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.

Thursday Tidbit – Photos of Italian Immigrants

Most of the pictures I use on this blog are ones that different family members have sent me. I have asked if it is okay to use them on the blog and everyone seems happy to share. I think my use of other pictures would be considered “fair use” under Section 107 of the US Copyright Act but I’m still learning the details of that. Check out this collection.

Lewis Wickes Hine was a photographer who used photographs to promote social change – changes in child labor laws and other working conditions for poor immigrant Americans. Most of his pictures are from New York but they still give you a feel for what things may have looked like when Nick George arrived in New York with his father in 1904.

It’s hard to imagine what this strange new world must have seemed like to our ancestors.

If the link above doesn’t allow you to search other pictures in the collection, just Google “Lewis Wickes Hine” and the second link should take you to the New York Public Library’s photography collection of his works which are available on line.

 

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.”

Adriano Giorgio – The Giorgio family head count continues!

Adriano Giorgio was my husband’s great grandfather. He was born in San Vieto Chietino, Italy on December 27, 1871. Of the four Giorgio brothers who immigrated to Pennsylvania in the late 1800s, he is the only one who did not stay in America. He left Pennsylvania in 1912, returned to Italy and married his third wife there in 1913.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Adriano married Marianna Frattura of Castel di Sangro, Italy in 1894 or 1895. Their only child – Nicola Vito Giorgio – was born in Castel di Sangro on November 9, 1896. A few weeks later, presumably from complications related to childbirth, Marianna died.

Lines 24 and 25 show Adriano and Nick Giorgio

Lines 24 and 25 show Adriano and Nick Giorgio’s Arrival in New York in December 1904

We don’t know much about Nicola’s early life. He spent at least his first seven years in Italy. Adriano came to western Pennsylvania sometime around 1896 or 1897 but we’ve yet to find his first immigration record. After getting established and having several children with his second wife, Custode Iacobucci, Adriano went back to Italy and brought his son Nick to Pennsylvania. Scroll down to lines 24 and 25 on the ship’s log to see that Adriano and Nick arrived in New York on December 19, 1904 on the S.S. Roma.

(And by the way – to illustrate why it is important to revisit your genealogical discoveries from time to time, I just realized that the person named at line 29 on this page – Nicola Scocciamarra – is coming to America to visit his uncle Ciro Giorgio of Dunbar PA. I need to revisit the family tree but my guess is that this would be the son of one of Ciro and Adriano’s sisters who stayed in Italy. This adds an important bit of information to help verify family connections that are indicated  in the Italian genealogy records I’ve seen.)

Nick George's Death Certificate

Nick George’s Death Certificate

Even though Adriano left Pennsylvania in 1912, (leaving behind Custode and their eight children) Nick stayed in PA for the rest of his life. His youngest daughter Irene has shared many recollections about her father. He sounds like a fun-loving guy. He worked hard, wrote songs and  made wine in his basement. I would really love to taste some of Nick George’s homemade wine! Nick died in 1974 of stomach cancer.

Counting Adriano, his first wife Marianna and their son Nick – we’re at 3.

NickandMaryGeorge.1915

Wedding Picture – Nick George and Mary Giampaolo 1915

Nick married Mary Giampaolo who was born in Pennsylvania to parents who came from Italy. Nick and Mary had six children: Andrew, Frank, Anthony, Marian, Nick and Irene. I’m not up to speed on all of Nick’s children or how many times they married, so to keep our counting simple, let’s add one spouse for each of them, plus Nick’s only wife Mary, and we’re now at 16. (Coincidentally and supporting the idea that Italian immigrants were a close-knit bunch, Mary’s older sister was married to Guiseppe Iacobucci.  They were both born in Italy but married in New Castle PA in on September 20, 1896.)

I do know that Irene Veri, Nick’s youngest daughter, is the only one of Nick’s children still living. I also know that she has an amazing memory and I am deeply indebted to her for sharing so many personal recollections. She is an amazing hostess, a devoted grandmother and SHARP as a tack!

At some point not too long after Adriano’s first wife died, he left Castel di Sangro, presumably leaving his young son Nick, with relatives. Although I’ve yet to find his original immigration records, by 1897 or 98, he was living in Pittsburgh. I have assumed that Adriano met Custode in Pittsburgh, but some family members heard that they came to America together. Whatever the case, they married in Pittsburgh in February 1899. Details of Marriage License

Wedding Photo 1899

Wedding Photo 1899

Adriano and Custode, who were sometimes known as Andy and Christine George, had at least eight children together.  They settled in Dunbar, PA and began running a grocery store. Recent information from one of their grandchildren (thanks Christine!) suggests that they may have moved between Dunbar and New Castle in the early 1900s. Their second son Gene was born in Dunbar in December 1901 but their third son Joseph was born in New Castle, PA in 1903.

It is clear that by about 1910, Adriano and Custode were property owners of at least three lots in Dunbar. It is also clear that they were having financial difficulties. Shortly after forcing Custode to sign over all three properties to him, Adriano declared bankruptcy and left Dunbar for good. Custode Iacobucci – One Tough Lady!

From Custode’s testimony in the lawsuit and recollections of descendants, it seems that Adriano was afraid that people were out to get him.  Perhaps this is why he returned to Italy but whatever the reason, he left behind a wife and eight young children. Custode deserves a lot of credit for raising them. Of all of the Giorgio descendants she is the one I would most like to visit with today.  (I’ve heard she tended to favor her sons and grandsons and only remembered her granddaughters by which of her sons they belonged to, but I’d still like to spend an afternoon with her.)

Here are the names and birth dates of Adriano’s and Custode’s children born in America:

Frederick William George – November 12, 1899
Luigino (Gene) Anthony George – December 18, 1901
Joseph Lloyd George – July 19, 1903
Philomena (Phil) George – June 3, 1905
Lena Agnes George – November 21, 1906 (insert birth certificate)
Hubert Allen George – September 23, 1908
Lydia Lucia George – December 18, 1909
Victor Americus George – April 1, 1911

There is one other child born to Custode in 1912 – a son named Francis. There is some question whether Francis was Adriano’s son or whether Custode may have been a bit too friendly with one of the boarders. I don’t think there is anyone alive today who can answer that question with certainty but you view my take on the matter here.Who Was Jimmy Versace?  I will add that more than one descendant has told me that they’d heard that Custode was unfaithful to Adriano.

Lydia Lucia dies of Scarlet Fever at age 7

Lydia Lucia dies of Scarlet Fever at age 7

With the exception of Lydia Lucia who died of scarlet fever when she was seven, all of Custode and Adriano’s children married. Adding one for Custode and 18 for the nine children with one spouse each, we’re now at 35 ! (Obviously Lydia Lucia who died when she was 7 did not marry, but since Fred married twice, it simplifies the math!)

I’ll add more details in another post but the grandchildren of Adriano and Custode bring our grand total for Adriano’s line to 54. I am happy to be in contact with at least one descendant from each of Adriano’s and Custode’s children, with the exception of Francis. I know that many of you are reading this post so don’t be shy about sharing what you know about your grandparents, parents, cousins and siblings.

So we’ve covered two of the four Giorgio boys plus their children and grandchildren and our count now stands at 75. I think it is pretty easy to see how the Giorgio family reunions in the 1970s and 1980s often had 100+ people in attendance.

Next week we’ll meet Pasquale Giorgio and explore his branch of the tree.