Tombstone Tuesday – William Henry Lawbaugh

Last week my family took a second trip to Southern California this summer.  Since we had visited my paternal grandfather’s grave on the last trip, I made a point to stop at my maternal grandfather’s grave this time around.  Even though I have driven past the area many times, I had never been to the cemetery before.

I am so happy we took the time to stop and pay our respects.  Not only did I get the chance to tell my children stories about their great-grandfather, I also took a picture to post to Findagrave.com.

Lawbaugh william gravestone

 

When we arrived at my grandmother’s house and I told her we had visited Bill’s grave, the stories started.  I learned my grandparents met when my grandpa was at X-Ray Technician school in Wichita, Kansas.  One of her friends in the dorm, Dee Dee, was dating a man who worked for my grandfather.  Dee Dee set them up.

The night of their first date my grandmother was very sick but decided to go out anyways.  She walked to the lobby of the dorm to meet my grandfather for the very first time.  When she saw him, her heart jumped into her throat.  The next morning the school called my great-grandmother to the school because my grandmother was so sick.  When my grandma woke up and saw her mother she said, “I met the man I am going to marry!” My great-grandmother thought it was just the illness talking but sure enough a year later my grandparents married.  The rest is history!

Pension File Treasure Trove

Earlier this year I spent one wonderful day at the National Archives in Washington, DC.  I spent the morning looking at land records.  The afternoon was devoted solely to The pension file of my paternal 3rd great grandfather John L Gamble.

Me to john gamble

I was super excited when I received the file.  It was much thicker than I expected.  The file included the original pension request from my g-g-g-grandfather, the additional paperwork from his wife to continue with a widow’s pension, and ending with the paperwork to close the file at her death.  To say it was AWESOME is an understatement.  I was in full genealogy geek out mode.  Imagine every library celebration except dancing in the aisles.

Among the gems I found was death information for my g-g-g-grandmother, Alice Wise, marriage information for John L Gamble and his second wife, Margaret Thompson, detailed information about where John Gamble lived his entire life, an outline of parents, siblings with their birth dates and marriages, and death information for both John L Gamble and Margaret Thompson.  Additionally, I learned about John L Gamble’s military service, the illness he fought in a military hospital, and injuries he received as a child.

This was the first pension file I have found in my family.  I see it as another record set to add to my researcher pedigree.  I highly recommend using military pension records if you have any ancestors who served.  The government was extremely good at verifying and documenting details.  If you do not have the chance to visit the National Archives for research, you can order a copy of your ancestor’s pension file at www.archives.gov.
The cost to order is $80.  This amount is small in comparison to travel costs to visit Washington, DC.

I plan on sharing the pension details for all of these genealogy gems over the next several months. Be on the lookout!

Tombstone Tuesday – Adela and Risveglio Capelli

Last week I wrote a post about finding the death certificates for my Grandfather’s cousins.  You can read their stories here and here.

This weekend I followed up and looked for the gravestones of the children on www.findagrave.com.  Using the cemetery information from the death certificates, I quickly located both children and a photo of their shared grave.

Digital Camera

Findagrave.com, digital images (http://www.findagrave.com), accessed 14 July 2014, photograph by Randy Knight, gravestone for Adela Capelli (8 Set 1913 – 23 Nov 1916) and Risveglio Capelli (19 Agos 1911- 23 Nov 1916), Find A Grave memorial #66220248, Redstone Cemetery, Brownsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania. Used with permission from Randy Knight.

 

This photo helps to explain the conflict of first names I have found for the children. To recap, the newspaper article about their death the children are named Elma and Slavelli Cappelli.  The death certificates list the children as Adela Cofelli and Resveglio Copelli.  This tombstone names the children as Adela Capelli and Risveglio Capelli.

I have to believe that the names provided in the newspaper account were incorrect.  The journalist who wrote the story was on site at an active fire and surrounded by chaos.  It is easy to see that the names he acquired were close but incorrect.  I also think that language may have been a barrier.  I am not sure how much english my family spoke in 1916.  Even if they did, I am fairly confident that they spoke with a heavy accent.  My grandfather told me how his cousin, Mabel, would repeatedly tell her mother she needed to speak english as they were growing up.

