{Treasure Chest} Elizabeth Nagy Death Certificate

It is twisted but digitizing the documents I have is so fun.  I have items I to be excited about a second time.  In late 2014 I ordered a round of documents to try to identify where in Hungary my Mother-in-law’s family immigrated from.

One of the documents I received is the Death Certificate for Elizabeth Nagy.  Unfortunately, there was no specific town in Hungary listed but the certificate does include some previously unknown information.  The biggest being Elizabeth’s non-Americanized name (Erzi) is listed on the certificate.  The certificate also lists a cause of death.  And another variation of the maiden name show up too.  I now have three variations: Viro, Varro, and Verro.  My last observation is that my younger daughter shares the same birthday as her great-great-great-grandmother.

Since this Death Certificate, I have used other records including marriage and baptism records from Hungary to identify Teresztyne, Abauj-Torna, Hungary as the birthplace of Erzsébet Varró.


View from above of Teresztyne, Abauj-Torna, Hungary. Image uploaded to Google Maps by David Toth – 2017.

Indiana State Board of Health

Bureau of Vital Statistics

Certificate of Death

Local No. 23
Registered No. 24051
  1. Place of Death: County: Lake, City: Whiting, Street Address: 1535 Steiber Street, Stay in community: 54 years
  2. Usual Residence of Deceased: State: Indiana, County: Lake, City: Whiting, Street No. 1535 Steiber Street
  3. Full Name: Erzi (Elizabeth) Nagy
  4. Sex: Female
  5. Color: White
  6. Single, Married, Widowed: Widowed, Name of husband or wife: John Nagy
  7. Birth Date of deceased: May, 15, 1870
  8. Age: 75 years, 3 months, 2 days
  9. Birthplace: Austria-Hungary
  10. Usual occupation: Housework
  11. Industry: Own Home
  12. Father’s name: Joseph Varro
  13. Father’s birthplace: Austria-Hungary
  14. Mother’s name: Unknown
  15. Mother’s birthplace: Austria-Hungary
  16. Informant: Mrs. Brice Voight – daughter, address: 1535 Steiber St., Whiting, Ind.
  17. Burial on 8/20/45 at ElmwoodCemetery, Hammond, Indiana
  18. Funeral Director: Irene Baran, 1231 119th St., Whiting, Ind.
  19. Filed 8-20, 1945 JA McDarthy
  20. Date of Death: August 17, 1945 at 10:30am
  21. I certify that death occurred on the date above stated; that I attended deceased from Feb 10, 1945 to Aug 17, 1945 and that I last saw her alive on Aug 16, 1945.  Immediate cause of death: carcinoma of liver, duration 2 years, no operation, no autopsy
  22. Violence: no accident, homicide, or suicide
  23. Signature: Michael E Rafatz MD, address: Whiting Ind, date signed: Aug 20/45

{Treasure Chest} Gwendolyn June Fuller Birth Certificate

My husband’s grandmother was known to everyone as June. The only person who called her Gwendolyn on a regular basis was my husband. He did it just to push her buttons. I think he got away with it because he was the oldest grandson.

June passed away 6 November 2017. June was born 4 February 1925 in Havelock neighborhood, outside of Lincoln, Nebraska. At the time, Havelock was part of the county of Lancaster, Nebraska. Today Havelock resides within the city limits of Lincoln, Nebraska.

June’s parents were Percy Fuller and Lauretta Palmatier. June was born 17 and 15 years after her older brothers (Raymond and Marshall). Her parents were 38 and 36 at the time of her birth.

I realized in 2018 I did not have a copy of June’s birth certificate. With help from my mother-in-law, one was ordered. When the certificate arrived, I was so surprised to see that June was almost not June’s name! I wish I knew the story of how her middle name changed at the last moment. It was a good choice because the name June fit her.

{Treaasure Box} Amner Caroline (Ramsey) Flock Death Certificate

Amner Caroline (Ramsey) Flock (1840-1933) is my 3rd great grandmother.   She passed away in Enid, Oklahoma while living with her daughter, Adeline Martha (Flock) Tharp.  I have written about the final resting place of Amner and her husband John Flock.  You can read about it here.

After I transcribed the death certificate, I noticed two items that needed further analysis.  The first was the birth date for Amner Caroline.  It was listed 1841 on the death certificate.  This did not match with the date of 1840 I have in my software.  The next box on the death certificate listed that she would have been 92 years, 3 months, 4 days old at death.  I also noticed that my genealogy software said Amner Caroline would have been 92 years old with a death date in 1933.  I found an online date calculator and input the death date and subtracted the 92 years, 3 months, and 4 days.  Sure enough, the answer it calculated was 1840.  The person who filled out the death certificate made an error in the birth year.

