Tuesday Tidbit – Iacobucci Siblings

This obituary appeared in the New Castle News on June 8, 1942. Joseph Iacobucci died on his birthday – June 5th. It helps establish family relationships. Apart from identifying his children, including the married names and location of his daughters, it names his siblings. It offers the connection that we’ve suspected but had not yet confirmed – Custode Iacobucci who married Adriano George and lived in Dunbar, PA was the sister of Joseph Iacobucci of New Castle. JosephIacobucci.obit.8Jun1942.NCN.p2

By identifying Joseph Iacobucci’s siblings, we can also confirm that the guardian who signed for Custode to marry Adriano George in 1899, Vincenzo Iacobucci, was her older brother. Later census reports consistently list James (aka Vincenzo) Iacobuci in Derry, PA.

Based on the information in the 1910 census report for Dunbar PA, the first and only mention of Custode and Adriano living together as husband and wife, we already knew that Rose was Custode’s sister because she was listed as Rosa Botsella and identified as the sister-in-law to the head of household – Adrian George.

It is likely that the connection between the Iacobucci and Giampaolo families that occurred when Joseph married Mary Ann in 1894, may have had something to do with Nick George marrying Mary Giampaolo almost 20 years later in 1915. Mary Frances Giampaolo was 18 years younger than her sister, Mary Ann Giampaolo who was married to Joseph Iacobucci.

From this obituary we can confirm the family relationships among at least four Iacobucci siblings who came from Italy to America: James, Joseph, Rose and Custode. It may be safe to assume these were the only members of this immediate Iacobucci family from Castel di Sangro who immigrated to America since no others are listed in Joe’s obituary.

When we examine the death certificate for James Iacobucci who died in 1943, we find a bit more information – the parents of these Iacobucci siblings – Agostino Iacobucci and Philomena Petrarca.


By combining the information from these sources we find a lot of the details that were missing from what we knew about Custode including the names of her parents and the town in Italy she was from. So even though I’m still having trouble confirming her immigration date, many questions are answered.

But now for the hidden information from Joe’s obituary. His sister Rose is listed as living in California. This is 1942 so many of the Giorgio descendants who have fond memories of Aunt Rosie were very young. Dominic Renzi remembers her living on Limestone Hill with his family at some point while his father was married to Lena George, which would have been between 1939 and 1949, but according to her brother’s obituary, Rose was living in California in 1942. Other family stories suggest that Rose spent time with many of her nieces and nephews in Pennsylvania, so her time in California was short lived but an interesting adventure for our beloved Aunt Rosie.


March 16, 2017 – Update – I could never go back and try to update all my posts over the past three years as I find more information. Example – in July 2016 I did find Rosallia’s and Custode’s immigration record. See this post from July 2016 when I found their immigration record.

But for minor things that need updating – I’ll try to add these post scripts. I now know that California is a town on the Monongahela River in Washington County, Pennsylvania. That is probably where Aunt Rosie lived in 1943 when this obituary for her older brother Joseph Iacobucci was written.



One Search is Over!

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know I’ve been searching for anything I can learn about Custode Iacobucci George, my husband’s great grandmother. Many of you have shared wonderful stories and memories that help us understand what she was like.

We’ve come a long way in the three years since Rick first discovered his great grandmother’s name on the World War I draft registration card for his grandfather. It took another 18 months and a trip to Pennsylvania before we learned that her maiden name was Iacobucci and that she had a sister named Rose.

But other details continue to elude us.  Was she raised in a convent in Naples where she learned to read and write before she came to America? Or was she from Castel di Sangro, the home town of many other Iacobuccis and Buzzellas that show up in several family trees on Ancestry.com? We know that Rose Buzzella was her older sister and lived with her and Adrian in Dunbar in 1910. We also know that a Vincenzo Iacobucci signed Custode’s marriage license as her “guardian” but the license didn’t indicate their relationship. Older brother – maybe an uncle???

