Giovinazzo – Here I come at last!

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Today is the day I fly out to Bari, Italy from Berlin, Germany.  It is 16 years later that I get to visit the right town where my ancestors came from at last – just to think of this….my nieces and nephews are now in their teenage years.  Oh….my….  😉

I get to stay for three days – walk and experience where my ancestors walked and lived – take some photos/videos – research at the Cathedral/Archive and several locations – buy map to see where my ancestors’ homes were – visit the cemetery and of course, enjoy the town with its food, culture, way of life, beach and view of sea.  I checked the weather and here is forecast for next 5 days:

Nice and sunny weather with balmy temp - for US folks, that's in mid- to high-70's degrees F. YAY!!!!!

Nice and sunny weather with balmy temp – for US folks, that’s in mid- to high-70’s degrees F. YAY!!!!!

Thanks to all of my family, friends and folks for all of their support, help and encouragement to break down a brick wall on my paternal grandfather’s family (Lepore/Lasorsa).  The brick wall just crumbled down a few days with help of wonderful genealogist/translator which I am truly blessed with connecting with and getting to know her.

I plan to give an update here once I am ready to share my discoveries/experiences after my trip to Giovinazzo.  Hope all is well with y’all.  Italy, here I come again to the right town after all!!!!!  😉

My Journey to Ireland – Co. Galway, Dublin, Wicklow and Sligo

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Hello all – just a quick check-in with y’all.  Last month, I made a journey to County Galway – Galway city and Rahoon….and County Sligo/Mayo – Charlestown, Curry, Cully, Cully Crossings, Broher, Aclare, Tourlestrane/Toorlestraun, Kilmactigue, Swinford, Boycloonagh, Tubberycurry/Tobercurry, Achonry, Banada and much more…I took some photos/videos, visited cemeteries, checked out some homes and etc.  The best of my journey was that I went on a horse riding in Irish countryside from Banada Stables in Banada, Co. Sligo, Ireland.  It was amazing experience to explore the countryside/bog and watch moving clouds along the Ox Mountains range.  A nice change of scenery!

Another favourite part was to spend time with my family – cousins and great aunt – in Boycloonagh and Dublin.  I treasure it every time.  My cousin, David W., took me out for a walk along River Moy and shared some stories and information about my family especially my Grandmother Nora.  It brought me closer to her and her family.  😉  My great aunt, Brigid W. and I, loved spending time together – sharing laughs, exchanging some stories and enjoying our drinks.  I am blessed to spend time with her as much as I can.

I met up with my cousin in Dublin to chat with her and enjoy our drinks together among with my friends.  I appreciated an interpreter giving his time to interpret our conversation at this time.  It made a huge difference!  I am so excited about her sister (lives in Australia) coming out to visit her in Ireland/UK after 27 years of not seeing each other.

I went to Co. Wicklow to meet up with my father’s cousins for first time since our connection via Ancestry DNA test results this past Fall 2016.  It was a wonderful meeting along with having a lunch at Powerscourt Estate, visiting to a town called Enniskerry and exploring a cemetery (that were my cousins’ first visit to their family!!!!).  They enjoyed doing a cemetery hunting which we found their family.  My cousins and my parents met through Skype.  With all of that, it was amazing and unforgettable experiences!

I am working on putting my journey together to share with y’all.  Keep eyes out for updates.

Giovinazzo, Bari, Puglia, Italy – Origin of The Lepore/Lasorsa Family

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I am working and doing ok here in the Europe for a long while.  I found a great deal on airfare to Bari, Italy and decided to make a run for it.  I will be in Giovinazzo from 15-May thru 17-May on journey of genealogy on the Lepore/Lasorsa Family – taking some photos/videos, doing some researches, requesting for some certificates/extracts/records, talking to locals, exploring at cemetery (that’s one of my favourite parts!) and etc…of course, I will have some fun/relax side such as swimming, checking out beach/port and etc.
I am working on collect information on our family as much as I can….so far, on paternal side – I have up to my great-great-great (ggg) grandfathers Angelo Lepore and Andrea Milillo.   On maternal side, I have up to great-great grandparents – Vito Lepore & Grazia Cortese.  I am getting some helps from some genealogist, locals and officers/experts.  They are wonderful folks.  😉
Keep an eye out for updates after my journey to Giovinazzo, Bari, Puglia, Italy.  😉

