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.

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Where’d They Go Wednesday? Lucy George and Viginia Iacobucci

I’ve mentioned that one of my favorite parts of genealogy research is finding odd similarities. Sometimes the similarity is between an ancestor and someone alive today. Sometimes, like today, it is a sad coincidence from 1916-1917 when two little girls died within a year of each other – one just a few months shy of her seventh birthday the other almost 7 ½. The mystery is – how were they related?

Lydia Lucia (known as Lucy) was born to Adriano Giorgio and Custode Iacobucci in Dunbar PA in December 1909 and died on September 17, 1916 of scarlet fever. About a year later, on August 13, 1917, Virginia Iacobucci, daughter of Joseph Iacobucci and Marianne Giampaolo, who had just turned seven that March, died of rheumatic heart disease. If Custode and Joseph were siblings, these two young girls would have been cousins.

Lydia Lucia dies of Scarlet Fever at age 7

Lydia Lucia dies of Scarlet Fever at age 7

Lucy has been described as having red hair and green eyes and her death was a sad event that made enough of an impression on her older brother Joseph that he mentioned her to his children. He described her as having red hair and green eyes and some accounts of Adriano describe those same features. Others report he had dark eyes and dark hair and so did Custode. But some grandchildren of Custode think she had dark hair but blue eyes. It may be impossible to reconcile these different recollections, which may be based on what someone remembers themselves, or what they remember being told by their parents. None of the Giorgio cousins I’ve talked to could have known Lucy since she died in 1916.

Virginia Iacobucci has a different story and may have gone “unnoticed” if it weren’t for a casual mention of the death of Virginia Iacobucci in the index for the New Castle News. The date of the death announcement was August 13, 1917. I was confused, because Irene Veri had given me the rundown on the children born to Joseph Iacobucci and Marianne Giampaolo (Irene’s aunt) and told me that their daughter Virginia entered a convent. If you don’t know Irene you might think she was confused about which daughter entered a convent but I know that Irene has an amazing memory so I dug a little deeper. (Every genealogist should be so lucky to have an Irene in their family.)

The 1930 census for New Castle, PA shows that Joseph and Marianne Iacobucci have a 10 year old daughter named Virginia, which means she would have been born in 1920. Hmmm. . . a Virginia Iacobucci died in 1917 and another was born in 1920 to the same parents? Yep – not that uncommon. Remember the three Romeos from last week? Romeo, Romeo, Romeo There was a tendency for families to give subsequent children the same name as a child who died. But it can create a lot of confusion when you’re researching them later and may be what account for dates being off on some Ancestry.com trees.

Fortunately, the New Castle News is digitized and searchable on Ancestry.com. Even though not every name shows up (i.e. a search for Virginia Iacobucci turned up 0 results) if you have the date and page reference for a marriage or death announcement, you can browse that issue of the paper (scanning page by page) and sometimes find what you’re looking for.  (I’m still learning how to imbed a screen shot but if you look in the upper left hand corner of the picture below (in the black strip just below the “back” arrow) you will see the date of the newspaper – August 13, 1917.

New Castle News - Death of Seven Year Old Virginia Iacobucci

New Castle News – Death of Seven Year Old Virginia Iacobucci

Often, but not always, you can find the death certificate

Death Certificate for Virginia Iacobucci #1

So that’s how we know that two 7 year old girls died within a year of each other of similar, but not identical, diseases. It turns out that rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that may develop after an infection with group A Streptococcus bacteria (such as strep throat or scarlet fever). The disease can affect the heart, joints, skin, and brain. Even though scarlet fever and rheumatic heart disease are not the same disease, they can be caused by the same organism. Almost unheard of nowadays with antibiotics, these were common causes of death for our ancestors’ children.

And now for the mystery – how were Lucy and Virginia related?

If Custode Iacobucci was Joseph Iacobucci’s sister (pure speculation on my part) they would have been cousins. I have yet to confirm that relationship. Nonetheless, it is likely the families knew each other even though Lucy lived in Dunbar PA and Virginia lived in New Castle PA – 100 miles away. They may have even played together at Nick George and Mary Giampaolo’s wedding in October 2015, if weddings in 1915 were as widely attended as they are nowadays.

And here’s why – Mary Giampaolo, Nick’s wife, had two older sisters, both born in Italy though she was born in New Castle, PA, much later in her parents’ marriage. The sister closest to her in age was Marianne or Anna Giampaolo who was 19 when Mary was born in 1899. By the time Mary was born, Marianne had been married to Joseph Iacobucci for about four years. Their daughter Virginia #1 was born in 1910. It seems likely that as a 5 year old, she would have attended wedding festivities for her Aunt Mary, especially since she lived in New Castle and Nick and Mary were married in New Castle. Be sure to check back tomorrow because I am going to use Nick and Mary’s wedding picture for my Friday Foto Feature.

Nick George and Mary Giampaolo's Marriage License

Nick George and Mary Giampaolo’s Marriage License

The question is whether Custode and any of her children would have attended the wedding. By October 1915, Adriano had been gone about 3 ½ years. The groom Nick was not Custode’s son, but we know that he remained close to his “half” siblings who were born to his father and Custode. We also know that Nick’s children knew Custode as Grandma Christine so there was some remaining connection despite Adriano’s departure. It seems likely that some of Nick’s half brothers (Fred and Gene were 16 and almost 15 at the time Nick married) would have attended his wedding. If Joseph Iacobucci were Custode’s brother, it’s possible that she would have enjoyed the occasion of a wedding to visit with him.

So how would a mother and eight children go to a wedding 100 miles away in 1915? Even if she had a mini-van they wouldn’t all fit! They probably would have gone by train but alas, something we’ll never know for sure. (Makes you want to write down the names of everyone who attended your wedding – for posterity’s sake!  A yet unborn descendant of yours might be trying to figure this out in about 100 years – so make it easy for them!)

So that is today’s mystery – not so much a “where did they go” but “who did they know.”

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.