Geneablogy: An occasional Journal about our experiences exploring our heritage

Wednesday, May 31, 2000

The next time someone asks me why I like pizza so much, I'm going to point them to this site. Clearly it's heredity!

Posted at 5:37:54 PM Link to this entry


Monday, May 29, 2000

I've been doing some Census work over the past week. Last Tuesday, I went down to the Family History Center to look at the Soundex index for 1900 (LDS film number 1244952). I found Ralph A Brandi listed, with the actual Census referred to at Enumeration District 43, Sheet 6, Line 68. The index lists his birthdate at September, 1871, which I already knew, and said he was naturalized already by 1900. The address given is 627 North Franklin in Saginaw. His wife Helen is listed as being born in Germany in August, 1874. I'm not sure what the "NR" under Naturalization means. And the three children are shown with birth months, too. Melvina M was born in August, 1893 and was 6 years old; the 1910 index had her as 11 years old, but in light of the other transcription errors in the entry, I disregard that. Vincent J was born in February, 1895, making him 5 at the time of the Census, and James was born in March, 1897, making him 3.

I also found Vincent and Mary Brandi listed, who I suspect were my great-great-grandparents, although I don't have proof of that yet. The actual Census listing for them (once I get it) is at Enumeration District 42, Sheet 12, Line 88. Vincent was born in August, 1845, making him 54 at the time of the Census in 1900, was born in Italy, and was naturalized by 1900. His wife Mary is listed as being born in May, with the year given first as 1843, then the 3 crossed out and replaced with a 5; her age is given as 55, and citizenship as "NR" just like Helen above. They lived at 235 Dwight in Saginaw, a few blocks away from Ralph and Helen and family.

The only other Brandi I found on this film (which started with the letter "M" for the Soundex B-653, which means I have to check another film later) is young Raymond Brandi, age 3 and born in April, 1897, living at 1308 North Sixth, apparently right around the corner from Vincent and Mary, with Zoa Godboo (Enumeration District 42, Sheet 5, Line 23). His relationship to Zoa is listed as "Gd-Son", which could be either God-son or grandson, hard to tell. I have no idea if he's related or not; I didn't see him in the 1910 Soundex.

Then on Saturday, when we got home from Pennsylvania there was a package here from Heritage Quest that contained my CD-ROM of the 1910 Census for Saginaw. I found Ralph and Helen and family (James was enumerated at the top of the next page), and Vincent and Mary. I haven't found Michael and his family yet, though; the page where their information is supposed to be appears to be half blank. Very strange. I may have been looking at the wrong page, so I'll go back over it, but first appearance is that he's not on the film. Also, I haven't found Aunt Yola yet. She should be in there somewhere as a 1 month old baby, as she was born on March 6, 1910.

The entry for Ralph has him as 39 years old and "Hellen" 36, having been married for 20 years, so that would put their marriage sometime between April, 1889 and April, 1890. Melvina is 17, Vincent 15, and James 13. Incidentally, the family is split across two pages, with James appearing at the top of the next page all by himself. Ralph is listed as being born in Italy, as were both his parents, and Helen was born in Germany, as were both her parents. The children were all born in Michigan. In the column for "when immigrated", the enumerator here puts instead the number of years Ralph has been in the U.S., 27, making his immigration year roughly 1883. There's no date listed for Helen, so when she came over is still a mystery. Ralph is listed as naturalized; no indication is given for Helen. For "language spoken at home", all are listed as speaking English, except for Helen, who is listed as speaking "English-Ger". Perhaps that's an indication that she spoke with an accent, or that she came to America relatively late (although she must have been here by age 16, because that's when she got married). Ralph is listed as a merchant in the Tailor profession, working on his own account rather than for someone else. He and Helen could both read and write, but neither are shown as having attended school at all. All of the children attended school. They rented the house at 627 North Franklin, where they had also been living for the 1900 Census.

