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!

Adding A Sibling To The Family Tree

There are many family trees posted to the big genealogy websites.  My personal opinion about these trees, in relation to my own research, is they should be used a hints.  I always try to contact the tree owner to see if they have any sources of their information.  I am cautious about the online trees but I am also optimistic.

Towards the end of the summer, I received a hint about my grandfather’s family on My Heritage.  I took a look at the family trees posted and noticed a sister named Anastasia Adele Ciardonei was part of the family structure.

My grandfather, Celio Capelli, immigrated to the United States in March 1920 at the young age of 5 after the death of his mother, Adele Siletto.  Upon the ship’s arrival in New York, my great-grandfather, Matteo Ciardonei, was detained at Ellis Island after being diagnosed with tuberculosis.  My grandfather’s aunt (Adele’s sister) Mary Siletto Capelli, traveled from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to pick up my grandfather from Ellis Island.  Matteo was deported back to Italy and Celio became part of the Capelli family. Sadly, Matteo passed away a little over a year later in Cossano Canavese, Italy.  My grandfather grew up in Pittsburgh in the home of his Aunt and Uncle, Mary and Frank Capelli, with his cousins as his siblings.

I had heard a story that Adele Siletto had passed away in childbirth.  I considered this story very likely to be true.  When reviewing the family trees at My Heritage, it seems I had finally might have proof of this story.

I contacted a friend on Facebook, Lily, who lives in Cossano Canavese, Italy.  You can read about how we were introduced and the wonderful presents she gave to me here.  I had received the church death record for Adele Siletto from Lily last year.  What I did not know at the time was to ask if there were any records for this possible sister, Anastasia Adele.

I asked Lily to take another look at the church records to see if there was a birth record for Anastasia Adele Ciardonei in the same month Adele had passed away.  Lily became my hero once again when she sent a digital copies of Adele’s death record and Anastasia’s birth and death records.

Adele Anastasia Antonia Ester Ciardonei was born on 12 September 1919.  Her mother, Adele Siletto, passed away a few days later on 18 September 1919.  Anastasia was baptized two days after her mother’s death on 20 September 1919.  Sadly, she did not survive and passed away when she was 29 days old on 10 October 1919.   Just 5 months later, Matteo and Celio would be on a ship steaming towards the United States.

My heart breaks for Matteo Ciardonei.  In less then a year he loses his wife and newborn daughter, tries to reach a better life in America but is deported, and leaves his son with family on another continent.  I am also so eternally grateful for the decision he made to leave my Grandfather with Mary and Frank Capelli.

I want to send a huge Thank You to my extended Italian family who placed Anastasia’s name on an online family tree.  Without their help, I would not have been able research this important story in my family history.  Every piece of the story adds up to explain how so many decisions came to be.

Wedding Wednesday – Matteo Ciardionei and Adele Siletto

In my last post, I told my story of how social media led me to some important documents for my Italian line.  You can read about it here.  The first document is the marriage record of my great-grandparents, Matteo Ciardonei and Adele Siletto.

Ciardonei Siletto Marriage record

Using a couple of different sources, I was able to piece together a rough translation:

Act of Marriage

Number 14

Ciardonei and Siletto

 

The year one thousand nine hundred thirteen the 23 of December of three publications made in the church of St. Stefano, presented to the parish priests

Marriage was celebrated according to the rites of the Church between

Ciardonei Matteo, twenty-four, native of Cossano, living in Cossano, son of the deceased Pietro, who was son of the deceased Matteo, and son of the deceased Ciamporcero Antonia, daughter of the deceased Stefano.

And Siletto Adele, twenty, native of Cossano, living in Cossano, daughter of the living Guiseppe, who was the son of the deceased Stefano, and daughter of the living Maglione Anastasia, daughter of the deceased Giacinto.

