Wednesday, September 30, 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesdays: Marilyn Mulcahy O'Hara

My grandmother. We postulate it was at her graduation from Brooklyn College, or her yearbook picture of that year, which I'd estimate was probably around 1952-1953.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'd like one of these for each of my ancestors, thanks

I posted this on Friday, but then took it down, concerned about confidentiality and sentiment. The death of the person in question was within my own lifetime, and thus, to my mind, relatively recent. He certainly has still-living relatives much closer than me, and I'm concerned about seeming flippant about his death and using it as no more than a resource. So I've removed specifics. Feel free to contact me if you'd like more information.

My new favorite priests are the Maryknoll Missionaries, hands down. I sent an e-mail to their archives department yesterday after work and when I got to work this morning, I already had a response. And oh what a response it was!

I'd asked for any information or records they might have on a first cousin thrice removed, because I knew from the SSDI that he'd died at Maryknoll in Westchester. And when I asked for information, boy did they give me information!

They sent a letter published by the Maryknoll order upon the his death. It includes a picture, and starts with his birthdate, death date, cause of death, parents including mother's maiden name (which I already knew, but now I almost wish I didn't so I could have learned it here), and siblings. I'd known his brother was a priest, but now I know he was an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales. (The Oblates, unfortunately, don't have as easily accessible an archival department, but I've sent an e-mail asking whom I should contact if looking for information.) I'd also known he'd had aunts who were nuns, but now I know that at least one was a Maryknoll Sister, and I may see whether they have any information on her, too, although that's his father's side of the family, not ours.

It goes on to talk about his schooling - elementary through college and seminary - and his ordination as a priest, as well as his family, though the relatives they refer to there are all from his father's not his mother's, side. (That side of the family had lots of priests and religious in their family. We had none, as far as I'm aware.)

Then the letter goes on to talk about all the countries he served in as a priest, including Peru, Chile, Guatemala, Japan, and Mexico, and mentions his time in Israel, California, and New York. It describes his apparently stellar personality. (". . .engaging personality and sense of humor. . .Irish wit. . . keen observation. . .") The letter then gives his sister's married name and an address.

What an incredible resource! Who do I write to get one of these about each of my relatives?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Grandpa Lanzillotto Naturalization Papers

These are Grandpa Lanzillotto (Charles Lanzillotto)'s naturalization papers. He was naturalized 20 October 1919. He gives his name as Charles Lanzillatta (not Carmine) (though he later signs it Charlie Lanzillotto) and his address is 281 E. 155 St. He's a merchant (he sold ice), and his birthday was 16 July 1894 in Bari. According to this document, when he immigrated, the trip took from 7 February 1908 to 20 February 1908, on the Verona. His witnesses are Francesco Dalmato and Angelo Giordano, both of whom are merchants and both of whom also live at 281 E 155. Francesco Dalmato signed his own name, but Angelo Giordano couldn't and made an X instead.

The next page offers no new information, other than that the certificate number is listed (1291526), but it's where Grandpa Lanzillotto swears his allegiance to America and is admitted to become a citizen of the United States.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Help Understanding Civil War Service Records

Our Richard Toner was born c. 1820 in Ireland. Immigrated to NY c. 1850, and, as far as I know, never left Brooklyn. He was a painter by occupation.

I found, on the NYS Archives Civil War soldier databases, records of a Richard Toner in the 5 NY H. Artillery. (There's also on that site the record of a Richard Toner in the 148 NY Infantry, but he doesn't show up anywhere else - not in NARA's indexes or the NPS Soldiers and Sailors System. I haven't ordered that record yet.) At NARA, I looked up the CMSR (Compiled Military Service Record) of the Richard Toner in the 5 NY H. Artillery, where what I found pretty much matched the minimal information I'd gotten when I ordered the record from the NYS Archives, plus some.

A regimental history I found told me that this regiment was recruited throughout NYS, including large parts of it in NYC. However, Richard Toner was mustered in in Utica. Would he have been mustered in in the place he lived, or in some other place? (Utica is pretty far from South Brooklyn). There's also a section on the enlistment papers that says he was "credited to" a given congressional district; I can't remember the number right now, but I looked it up immediately after seeing the record, and it was an upstate district by Utica, not near Brooklyn. Does that field ("credited to") relate to the district he lived in? Could that be different from the district he was recruited for? (There is paper work saying that a certain man was due $10 for having recruited Richard Toner.)

My Richard Toner should have been in his early 40s. His age is given as 24. But - his occupation is correct, that of a painter. I'm clueless as to whether this is him. Could the digits have gotten switched when recording his age? That's not anything anyone could answer for me, but I'm basically wondering whether there's a possibility that someone who mustered in upstate and was credited to an upstate district could have lived in Brooklyn? If so, I think there's a chance it's him, wrong age notwithstanding. If this Richard Toner must have lived in upstate NY, then I'm sure it's not him.

