Friday Foto Feature – Custode’s Boys

Custode's Boys

Custode’s Boys

This is one of my favorite photos. Not surprisingly, there’s likely to be some uncertainty about exactly who is who in this picture. It would help to know when it was taken. My guess is around 1920 – 1925. Any ideas from family photo enthusiasts who might be reading this blog?

And true to what several female descendants of Custode have noted, the girls didn’t seem worthy of a photo. It seems she had a preference for boys including her sons and grandsons and according to Irene Veri, she tended to remember her granddaughters by which son they belonged to rather than their names.

Here’s what I’ve pieced together (from various sources) as the birth dates of Custode’s children, in order from oldest to youngest starting with Fred who was my husband’s grandfather.

  1. November 19, 1899 – Frederick William George
  2. December 18, 1901 – Luigino Anthony George – Gene (who later went by Gene L.A. George, which I think is a great way to honor his given name plus it sounds so Hollywood!)
  3. July 19, 1903 – Joseph Lloyd George
  4. June 3, 1905 – Philomena George – Custode’s first daughter
  5. November 21, 1906 – Lena (whose birth certificate lists her name as Angelina Ida George, her father as Andy Georgia and mother as Custode Yacobucci. Her marriage license application lists her name as Lena Agnes George.
  6. September 23, 1908 – Hubert Allen George
  7. December 13, 1909 – Lydia Lucia George (who died on September 17, 1916 of scarlet fever)
  8. April 1, 1911 – Victor A. George (does anyone know what the “A” stands for? In the 1920 census there was a child listed as Americus that was the right age to be Victor, but I’ve never heard whether or not that was his middle name.)
  9. 1912, probably late in the year – Francis George (I haven’t been able to find his birth date yet.)

Okay – if this doesn’t get folks talking I’m not sure what will! Whose who in today’s Foto Friday???


What’s in a Name – or a Census Report for that Matter

Several people have commented that of the four Giorgio boys, Adrian and Custode gave their children (sons at least) the most “Americanized” names – Fred, Gene (Luigino so perhaps the exception), Joseph, Hubert (unusual), Victor and Francis (or Frank.) Like many Italian immigrants, I suspect they wanted to minimize the discrimination their children might face based on their name.

If you click on the image below it should enlarge (I’m trying to use a new screen clipping tool). I captured the lines from the 1930 US Census for Midland in Beaver County PA, where Fred George was living with his brothers – Victor and Hubert. Their names were the first three in what appears to be a boarding house at 384 Midland Avenue. There were at least four other families there, including the owner of the house – a total of 20 people – with some living “upstairs” or “rear.” The house had boarders from strange and exotic places; Yugoslavia, Italy and even Arkansas, Mississippi and North Carolina!

But if you check the middle columns for our ancestor F W George and his brothers, it is reported that they were born in Pennsylvania (true) and that their father was born in England (not true) and their mother was born in Wales (also not true). Isn’t it ironic that we take such delight in exploring ethnic heritage when less than 100 years ago some of our ancestors were compelled to deny it!

1930 Census for Fred George and two of his brothers - taken in Midland, Beaver County, PA

1930 Census for Fred George and two of his brothers – taken in Midland, Beaver County, PA

We cannot assume from this bit of information that Fred was intentionally hiding his Italian background since we don’t know who was providing the information to the census taker. Perhaps the three George boys told the landlord that their background was English instead of Italian to avoid housing discrimination. Perhaps one of the other brothers (Hubert or Victor) provided the information.

I wonder if this was originally where Fred lived with his wife Evelyn when they first moved to Midland. In 1930 they were separated, she was in California with her sisters and the two boys she had with Fred but we don’t know when she left for California or when she returned to Pennsylvania.


New Year – New Approach – Hubert Allen George (1908-1958)

After two years of spending a lot of my free time doing genealogical research, I have amassed multiple storage containers of various notes, notebooks, index cards, etc. I’m still struggling to create a uniform system of organization but I am determined to sort out and organize what I’ve already accumulated before adding more.

So to that end, as I come across random tidbits of information, I’m gonna create a post about the person the information pertains to. Today that person is Hubert Allen George – the sixth child and fourth son (I think) of Adrian and Custode George.

Hubert (sometimes mistakenly listed as Herbert or Humbert in Census records) was born in Dunbar PA on September 23, 1908 and died in New York (probably East Aurora which is a village in Erie County southeast of Buffalo) on November 15, 1958. I found these details in the Social Security Death Index, which is a fairly reliable source for birth and death dates.  For obvious reasons, it doesn’t work so well for someone named John Smith or even Victor or Joseph George, but for Hubert, it was a good source.

Hubert and his wife, Grace Ann, did not have any children. Grace was born in Sheraden, PA on April 17, 1912 and died in East Aurora NY on February 11, 1997 (again from the Social Security Death Index). Interestingly they are both buried in Hollywood Memorial Park in Pittsburgh PA, which makes me think there must have been some family connection in Pittsburgh since it’s about 225 miles south of East Aurora.

Final Resting Place of Hubert Allen George and Grace Ann George

Final Resting Place of Hubert Allen George and Grace Ann George

Lynnette shared a story about Grace that she remembers hearing from her mother. At one point when Lynnette (then an infant) and her parents and siblings were driving somewhere with Hubert and Grace, and Grace was in the back seat with Betty and the kids, Grace was quite taken aback when Betty tried to put her toddler Eleanor in the seat beside her. Poor Betty had to hold both Eleanor and Lynnette so that Grace could have her “space.” It seems she wasn’t fond of children and it’s probably for the best that they didn’t have kids.

Lynnette also remembers that Hubert had a successful career in pharmaceuticals in New York.  Hubert is listed in both the 1940 and 1930 Census reports as living in Midland PA. In 1930, he was 22, single and living with two of his brothers, F.W.George (head of household) and Victor (19) and also single. F.W. George was listed as married, but his wife at that time, Evelyn, and his two sons from that marriage (Fred and Richard) were living in Santa Monica California with Evelyn’s younger sister Grace.

By 1940, Hubert had married Grace and the census for that year shows that they lived in Midland and had a room or an apartment in a house at 541 Midland Avenue. Hubert’s job was listed as “pharmacist.” He probably began working in George’s Pharmacy when he finished college in Pittsburgh, sometime between 1935 and 1940. The 1940 Census also shows that in 1935, Hubert and Grace both lived in Pittsburgh. The census also indicates education level. Hubert had completed 4 years of college and Grace had completed 2 years.

At some point after 1940, Grace and Hubert moved to New York. I did find Hubert and Grace in the Buffalo, NY City directory for 1957 and he was listed as a manager for Leader Drugs. I’ve learned that Leader Drugs was a cooperative that supplied drugs to independent pharmacies in the Buffalo area, so in that sense, Hubert was branching out from day-to-day pharmacist duties. According to Lynnette, Hubert was very successful and always had a new car when he came to visit.