Present as witnesses: Maglione Giovanni, son of deceased Lorenzo and Arsalice Pietro, son of deceased Pietro

With the consent of the present

Signed by Matteo Ciardonei, Adele Siletto, Pietro Arsalice, Giovanni Maglione and Guiseppe C?rieu (priest)

An Italian Baptism – Matteo Ciardonei

Matteo Ciardonei is my paternal great grandfather.  He came to the United States March 22, 1920 with my grandfather.  Matteo was hospitalized upon arrival.  My grandfather, Matteo’s son, was released from detention when his aunt picked him up on March 31st.  Sadly, Matteo was deported and left the United States on April 12th due to a tuberculosis diagnosis.  Matteo passed way less than one year later on March 14, 1921 in his hometown of Cossano Canavese, Turino, Italy.
I am so lucky that FamilySearch has a microfilm from the village of Cossano Canavese. I have been able to reconstruct my paternal Italian line using baptism, marriage, and death records.  With some family members, I was fortunate that the priest went back to the baptism record and recorded notes about the marriage and death for that person.
Here is the baptism record for Matteo:
Ciardonei, Matteo Baptism Record
With the help of the book Italian Genealogical Records: How to Use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical, and Other Records in the Family History Research by Trafford R. Cole, a rough translation is:
Certificate No. 6
Ciardonei Matteo Stefano Luigi
The year of the lord one thousand eight hundred eighty nine the 12 of February was presented to the Church an infant born 11 of January at 3 am, son of Ciardonei Pietro, son of deceased Matteo, native of Cossano, and son of Ciamporcero Antonia, daughter of living Stefano, native of Cossano, of the family Ciardonei live in Cossano to whom the baptism was administered by the parson ????etto the delegated priest, and to whom was giving the name of Matteo Stefano Luigi, the godfather being Ciamporcero Luigi, son of living Stefano and the godmother Ciardonei Lucia, daughter of living Stefano. Represented by …(blank line)…
The indication of the birth, with the request for baptism, was made by the underwritten father of the infant.
Signature of the person who requested baptism – Ciardonei Pietro
Signature of the parish priest – A. Banedetto
Written in the left column:
Joined in matrimony to Siletto Adele di Guiseppe 22-12-13 (22 Dec 1913)
Last rites given 14-3-1921 (14 March 1921)

Creating Family Groups From Baptism Records

My father’s paternal line is purely Italian.  My Grandfather immigrated to the United States when he was five.  I have written about his journey to the U.S. (you can read them here and here).

I was lucky to find a roll of microfilm at the Family History Center which included all the baptisms, marriages, and deaths from the very small town my grandfather was born in.  I am so thankful I paid the extra fee to have the microfilm on extended loan.  When I began looking at the microfilm a couple of years ago, I focused on my direct ancestors and the documents I could find for them.  Because the film is still at my local Family History Center, I can go back and fill in the gaps in my research – siblings!

My plan of attack is simple.  Using an excel worksheet, I am documenting every baptism for the surnames Ciardonei and Siletto.  My excel worksheet includes the following columns: last name, first name, birth year, birth month, birth day, father’s first name, father’s last name, son of, mother’s first name, mother’s last name, and daughter of.  Below is an example from my excel worksheet.  The two lines in bold are my great grandparents.

Baptism excel sheet example

 

Now that the names have been entered into my excel sheet it is easy to identify siblings by sorting the columns.  I have created a custom sort with the following levels:

  • Last Name
  • Father’s First Name
  • Son of
  • Birth Year

My worksheet is now neatly sorted into family groups!  I have added an extra blank row between family groups to make it easier to read.

baptism records sorted

By sorting the families in this manner other relationships are starting to become clear.  In the example above, it is highly likely that Pietro and Stefano are brothers since they are both sons of Matteo.  I should be able to confirm this relationship by looking at the marriage records for both men and checking to see if names of the parents match.

It is interesting to also note how closely these families followed naming conventions.  First son is named for the paternal grandfather.  First daughter is named for the maternal grandmother.

I have already collected information from 1899-1865.  I need to make another trip to the Family History Center to finish the remaining 8 years to 1858.  As I have worked my way through the baptism records, I realize that I need to also do the same project for the last names Maglione and Ciamporcero to see if I am able to identify any siblings of my great-great grandparents.  Once I am done with the baptism records, I will repeat this project using the marriage records.  The baptism records go back to 1858.  The marriage records extend back to the early 1800’s.