The names provided to the Pennsylvania authorities and the gravestone are almost exactly the same.  I will be using the spelling used on the gravestones as the names listed in my genealogy software.  I will be sure to add a note for the other spellings.

The last time I was visiting my parents in Virginia, we spoke about visiting the Pittsburgh area for genealogy research the next time I visit.  Now we will be able to stop at the Redstone Cemetery to pay our respects to Adela and Risveglio.

Following Up A Newspaper Story With Documentation

Over a year ago, I wrote a post about the deaths of Elma and Slavelli Capelli.  The post was a transcription from the local newspaper article detailing the fire that destroyed the family home and tragedy of two small children dying.  This story breaks my heart even more today as my children are now the same ages as Elma and Slavelli at the time of their death.

I recently read a blogpost at www.geneamusings.com (written by Randy Seaver) regarding death certificates for Pennsylvania.  Randy shared the good news that Ancestry.com has added Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906-1944 as an indexed database.  The best part is that digitized images of the original certificates are included.

Since finding the newspaper article about the Capelli children I have not ordered their death certificates.  One part lazy added to one part not wanting to deal with the Department of Health and one part this story makes me sad has left this to do item on my list for a long time.

When I did my first search for the children I was unable to find any search results with any of the Capelli variations I commonly see.   I knew the children died in November 1916 and their parents names were Alfredo Capelli and Mary Siletto.  They had to be in the index somewhere.  I tried again by searching using exact matches for Fayette County and November 1916.  Listed under the last names Cofelli and Copelli were two children with parents Fred Cofelli/Copelli and Mary Lillitti/Lelletti.  A closer look at the images confirmed it was the match I was looking for.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906-1944, No. 112520 (stamped), Resveglio Copelli entry, died 23 November 1916; indexed database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 July 2014); citing Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/).

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906-1944, No. 112522 (stamped), Resveglio Copelli entry, died 23 November 1916; indexed database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 July 2014); citing Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/).

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906-1944, No. 112520 (stamped), Adela Copelli entry, died 23 November 1916; indexed database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 July 2014); citing Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/).

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906-1944, No. 112520 (stamped), Adela Copelli entry, died 23 November 1916; indexed database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 July 2014); citing Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/).

The children I found were named Adela and Resveglio.  I now have a name conflict for both children.  I am not too surprised since this branch of the family had recently immigrated from Italy and probably spoke with a heavy accent.  Elma and Adela sound alike when spoken out loud.  The last names are also similar in speech.  It occurs to me it is possible my family may not have spoken English yet.  At this point, I don’t know the answer and will need to do some more research.

I will need to do additional follow-up to see if I can find birth certificates for both children.  I am not too hopeful as their older siblings had certificates of birth filed many years after their birth.  I also need to check FindaGrave.com and BillionGraves.com to check for the cemetery.  Time to add more items to my genealogy to do list.

Tombstone Tuesday – Visiting Grandpa

Our family recently took a trip to Southern California.  It was a mix of work and pleasure.  The first day, my husband had a business meeting in Corona, California.  While my husband was busy, I took the kids to the next town over to visit my Grandpa.  My paternal grandfather, Jay Capelli, was buried at the Riverside National Cemetery when he passed away in 2009.

The last time I was at the cemetery was the day my grandpa was buried.  When I arrived at the administration building, I was pleasantly surprised to find a computer kiosk outside.  I was able to quickly look up my grandfather’s information.  The computer printed a map of the cemetery with the location information on it.  Finding the headstone was very easy.