From a death certificate for Vincenzo Iacobucci we learned that his father’s first name was Augustine. This is how we learned that Vincenzo and Joseph Iacobucci were brothers (probably). I wondered if Custode and Rose might be their sisters but without being able to find their death certificates I couldn’t make the connection by matching their parents’ names.

As I was scouring some online records today trying to learn more about Custode’s youngest child – Frank who was born in 1912 or 1913, I decided to search for Custode one more time in the Connellsville Daily Courier.  A search for her name yielded nothing. But then I decided to check the newspaper for the day she died. Maybe I’d find her obituary and maybe there’d be some good information in there. Maybe something like this:


I’ve read about breaking through a “genealogical brick wall” before but I never experienced what it felt like until today! The first link to connect Custode and Rose to Vincenzo and Joseph. The first link to the Iacobucci family that is well-documented on other public family trees, that do not include Custode and Rose. There’s still a lot of work to do, but discoveries  like this are what keep me going.

And as for Frank (who seems to be even more elusive than his mother) look what else I found in Custode’s obituary:


Hollywood – here we come!!!

Where’d She Go Wednesday? Searching for Aunt Rosie

Most of Custode’s grandchildren remember the happy smiling face of their parents’ Aunt Rosie in stark contrast to their memories of their grandmother. Rosie is described as sweet, happy and always smiling even though she only had a few teeth – Grandma George, as she was known, not so much. She was stern and serious. They also recall that Aunt Rosie didn’t speak English but Grandma George did.

I based my initial assumption that Rose was Custode’s sister on the information in the 1910 Census for Dunbar, PA, which listed Andy George as the Head of Household living with his wife Christine, their children and Rose Botsella, his sister-in-law. Rose was 35 and her marital status was blank. If she was Adriano’s sister-in-law her last name would have been George or Giorgio. If she was Custode’s unmarried sister, she would have been Iacobucci. This is why I deduced that she was a widow and had been married to someone named Buzzelli. But the column for marital status is left blank so we don’t know that she was a widow.  As for her name, it would be a common mistake for a census taker to spell her name with a “t” since that is probably how the “ZZ” sounded.

If Adriano and Custode were running a grocery store during the first ten years of the 1900s – there may have been someone helping take care of their children. That someone was probably Rose. If Rose was recently widowed (whether in Italy or the US we don’t know) it would be a convenient arrangement for her as well. The fact that the two sisters didn’t get along, so I’ve heard from some of Custode’s grandchildren, would explain why we don’t find Rose living with Custode in any of the census reports after 1910.

So where did Rosie go? Another bit of information from the 1910 census gives us a clue. Her occupation is listed as “servant” and her employer is listed as “private family.” In the 1930 census for Chartiers, PA in Washington County – not too far from Dunbar, we find a “Rosy Buzzelli” living with William and Mary Warne (ages 67 and 57) on a farm.  Her occupation is listed as “servant.” The census report indicates she is able to read, write and speak English and that she immigrated from Italy in 1897. Even though I haven’t found her immigration records, that is the year in which I think Custode arrived. Maybe I should look for them traveling together – Custode Iacobucci and Rose Buzzelli.   Interestingly,  in the 1930 census, the column for marital status indicates that Rosy is married.  Hmmm…. a mistake or were she and her husband separated for a long period of time and if so  – why? Or maybe she told her employers she was married. There’s really no way to know how that information was included. It’s also possible that the Rosy Buzzelli is Chartiers is another woman and not our Rosie. So many possibilities.

If we assume that when Italians came to America they tended to live with other families they knew from their home town in Italy, we would expect to find the following family names in Castel di Sangro – Giorgio, Iacobucci and Buzzelli and living together in America. And we do. Particularly interesting is that in the 1930 census for Dunbar, we find Alphonse Buzzelli and his wife Viola living at 120 Connellsville Street – just three houses down from Custode George who lives at 128 Connellsville Street. 1930 Census.Dunbar.Connellsville St.marked
Alphonse is 35 in 1930, he was born in Italy, and his immigration year is listed as 1901, which means he came over when he was six. But more interesting than that is his occupation – he is a clerk in a grocery store. Could it be the same store that Custode and Adriano once ran?