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

Treasure Chest Thursday – Marriage Record of Pietro Ciardonei and Antonia Ciamporcero

Pietro Ciardonei and Antonia Ciamporcero are my paternal great-great-grandparents.  They lived their entire lives in Cossano Canavese, Piedmonte, Italy.  This is a small town outside of Turin in the foothills of the Alps.

Pietro was born about 1845.  Antonia was born 4 February 1859.  They married on 20 March 1872.  Their marriage produced at least 7 children.  Three of their first four children died before reaching the age of three.  My great grandfather was the first son to survive childhood.  I can only imagine what difficult times Pietro and Antonia faced losing so many children so young at the start of their marriage.

My favorite part of this record is the signature for my g-g-grandfather.  Although I am not very surprised, it still makes me a little sad that my g-g-grandmother could only mark her name with an “X.”

I have been able to research my Italian ancestors because Family Search has a microfilm that contains the church records from their small town.  Below is a digital copy of Pietro and Antonia’s marriage record.
With the help of the book Italian Genealogical Records: How to Use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical, and Other Records in the Family History Research by Trafford R. Cole and Google Translate, a very rough translation is:

Act of Marriage
Number 12
Ciardonei, Pietro – Ciamporcero, Antonia
The year one thousand eight hundred seventy two the 20thof March of publications made in the church of St. Stefano, dispenses ??? presented to the parish priests ??
Marrying according to the rite of S. ?? Ciardonei Pietro, twenty seven, native of Cossano, living in Cossano, son of the deceased Matteo,  son of the late Domenico and son of the living Avetta Lucia, daughter of the deceased Antonio.
And Ciamporcero Antonia, twenty three, native of Cossano, living in Cossano, daughter of the living Stefano, son of the deceased Domenico, and daughter of the living Ciardonei Maria, daughter of the deceased Stefano.
Present as witnesses: Ciardonei Antonio, son of deceased Stefano and Maglione Lorenzo, son of living Giovanni

(2Matteo + 2Lucia) – Pietro(Teresa/Antonia) = ?!?!

I have jumped deep into researching my Italian line the last couple of months.  I have been slowly combing my way through baptism, marriage, and death records to piece together my family line.  I am still working on these records but want to share an interesting story of analysis of a portion of my goldmine.  I warn you now that everyone has the same name.  Proceed with caution!

The story begins with my great-grandfather Matteo Ciardonei.  Baptism records show he was born to Pietro Ciardonei and Antonia Ciamporcero.  Additional baptism and death records show that Pietro and Antonia had at least six children as follows (records for this microfilm end at 1898 so there may be children born after that date):