Also, the informant is listed as Addie Thorp. The name Addie is a nickname for Adeline Martha Flock. A closer look proved her last name was misspelled.  Addie Flock married Frank Tharp in 1897 in Oregon.  All records in Oregon use the Tharp spelling. Addie had followed some of her siblings to Oregon before her marriage.  After her husband left her a widow, Addie moved into the same home as her mother in Enid, Oklahoma.

Amner Caroline (Ramsey) Flock Death Certificate

Amner Caroline Flock Death Certificate, 4 March 1933, registration district no. 24250, Primary Dist. no, 2401, Enid, Garfield, Oklahoma.  Bureau of Vital Statistics, Oklahoma State Board of Health, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

{Treasure Box} Loretta Palmatier Death Certificate

Loretta Elizabeth Palmatier (January 29, 1887- January 21, 1979) is my husband’s great grandmother.  She was married first to Percy Fuller and then to Alexander Fraser.  Born in Nebraska, she lived there until moving to Chicago, Illinois in her forties.  Her last move was to California to be closer to her children, Marshall and Gwendolyn (June).

I know from talking my mother in law that the family brought Loretta to Novato, California a few weeks before her death because she was sick.  Clearlake is about a two hour drive from Novato.  Loretta’s daughter and granddaughter were both living in Novato at the time of Loretta’s death.

Loretta Fraser Death Certificate

Fraser, Lauretta Death Certificate (1979),  Certificate #79-002411, January 21, 1979, Novato, Marin, California.  Department of Health,  State of California, Sacramento, California.

Wedding Wednesday – Giacinto Maglione and Maria Anastasia Salarano

January started with my being dragged into a genealogy black hole.  Haha! Let’s be serious.  It was more like I jumped in head first since I was so excited. The culprit was digitized civil records for the small town in Italy where my father’s paternal line originates.  I have found over 25 birth, marriage, and death records to date.  I still have more records to locate but they are taking some time since I need to scan page by page for differing date ranges.

This marriage record for Giacinto Maglione and Maria Anastasia Salarano is one of the documents I have found.

According to church records, Giacinto and Maria were married 8 June 1867.  This document says that on 11 June 1867, three gentlemen presented themselves to the town hall to vouch that the wedding occurred.  It further states that Giacinto Maglione, 46 was the son of the deceased Stefano Maglione and the living Maria Gianotto.  All the above were born and live in Cossano.  Maria Anastasia Salarano, 22,  daughter of the peasant (living) Michele Salarano and the deceased Maria Bonello.  All the above were born and live in Cossano.

I am very curious to know the story of Giacinto and Maria.  I have found no indication that Giacinto was previously married.  This is usually stated clearly in the church records.  His line for previous marriage has a line through it.  He is from a family who is more financially stable or has money since he is not referred to as a peasant.  Also, since Maria is only able to leave a mark, while Giacinto leaves a signature, she has less education.  Their children were born after the marriage occurred. I wonder what brought them together.  Was it love, arranged marriage, financial deal?  I will probably never know.

My favorite part of this document is the end.  There is a signature from Giacinto and a mark made by Maria.

Wedding Wednesday – Charles Francis Dempsey and Josephine Amelia Gamble

Dempsey – Gamble Original Marriage Record


My grandmother still holds the original marriage record for her parents, Charles Francis Dempsey (1894-1986) and Josephine Amelia Gamble (1894-1976).  I had the opportunity to digitize this document a few weeks ago at Christmas time.  It blows my mind that there are original documents in our family that are almost 100 years old!

I, T.W. Rosensteel hereby certify that on the 11th day of Feb one thousand nine hundred and 20 at St. Joseph’s Charles F. Dempsey and Josephine A. Gamble were by me United in Marriage.

in accordance with license issued by the Clerk of the Orphans Court of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

Numbered 13723 Series L              T.W. Rosensteel, Rector

First Genealogy Black Hole Of 2017

Genealogy researchers all laugh at the memes about getting sucked into an online genealogy black hole.  We can laugh because we have all done it.  Some of my favorite memes come from the Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches blog.  They are pretty on point and funny.

Tonight is shaping up to be one of those nights for me.  The infamous genealogy black hole has sunk its claws into me.  I was just going to check FamilySearch quickly to see if the church records from Cossano Canavese, Italy have been digitized.  They have not but…. there are now civil records from the town available and they are digitized!!!

Who cares if they are in Italian?! I have done enough research to read some key words, the months, and count to 31 (handy number to match with the days of the month.)  For everything else is Google Translate.

Who cares if they are not indexed?! They are browse-able and I have dates for most of my family after hours spent with the church records on microfilm.  I jumped right in by finding my great-grandparents marriage record.  They are on the right hand side of the page.

Civil Marriage Record of Matteo Ciardonei and Adele Siletto, Cossano Canavese (Torino). 