Breakthrough on The Lepore Family

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Hello Folks!  It has been a long while since I last updated here.  There are some breakthroughs since then.  It has to do with some families that I am working on:

The O’Neills

The Bensons

The Walshes

The Lepores

The Krumms

For now, I am going to talk about The Lepores.  I tried in vain to do on my own searching through records for my paternal grandfather and his family for a very long time – since mid 1980’s and the recent search was last straw for me.  The reasons for this are:

1) there was no birth certificate on my grandfather other than few paperwork including his US Naturalization (no idea how my family managed to get their children in the USA without their birth certificates in early 1900’s and there was a letter from my great uncle verifying my grandfather’s birth date as part of US Naturalization process),

2) my grandfather along with his siblings were born in Greece as his family migrated/moved there from Italy for a few years,

3) Greece’s system wasn’t in place until after my grandfather’s birth – out of luck trying to find his record there!,

4) I didn’t realized that my grandfather said that his family was from Bari thinking that it was the name of city.  My dear best friend Gwit and I made a journey to Bari in early 2000’s.  Upon my arrival, I gulped when I read the board in Italian welcoming us to the city of Bari in the province of Bari.  What!?!?  Uh oh…..could it be that what my grandfather meant from the province instead of the city?  I just kept my cool until we got to the city hall.  The man who worked in the Vital Statistics was kind and patient.  He looked through the books – no computers back in early 2000’s! – and couldn’t find my family.  He asked me if I knew the name of town where my family came from and I replied no.  A few years later, I took a-week-long genealogical workshop in Salt Lake City.  There was a workshop on Italy records.  Naturally, I attended to this workshop and learned so much.  I now know that Italians proudly identify which province they come/came from since early 1800’s.  Gee!  And at that time, I couldn’t find when my family came to the USA.  The mentors there helped me to find a ship manifest on my family and it recorded their last hometown – Giovinazzo – merely only few miles west of the city of Bari!  I hope to return to Italy and visit this town one day!,

5) I found out about online records from Bari Province being available in late 2000’s.  I tried to read the records, but I couldn’t get a grasp of handwritten Italian and their format/system of records.  I gave up, but it lasts for a few years, fortunately.

6) I obtained death certificates on my great grandparents (through my father) and grandfather.  The names of my grand grandparents’ parents were on these certificates.  It helped!

7) I am pet-peeved with my grandfather’s death certificate showing his ethnic origins as Greek.  That’s understandable that he was born in Greece, but he was born to Italian parents as other records/paperwork indicated.  I must locate his birth record to have his death certificate corrected.

8) Recently, I learned that there is such thing as “delayed birth certificates“.  I read in several forums learning that it is possible for my family to register their children in their hometown.

I decided to give this another try.  Last month, I decided to use professional genealogy services in Italy.  I explained my situation and provided them information on my family.  I am to pay a deposit for them to start searching for my grandfather and his siblings as well as my great grandparents’ marriage record.  If they were not able to locate records on my family, then my deposit has paid for their time and service.  A few days later, I received a wonderful news that the records are found and I am to pay the remaining balance to obtain original records (JPG format and in Italian) and a couple of reports in English.

After making a payment, I received original records on my grandfather’s, great uncle’s and great aunt’s birth records along with my great grandparents’ marriage record.  I am overjoyed finding my grandfather and some of his family members at last!  To my surprise, my grandfather’s and his siblings’ birth dates came out different!  I asked the researcher why did it happened and she said that sometimes, it happened and she had seen that many times.  Gee!

I am going to share one of original records I received to give you a general idea what it looks like.

Vito Lepore's Birth Registry in Italian - early 1900's

Vito Lepore’s Birth Registry in Italian – early 1900’s

 

Can you read the record easily?  Nah…..LOL!  So, my next step is to find someone to translate these original records for me.  I have been doing some translations and I only get perhaps 50% of these handwritten Italian.  With this records in my possession, I recalled my Italy workshop in Salt Lake City might have some information on how to decipher the records from Italy.  I looked up and found some information and guides that are helpful for me to figure out some Italian words/phrases and their format.