  1. Matteo Stefano Pietro Ciardonei born  27 July 1883, died 14 August 1883
  2. Lucia Vittoria Maria Ciardonei born 30 June 1886, died 21 April 1888
  3. Matteo Ciardonei born 11 February 1889, died 14 March 1921
  4. Lucia Maria Antonia Ciardonei born 28 December 1891, 22 June 1894
  5. Silvinia Maria Ciardonei born 2 October 1894
  6. Stefano Sarino Ciardonei born 16 September 1898, died 21 June 1934
There was also a baptism record for a Matteo Claudio Ciardonei born 8 November 1875 to Pietro Ciardonei and Teresa Salarano.  My first inclination was to think that this was a first marriage for Pietro.
I next went on to find the marriage records for Pietro & Antonia and Pietro & Teresa.  A quick glance had me thinking that these were the same person.  When I arrived home and analyzed the documents a few days later, I was not so sure.  The only thing that was for sure – I was immediately thankful that almost all of the church records listed a person’s father, his father, and sometimes the person’s mother and her father.  In addition each name indicated if the person was alive or deceased.
Pietro Ciardonei married Teresa Salarano on 20 February 1875.  Pietro is listed as the son of living Matteo (who is the son of deceased Pietro) and deceased Lucia Avetta (daughter of living Sebastiano).  Teresa parents are listed as deceased Stefano and living Maria Bonello.
Pietro Ciardonei married Antonia Ciamporcero on 20 March 1882.  I was surprised to see that Pietro’s parents were slightly different than the prior marriage record to Teresea.  This Pietro’s parents are deceased Matteo (son of deceased Domenico) and living Lucia Avetta (daughter of deceased Antonio).
Are these the same Pietro Ciardonei?  It was time to go back another generation to try to find out.
I found the marriage certificate for Matteo Ciardonei and Lucia Avetta on my next trip to the library.  Again, I was finding and scanning as many documents as possible and doing the analysis at home.  Once at home, I looked carefully at the marriage certificate.  This Matteo Ciardonei married Lucia Avetta on 25 July 1846.  This seemed to fit Pietro for a possible estimated birthdate.  Matteo’s father is listed as living Pietro, deceased Matteo, deceased Domenico.  Matteo’s mother is listed as Maria Burghesio, daughter of deceased Domenico.  I paused here thinking, “wait, did the Priest confuse Pietro as the dad?  But wait he wasn’t born yet – these are his parents. O no, I have a problem. Are there two Pietro’s?!?”
I went on to note that Lucia Avetta’s parents were listed as living Sebastiano Avetta (son of deceased Matteo) and living Maria Franesio (daughter of deceased Michele).  I needed another trip back to the library.
On my next trip I quickly made my way back to the marriage records and started searching before 1846.  To my surprise, I found another marriage certificate for Matteo Ciardonei.  This time he was marrying Lucia Avetta in 1835.  Okay, now I was totally confused.  This town was Catholic to their last breath.  How is it that Matteo Ciardonei married Lucia Avetta twice?!
The 1835 marriage of Matteo Ciardonei to Lucia Avetta is a handwritten marriage record.  Although I have been unable to translate the whole thing yet due to a change of language from Italian to Latin, I can definitely see the names written in the paragraph.  Matteo’s parents are listed as Domenico Ciardonei and Maria Giandefio.  Lucia Avetta’s parents are listed as Antonio Avetta and Magdelena Giacometto (daughter of Ignatio).
I also came upon a death record for Lucia Ciardonei ne Avetta.  She died 17 July 1888.  The death record states that she was 74 at the time of her death.  This would give an estimated birthdate about 1813-1815.  Her parents are listed as Antonio and Magdelena.  The spouse is listed as Matteo Ciardonei.
It was time to compile an excel sheet to figure out just what I had here.  My excel sheet included columns for date, record type, name, name of father, father’s father, mother, mother’s fathers, spouse, and estimated birthdate.  After entering all baptism records, marriage records, and death records the families started to shake out.
Once on paper it became clear that Lucia Avetta in the 1835 and 1846 marriage licenses was the key to unraveling this mystery.  Each marriage definitely had a different Lucia (different parents).
I had two different Matteo Ciardonei’s marrying two different Lucia Avetta’s only 11 years apart.  Both of these couples had at least one son named Pietro.  Both Pietro’s had sons named Matteo (about eight years apart).
 
The death record for Lucia Ciardonei ne Avetta helped to solidify my argument for which Matteo and Lucia marriage was mine.  If you look back to the marriage certificates for Pietro & Teresa and Pietro & Antonia, you will notice that one Lucia is living while the other is already deceased.  “My” Lucia (daughter of Antonio and Magdelena) is listed as living.  This jives with Lucia’s death in 1888. The “other” Lucia passed away before 1875.
Here is a sketch of each family:
  1. Matteo Ciardonei (1889-1921)
    1. Pietro Ciardonei
      1. Matteo Ciardonei
        1. Domenico Ciardonei
        2. Maria Giandefio
      2. Lucia Avetta
        1. Antonio Avetta
        2. Magdelena Giacometto
    2. Antonia Ciamporcero
  1. Matteo Ciardonei (1875-1878)
    1. Pietro Ciardonei
      1. Matteo Ciardonei
        1. Pietro Ciardonei
        2. Maria Burghesio
      2. Lucia Avetta
        1. Sebastiano Avetta
        2. Maria Franesio
    2. Teresa Salarano

An Italian Baptism

Adele Siletto is my paternal grandfather’s mother.  She was born in Cossano Canavese, Piedmont, Italy on January 10, 1893. This image was scanned from the FHL microfilm I have been researching ( Registri Ecclesiastici di Cossano Canavese (Torino), 1651-1899).

