My Weekend in San Vito Chietino

I spent a good part of the long weekend exploring the names of San Vito Chietino, Chieti, d’Abruzzo, Italy. Or perhaps I should say – the names that were prevalent in the records of that town that also showed up in New Castle, PA.

The four Giorgio brothers who immigrated to America in the late 1800s – Ciro, Adriano, Pasquale and Romualdo (who went by Romeo) were born in San Vito Chietino, Italy between 1865 and 1879. The oldest and youngest – Ciro and Romeo – married girls from their home town (or nearby in the case of Ciro.) The two middle Giorgio brothers married girls from a small town in the mountains of Abruzzo – Castel di Sangro. (Coincidentally each of them had two wives from Castel di Sangro.)

The connection between the two towns is still an unsolved mystery but this post will focus on some of the people from San Vito Chietino that I’ve gotten to know by reading both the Italian birth records and news stories from the New Castle News.

A quick look at the birth, marriage or death indices for San Vito Chietino always yields a high number of entries for the names – Altobelli, Bianco, Cupido, Flamminio, and Veri. Probably next in terms of frequency are names like Chiarini, Ciampoli, Filippo, Giorgio, Iarlori, di Nardis and Pace.

In conversations with Irene Veri, I remember the name Bobby Cupido. Hmmm… safe bet that his father might have been from San Vito Chietino so I started my weekend research project with the goal of learning more about the Cupido family.

Irene remembers going to school with Bobby Cupido in New Castle – they were only a year apart in age. Her mother, Mary Giampaolo George, was good friends with his mother, Concetta George Cupido. Concetta and Mary’s husband Nick George, were first cousins. Concetta was the oldest daughter born to Romeo George and his wife, Dorinda diFrancescantonio, another name from San Vito Chietino – (SVC).

Sure enough, the SVC birth records for 1896 show that a Benedetto Cupido was born on November 6th to a Vito Cupido, age 50 and his wife Teresina Croce Cupido. I can’t make out her age from the birth record of her son Benedetto, but I can tell that Vito’s father is deceased. Following Italian naming convention, it is likely that Benedetto, was their first son.

Sure enough in the ten-year marriage index, I found a marriage record for Vito Cupido and Teresina Croce. They were married on May 6, 1892 (or thereabouts). From this record I can see that Teresina is 31 in 1892 which would make her 34 or 35 when Benedetto was born. Given the ages of the bride and groom, 31 and 50, I wonder if either of them might have been married before.

VitoCupido.TeresinaCroce.marriage.1892

In the New Castle News records that span a period of about 50 years, from the 1920s to the mid-1970s, there are quite a few mentions of a family named Paul and Mary Cupido who married in 1925.  I’m curious to see if I can make a connection between Paul and Benny Cupido, but after hours of research my best guess is that they may be cousins but were probably not brothers.

The obituary for Paul Cupido who died on December 24, 1970 in New Castle lists his birthplace as San Vito Chietino and identifies his parents as Frank and Teresa Giovanelli Cupido and he identifies two brothers, both in Italy at the time of his obituary. Their names are Nick and Rocco.

And what about Benedetto Cupido? We know from his birth record that that his father’s name was Vito.  Benny Cupido married Connie George in October 1929 in New Castle PA. He would have been about to turn 33 and Connie would have been 20.  For a short time after they married in 1929, it appears that Connie lived in Peekskill, New York with Benny where he was working as a carpenter. Here’s their entry from the 1930 Census.

1930 Census.PeekskillNY.BenedictandConnieCupido

But by 1934 when their only son Robert Vitus Cupido was born in New Castle PA on March 31st, the New Castle News reports the address of Mr. and Mrs. Benny Cupido as 503 Uber Street. But I can’t help but wonder if Benny was ever there, or if Connie had moved home without her husband?

1934.birthann.RobertCupido.NCNp6

The 1940 census shows Concetta Cupido and her son Robert, living inNew Castle with her parents Romeo and Dorinda George at 1008 Cunningham Street. The 1940 census for an area just outside of Blairsville, PA shows a “Penny” Cupido (who is the right age to be Benny) living in the home of his sister-in-law, Anna Cupido, a 42-year old widow. His address in 1935 ( a great feature of the 1940 census) was New Castle, Pennsylvania. It seems quite likely this is our Benny and his marital status is M for married.

An interesting thing about the family living with Anna Cupido at 402 First Avenue is that the four oldest children (ages 17-13) listed as her sons and daughter, have the last name Iezzi. Then there is a six year old Lena Cupido and an infant son, Joseph Cupido. It seems likely that Anna Cupido was married to Iezzi before she married Benny Cupido’s brother.

This 1940 census record helps explain why the 1942 draft record for Benny Cupido in Baltimore Maryland, lists Anna Cupido at 402 First Avenue, Blairsville, PA as someone who would always know his whereabouts. It doesn’t explain why he wouldn’t list his wife Concetta who was alive and well and living with her parents in New Castle. It would suggest that although Benny and Connie remained married they were estranged from one another.
Benny Cupido.draft card. 1942

 

There are several immigration records for Benny Cupido. WOW – that man made quite a few trips back and forth between Italy and the US. In fact, it appears he died in Italy because the social security death index lists his last known address as the US Consulate in Italy.