Vincent (spelled "Vicent") and Mary were still living at 235 Dwight in 1910, as well. They're both listed as 64 years old, putting their birthdates in 1845-6 (which matches what they're listed as in the 1900 Soundex). They had been married for 40 years in 1910, so they got married in roughly 1869-70. Mary had had three children, two of whom were still living at that time. Both were born in Italy to Italian parents, and came to America in 1883, which squares with the information for Ralph. Vincent is listed as being a naturalized citizen. They spoke English at home, and Vincent worked as a switchman for the railroad ("R R" is how it's listed in the Census), while Mary stayed home. Both could read and write, and Vincent is listed as having attended school.

You can find some interesting stuff in the Census....

Posted at 5:18:50 PM Link to this entry


Saturday, May 27, 2000

The Surname Meanings page says that "Brandi" is a patronymic name, from the name "Brando". It comes from the word for sword. If that's true, it's funny then that my middle name should be Arthur.

Posted at 12:12:40 AM Link to this entry


Thursday, May 25, 2000

Good news for Laura: the New Jersey State Library's Genealogy and Local History collection contains city directories for Paterson from 1855 to 1935.

Posted at 9:09:00 AM Link to this entry


The Monmouth County Library doesn't have Italians to America. Oh well; it was worth a look, since they're so much closer to home.

Posted at 9:02:17 AM Link to this entry


The New Jersey State Library has volumes 1-12 of Italians to America, but I can't link to the page for it because they use a stupid Java applet to search their catalog. So you can't bookmark specific listings, and if you use the Back button on your browser by mistake to back out of something, you're dumped out of the whole applet and have to start from scratch. Grrrrrrr.... They've also got much worse hours than the library at Rutgers. Double Grrrrr....

Posted at 9:00:44 AM Link to this entry


The Alexander Library at Rutgers has copies of 9 volumes of Italians to America, which lists people with Italian surnames who landed at one of the five major ports between 1880 and 1899. Looking there would certainly be cheaper than buying the $50 CD from Brøderbund, even if it wouldn't be more convenient. I'll have to go up one of these Saturdays and have a look.

Posted at 8:03:31 AM Link to this entry


Found another cousin....

Posted at 12:51:38 AM Link to this entry


Sunday, May 21, 2000

I think the next step in trying to find out who Great Aunt Yola's mother was is to look through the Saginaw records that the Family History Center has microfilmed. There are a bunch of vital records for Saginaw available up, with indexes generally to 1922 or so and the records themselves generally up to 1914 or thereabouts. And actually, the index of deaths goes all the way up to 1958, so I should even be able to find Helen (Prillwitz) Brandi in there, although I would have to send away for the certificate.

I've also prepared an application to the State of Michigan for Aunt Yola's death certificate, in hopes that maybe it will say who her actual mother was. The other document that occurs to me that might mention it is her second marriage license; the first marriage came before her Social Security application, so it would probably (and presumably incorrectly, based on family lore) list Antonia Wisniewski, but by the time of her second marriage, she supposedly knew who her mother was. Unfortunately, I don't know when her second wedding took place.

Posted at 3:30:31 PM Link to this entry


Saturday, May 20, 2000

At the local Family History Center, I noticed a rack of pamphlets detailing research resources available for a number of locations, available for 50 cents each. Lo and behold, the same research outlines are available online, including ones for Michigan and New Jersey. Sadly, the only item listed for Italy is a word list; same for Poland. At least they've got that much; there's nothing at all for Ukraine.

Posted at 7:16:16 PM Link to this entry


The Family History Library has an extensive collection of city directories for Detroit dating from 1837 to 1935.

Posted at 7:09:59 PM Link to this entry


I found some interesting stuff in the Soundex for the 1910 Census of Michigan (LDS film number 1370801). Ralph A. Brandi, age 39 was listed (under the name Brande) on page 516, in enumeration district 48, family number 52, with his wife Hellen M (sic), age 36 and born in Germany, and three children: Melvini E (sic), age 11, Vindent J (sic), age 15, and James P, age 13. So now I have an idea of when Melvina was born, but more importantly, I discovered a new sibling. Looking through the Saginaw obituary database, I see an entry for Vincent J. Brandi who died in June, 1917. If it's the same Vincent J. Brandi, that date of death for someone who would have been 22 years old could indicate that he died in World War I.

