Geneablogy: An occasional Journal about our experiences exploring our heritage

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

This has nothing to do with genealogy, but I just had to point at this page about the world's largest pierogi.

Posted at 11:20:59 AM Link to this entry


Monday, January 28, 2002

I've started working on the Calitri side of Laura's De Rosa family. I ordered a few films at the Family History Center, and have found birthdates for Laura's great-grandmother Maria Francesca (Franceschina) and her brother and sister, Mariantonietta and Raffaele. Franceschina was born on 4 Jun 1881 at either noon or midnight (can't really tell when the hour is dodici) at the family home at 160 Via Santantonio. The two witnesses were Francesco Michele di Napoli and Vincenzo Gerardo Margotta. Franceschina's birth record was broken across two pages. She was the middle child.

Raffaele De Rosa was the eldest in the family. He was born on 7 Mar 1879 at what was presumably an earlier family home, 94 Via Mercato. The witnesses were Canio Cicoira, son of the late Francesco, a 50 year old land owner, and Michele Tuozollo, a 40 year old servant (I think that's what it says). Canio Cicoira is possibly a relative, as Giovanni's mother was Francesca Cicoira.

Mariantonietta was the baby of the family, born on 29 May 1883, at the same address as Franceschina. The witnesses were Leonardo Martiniello, son of Canio, a 23 year old postman, and Costantino Rossi, son of Domenico, age 36 and a shoemaker.

Their parents, Giovanni De Rosa and Lucia Nannariello, married at 10 in the morning on 18 Oct 1877. Giovanni was 25 years old and a blacksmith, the same occupation he held in America, and Lucia was 22 and a weaver. Giovanni's father was Raffaele De Rosa of Calitri, and his mother Francesca Cicoira, also of Calitri. Lucia's father was the late Pietro Nannariello, and her mother Antonia Rabasca, both of Calitri. The banns were read on the 23rd and 30th of September, and presumably nobody objected. The banns were on the same microfilm, but unfortunately those for 1877 were missing, so I didn't get whatever extra information that might have provided. The witnesses were the same Canio Cicoira and Michele Tuozollo who were the witnesses for the birth of Raffaele.

I also found birth records for Giovanni and Lucia. Giovanni De Rosa was born on 25 Jan 1852, and baptized the same day at the church of San Canio. His father Raffaele was a shoemaker, 38 years old when Giovanni was born. His mother Francesca Cicoira was 36. So it's probably worthwhile to look through the records to find other children for Raffaele and Francesca. Jason Coffman's site lists only one other son for them, Giuseppe Maria. One other new bit of information here was that Giovanni had a middle name, Paolo. We hadn't seen that anywhere else. The witnesses for Giovanni's birth were Donato Galgano, age 36, and Vincenzo Lombardi, age 26, both laborers. This document contains the signature of Laura's 3G Grandfather, Raffaele De Rosa.

Lucia Nannariello was born on 12 Feb 1855, and baptized the following day, to Pietro Nannariello and Antonia Rabasca. Pietro was the son of the late Lorenzo, 35 years old, and a "viaticato" or "victuale", whatever that is. It's not listed in the Mormons' Italian genealogical word list. Antonia was the 36 year old daughter of the late Vito. The witnesses were Giovanni di Nicola and Pietro Cerrata, both laborers. Jason's web site had included this birth date, but it's nice to see the actual document.

Birth Records

Marriage Record

Posted at 3:18:19 AM Link to this entry


Saturday, January 26, 2002

I ordered Wayne County marriage records through the FHL to see if I could find a record for my GG Grandparents, Charles Schmitt and Daley Theola Hertel. I found something, but I don't know if it's them, and if it is, it's not as helpful as I would have hoped.

Grandma Miller (Evelyn Clara Schmitt, my Great Grandmother) had written out a sheet of paper with family details on it. That sheet says that her father was Charles Lean Schmitt and her mother Daley Theola Hertel, and that they were married at St. Luke's Lutheran, Detroit. There's something about 4840 R, but it's crossed out. Maybe that was part of the address. I'll have to look it up in city directories. I also have a copy of Grandma Miller's birth record. It says she was born on 12 Aug 1902, and that her parents were Charles Leon and Daley Theola.

I looked in the Wayne County index for that period, and only found one "Daily Hertle". So I ordered the records. The one that showed up was for a marriage between Daily Hertle and John Smith (<groan, not that name, every genealogist's worst nightmare....>) on 25 Feb 1902. John's parents were given as Albert and Anna Smith. Daily's father was John, and her mother listed as unknown.

I'm not sure this is them. I'm not sure it's not, either.

So I started searching the web for St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Detroit. No luck (or should that be "no Luke"?)