And what about Bobby Cupido after his years as a high school football star and all round athlete? The New Castle News was full of articles about his athletic prowess, starting as early as elementary school. He was quite the football star but also played basketball and baseball. An article from the New Castle News in August 1952 reports that Robert Cupido would attend Youngstown University.

His marriage license from Falls Church VA in 1956 indicates he married a woman named Sally Nitz who was from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 1, 1956. It’s interesting that Robert’s aunt Phyllis George LaFever was living in the Washington DC area at that time. It makes me wonder if that might have been the reason he moved there.

1956.MarriageLicense.RobertCupidoand Sally Ann Nitz

At some point Robert Cupido and his wife Sally Ann moved back to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, presumably because her family lived there. Here’s a picture of Sally Ann Nitz from her high school yearbook in Milwaukee Wisconsin in 1951.

SallyAnnNitz.HSGrad.1951

Irene Veri remembers that Connie Cupido and her son Bobby “moved away” but she doesn’t know when or why. She thinks that Adele George, who grew up in the same house as Bobby might know. Adele if  you’re reading this I’d love to hear from you.

We know that in May 15, 1971, Connie Cupido was still living in New Castle because an article honoring the employees of St. Francis hospital on that date, lists her as an employee who had worked at the hospital for at least 10 years.

Yet by June 22, 1972, it seems that when it was time for his 20th high school reunion, Robert Cupido was someone who’s address was unknown. I suspect that at that time he may have been living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It turns out that his wife died at the very young age of 40 in 1974 so I wonder if they moved back to be with her parents because she was ill.

Sally Cupido.Death.1974

Twelve years later, Robert Cupido, still living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, died.

Death Certificate.Robert Cupido. Wisconsin.1986

And five years after that, in 1991, his mother, Concetta J. Cupido, who was still living in Milwaukee Wisconsin died.

So that’s what my weekend research told me about the Cupido families from San Vito Chietino. Interestingly, when I discovered the marriage record for Dorinda and Romeo it turns out that Dorinda’s mother’s maiden name was Cupido.

 

 

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Thursday Tidbit – Pasquale’s Estate

Pasquale Giorgio’s name was sometimes spelled Georgia and sometimes Georgio. He worked for the B&O railroad in New Castle, had two wives, 12 children (5 who died as infants or children) and a lot of heartache in his life.

Today’s tidbit is the screen shot from my search for “Pasquale Georgia” in the New Castle News. After his death in 1960, it looks like his son Victor was the administrator of his estate. Pasquale Georgia.estatematters.1960 What doesn’t show up in this screen shot is a quiet title action that Victor George filed as the Administrator of his father’s estate. Beginning in the 1920 census, Pasquale was listed as owning his home at 109 Home Street. The house was the site of many parties and gatherings as indicated by various newspaper articles in the NCN. Apparently, by the time 1960 came around, someone other than Pasquale’s family, was claiming ownership of the home – or may have had a claim of ownership. This can occur for many different reasons, sometimes because of a technical error in how the deed was recorded or a neighbor’s fence or driveway that is too far over the property line, but in order for the estate to have clear title to sell the property, title issues had to be cleared up. From that article I learned that Pasquale’s deed to the property was dated 1919.

Now I have something new to investigate when we visit New Castle, PA this summer. I remember the people in the clerk’s office being very friendly and helpful and our time there on our last visit much too short. I’m looking forward to a return trip to where our Giorgio journey began.

Victor Americus George – Where’d He Go Wednesday?

VictorAGeorge.obit.1960.NCNIn genealogy you learn to research people by learning about their “FANs” which stands for friends, associates and neighbors. You also learn to search for details about a particular person’s life by the things you find in his obituary.

It also turns out that newspaper articles are a big boost to learning about your ancestors and the digitized version of the New Castle News is one of the best sources for information about the Giorgio boys who lived in New Castle and their descendants.

When Adriano left Dunbar in 1912, he may have spent some time in New Castle with his brothers before leaving the country for good. We know that his oldest son Nick George was living in New Castle by 1915 and probably sooner, because that was the year he married Mary Giampaolo.

This article is from the New Castle News – July 11, 1960 and even though I found it while searching “Nick George” it offers a lot of detail about his younger brother Victor. Victor died at the early age of 49 – another victim of the heart conditions that plagued so many of the men in the George family.

This article provides a wonderful summary of Victor’s many accomplishments. Another example of one of the George boys leading a very civic minded life. How sad that he died on the night he would have been installed as President of the Midland Rotary club.

It’s also interesting that he graduated from Midland High School. I do remember that in the 1930 census, Victor was living in Midland with his brother’s Fred and Joseph. He must have been helping in George’s Pharmacy before he had even finished high school – a pattern that Frank, the youngest son, also followed.

Of the original Giorgio boys who came from Italy: Ciro, Adriano, Pasquale and Romualdo, all of them, except for Ciro, had a son named Nick. Other popular names for their sons were Pasquale or Pat, Louis and Victor. Filomena – or the Americanized version – Phyllis, Josephine and Mary seemed to be the most popular girls’ names.

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

JohnAGeorge.1942

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:

NCN.7.14.1942

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.

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.”