Celio "Jay" Capelli, Riverside National Cemetery, Section 58A, Site 2692

Celio “Jay” Capelli, Riverside National Cemetery, Section 58A, Site 2692

I had a lot of fun telling my girls stories about my grandfather.  My older daughter was especially interested in the story of Grandpa coming to the United States on a ship when he was 5.  My daughter is 5 and had so many questions.  The girls were very excited to find out that my grandpa enjoyed camping just like they do.  My younger daughter brought her prized Mickey Mouse doll with her.  She was mostly concerned that my grandpa knew who Mickey Mouse was.  She was thrilled that not only did my grandpa know who Mickey was, he had been to Disneyland (aka Mickey’s house).  We ended out time with the girls doing a crayon rubbing of the headstone.

 

Working on a crayon rubbing.

Working on a crayon rubbing.

 

A wonderful visit to my Grandpa's grave.

A wonderful visit to my Grandpa’s grave.

Follow Friday – Geneseo Public Library, Henry County, Illinois

About 1853 my 4th great-grandparents, John and Margaret Lawbaugh, migrated West from Ohio to Illinois.  They and many of their children settled in and around Geneseo, Illinois.  My 2nd great-grandfather, William Henry Lawbaugh was the next ancestor to leave the area in the late 1880′s.  I have a lot of research I want to do in this town!

I recently found myself at the Geneseo Public Library website.  I will admit I was having a random genealogy tangent moment and was not planning to check this website.  I have been here before and seen the extensive listing of genealogy materials the library holds.  I would love to take a genealogy vacation and hole up in the library to comb the materials.

This time I visited the website, I noticed a link to “digitized local newspaper.”  There are ten city and county newspapers that have been digitized and posted to the website.  The newspapers span 1856-1977!  The best part is that the database is searchable!

I did a search for my family using just the surname Lawbaugh.  The results page includes 211 hits from three newspapers over a 100 year period.  I am so excited about all the research I have on my to-do list!!

If anyone has ancestors from Geneseo, Illinois, I highly suggest visiting the Geneseo Public Library website and taking full advantage of the great resources there.

Almost Wordless Wednesday – Pope Family

This is my husband’s 2nd great grandparents and their children.  John Pope(1862-1917) and Catherine Offerman(1865-1932) had four children: Louise Anna (1895-1961), John Rudolph (1899-1918) , Claus Alfred (1901-1971) and Elfrieda Johanna(1901-1990).

I am making an educated guess when this photo was taken by the age of the children.

 

Pope Family about 1909.

Pope Family taken about 1905-1908.

My Paternal Line

Happy Father’s Day!  There are many fathers in my family tree and I would like to thank each one for making my being here possible!  I want to dedicate today’s post to my direct line of father’s.

Italian line

I have been very fortunate to be able to research so far back into my direct paternal line.  I used to think this branch of the family tree would always be stunted.  My grandfather came to the United States as a young boy from Italy.  My great-grandfather arrived in the United States with Tuberculosis and was almost immediately deported.  My grandfather was raised by his Aunt and Uncle who lived in Pittsburgh.  I was not sure that I would ever be able to research records in Italy or translate them.

You can imagine my geeky excitement when I found a microfilm in the FamilySearch.org collection containing the church records for the very tiny town in Italy my grandfather immigrated from.  I have used this data extensively to flesh out this branch of the family.

I would love if any cousins shared any photos they may have of my Ciardonei family!

My Dad in High School

My Dad in High School

 

My Grandfather right before his deployment to Europe in WWII

My Grandfather right before his deployment to Europe in WWII

Finding Goodies In What You Have (Part 3)

I am currently writing a blog series about how you miss information if you do not sit down to analyze the document after you find it.  Over a year ago, I found the Naturalization paperwork for Fred Capelli online.  I tossed it into my “to be processed” folder while on a downloading binge and let it sit for over a year.  Low and behold, this was a big mistake because I had missed several pieces of very important information.  To catch up on the awesome tidbits I missed by not analyzing the Naturalization paperwork of Alfredo (Fred) Capelli, click on these two links: Part 1 and Part 2.

The last item in Fred’s Naturalization Petition that screamed “I need attention!” was his arrival in the United States.

For years I have been trying to pin Fred down in the Ellis Island records.  My problem was I found more than one Alfredo Capelli listed.  I needed to figure out which Alfredo was mine.