Then I remembered that the new issue of the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine that showed up in the mail the other day had something about a St. Luke's in it. So I looked through that and, sure enough, there was part 2 of a list of confirmations at St. Luke's German Evangelical Church in Detroit. The previous issue of the magazine, where the first part of the series was published, provided an explanation for why I didn't find St. Luke's: in 1970, the church merged with Old St. John's church in Detroit to form St. John's-St. Luke's United Church of Christ. The listing in the DSGR magazine was put together by Merle Scheibner, who is the church's archivist, according to the article.

So now I had something to look for. I found a lot of things. There's a message board devoted to Lutheran genealogy that had a thread talking about St. John's Church that mentioned that the records for St. John's are on microfilm and available at the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library. No indication of whether those records also contain the records for St. Luke's. I looked at the online catalog of the Detroit Public Library, and sure enough, there are two volumes of records, one published in 1994 and running from 1899 to 1914, and the second running from 1915 to 1969. Heck, my dad's baptism record might be in that collection. I checked the New York Public Library's site, but they don't appear to have a copy of the microfilm.

The pastor who married Daily Hertle and John Smith was Charles Haass. I found out that the Bentley Historical Collection at the University of Michigan, which I visited in 2000 when I had some time to kill, has the papers of Charles Haass, described as a "Lutheran clergyman".

Going to the Michigan United Church of Christ web site and searching for "Detroit" reveals that the combined St. John's-St. Luke church has only 77 members.

So now I'll go to the church records. The Burton Collection has the film, and the church's archivist is apparently sympathetic to genealogists, even submitting indexes to the DSGR. And on top of that, it appears that the Family History Library has copies of records, at least to 1926, on film 959146 for 1899-1926 and 959145 for 1888-1898. 959146 even has a history of the church on it, although it's probably in German.

Not bad for an evening; when I started writing this up, I wasn't hopeful of finding anything, now I know where to go to find some hopefully more accurate records (or at least to confirm the accuracy of the ones I have).


Posted at 7:40:41 PM Link to this entry

[ List written by Ralph Brandi Jr of relatives buried in Saginaw ]

Among my Grandpa Brandi's effects when he died was a piece of paper, upon which he had written the name "Deisler Funeral Home", "Mt. Olivet Cemetery", and the names of his mother, Antonia, father, Ralph, grandmother, Maria, grandfather, Vincenzo, and two half-brothers, Philip and Vincent. I already knew from my trip to Saginaw in 2000 that these were the people buried at Calvary Cemetery there, which you can only get into by visiting Mt. Olivet and getting the keys to the gate. I figured maybe the funeral home had some records that would get me past the brick wall that Antonina has become by telling me who her parents were, and might give me a little more insight into what happened. I looked up the Deisler Funeral Home in Saginaw and found that they still exist. So I wrote them a letter last week asking if they had anything in their records for Vincenzo, Maria, Ralph, or Ant(h)onia. I received their (speedy!) answer this week. They had no records for the first three, but had a copy of the bill for Antonina's funeral.

Unfortunately, the bill didn't list her parents. So that question is still up in the air. But there was some interesting information. Her death certificate had claimed she was buried the day after she died, which made me wonder if maybe the shame of the nature of her death in the asylum led the family to bury her quietyly. But the bill from the funeral home shows clearly that she was actually buried on 17 November 1926, not the 15th as her death certificate shows. And the funeral home should know when she was buried. Further, there is an itemized list of what was paid for what. It's difficult to read on the original photocopy, but I've tried to enhance that in the scanning process. Antonina's burial suit cost $25, and the family paid $15 for a service, so clearly there was a service, something her death certificate had led me to believe might not have been the case. There are also charges for $6 for flowers and $10 for the hearse to the cemetery. There are no charges for newspaper notices, which might explain why I was unable to find an obituary for her in the Saginaw newspapers. The bill also gives her place of death as Traverse City, and gives the cause of death as pneumonia, omitting the (what I consider dubious) contributory cause cited on the death certificate of insanity. They probably put that on all the death certificates coming out of the asylum.

Funeral Home Record

Posted at 4:33:10 PM Link to this entry


Friday, January 25, 2002

On November 30, I mentioned that I needed to find a marriage record for Angiolo Navarro and Prudenzia Seccia to figure out if the Angiolo Navarro who died in 1830 was the same as the Angiolo Navarro who was married to Maria Rachele Manzo and was my 5G Grandfather. Well, I've now found the marriage record, and it doesn't answer the question. If it had said that Angiolo Navarro, who married Prudenzia Seccia was the widower of Maria Rachele Manzo, as other marriage records I've seen have done, then that would have resolved the question. But it doesn't mention Maria Rachele anywhere. The wedding took place on 2 Jul 1815, which would place it at a reasonable amount of time after Maria Rachele's death in 1813. This Angiolo's father is Davide Navarro of Piedimonte, and in the 1802 Stato delle Anime, the Angiolo who was married to Maria Rachele Manzo was also the son of Davide Navarro, of Sepicciano, which was a frazione of Piedimonte. Interestingly, this document gives the death dates of the parents of the participants. Davide Navarro died in Piedimonte on 9 Jan 1783, and Maria di Muccio, this Angiolo's mother, died in Piedimonte on 2 Jun 1782. So if this Davide and Maria are my 6G Grandparents, then I've got their death dates. But I haven't proven that they are my 6G Grandparents yet.

