he was wounded at the battle of Drewrey’s Bluff during the Civil War. In any event, there are almost as many Powells with the names of Samuel, Elizabeth, Henry,and Benjamin as there are Giorgios named Pasquale, Nick, Louis, and Mary.  Add to that confusion that women were often still giving birth to children at the time their first children were having their own – so grandchildren can sometimes be mistaken as children and vice versa.The only way to be sure is to find original documents at the local sources.

After I get back from Charlottesville, I have one week before Easter and on Easter Monday Rick and I drive to New Jersey to meet Dominick Renzi. Get ready Dominick – we can’t wait to meet you! It will be fun to learn more about the Giorgios and Renzis of Dunbar, PA and see pictures of the family – especially the Renzi farm on Limestone Hill, PA.

After visiting Dominick, Rick and I head in to NYC for a four day visit. Our adult children, Sarah and Will, will fly up on Thursday (3/31) and join us for their first trip to New York. One of their friends, Bennett Sullivan, a very talented musician,  is on Broadway in Steve Martin’s and Edie Brickell’s musical Bright Star. What better way to experience your first Broadway play than to see someone you grew up with on stage?!?

Tomorrow is a super big day. No -not because of Super Tuesday – thank goodness my genealogy habit distracts me from politics! Tomorrow is important because the “countdown” for the Genealogy Research Institute in Pittsburgh registration for July classes hits ZERO at Noon EST. The wait is over and I can register for a week long class on Researching Italian Ancestors.


I can’t wait to learn how to find the information buried in Italian vital records to help us take the Giorgio Iacobucci families further back. If I get in the course I’ll be in Pittsburgh for the week of July 18th and at the end of the week Rick will drive up and we’ll do some more research, meet some more cousins and repeat our visit of three years ago that started us down this incredible journey.

Yeah – pretty exciting for a quiet start to a busy month!


January 27, 2016 -Where’d She Go Wednesday – Rosie Buzzelli

This is beloved Aunt Rosie at the Renzi Farm on Limestone Hill, PA. From Dominic Renzi’s notes on the back of the photo we know it was taken around 1947. I’ll add a bit more to what we know about Aunt Rosie later today. She is about 70 in this picture.

Most sources indicate that Rose Iacobucci Buzzelli was born in Italy in 1877. She is Custode’s older sister. She lived with Adriano and Custode George in Dunbar in 1910, but her marital status was not listed in the Census report.

She died in 1969 and is buried in Saint Rita’s Cemetery, Connellsville, PA.


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.

Trovando Famiglia has a Facebook Page

As part of my recent WordPress course – Blogging 201 – I’m learning a lot of great and useful techniques. I’m learning to extend my “brand” by using other social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.

So this morning I created a Facebook page for Trovando Famiglia – the family history blog that captures all we’ve learned about our Giorgio ancestors from San Vito Chietino, Italy. I hope it will inspire dialog, allow more people to read about and contribute to the family stories and perhaps even reach more relatives we haven’t met yet, maybe even some relatives in Italy!

I am flattered that several Giorgio descendants have expressed appreciation for my efforts over the past 18 months to capture the details of the Giorgio family story. There is only so much I can glean from the public records so it really is your stories that add the rich and vibrant detail that make this blog interesting. Don’t be shy – add your piece of the puzzle by leaving a comment in the comment box at the very end of this post or on Facebook.

Add your missing piece!

Add your missing piece!

One thing I’ve learned over the past two years of conducting genealogy research. There will be discrepancies in anyone’s family story. Sometimes the “official” records get it wrong. Sometimes two people observe the same event or hear the same story and remember it differently. I am always happy to hear from anyone who has a different take on something I’ve written here. I will always try to indicate a source for the “facts” that I recount but there are definitely times when I speculate on a certain things.

Later today I will continue the series I started last Sunday on the descendants of the four original Giorgio boys. In case you missed it here’s a link for that post. 21 and counting We left off at 21 after counting Ciro and Rosario’s children and their spouses and children. Today we’ll boost that number substantially when I write about Adriano and Custode.

Ciao for now.

Sorting and Cleaning

One of my favorite weekend activities is sorting and clearing and anyone who knows me knows that I will never run out of places in my house to do just that. Today’s project is to continue what seems to be a never ending process of organizing one of the rooms in our house into a working craft room/genealogy library. The idea is to have a dedicated space where I can organize all my genealogical finds, research and notes as well as family photos, momentos and keepsakes.
Sometimes I wonder why I’m so obsessed with researching family history but I think these two photos provide a perfect answer to that question – linking generations and keeping our stories alive.
Papa meets Will.1992Our son was born on April 22nd and I’ll never forget his red face, electric blue eyes and blond hair. (Interestingly Rick remembers his father describing him as being very red when he was born.) For the rest of the day he kept his eyes shut until this picture was taken later that evening when Rick’s father held him for the first time. A connection – preserved.
The next picture was taken of Dad holding our daughter on the day she was baptized, which also happened to be one week after her first birthday. Papa and Sarah.9.9.1990Of course, we were at Dad’s house, the site of so many family gatherings and happy memories. Dad is beaming with pride and the picture captures the way I will always remember him – dignified and kind.
I thought it might be fun for my new found George cousins to see a few pictures of Frederick William George (Fred) – who was born in 1923 and was the first son of Frederick William George (and his first wife, Evelyn Clark) who was the first son of Adriano Giorgio and Custode Iacobucci (his second wife).

As I think I’ve mentioned before, somewhere along the way whether by choice or accident, Dad became Frederick William George, III – so Rick is the 4th and our son is the 5th. Since Adriano named his first son who was born in Italy in 1896, Nicola, after his father, I’m wondering if the first son born to Adriano and Custode (but Adriano’s second son) might have been named after Custode’s father? (Answer – a year later – he was not.) As I understand it, the Italian custom is to name the first son after the father’s father, second son after the mother’s father, first daughter after the father’s mother, second daughter after the mother’s mother. So perhaps there is a Federico Iacobucci (or his descendents) out there that might hold the key to learning more about Custode’s past. {Edit a year later – Custode’s father was named Agostino according to her brother’s death certificate. We still don’t know where the name Frederick William George came from.}

Okay – gotta get back to work – who knows what else I might find in some of those boxes!