Alternately, the obituary could refer to another Vincent Brandi I found in the Census index, aged 64, living with his wife Mary, also aged 64, in Saginaw (enumeration district 47, family number 402). My great-grandfather's death certificate lists his parents as Vincent Brandi and Maria Rappa, so this could very well be them living in Saginaw; Aunt Lonnie had mentioned the possibility that they had come to America. If they were age 64 in 1910, they would have been 25 in 1871 when Ralph Sr. was born, which makes them the right age to be the parents.

I found another family of Brandis living in Saginaw in 1910 as well, Mihchael (sic), age 28, with his wife Mary and children Irene, Edmubd (sic) and Lawrence. (Enumeration district 51, family number 364.) I don't know how they're related, or even if they are, but I do what I can to look into it. There's also a Joseph H. Brandi listed as living in Grand Rapids, age 35 and born in Italy, with wife Amelia age 32 and son Raymond age 13. (Enumeration district 112, family number 203.) No idea if there's a connection, but I'll have to look into it.

There's other interesting stuff about this trawl through the Soundex, but I'll cover it when I get the actual Census records. Rather than get the microfilm through the Family History Center, I ordered the CD of the microfilm from Heritage Quest; that way I can peruse it at my leisure. I also took the opportunity to buy a couple of books, The Census Book, since I'm clearly going to be spending a lot of time with the Census in the next few months, and Evidence: Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian. I also "joined" Heritage Quest so that I get a discount on stuff I buy through them. I guess I need to buy probably four more CDs in the next year to have it pay for itself.

Posted at 10:39:46 AM Link to this entry


Monday, May 15, 2000

I'm sending away for a number of SS-5 Social Security Application forms today. Most are from Laura's family, all of her grandparents: Luigi and Albana (Maracci) Lombardo and John and Adele (Saracco) Pantano. We may have found Laura's great grandmother Felice (Minocci) Pantano in the Social Security Death Index, but we're not sure; they list her as Felicia and give her last residence as Oakland, NJ, so we'll have to ask Laura's mom if that sounds right when we see her later this week.

From my family, I'm sending for Mary (Zurbyk) Karyshyn, Grandma's aunt who moved to New York and whose kids eventually moved to Dumont, NJ. Wouldn't you know, though, there are only four Karyshyns in the whole Social Security Death Index, and two of them are named Mary. And both of them were contemporaries, born within four years of each other, both getting their cards in New York and both with last residences in New Jersey. I'm sending for the one whose last residence was Waldwick, NJ in Bergen County, because Laura says that's closer to Dumont than North Bergen, which is in Hudson County. Since Mary was grandmother's father Antoch's brother, seeing her SS-5 should tell me who Antoch's parents were, which Grandma couldn't remember. And if the one I'm sending for doesn't have a Zurbyk for a father, I'll send for the other one.

Posted at 8:27:15 AM Link to this entry


We started working on Laura's family yesterday. When we were at her parents' house for mother's day, we pulled out Laura's baby book and got the names for her grandparents (which we already knew) and great-grandparents (which we, or at least I, didn't). We got some nice stories, too, like the fact that when Laura's grandmother Albana Maracci came to America, her ship was diverted to Philadelphia because Ellis Island was under quarantine, and her husband Luigi had to find someone with a car to drive him to Philadelphia to pick them up. Albana was from La Spezia in northern Italy, while Luigi was from Sessa Aurunca in Caserta; when I wondered how they could have met in Italy, Laura's mom told us that they met because his brother had married her sister. Now I wonder how they met.

Laura's great-grandmother Felice Minocci's parents eventually came over to America, too, and owned a pasta shop in Paterson, NJ, where they made the pasta on the premises. Laura's mom was joking that they should have put it in boxes, then they'd have gotten famous and rich. Felice and her husband Sisto Pantano must have come over to America in mid- to late-1907, because she was pregnant with Laura's grandfather when they came over.

Laura's great-grandmother Frances De Rosa came to America because her brother Raffaele had eloped and moved to America, so the family followed in hot pursuit. They all became Methodists. She likely married in America, given those circumstances. Her husband, Philip Saracco, came to America at about age 11 with his two uncles because he didn't get along with someone in Italy. His uncles didn't like it here and returned to Italy, but he stayed here. He came to America before Ellis Island opened, so it must have been before 1892.

