Happy Birthday Irene George Veri

Today is Irene George Veri’s birthday!!! Happy birthday Irene. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do on this blog without your fantastic memory and family stories that offer so much background on the George family. And did I mention pictures?

Here are just a few to highlight your special day! Maybe you can add some comments to tell us all a bit more about them. Is this one with the piano in the background at your parents’ house in New Castle?

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And here are a couple more in honor of our birthday girl.

 

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Where are you going all dressed up?

 

 

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Is this your front porch in New Castle?

 

 

Nick George -Where’d They Go Wednesday

Each of the four Giorgio brothers except Ciro had a son named Nick. 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 immigrated to America remarried and began his new family. In 1904, Adriano returned to Italy and brought 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.

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.

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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 (not a child of the original four Giorgio brothers) 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. I’m also wondering if this story is about him and unfortunately I don’t have the date for it with me right now. 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.

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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.

 

Where’d He Go Wednesday? John A. George

Time for a post about our extended Giorgio family. I have written a lot about the children of Custode and Adriano since that is the line my husband Rick descends from. Rick is the first born son, of the first born son, of Custode and Adriano’s first son – Frederick William George. So naturally, I’m somewhat partial to the stories that come from his line.

Adriano’s first son, Nicolas Vitus George, was born in Castel di Sangro, Italy on November 9, 1896. His mother, Marianna Frattura died about a week after he was born. Adriano came to America sometime within the next three years and by 1899 had married Custode Iacobucci in Pittsburgh. In 1904, Adriano went back to Italy and brought his son Nicolas back to Pennsylvania. Eight years later, Adriano returned to Italy to stay, but Nick remained in Pennsylvania. My guess is that he moved to New Castle shortly after his father left Dunbar. We know he was there by 1915 because he married Mary Giampaolo in October of that year.

I wouldn’t be writing any of this if it weren’t for the help I’ve gotten from Terry Colaluca and Irene Veri so I’m going to draw on some information from one of my early emails with Irene for today’s “Where’d they Go Wednesday Feature.”

Just to remind you about the youngest of the original Giorgio brothers who came to America, here’s a link to the post I wrote about Romualdo.

In an email from July 2013, Irene wrote:

“I remember an Aunt Dorinda George who lived on Cunningham Avenue and an Aunt Rosaria George who lived on Mill Street. Aunt Dorinda (Romualdo’s wife) had two sons, Nick and Louie and two daughters, Phyllis and Connie. Connie had a son Bobby (Cupido) who was my age . . . they moved to Illinois or Indiana after Bobby graduated and they have both died. Phyllis married Bud LeFevre and they lived in Virginia near Washington DC. They had children but I never knew them. Phyllis and Bud have both died.

Nick had two daughters, Dorinda (Nicholson) and Adele . . . they are both teachers and live in Boardman. Nick and his wife Rose have both died. They lived on Hazen Street right off Lutton Street. Dorinda has one son, can’t remember his name. Adele never married.

Louie was married to Clara and they had no children and they have both died.

I think there was also a brother named Johnny who I think was killed in the war. I vaguely remember that . . . just remember a picture of him.”

Every family historian should be as lucky as I am to have someone like Irene Veri with her great memory and her willingness to share her stories.

So John Amedio George, the third son of Dorinda and Romualdo George, is the subject of today’s post. Where did he go?

In addition to Irene’s recollection of seeing a picture of him and remembering that he was killed in the war. Terry Colaluca remembered hearing that one of the George boys died in the Philippines during World War II.

Searching records for “John George” is a tough task – Custode Iacobucci is much easier for obvious reasons. But knowing that John was from New Castle and died during World War II, I turned to Ancestry.com’s online version of the New Castle News.

The first search yielded 1,524 hits. But once I narrowed it down to the war years – I found this picture in no time

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It might be hard to read the print but can you imagine that he died in December 1941 and the telegram announcing his death didn’t get to his family until March 1942? In today’s world of instant communication that seems hard to imagine.

Subsequent articles in the New Castle News make reference to John George attending St. Vitus Church and the stars on the church flag (representing men who served in the war) “already having two gold stars” representing those who had died in the war. Another article mentions Phyllis as the sister of John George – so I think we’ve got the right guy.

In addition to finding out about John George, the third son of Romualdo, here’s another tidbit about Louis A. George, Pasquale George’s son.NCN.7.14.1942.LouisAGeorge

The article that mentions Louis A. George, carries over to the next column with a reference to his cousin, the late First Lieutenant John A. George:

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Again – another clue that Lieutenant John A. George who died in the Philippines fighting with General MacArthur – was the son of Romualdo and Dorinda George.

My knowledge of WWII is woefully inadequate but an easy date to remember is the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. That prompted the US, who had been aiding the Allies but was not directly involved in the War, to enter the fray. It’s interesting that within less than three weeks, John A. George died in the Philippines.

In another poignant twist of fate, Romualdo died on December 15, 1941, just one week before his son John was killed in action. Poor Dorinda – although she didn’t know her son and husband died within a week of each other because she didn’t learn of John’s death right away, it must have been especially heartbreaking when she got the telegram in March 1942 telling of John’s death. He is buried in the American Cemetery in Manilla.

Perhaps branching out to the other Giorgio lines will bring in some new cousins who may even have more pictures. I’d give almost anything to have pictures of each of Ciro, Adriano, Pasquale and Romualdo and would love to compare their features.

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.