As I mentioned the one of reasons (#5) above, I re-visit the online records and managed to find some more records on my own.  I am so proud of myself!  Italian now becomes one of languages I am using.  I am translating them to my best ability, but still it becomes harder to read and more challenge to translate as I read some older records due to “fancy” handwritten and some ancient Italian words/phrases.

What I know so far is:

L.J. Lepore Sr -> Angelo Lepore & Angelica Lasorsa -> Giuseppe Lepore & Carmela Milillo and Vito Lasorsa & Grazia Cortese -> Angelo Lepore & ? and Andrea Milillo? & ?

What is even more interesting is that my father told me that his family told him that his grandmother had 11 children and only 5 of them made it to adult.  I searched the online records and found two more birth records of Giuseppe Lepores.  I knew right away that they must have died because I remembered from Italy workshop, parents would name their baby one of their parents’ first name in honor and if the baby didn’t survived or was dead before next birth of baby, the parents will name it with same name.  Tragedy has struck my family with first two babies died with name of Giuseppe until my grand uncle lived.  Wow…..I found 9 names of children in total leaving me around 2 names to locate.  Not too bad.  I plan not to leave any stones unturned once I find all records on The Lepores/Lasorsas.

I am still working on trying to locate records as much as I can because these records can go back to early 1800’s.  More works ahead for me!  I cannot wait to learn more about my descendents on my grandfather’s side and see what I can to find all of them to my best ability.  I share each discoveries and news with my father and it offers him more insights of where his family comes from.  🙂

I plan to talk about my breakthrough with other families that I work on.  It is amazing learning process on top of researching/investigating.  My only wish is that the online genealogical webinars and in-person classes/workshops could be more Deaf-friendly since nearly all of them are in audio-based.  ARGH!  I do my best what I can get by.

Keep tuned for my next posting.

Angelina Lasorsa and Angelo Lepore

Hello folks!  My mother, father and I met my father’s first cousin, Grace “Mickey” W., today.  I think my father and Mickey haven’t seen each other for over 50 years and it was a hearty reunion for them.  We showed some pictures and exchange some stories about our family members.  I found another picture of Angelina Lasorsa….I love this one!!!!  You will see why!

Angelina Lasorsa - Reading comics - before 1930

Angelina Lasorsa – Reading comics – before 1930

My father was going through his tool box this morning and came across a tiny pin button that he thought it was his paternal grandfather, but wasn’t entirely positive.  His grandfather died before he was born.  So, we bought the pin to show it to Mickey and she confirmed that it was indeed Angelo Lepore, my father’s and Mickey’s grandfather!!!!!  Mickey vividly recalled him twisting his mustache every morning and how her mother, Mary L., loved to sneak up behind him to mimic his twisting as making fun of him.  LOL  Angelo did caught Mickey’s mother doing that once in while.  😉  Mickey also said that when she was a child and she didn’t like having him to kiss her cuz of his mustache!!!!  🙂  Here is a picture of Angelo Lepore – husband of Angelina Lasorsa:

Angelo Lepore - 1930's?

Angelo Lepore – 1930’s?

Wow….so thrilled to have picture of both of my paternal great-grandparents!!!!!  Thanks goodness that we have Mickey to confirm these pictures.  Mickey has a locket with a picture of her grandmother – Angelina Lasorsa.  Now, there are three pictures in total of Angelina Lasorsa.  I will figure out how to scan Mickey’s locket since it is challenge to do so cuz of tiny size and its “dome-shaped” display.  Enjoy the pictures!

Angelina Lasorsa

I found this picture while sifting and sorting thousands of pictures.  I asked my father if he recognized her and he said YES!  He vividly remembered her picture on top of his father’s chest while he was growing up.  Oh my gosh…..that’s Angelina Lasorsa, my paternal great-grandmother!  I asked my father if there was a picture of his grandfather and he doubted.  Shoot.  I am sharing this picture as part of wonderful discovery and importance of documenting pictures.

Angelina Lasorsa

Angelina Lasorsa – my paternal great-grandmother

My mother commented that she looked like she came from the mafia family.  LOL!  My grand-uncle, Andrew Lepore, have his mother’s eyes.  Wow…..