It is pure speculation on my part but I think there is a connection between the Iacobucci’s and Buzzelli’s based on more than the marriage between Rose Iacobucci and the yet unidentified Buzzelli who was her husband at some point before 1910.
I’ve been doing some research on Iacobucci’s and Buzzelli’s and looking at the other trees on Ancestry.com that have those names.  The real question I want to answer is about the relationship between Guiseppe Iacobucci of New Castle, PA and his brother Vincenzo Iacobucci, of Derry, PA and the two Iacobucci sisters – Custode and Rose. Were they all siblings or were they related some other way?  Perhaps other family trees on Ancestry.com will provide some answers.

The Iacobucci siblings (I think) are listed here by birth order with their birth and death dates following their names. As far as I can determine, they were all born in Italy.

Vincenzo (1861-1943) Remember – a Vincenzo Iacobucci was identified as Custode’s guardian when she married Adriano in Pittsburgh in 1899.
Guiseppe (1866 -1942) He died on his birthday – June 5th
Rose (1877 – 1968)
Custode (1880-1967)

If these four Iacobucci’s are siblings, Custode was 19 years younger than Vincenzo. That is certainly possible given the early start that most Italian women in the mid- 1800s got on having children and the number of children they had. It is also possible that Vincenzo was a cousin or uncle to Custode.

There is no easy answer but it is helpful to know that Rick’s DNA matches some of the owners of Ancestry.com trees that have Buzellas and Iacobuccis. They don’t include Custode or Rose but they may not have extended their tree that far since they are focused on their direct line. The DNA connection strongly suggests that some of the Iacobuccis and Buzzellis in those trees are connected to our family. My task is to find out how!

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.

Proof Positive!

As college acceptance time winds down, I’m sure there are still a few people waiting to see if their envelope is thick or thin. I was happy to get a THICK envelope yesterday from the Department of Court Records Allegheny County, Pittsburgh PA.  About a week ago I submitted an online search request for Adrian’s and Custode’s marriage license. Yesterday it arrived.

No matter how many times I find confirmation of birth dates, marriage dates or other personal details about someone there’s nothing quite like seeing the original document that provides the proof (or in this case a copy of it).  Seeing Custode’s and Adrian’s handwriting somehow makes them more real to me.  And of course there are always a few tidbits of new information in such documents.

First of all – Custode has beautiful handwriting – although the “I” in Iacobucci looks more like a “G” so the name looks like “Gacobucci.”  Adrian’s writing looks a bit more practiced, but is also very clear and legible.  Adrian’s name on the marriage license is spelled “Adriano Giorgio.”  He lists his occupation as laborer and he notes that his earlier marriage (no names given) was dissolved by death. Their address is listed as 37 Washington Street, Pittsburgh, PA.

The license also provides birth dates for Adrian and Custode.  True – this is their report of their birth dates so not as good as the original birth record from Italy would be but good enough for our purposes.  Adrian was born on 27 December 1872 and Custode was born on 27 May 1881. So when they married, Adrian was 26 and Custode was 17.  Interestingly, Custode died on 27 December 1967. I wonder if she was thinking of Adrian on her death bed?

Included with the record was a document entitled “Consent to the Marriage of a Child or Ward” and it was signed by Vincenzo Iacobucci. The relationship between Custode and Vincenzo is not stated but he was probably her brother or uncle because he is identified as her guardian and she as his ward. Later marriage licenses provided more details including the maiden names of the bride’s and groom’s mothers, but in 1899 the form was not so detailed.

St. Peter's Church, Pittsburgh, PA

St. Peter’s Church, Pittsburgh, PA

And finally, as we prepare to celebrate Easter, it is fitting that the last document in the file is the certificate signed by the priest who performed their marriage ceremony on February 14, 1899 at St. Peter’s Church in Pittsburgh. His handwriting is a bit hard to read but I think it is Rev Tittus Lagosia or Lagoria.

So there we have it – not that we had much doubt. Proof positive that Adriano Giorgio and Custode Iacobucci began their married life in Pittsburgh PA on February 14, 1899.