Naturalization Petition

Naturalization Petition

Fred’s Naturalization Petition provided the details I was looking for.  Fred left Havre on April 27, 1900 and arrived in New York on May 3, 1900 on the vessel La Lorraine.  I am going to make the educated guess that Havre is really Le Havre, France.  Le Havre is the second largest port in France and many of my immigrating ancestors have passed through the port there.

I followed up by finding Alfredo Capelli in a manifest at the Ellis Island website.  Sure enough, there was an Alfredo Capelli who traveled to the United States in 1900.  The details are slightly different though.  The Passenger Manifest reads that Alfredo Capelli arrived 18 March 1900 on the La Gascogne.  It appears that Alfredo may have come to the United States with family.  There are four Capelli men listed: Guiseppe, Guiseppe, Alfredo, and Carlo.  I do not know if they are brothers, cousins, or a little bit of both.  All are traveling to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and none are meeting relatives at that location.  Each man carried $30 or $40 dollars on them.

La Gascogne 1 la gascogne 2

Postcard of La Gascogne.  Original postcard is available at www.postcardman.net

Postcard of La Gascogne. Original postcard is available at www.postcardman.net

 

After doing a little digging, I have to believe the records from the passenger manifest are more accurate than the Naturalization Petition.  The answers to the petition were filled in twenty years after Fred came to the United States.  I have a feeling he did not remember exactly when he arrived.  The La Lorraine supposedly arrived a week before the La Gascogne.  Also, a little research into the La Lorraine shows that it was not put into service until August 1900.  Lastly, the manifest would have had to be handed over upon arrival to the United States when the ship was processed at Ellis Island.

I have determined the Alfredo Capelli who arrived in the United States in 1903 is not mine.  I do have one other passenger list I have identified.  Alfredo Capelli made a trip to Italy in 1930.  This time he arrived home on September 10, 1930 as a United States citizen.  His passport number is listed along with the family address on Vickroy Street in Pittsburgh.

Finding Goodies In What You Have (Part 2)

I have been working on cleaning out my “to be processed” folder.  This is my bucket for images and digital documents I find online.  I recently was looking at the Naturalization paperwork for Alfredo (Fred) Capelli.  As I read through the pages, I realized I had missed information about the family by not getting the papers analyzed and filed into their correct place.  You can read about the birthplaces of Fred’s children in Part 1.

I also noticed that there was other piece of information in the Naturalization Application that was new information to me. Fred’s birthplace was flashing at me with neon red lights.

I previously had narrowed Fred’s birthplace down to Como, Italy.  Both Fred’s death certificate and WWI Draft Registration paperwork listed his birthplace as Italy.  It was Fred’s son, Bruno, who gave me the city.  It was listed on his birth certificate.  The birth certificate was filed in 1926 (Bruno was born in 1909).  Bruno obviously needed a birth certificate for a reason.  I made the deduction that he must have received the information about the birthplace from his father.

The Naturalization Application lists Fred’s birthplace as Carcente, Italy.  A quick Google search reveals that the birth certificate was not wrong.  Carcente is a small hill town located in the province of Como above Lake Como.

Google Earth view of Carcente, Italy

Google Earth view of Carcente, Italy

 

Map of Lake Como.  Carcente is marked with the red pin.

Map of Lake Como. Carcente is marked with the red pin.

I have been trying to imagine what life must have been on the side of that hill in the late 1800′s.  It is a steep hillside so there could not have been much farming.  Fred must have had very little prospects of a good life in Carcente if he felt the need to travel 4200 miles to the coal mines outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  I am so thankful Alfredo left the beauty of Lake Como so that my family can be here now!

View from Carcente. Photo added to Google Maps by Alelon 10 March 2010.

View from Carcente. Photo added to Google Maps by Alelon 10 March 2008.

Photo attached to Google Maps by Alelan 10 March 2008. Vistada Carcente.

Photo attached to Google Maps by Alelan 10 March 2008. Vistada Carcente.