With the help of the book Italian Genealogical Records: How to Use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical, and Other Records in the Family History Research by Trafford R. Cole, a rough translation is:
Certificate No. 1
Siletto Adele
The year of the lord one thousand eight hundred ninety two the twelfth of January was presented to the Church an infant born ten of January at ten pm, daughter of Siletto Guiseppe, son of living Stefano, native of Cossano, and daughter of Maglione Ana Stasia, daughter of deceased Giacinto, native of Cossano, of the family Siletto live in Cossano to whom the baptism was administered by ??? the delegated priest, and to whom was giving the name of Adele, the godfather being Avetta Pietro, son of deceased Stefano and the godmother Siletto Margarita, daughter of living Stefano. Represented by ? Pietro ??
The indication of the birth, with the request for baptism, was made by the underwritten father of the infant.
Signature of the person who requested baptism – Guiseppe Siletto
Signature of the parish priest – A. Banedetto
Written in the left column:
Joined in matrimony to Ciardonei Matteo 22 -12-13 (22 Dec 1913)
Last rites given 18-1x-1919 (18 January 1919)

 

Sweet 16 Success!!

This blog post is being posted a couple of weeks after the fact.  I found this information a couple of weeks ago but life and some medical issues got in the way and I was not able to share this great information with you until today.  Please enjoy because I am still as excited today as I was on Tuesday, November 1st.

My grandfather is Celio “Jay” Capelli.  He was born to Matteo Ciardonei and Adele Siletto.  I have chronicled my grandfather’s story in several posts this Summer and Fall (an american dream, new documents add to the story of my grandfather, those places – cossano canavese, piedmonte, italy, and finding all 16 g-g-grandparents).  My grandpa’s family are the last hold outs in my quest to find the names of all 16 g-g-grandparents.

When we returned home from our wedding adventures (wedding wednesday – creating genealogy), I immediately logged on and ordered from FamilySearch.org the microfilm that contains the church records from Cossano Canavese, Piedmonte, Italy.   The Family Search index shows that the records contain baptisms from 1858-1899, marriages from 1651-1899, and deaths from 1669-1899.

The microfilm has arrived and I got a chance to look at the baptisms.  I am very happy that I did my homework and showed up with a cheat sheet of words in Italian.  It saved a lot of time in acclimating to another language.  I had great success!  I found the names of my missing g-g-grandparents!

I started by scrolling through the microfilm to see how it was organized.  Quickly, I found that for each year there was an index of names, birth dates, and certificate number that showed up at the end of the year.  In this small town there was anywhere from 10 to 43 baptisms each year.  There are about 10 main surnames that appear in the baptism records.

Working backwards from 1899, I found Adele Siletto first.  Her baptism record says that she was born 10 January 1892 to Guiseppe Siletto, son of Stefano and Ana Maria Maglione, daughter of Giarindo.  I was really excited to see that someone in the church had added additional information to her baptism record by hand underneath Adele’s name.  It also stated that she married Matteo Ciardonei on 25 December 1913 and died 18 January 1919.

I found Matteo’s baptism record next using the index of names for 1889.  Matteo Stefano Luigi Ciardonei was born 12 February 1889 to Pietro Ciardonei, son of Matteo and Antonia Ciamporcero, daughter of Stefano.  Again, additional information was hand written in stating the same marriage date and confirming the date of death as 14 March 1921.

I still can’t believe it.  I only wish that my grandfather was still alive to hear all about it.

I am excited to get back to the library this week.  My plan is to create an Excel sheet and transcribe the index pages for the baptisms.  Since this is a small town, it will not be too much work and will hopefully help untangle the web of families later.  I can then go through the baptisms for the Ciardonei, Siletto, Maglione, and Ciamporcero families to identify any siblings for Matteo, Adele, and their parents.  I will tie in the marriage records as I identify parents for each family group.  I do not plan on looking at the death records until I am done looking at the baptism and marriage records.