Angiolo's death record in 1830 says the informant was his son Antonio, 22 years old. That would put Antonio's birth date around 1808, the year before civil records started in San Potito. It might be worth checking, though, just to make sure Antonio wasn't born in 1809. If his birth record mentioned Maria Rachele Manzo, that would tie this Angiolo to her and prove the connection.

Another possibility would be the marriage record for Angiolo and Maria Rachele, if it still exists. That would be between about 1798 and 1801, given Maria Rachele's age of 21 in the 1802 Stato delle Anime. But I don't know if the marriage records from Santa Catarina are extant for that period. The relevant birth records are, because I have a copy of them from 1697 to 1795.

If there is a Stato delle Anime for the years between 1815 and 1820, that might prove it, since the children of Angiolo and Maria Rachele would be living with Angiolo and Prudenzia Seccia during those years if they're the same Angiolo.

Or maybe if a church marriage record for the 1815 marriage exists, it might mention Angiolo's status as the widower of Maria Rachele Manzo.

None of these are likely to be easy to get. It may be a while before I resolve whether Maria di Muccio was my 6G Grandmother or not.

Marriage Record

Posted at 10:15:43 PM Link to this entry


Thursday, January 24, 2002

[ Vincenzina Brandi, WAC ca. 1944 ]

Well, I haven't spent all my time programing and designing. I've also been reading my e-mail. :-) One of the more interesting pieces of mail I received recently was from someone who knew my great-aunt Zina in Chicago back in the 1950s. He was a college student, and she was working as a labor union maid. He's promised to write up his memories of her when he gets a chance.

In the meantime, this picture from my grandfather's collection is of Aunt Zina when she was in the WACs during World War II. I think it's a stunning picture. This picture helped us figure out that his Zina Brandi was the same as my Zina Brandi. You can also see a larger copy of the photo.

Posted at 9:37:46 PM Link to this entry


I've redesigned the site to be a bit less spartan than the old design. While I was at it, I changed the back end of the site from a program called Blogger (a web site maintainance tool hosted on another server) to a program I wrote myself. I think I've got everything debugged, but if you see any teething problems, please let me know at the address webmaster on the host

Posted at 9:02:44 PM Link to this entry


Saturday, January 5, 2002

The Kent County USGenWeb site is awfully impressive; the Western Michigan Genealogical Society appears to have a lot to do with that, and that isn't surprising given how good their own site is. One thing I've found on the site is an index to the 1880 Census for Kent County. Ira Poats is listed as being on page 7, family number 71, in Sparta Township. So now I don't have to look him up in the Soundex, just find the actual Census microfilm. There are lots of Rexfords listed, most in Tyrone Township, but they seem to be collateral relatives rather than direct ancestors. Probably still worth looking at, particularly "Almira" Rexford, who is the sister of my 4G Grandmother Lovina Jeffers Rexford Fredinburgh. They're on a few different pages, scattered between pages 6 and 14. Then there's an "Elger" Fredinburg listed on page 12, family 129, also in Tyrone Township. That's likely to be Eliza Fredinburgh, Lovina's second husband, who would presumably be with Lovina. There's also an Oliver Friedenburgh listed elsewhere, in Plainfield Township on page 21, family 191, who would be worth looking at. Then there's a Hugh Miller on page 9, family 100, also in Tyrone Township, who might or might not be my 3G Grandfather. There were an awful lot of Millers in the area at that time, though.

Posted at 5:10:17 PM Link to this entry


I was looking through the Michigan Genealogical Death Indexing System, which lists deaths between 1867 and 1884, and was having trouble finding John Mizner, my 4G Grandfather, who Hugh Miller's genealogy showed as having died on 20 Nov 1870. No luck searching on variants of Mizner like Misner and Meissner. So I searched on "John" in Kent County. It still wasn't obvious. So I searched those results for 20-Nov. Bingo! He's listed in the index as John Wisner. Unless, of course, Hugh was wrong. In any case, the index gives a specific citation for the record: "Ledger Page: 86 Record Number: 143 Place of death: Algoma County of Death: Kent". When I eventually work my way back to him, I'll know where to look to make sure everything's correct.

Posted at 10:58:21 AM Link to this entry