Andrew Lepore

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Tonight, I hit a jackpot!  I went through my Grand Uncles/Aunts on the Lepore Family side to review.  I searched to see if there were any new records as hundreds of records being added/updated on daily basis due to ongoing indexing project (I am involved in this).  I saw there were some new records on one of my Grand Uncles – Andrew Lepore.  He was the brother of my Grand Uncle Joseph Lepore, where my Dad and I paid him a respect at cemetery across from EWR airport a week ago.  I opened up and took a glance at a record – US Application for Seaman’s Protection Certificates.  I immediately recognized a home address and date and place of birth which matched with the information I had on Andrew Lepore from other sources.  I  was so elated!!!!  I scrolled down and I gasped as I couldn’t believe in my own eyes that there was a portrait attached!!!  It was my first time ever viewing what my Grand Uncle Andrew Lepore looked like when he was 25 years old – handsome and indeed reminiscence of “Lepore eyes”.

Andrew Lepore - 25 years old in early 1930's

Andrew Lepore – 25 years old in early 1930’s

My jaw even dropped more further when I found countless “Passenger Lists” across ports in USA – New York, Boston, Seattle and much more as he worked on various ship as bellboy, wiper and oiler.  I am not done going through these records yet!!!!  I vividly recalled my Dad telling me about him traveling around the world and importing some exotic artifacts.  So far from what I can tell, I envy of him!  He traveled to pretty much almost every corners of the world – Bermuda, North, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.  He even traveled to Cuba in 1930’s!  Again, I am not done going through his records……wow, what a global trotter he was via ship…I must take over him, however via plane!  🙂  🙂

It looks like it will take a few days for me to sort out records on Andrew Lepore.  I am thrilled to learn something about him!  I may update this blog at later date if I find some more intriguing information.   Kudos to moi for finding his record with a portrait of him.  Wow!

Update on Joseph Lepore

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This past October, I wrote about locating my Grand Uncle Joseph Lepore after years of searching since mid-1980’s.  I wanted to visit his grave site, but the weather became too cold and blah for me to make a trip.  I just let it sit until this Spring as I promised to myself that I must make a time to do so.

Today, after arriving in the morning at EWR – airport code for Newark Liberty International Airport, I asked my father if we had some time to swing by the cemetery and he chuckled and said yes.  It was literally within a stone’s throw from EWR – just across the Route 1 and 9 and next to Budweiser plant as I mentioned previously.  We looked around and realized that we have been passing around this area for years and years and never knew that Joseph Lepore had been laid to rest there for entire time!!!!  LOL!

Well, we drove up to the office to make an inquiry of his exact location.  The lady at the office was a sweetheart.  She gave us a map and helpful instructions on how to locate my Grand Uncle Joseph and Grand Aunt Mary’s grave site.  We easily found his grave site.  Oh my…..what a view with Budweiser plant in front of us, Amtrak tracks on our left, The Parking Spot company and Route 1/9 on our right.  Gee…..The Budweiser plant was opened in 1951 and the EWR was established in 1928, but it was not as huge as it is now.

Here is some pictures of grave site, headstone and marker (Grand Uncle Joseph was US Veteran of World War I).

My father and I discussed and agreed that when Joseph died in 1954 and the marker was established for him.  When Lucy died in 1988, the headstone was added by then.  That’s why there is headstone and marker in same area.  Intriguing, eh?

I added pictures and information to findagrave.com.  It leaves me with trying to locate:

  • his child(ren) – Angelica/Angelina and Joseph “Sonny”
  • his sister Mary and her family (found one of Mary’s children being alive now, her name is Angela.  We hope to meet her sometimes soon since it was probably 60 years since my Dad and Angela last saw each other!)
  • his brother Andrew’s children (found his grave site along with his wife)
  • his sister Grace and probably her family (still searching)

I am proud of myself on how much I accomplished this by being patient and steadfast with research and search.  Hopefully, I will get to meet Angela, my Dad’s cousin, soon!  Speaking of the cousin, my parents will fly out to Ireland this week to meet my Mom’s cousins for the first time!  I met her cousins this past March in Ireland and had an astounding time with them discussing about our family tree and looking through pictures for the first time.  I plan to write about my experiences when time permits.  I wish my parents and my Aunt Kathleen (my Mom’s sister)/Uncle Charles an unforgettable journey of their lifetime to Eire especially meeting their cousins and visiting our family’s farm and house for the first time!

