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.

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)

Facebook Friends

Last month my local genealogy society (Marin County Genealogical Society) held our annual workshop meeting.  One of the topics presented was Using Social Media To Further Your Genealogy Research.  I want to follow-up what our members learned by sharing a success story about how social media has aided my research.

Several years ago, while working on my father’s Italian line, I sent a message to a woman using the messaging service on Ancestry.com.  This woman (I will refer to her as Minnie for privacy) was the owner of a family tree which included a person who was listed above my family member on the passenger manifest for the trip from Italy.  What caught my eye and made me contact Minnie is both men were from the same very small town in Italy.

Minnie and I have not found a link to prove a relation between us but it is still possible since there are only about 12 surnames in this town.  Since our initial emails, we have helped each other with our research.  I found and sent digital copies of church records to Minnie.  When she visited Italy a couple of years ago, Minnie sent me a book about Cossano Canavese which includes a photo of my great-great-grandfather.  More importantly, Minnie and I became Facebook friends.

As part of her trip to Italy, Minnie became friends with several of the people she met in Cossano.  Minnie friended her Italian friends on Facebook as a way to stay in touch.  Minnie also suggested to me that I friend one of the women (I will refer to her as Lily for privacy) as she had a lot of knowledge of the town and its history.  At the time I friended Lily we exchanged a couple of messages about who we were related to and our interests.  I have enjoyed seeing the photos of Cossano that Lily posts to her Facebook account.

Last month, I was reviewing my research and realized that while I had supporting documents for my Italian line to 1899 (when the microfilm ended) I was missing a few critical items from 1900-1921.  I sent a message to Lily to ask her what was the best way to get the documents.  Who should I contact and what do I need to say? Does it have to be in Italian?  I included in my message that I was looking for the marriage of my great grandparents, baptism of my grandfather, and death records for both great grandparents.

Two days later, I had a message back from Lily.  She had walked down to the church in town and had taken photographs of all the documents!!  She also informed me that the current vice-mayor is one of my relatives who remembers my grandfather.  I have the contact email for her and Facebook information for her son.

If I had not reached out to other family history researchers and created relationships using social media I would not have these special documents right now.  I now have a copy of both of my grandparents signatures and more of the story of how my grandfather came to the U.S. has been filled in.  I also have started new relationships with distant cousins in Italy.

Social media lets you connect and collaborate with other researchers and distant family.  You never know how those connections may lead you to a piece of the missing genealogy puzzle!

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.

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.

 

Workday Wednesday – Delivering The Mail

I was blessed to receive a book about Cossano Canavese, Italy from a genealogy friend who visited Cossano last year.  My Dad’s paternal line is from this small town outside of Torino.  I have had the book for six months but really have not spent much time looking at it yet.  The reason why is the book is in Italian and I speak English.

I have focused this weekend on using free online translation services to translate sections I know apply to my family.  (Really the whole book applies since this is a very small town and everyone is most likely related at some point)

The section I concentrated on was several pages before a photo of my great-great-grandfather, Giuseppe Siletto.  The translation roughly spelled out the creation of the post office in Cossano.  Before 1856, the town was dependent on the nearby town of Caravino for its mail.  In 1858, a letter was sent to all mayors in the province letting them know that they needed to assign someone the job of postman and decide how often that person would go to Caravino to pick up the mail each day.  The new postmen would receive 50 lire a year for their work.  The Mayor of Cossano named a certain man named Siletto for the job and it started 1 January 1859.  In 1912 Cossano became its own post office and was no longer dependant on the town of Caravino.

In the page before the photo of my g-g-grandfather is a stamped certificate to record a deposit of 200 lire in September 1893 by Giuseppe Siletto to carry out the functions of postal carrier.

So it turns out that my ancestors owned and operated the post office in Cossano for a very long time.  From 1859-1893 a man by the same surname ran the post office.  My g-g-grandfather, Giuseppe Siletto, owned and operated it from 1893-1912.  His daughter, my great-grandmother Adele Siletto, was the owner from 1912 til her death in 1919.  Giuseppe’s second wife, Lucia Brunero, was the postman from 1915-1925. And Lucia’s son from her first marriage, Giovanni Antonio Brunero, was the postman from 1925-1966.

Cossano Post Stamp
Postal Stamp from 1912.