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:
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.
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.
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”.
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!
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.
This week, my father and I (my mother hitched along) made a trip to a town’s municipal hall in New Jersey where my parents got married almost 49 years ago. The reason for this trip is to put in a request to correcting a vital record – my parents’ marriage certificate. I first discovered a couple of errors a few years ago when I applied for my dual citizenship. I sent in a form to the town, but never heard back. I just dropped a ball on this one.
Going forward to this year, I picked up working on my genealogy again. I decided that making a trip to the town is the best option especially when my father is available (happily retired) and alive. Anyone in the state of New Jersey may put in a request to correct a vital record such as:
- Civil Union
- Domestic Partnership
Correcting a vital record may be varied from state to state. I brought in all proof of certificates/identities of my father and his mother with me. It has to amend my father’s middle initial (handwritten error) and his mother’s maiden name (it listed her married name). The registrar accepted my father’s driver license as a proof of identity and asked for a proof of his mother’s maiden name. I handed over my father’s birth certificate. The registrar smiled, so did my Nana knowing that her maiden name is being amended on my parents’ marriage certificate.
After the registrar filled out the form using computer (typed format – much better than handwritten format) and printed it for my father to sign, she handed the copy of unsigned form to my father. I, of course, scrutinized to ensure the amended information are correct on the form my father was going to sign. They were, so my father signed it off. 🙂 She explained that it takes around a month for amendment to occur as the form is being sent to the capital of the state – Trenton, New Jersey USA. If we put in a request a copy of my parents’ marriage certificate, we will get two copies – original ones (with errors) and amended ones. Interesting! The cost of putting in a request – $0.00 USD – not a penny. 🙂 However, I do suggest you to call your registrar to see if s/he will be in her/his office on the day you are coming in. A few days earlier, my parents and I came to the town’s municipal hall and the registrar was out training for few days. ARGH! Our fault.
All of this took around 10 minutes – give or take. One down and few to go! My next task is to fix my paternal grandfather’s death certificate – it listed his nationality as a Greek. It is understandable error as he was born in Greece during Italy famine, but his parents were Italian, so he was Italian. We could just ignore it, but as I explained to my parents that years from now, someone from our family may get confused by looking at that record and thinking my Pop was must be a Greek, not Italian. I feel responsibility to get this amended for once and all. It is a lot easier when my father is around and available too.
Speaking of proof of identity and nationality, I haven’t locate his and his parents’ birth certificates (challenging tasks as birth certificates in Italy and Greece are not fully indexed and in their native language…..handwritten in mid-late 1800’s….whoa!), but I do have some copies of the Federal Census in 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 listing his nationality as Italian. This should back up as a proof my Pop was not a Greek! 🙂 Good thing that his death occurred in New Jersey, so sometimes in next few weeks, my parents and I will make a trip to that town to put in a request to correct the vital record there.
If you see any errors with your family’s vital record(s), I encourage you to explore your options and take some action to make a correction. It may be easier if it applies to yourself, your parents, and your grandparents. It may be challenging beyond great-grandparents and other relatives such as your siblings and cousins.
Today, my parents and I made a trek out to Holy Name Cemetery in Jersey City, New Jersey USA to check out a couple of grave sites. The grave sites belong to the Lepore Family. We looked up for my great grandparents and great aunts/uncles. We knew about my great grandparents, but not a couple of aunt/uncle which I just discovered a few weeks ago. They are Andrew and Irene Lepore. Here is a photo of their lovely headstone:
What a wonderful discovery. I wished that we knew about Andrew being buried when we visited my great grandparents in mid 2000’s, but the genealogy tools back in 2000’s were cumbersome and not Internet-accessible/friendly by then. Better late than never. Only one thing that we are saddened that we didn’t know that Irene was still live until 1991. *sigh* I hope to locate their children which we didn’t know until we saw this headstone declaring them as beloved spouses and parents. Cool!
We paid our visit to my great grandparents and the headstone is in very good shape since it was removed to add an inscription of my great grandfather who died in 1943, but was nameless until mid 2000’s! Here is a picture of The Lepore Family headstone:
I found out that the office didn’t have Anna’s and Vincent’s last name spelled correct, but we cannot have it corrected. HMPH! I am going to explore into options to see if I can get them corrected somehow, because when one searches for them via Holy Name Cemetery website and they will not find them under Lepore! What was even more interesting was that the records were not accurate with ages and interment date. Geez! I may try to find their death certificates along with my great grandparents and Andrew/Irene Lepore.
I updated The Lepore Family graves with information and photos via Find A Grave website. I am trying to find other missing great uncle/aunts out there – Joseph, Mary, Grace, and Anna (?) and their spouses/children, so it is one of my challenges. 🙂