 

 

Death Certificates unlocked name mystery

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This past January, I asked my father to submit a request to obtain death certificates on his paternal grandparents, maternal grandmother and mother – all of them in the state of New Jersey.  My father received the copies and passed it on to me to verify and compare against my family tree.  To my joyful surprise, the names of his paternal grandparents are finally revealed!!!!!  Interesting that the names are “anglicized ” – on the death certificate, it shows paternal grandfather’s father’s name as Joseph, but I knew that in Italy, he was named Giuseppi due to my paternal grand uncle’s birth name, Giuseppi, then anglicized to Joseph after arrival in America.  Same goes for my maternal grandmother’s mother’s name as Grace, but in Italy, she may be called Grazia.  To clarify this, both of my paternal and maternal grandparents’ parents didn’t immigrated to America, so their first names were in Italian.

It is amazing that my grand uncles and aunts were named after their parents’ parents and brother – Giuseppi (Joseph), Carmella (Mary), Vito (Lawrence), Grazia (Grace) and Andrea (Andrew).

I noticed that on my father’s paternal grandfather’s death certificate (Angelo) – his date of birth is unknown.  Shoot!  However, with his parents’ full names revealed at last, I will try to locate his birth certificate in Italy.  *crossing fingers*  I realized that my father and I put up his incorrect date of death on his family’s headstone.  It was the date of interned as the cemetery office misinformed us.  UGH.  I made a note via http://www.findagrave.com that the date of death on headstone is incorrect.

I reviewed my father’s paternal grandmother’s death certificate (Angelina) – her date of birth is revealed at last, so were her parents’ full names.  However, I noticed that the age when she died which was inscribed on our family’s headstone is incorrect – 55 years as opposed to 48 years old on her death certificate.  It also misspelled her first name as Angelica instead of Angelina.  I made a note via http://www.findagrave.com.  Oh well.

I checked my father’s maternal grandmother’s death certificate (Mary Ann) and noted that there is an error with her birth year.  I will see if I can get it corrected.

I verified my father’s mother’s death certificate (Mary Frances) and it looked all good.  It is good idea to verify and check these certificates to make sure they matches with what you have in your family tree.   It is essential to make sure that you have all birth, marriage and death certificates handy on your immediate family – your parents, maternal and paternal grandparents and if your parents are still alive, their maternal and paternal grandparents.  It is easier to have them to obtain these records as they typically do not allow great-grandchild to put in a request for copies of certificates.

Another Final Resting Place in the Land of Oz

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This week, I finally located my maternal grand aunt’s final resting place – Christina Mutton nee Walsh – in Australia.  My grand uncle, David Walsh, and Christina and her family emigrated to Australia in 1950’s.  By the way, I have photo of David Walsh’s grave site along with his wife – many thanks to volunteer from Find A Grave website.

I received the name of cemetery where Christina was buried and I put in a photo request via Find A Grave website.  A volunteer took a picture of grave site and stated that there was another grave site next to her who may be related to her.  I looked at photo and realized that Christina’s husband, Ronald’s parents were buried next to them.  Wow…..Ronald’s parents emigrated with them too.

I have photos of both Christina’s and David’s grave sites.  It concluded my searching for Christina’s and David’s final resting places.  However, I am trying to locate our living relatives – their children – in Australia.  *crossing fingers*

As of today, out of 10 brothers/sisters of the Walsh Family – five of them (Bee Ann, Nora, Christina, David and John) has been identified where they were buried.  It leaves me with 4 siblings’ (Sarah, May, Rita and Patrick) final resting place in Ireland and 1 sibling’s (Evelyn) final resting place in England.  That’s half of the Walsh Family.  I hope to find rest of their final resting place in next few months.  It reminds me that I haven’t share a story about how I discovered Bee Ann Walsh….it is a true collaborative effort from my cousin, mom, Irish genealogists, friends, photos, and documents.  Amazing journey to discover her.  I shall share it in next few days.  Keep your eyes peeled.