Posted at 8:14:07 AM Link to this entry


Saturday, May 13, 2000

The Saginaw Public Library has a nice page that tells what's available in its special genealogical collection. That includes newspapers going back to 1853, Saginaw city directories back to 1867, stuff about businesses (Great Grandpa might be listed there, since he was a tailor) and tombstone records. I'll definitely have to visit next time I'm in Michigan.

Posted at 3:16:10 AM Link to this entry


Friday, May 12, 2000

The Gladwin County Library has published a book that indexes obituaries and death notices from the Gladwin County Record from 1878 to 1990. The Gladwin County GenWeb has abstracted a number of names from it, up to "C", among them Brandi. That should mean at least Grandma Brandi is listed. I don't know of anyone else who would be, but you never know....

Posted at 6:38:37 PM Link to this entry


The National Archives of Canada has a page on Genealogy Research where they mention that the record of Ocean and Border arrivals between 1925 and 1935 is indexed, and that therefore, they're willing to handle inquiries and search the indexes. Maybe I can find which ship Grandma came over on and when she arrived this way. I've posted an inquiry to them through their web form. This is amazing.... (The original pointer to the archives genealogy pages came in a posting to the Info-Ukes genealogy list by the ever-helpful Stan Broski. Thanks, Stan!)

Posted at 7:51:54 AM Link to this entry


Thursday, May 11, 2000

The Ukrainian WorldGenWeb project on Rootsweb has a page listing villages whose records have been filmed by the Mormons. It says that Lychkivtsi, Ternopil' Oblast, has been filmed, as has Husyatyn. Unfortunately, there's no indication of the years available.

Going to the web site and looking through the catalog, I see that it's just the Roman Catholic records, 1784-1870, which I had already found the listing for. Would be nice if they had the Greek Catholic records too. <sigh>

Posted at 11:17:11 PM Link to this entry


Yesterday I sent off to the State of Michigan for Great Grandma Miller's birth and marriage certificates. I also sent a check to the East European Genealogical Society to become a member. Later, I made up an envelope for the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, but I haven't gotten to the post office to send it yet.

Posted at 5:44:03 PM Link to this entry


I forgot to mention this because it happened during the recent heat wave that kept me away from the computer until our air conditioner got fixed. I received a reply from Allan Szuch, the gentleman with the book of people who died or went missing during World War II (Knyha Pamiati Ukrainy), and he did in fact find Grandma's brother Nicholas:

ZHURBYK, Mykola [i.e. Nicholas] Antonovych, b. 1917,
   village of Trybukhivtsi, Husiatynskyi raion, Ternopilska
   oblast. Mobilized in 1944. Disappeared without trace in
   March 1945.

Note that he's not from Lychkivtsi, but rather from a small village next to Lychkivtsi that doesn't appear on my maps, Trybukhivtsi. More about this in a bit. When I spoke to Grandma back in 1996, she wasn't sure about anybody's birthdates, but we narrowed Nicholas' down to sometime around 1916; this entry gives a more definite date, so that's great. The middle name given in the entry, Antonovych, would be a patronymic, that is, saying who his father is, and his father was indeed Antoch. Grandma had said he disappeared without a trace; it's sad to see that confirmed here, but very interesting to see that it happened so close to the end of the war. Allan had posted something to the info-ukes genealogy list saying that sometimes people who disappeared near the end of the war were deserters rather than dead (although I can't find the post now).

Allan also found two other Zhurbyks from Trybukhivtsi in the book:

ZHURBYK, Mykhailo [i.e. Michael] Dmytrovych, b. 1907,
    village of Trybukhivtsi, Husiatynskyi raion, Ternopilska
    oblast. Ukrainian. Disappeared without trace in Aug. 1944.

ZHURBYK, Stepan Dmytrovych, b. 1912, village of
    Trybukhivtsi... Ukrainian. Disappeared without trace
    in June 1941.

Both of these would be sons of Dmytri Zhurbyk, a name I hadn't heard before; Grandma's father had brothers named Petro and Wasyl.

Allan also sent a list of other surnames found in Lychkivtsi; among them was Peniuta, which was interesting because when Grandma lived in Manitoba, there was a boy who they were trying to marry her to, but there was also another boy who she really liked, and that second boy's last name was Peniuta. I guess everyone who moved from Lychkivtsi to the new world went to Elphinstone, Manitoba. All the Zurbyks certainly seemed to....