The only thing that has stopped me from working through as many birth, marriage, and death records as possible is my children.  They demanded dinner tonight.  The good news is they are now asleep in bed and I can go back to my wonderful black hole.  I have to thank my kids though because dinner gave me time to create a plan of attack so no one gets missed.

Wishing you all a successful genealogy black hole of your own in 2017!

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.

Finding Goodies In What You Have (Part 1)

I try to be organized!  I have a pretty good structure set up for my electronic files.  I have been moving my digital images from my old filing system to the new one over the last couple of years.  I still have about 500 images to add information and citations to the metadata, make sure the information is in my genealogy database, and move the file to its new home.

One of the folders I have under my genealogy folder is called “to be processed”.  It is a holding place for files til they meet the steps listed above.  I try to keep up with this work but I am behind.  In a recent attempt to clean this folder out, I found the naturalization paperwork for my grandfather’s adopted father.  I knew that I had this paperwork.  What I did not realize was I had missed some great information contained in it.

The information I previously had told me that Alfredo (Fred) Capelli had been born in Como, Italy on 3 October 1878.  I know the family was dealt a devastating blow when they lost two of their children in a fire.  When my grandfather Celio “Jay” Ciardonei came to the United States at age 5, Alfredo and his wife, Mary (Jay’s maternal aunt) took Jay in as part of their family.  You can read more about my grandfather here and here.

One of the first things to stick out to me in the Naturalization paperwork was the locations of Fred’s children.  I ordered birth certificates for Mabel, Bruno, and Elsie early in my genealogy adventure.  Both Mabel and Elsie had No Record Certifications returned to me.  Bruno had a birth certificate that was filed in 1926 (he was born in 1909) stating he was born in Fayette, Pennsylvania.  Mabel’s SS-5 paperwork listed Mt. Sterling as her birthplace but this conflicted with the birthplace of Brownsville on her death certificate.  Elsie’s SS-5 paperwork listed Alicia as her birthplace but again conflicted with the birthplace as Pittsburgh on her death certificate.

Capelli, Alfredo nat kids birth


I now have locations from someone who was there for the birth! I quickly went to Google Maps to find these towns.  To my surprise the names brought up towns all over the state of Pennsylvania.  I know that the family only lived south of Pittsburgh and then in Pittsburgh.  I then tried a Google search of the town names and Fayette County, Pennsylvania.

I was surprised to be led to a website about the coal mines in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.  I have looked at this website before when researching where the Alicia Mine Works was located.  This was the mine that the family lived at when their two children died.  All three towns listed in the naturalization paperwork were not actually towns but the mining towns or ‘patches’ that sat next to mines.  Here is a map showing the locations of the places my grandfather’s cousins were born.

Alicia Mineworks, Tower Hill Mine Works, and Mt. Sterling Mineworks
Top to Bottom: Alicia Mine Works, Tower Hill Mine Works, and Mt. Sterling Mine Works


Using the available records I have reached the conclusion these are the proper places for the birth of Mabel, Bruno, and Elsie Capelli.  Alfredo Capelli was present for the birth of his children, making him a primary source.  The information on the SS-5 paperwork for Mabel and Elsie was filled out by them.  I believe the incorrect birthplaces listed on their death certificates is due to information being provided by other people.

If you have any relative who worked in the mining community, I highly recommend visiting the The Virtual Museum of Coal Mining in Western Pennsylvania.  The site was put together by Raymond Washlaski and Ryan Washlaski.  It includes information about coal mines in Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Cambria, Clearfield, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland counties in Western Pennsylvania.  In addition to some information about who owned the mines, I have found history of the mines, maps, and even photos of some of the mine patches (towns).  It is an amazing resource!!

Wedding Wednesday – Abraham Strickler and Effie Flock

Abraham Strickler and Effie Flock are my 2nd great grandparents. me to abraham strickler

My records have for years just estimated Abraham and Effie’s marriage date by using the US Federal Census.  Although I have seen the exact marriage date listed on several online trees, I just recently found the documentation I needed for my records.  This was my first find of the day at the Kansas State Archives last month.

The first microfilm I pulled was the Republic County Marriage Licenses 1868-1990.  I found Abraham and Effie’s marriage license in ledger C, page 57.  They were married 1 February 1888.  Abraham is listed as age 34 from Narka, Kansas.  Effie’s age is not listed but she is from Haddam, Kansas.  My records show that Effie would have married only a couple of days after her 22nd birthday.

Strickler Flock Marriage Register

After analyzing this document, I see an interesting pattern.  Effie and Abraham had an age difference of 12 years between them.  When their daughter, Opal, married Dudley Moses Mitchell, there was a 15 year age difference.  Opal’s sisters did not keep with the older man when they married their first husbands.