Where can I find out more about how to read Civil War enlistment records?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Grandma and Grandpa Lanzillotto Immigration Paper - 2 Aug 1920

This is the passenger manifest for US Citizens that lists Grandma and Grandpa Lanzillotto arriving in New York. As we saw in the last post, Grandpa Lanzillotto applied for a passport to return to Italy. When he returned to NY 10 months later, he had a wife! They're numbers 12 and 13 on the manifest, listed as Charlie and Anna Lansillotto, ages 29 and 20, respectively. (That's not quite accurate, Charlie should have only been 26 or so.) Charlie is listed as having been naturalized at the Supreme Ct NY Oct 20th 1919, and Anna is a citizen by marriage. Their address is given as 281 E 155th St. New York City.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Grandpa Lanzillotto's Passport Application - October 1919

This is the passport application of "Grandpa Lanzillotto" aka Charles Lanzillotto, my great-grandfather. He applied for a passport to go back to Italy in 1919. This simple little document is an absolute treasure trove of information. He tells us he was born in Bitetto, Provincia di Bari, Italy on July 16, 1894. He left Italy on 8 February 1908, and that he was naturalized at the Bronx County Courthouse on 20 October 1919. (I think it's cute that he puts everything else in English, but writes Ottobre in Italian.) He has only resided outside of the United States when he was in France and Germany with the AEF (American Expeditionary Force) from August 1918 to September 29, 1919. He lives at 281 E. 155 St. in the Bronx. (Google maps can't find that address.) He's an ice dealer. He wants to go back to Italy to visit his parents, to return within 6 months. He wants to leave on November 1st.

On the next page, Grandpa Lanz is described as 25 years old. (Which is accurate!) He's 5'8", has a high forehead, brown eyes, a medium nose, small mouth, and square chin. His hair is black, his complexion fair, and his face "full," whatever that means. He has no distinguishing marks. He and his witness appear to have mixed up how to fill in the "Affadavit of Identifying Witness." It starts with "I, Charlie Lanzillotto. . ." when it should say "I, Stefano Marzigliano. . ." since Stefano is the one signing the affadavit. Stefano lives just down the street from Charlie, at 285 E. 155 St. And then, at the bottom of the page, we see Grandpa's picture! Wasn't he handsome?

The right-hand side of the page should just be the first page of the next person's application, but it's not. It is what appears to be the translation of a letter from Charlie's father telling him they'd like him to come visit them.

"Dear son I just got your letter from you. I was very glad to here that you are in Best of health and same here with us everything is O.K. Dear son I received too other letters from you and I din't not answered just as you wrote to us. One the letter was date 25 July and the other was date 11 Agost. Dear son we also have learned that you spent your fourlough in Francia and also your Company had going to the America and you are detach to another Company. We have learn that you can't not get the Bord line to come to Italy but still and all hope the will send you back to American soon and every think is clear to that you can come to see us soon and also why your too other brothers don't the come and also your sister with their family. We hope to see you all soon as we can't caus we are growing very old.

Your truly Father,
Giuseppe Lanzillotto"
The third page just has the continuation of the letter, the entirety of which I tried to transcribe above. My knowledge of Italian makes me think that the letter was written in Italian and was translated more or less word for word, which is what gives it the broken English sound. (This from clues like the double negatives and the constant use of "dear son," which is awkward in English where "Caro figlio" would be appropriate in Italian.

The only thing here that doesn't jive with what I thought was the case is the part of the letter about his brothers and sister. It sounds like Giuseppe is asking Charlie to bring his siblings to visit, while I was unaware that Grandpa Lanz had siblings in America. This is something I'll have to ask Grandma about.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lanzillottos on the 1930 Census

Wait a sec. I'm Italian?

Yes folks, I'm finally uploading some of my Italian family records. I've concentrated on the Irish for a long time, at least on this blog, and I've felt kind of bad about it. My only excuse - and it's a poor one - is that it's a lot harder to research people whose names the census takers couldn't spell.

So I'm starting to make amends now. Here is the Lanzillotto family on the 1930 Census.

The Lanzillottos are the last family listed in the first image above, and the first family in the second, below. Grandpa Lanzillotto, Charles/Charlie/Carmine/Carmino, is listed as Charles Lanzillotti, and Grandma Lanzillotto, Anna, is Hanah. They live at 351 128th St., and they own their home, which, if I'm deciphering the next column correctly, is worth $11,500. He is listed as 36 and she 30, which point to birthdates of 1894 and 1900, respectively, and I believe those are more or less accurate. They say they were first married at 25 and 20, which indicates that they wed around 1920 - also accurate, I'm almost certain. (Italians may have their names spelled wrong more often, but they were way better with dates than the Irish I'm familiar with!)

They say they immigrated in 1908 (Charles) and 1920 (Anna), which, again, is actually correct! This is crazy! Both are naturalized, and Charles is an ice dealer who owns his own business.

The family continues on the next page, with the Lanzillotto children. They're listed as Bella, 8; Joseph, 6; Angelina, 3; Laura, 2; and Teresa, 6 mos. Only Aunt Belle and Uncle Joe have attended school and know how to read.

Genealogy Humor Thursday: You might be a genealogist if. . .