Oh, and the spelling Zhurbyk seems to be a more accurate transliteration of the original Ukrainian Cyrillic name, which has the character that looks like an X with a bar (|) through the middle, which is "zh", rather than the character that looks like the number 3, which is the "z" sound. How do I know that?

Natalie Lisowiec on the Info-Ukes genealogy list had seen my post looking for help identifying the uniform that Sobol and his friend were wearing. She didn't have any insight into that, but she did generously translate all the captions that were in Ukrainian in my Unknown Pictures section of the site, where Sobol's army picture is. That was so nice!

In the wedding picture from 1959, the bride's name is Zenova Zurbyk, of Trybukhivtsi. So looking at the original caption is how I knew how Zurbyk was spelled in the original Ukrainian Cyrillic. I don't know who Zenova is, but if she got married in 1959, that would make her a contemporary of my mother's. If she's the daughter of Grandma's brother Peter/Petro, who survived the war and stayed in Lychkivtsi (or maybe Trybukhivtsi), that would make her mom's cousin, and my first cousin once removed.

Incidentally, now that I knew how the name was spelled, at Barnes & Noble the other day I looked in a Ukrainian dictionary to see if I could find any possible roots for Grandma's surname. The book Polish Roots mentions, in it's section about Ukrainian names, that yk is a common Ukrainian surname suffix, so I was looking for a word like Zhurb. I found one that transliterates as Zhurba; it means "sadness" or "sorrow". So it appears that one of Grandma's ancestors may have been a sad sack. I'll remember this the next time I'm feeling depressed.

Posted at 5:33:17 PM Link to this entry


Wednesday, May 10, 2000

I tried ordering a couple of books from the Snoop Sisters' web site, but their order form was broken. I sent them e-mail explaining exactly what was wrong (all the fields on their submission form had the NAME parameter set to "name", rather than having unique names) and got a very nice response. So I wound up calling them on the telephone today and ordering copies of Finding Your Italian Ancestors and Finding Your Ukrainian Ancestors. That second one seems to be one of the only books available on the subject of Ukrainian genealogy (as opposed to Italian or English genealogy, where the shelves are groaning under the weight). The books are part of a series put out by a small publisher in Toronto. You can see how small they must be on the page for the book at Yevshan, another online store. There was another store that had the book that wouldn't give me a price until I logged in, which really irritated me, but I can't find it now. Probably just as well; their site pissed me off enough that I wouldn't want to buy anything from them.

Posted at 6:23:57 PM Link to this entry


When I eventually figure out when Great Grandpa Horbal came over to America, the Passenger List/Manifest Search Tool might come in handy.

Posted at 5:51:01 PM Link to this entry


Saturday, May 6, 2000

Looking through the last week of postings, I realized that I forgot to mention that I sent an FOIA request off to the INS on Tuesday for Great Grandpa Horbal's naturalization records.

Posted at 3:04:54 PM Link to this entry


Those wacky Lemkos have a page with lots of place names in Ukraine in transliteration and in the original Ukrainian Cyrillic. The page goes on forever (215 K), but it's got Lichkivtsi (as they spell it). I wish I could figure out how to get the Cyrillic onto this page.

Posted at 10:40:48 AM Link to this entry


The National Library of Canada mentions a third edition of the Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia in its "upcoming books" section for May, 1999. It says it's published in 1999 and costs $35 (Canadian?). Chapters (a Canadian online bookstore) listed the second edition, but said it was out of print. A page on the Polish Roots site gives an address for the book's publisher at the bottom.

