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.

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One Reply to “Following Up A Newspaper Story With Documentation”

  1. What a great discovery. I can relate with the difficulty it is to search for the records of young children who died. Kudos for you for being persistent and making the discovery!

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