. . . the people you meet online are generally not candidates for dating or marriage. In fact, unlike those of your friends who use or eHarmony, you are often legally prohibited from marrying the people you meet on (However, I'm surprised to note that the laws prohibiting cousins from marrying are not as restrictive as I'd thought. Maybe you can marry one of those cousins who found you on Ancestry's Member Connect. I don't find that a particularly comforting thought, actually.)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Matthew Madigan Naturalization Reflections

There was so much formatting in the last post on Matthew Madigan's naturalization papers that I decided not to comment in order to keep it a little less confusing.

What do we get from these records?

First, I find it interesting that Matthew Madigan declared his intention to become a citizen in 1866 and actually became a citizen in 1876. This strikes me as unusual because I'm pretty sure that generally you had 7 years from filing your declaration of intent to complete the process of petitioning for naturalization; that is, to actually become a citizen. But I don't know if I'm entirely right about that, or, if I am, when those regulations came into effect. Anyway, it took Matthew Madigan 10 years to become a citizen.

Second, who do we think Francis J. Healy is? He lived at 13 Harrison St. in Manhattan - which is on the Lower West Side - and that is literally all we know about him, other than that he knew Matthew.

Third, what is that street written underneath "Luquaar"? I transcribed it as "McQuaid," but that's really just a guess. I can't tell exactly what it says. I wonder if it's possibly the street he lived on in Manhattan before moving to Brooklyn. We know that in 1870, the Madigans were living in Manhattan. In 1880, they were living in Brooklyn on Luqueer St. Could the name of the street that he used to live on been written down first and crossed out in favor of the street he had since moved to? Just a thought.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Genealogy Humor Thursday: It's astounding how genealogy makes you think

I recently contacted someone who had posted on a surname list that he was researching Mulcahys from Pallasgreen, Limerick, Ireland. My Mulcahys, too, are from Pallasgreen, Limerick, Ireland, and I sent him a brief description of what I knew of the family to see if there was any chance we were researching the same family.

His response said he didn't think so, but he'd send me what information we had and see if maybe there was a link a generation further back than the one I'd been able to describe.

I then sent an e-mail to my uncle, John, explaining the situation and asking if he had any information about the family of Michael Mulcahy's father James. "It doesn't appear that we're closely related - he's not descended from any of Michael's siblings - but we'd like to look into Michael's aunts and uncles."

Then I stopped. Said Michael is my great-great-grandfather, which, if I'm determining the relationships correctly, would make us - if there had been a connection through Michael's siblings - probably 3rd cousins once removed. And I'd nonchalantly referred to such a cousinship as being "closely related."

Only a genealogist!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Matthew Madigan Naturalization Papers

A few weeks ago, during my last week working at the National Archives in New York before heading back to school sometime soon, I took my lunch break to print out a few naturalization records.

These are Matthew Madigan's naturalization papers. (They're negatives because of the format used to make reference copies of local court naturalization records; these aren't federal records.) Scanning the actual images was supposed to mean I wouldn't have to transcribe them, but they seem very difficult to read on the screen, so I'll tell you what they say, anyway:

New York Common Pleas
In the matter of
Matthew Madigan
On his naturalization
Affidavits, &c.
Filed in open Court Oct. 13 1876

At a special term of the Court of Common Pleas for the City and County of New York, held in the Court House of the City of New York, on the 13th day of Oct. 1876.
Present: Hon. H.W. Robinson, Judge

In the Matter
of the application of the within named
applicant to be admitted a Citizen of
the United States of America.

The said applicant appearing personally in Court, producing the evidence required by the Acts of Congress, and having made such declaration and renunciation, and having taken such oaths as are by the said acts required, IT IS ORDERED by the said Court, that the said applicant be admitted to be a Citizen of the United States of America.
Enter HWR

Court of Common Pleas
For the City and County of New York
In the matter of the application of
Matthew Madigan
by occupation, Car Man
to be admitted a citizen of the United States of America.

State of New York
City and County of New York

Francis J Healy, being duly sworn, says, that he resides in No. 13 Harrison Street, in the City of New York, and that he is well acquainted with the above-named applicant, and that the said applicant has resided within the United States for the continued term of five years, at least, next preceding the present time, and within the State of New York one year, at least, immediately preceding this application ; and that, during that time, he has behaved as a man of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same.
Francis J Healy
Sworn in open Court this
Oct. 13 1876


State of New York
City and County of New York
I, Mathew Madigan, residing in No. 85
-->McQuaid (Luquaar) St. Bklyn do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States ; and that I do absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignity whatever, and particularly to the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, of whom I was before a subject. Sworn in Court this Oct. 13 1876
Matthew Madigan

State of New York
In the Court of Common Pleas for the City and County of New York
I, Mathew Madigan do declare on oath, that it is bona fide my Intention to become a Citizen of the United States, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignity whatever, and particularly to the QUEEN OF THE UNITED KINDGOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND, of whom I am a subject.
Sworn this 20th day of May 1866
Mathew Madigan
Nathaniel Jarvis, Jr., Clerk

Clerk's Office, Court of Common Pleas
for the City and County of New York

I certify, that the foregoing it a true copy of an original Declaration of Intention remaining of record in my office.
In Attestation Whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name, and affixed the Seal of said Court, this Thirteenth day of October, 1876
N. Jarvis Jr., Clerk