Posted at 10:19:25 AM Link to this entry


The Lemko genealogy page for Galicia says that the LDS Church has microfilmed a bunch of records for the Greek Catholic Consistory of L'viv covering a bunch of locations in Galicia from 1607 to 1945. The Lemkos have a list of locations, but it's in Polish transliteration, rather than English transliteration or the Polish names of the towns, I guess, which means trying to parse out yet another spelling of Grandma's home village. <sigh>.... The list mentions a town called "Liaskiwci" with an index number 3177. That's the closest I can find. I would feel better about it if I could find Husiatyn on the list, too. The Lemkos say that only index numbers below 1208 have been released, but the LDS web site says that files are available up to 1716, so I guess they're plowing away at the records. I'll need to keep checking the LDS site periodically to see if they've gotten up to 3177; in the meantime, I guess I should be working on my Ukrainian and Latin. :-)

Posted at 9:28:25 AM Link to this entry


Friday, May 5, 2000

Laura talked to her mom today and got some information about her grandparents. Her grandfather, Luigi Lombardo, was born on 1 February 1896 in Sessa Aurunca, Italy, which, to be honest, looks like it's not too far from where my grandfather was born in San Potito Sannitico. In fact, both towns appear on the same page of the Italian atlas I have, and are both in the same province, Caserta. The Mormons have filmed the records from Sessa Aurunca, but only up to 1865, so we'll have to see what we can do to get the family back a generation or two. Maybe his parents' names will be listed on his death certificate. Sessa Aurunca must be a fairly large place, because there are a lot of microfilms from there.

Laura's grandmother, Elbana Maracci, was born in La Spezia, which is a pretty big town in northern Italy, not far from Genoa. When I looked La Spezia up on the Mormons' web site, all they had was a city directory from 1983.

Posted at 10:08:30 PM Link to this entry


Aha! Church records for Liczkowce 1784-1870! Roman Catholic, not Greek Catholic, so probably not for Grandma's family, but I'm still not positive about their religion. It's all in knowing how to spell the name. They spell the current day version "Lychkivtsi".

Posted at 2:54:29 PM Link to this entry


Leister Productions sent out an e-mail on the Reunion-Talk mailing list announcing version 7 of Reunion. In it, they mentioned that users who had ordered Reunion after February 1 were eligible for a free upgrade, shipping and handling only. I ordered my upgrade to version 6 in March. So I called them today to try and order the upgrade, only to find out that they've already shipped it to me, completely free of charge! Thanks! Bravo, Leister!

Posted at 2:21:27 PM Link to this entry


A bunch of stuff I did last night, but couldn't post because Blogger was down for an upgrade:

I went to the local Family History Center today and ordered three microfilms, Census indexes for Michigan for Brandi in 1900 and 1910 to try and find out who Great Grandpa Brandi was living with in those years, and Wisniewski for 1900 to see if I can find a 16 year old Antonia Wisniewski in Bay City with her family.

The Family History Center has an index of births in Saginaw from 1872-1922, plus birth records from 1867-1913. The index should cover everyone, and the records would at least cover the first three children, but not Vincenzina or Grandpa. They've also got an index of marriage records for much the same years.

Yurko, which is something Grandma Horbal used to call Grandpa, is Ukrainian for George, according to a post in the InfoUkes archives. Yet another name for Grandpa. This post also mentions a book called the Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia that sounds like it might be useful.

There's another post that mentions Lyckivci, but only in passing (almost literally....) Another post details the geography of the area from a very detailed map. A third post mentions a Mis' family in Lychkivtsi. A third post spells it Liczkowce aka Liczkivtsi and Liskivs'kyi. There seems to be about 14 million and three ways to spell the name of this village...

There's a post that mentions the surname Soroka; I wonder if I have Aunt Alice's maiden name misspelled?

Posted at 8:53:06 AM Link to this entry


I found a post in the InfoUkes genealogy mailing list archives about a book listing soldiers from the Husiatyn region who died or disappeared in World War II. The poster offered to look up items in the book, so I sent him e-mail asking if he could look up Nicholas Zurbyk, Grandma's brother.

Posted at 12:40:33 AM Link to this entry


Wednesday, May 3, 2000

It looks like records for San Potito Sannitico are on microfilm from the LDS library going back to 1806, so it should be possible to trace great-grandpa's family back quite a ways. I can't seem to find Lyckivci, but there's film of Roman Catholic parish records in Ternopil' Oblast going back to 1718 for a bunch of towns; it's just a matter of figuring out if Lyckivci or Husjatyn are among them, because they don't list all of them. Searching for variants on those two towns hasn't produced any results, but I'll keep trying with as many variants as I can think of.

Posted at 8:11:51 AM Link to this entry