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 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  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.

Passed by a couple of cemeteries without knowing about my ancestral member’s final resting place


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Gee…..I just got a picture from my dear friend, Olly T., from the Down Under – she took this picture of a cemetery today from her railway car in south of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia:

Cheltenham Memorial Cemetery from railway, Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia

Cheltenham Memorial Cemetery from railway, Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia

I looked at this picture and couldn’t believe that I passed by this cemetery where my maternal grand uncle, David F. Walsh, was buried on daily basis for about a week while visiting my dear friend in Melbourne area in October 2013.  Please allow me to share you some stories behind this.  Here is a link to location of Cheltenham Memorial Cemetery and Cheltenham Memorial Cemetery profile via Find A Grave website.

I have to laugh about this…..Until a few days ago, my cousin, Tom J., re-located his death certificate, he discovered David’s final resting place at the certain cemetery.  You might wonder how did my family ended up in Australia since they came from Ireland.  From what I know, my grand uncle, David F. Walsh, immigrated to Australia from Ireland in early 1950’s – part of wave of Irish women and men leaving Ireland going to Australia after World War II for better opportunity at life and/or job.

Excerpt from the link provided above:

Post WWII migration

It wasn’t until the end of World War II that Australia became a truly multicultural society. There was a concern that, with such a small population, Australia might not be able to defend herself in another war. The government’s migration slogan became “populate or perish.”

After my grand uncle’s re-settlement in Australia, my maternal grand aunt, Christina K. Mutton nee Walsh, and her family moved to the Land of Oz from England – Adelaide area in South Australia in mid-1950’s.  Tom and I lost in touch with Christina’s family in late 20th century and we hope to re-establish our connection with them, somehow.  One thing at a time.

You might recall my mention of discovering my paternal grand uncle which I mentioned a few days ago – his final resting place was right next to the Bud factory plant and EWR airport.  I have been passed by that area since 1980 without knowing until a few weeks ago.  Amazing how the Find A Grave website is….to help us to find our long lost relatives.

I plan to visit my paternal grand uncle’s grave site (the one next to Bud plant and EWR airport) in few days with weather permitting.  With my maternal grand uncle’s grave site (David F. Walsh), a volunteer from Find A Grave plans to take a picture of his grave site and will post it on his memorial in a few days.  It is amazing!  I guess it will be on my list to visit his grave site in person when I return to the Land of Oz with along of some hopes of finding rest of his family and my maternal grand aunt’s family as well.

Joseph Lepore – Found him at LAST!!!!


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I renewed my search effort to locate my Grand Uncle Joseph Lepore.  If you recalled my another posting about my learning some lessons.  I started to search via Family Search website trying to locate birth certificate in Giovinazzio, Bari, Puglia, Italy and found two possible records, but I am not convinced.  I decided to expand my search with his father’s name, Angelo Lepore, and open up the birth year between 1890 and 1900 via Ancestory website.  A record of military record came up – WWI.  I vividly recalled my father telling me that he was involved in the war at one point.  I saw that the image was attached to that record – YAY!  It was World War I Draft Registration Cards.  I glanced at it and asked my father to join with me to read rest of it.  We saw that the person who signed off the card was Angelo Lepore which was father of Joseph Lepore.  We checked the residence which looked right.  His birth date was recorded on that card!  I am thrilled!  I plugged in his birth year under his record via Ancestry.

I got few hints popped up next to his name.  Awesome, but I am not going to hold my breath because there are so many Joseph Lepores out there.  I clicked on the hints and saw one of hints involving an application for headstone for military veterans.  I took a glance and quickly took my laptop to my father to read it together.  I had a feeling that it must have to be him at last.  We read the application and decided that it was him due to his birth date, last known residence, and his spouse’s name.  Hallelujah!!!!!

What’s even more…..We are surprised to find out where he was buried – close to the Budweiser plant in Newark off Route 1.  If you are New Jersey-ians or frequent air travelers, you would recognize the infamous 360 degrees turnaround consisting of a glowing logo of “flying eagle” – Anaheuser-Busch.  Pretty much everyone can see it from EWR – airport code for Newark-Liberty International Airport.  So, going forward, this flying eagle shall remind me of my Grand Uncle Joseph Lepore.  I am still working on finding rest of his family’s records and their whereabouts – his wife, Lucy, his son, Joseph “Sonny” Jr. and daughter, Angelica T.

Glowing Flying Eagle - Anaheuser-Busch - Newark, NJ USA

Glowing Flying Eagle – Anaheuser-Busch – Newark, NJ USA

View of Anaheuser-Busch building from EWR

View of Anaheuser-Busch building from EWR

The name of cemetery is Mount Olivet Roman Catholic Cemetery.  I checked Find A Grave website and there is no burial record of Joseph Lepore…..yet.  I hope to find his wife, Lucy, buried next to him, but who knows until my parents and I pay my father’s Uncle’s grave site.  I shall take some pictures of that cemetery and grave site, then update Find A Grave website.

I looked at next hint and found out that it was his US Naturalization record.  YAY!!!!  However, it showed that it was done in the state of Tennessee.  I was like ummmm?  I have seen this before perhaps a few years ago and didn’t think it was him.  However, from my years of experiences, I have to keep my mind opened and not quick to judge.  I took my laptop to my father.  We read it together and were delighted to find out that it was him along with known facts matched.  We learned that he was sent to Tennessee as part of his military training and preparation before sending him to WWI in Europe.  I think back in 1910’s, in order to join US military, one must be naturalized, so that was how my Grand Uncle Joseph became US citizen.  Wow……Also, we were SO surprised that he was really born in Greece, not Italy.  We have seen some records saying that he was born in Greece and we didn’t believe it because we knew that my Grand Aunt and Grandfather was born in Greece, but my Grand Uncle Joseph????  Ok, we finally accepted that he was born in Greece, after all.

We figured out that the two possible birth records in Italy may be belong to my great grandparents whom died before my Grand Uncle Joseph was born.  I recalled from my Italian Genealogy workshop at Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah USA back in mid-2000’s – infants and toddlers usually died at young age and parents usually name a child same first name after each one until one survives beyond the toddler years.  Remember back in 1800’s and early 1900’s, the health and medical technology were not like what we had nowadays, so it was pretty harsh environment for anyone to survive especially young and old folks.  I plan to research on these two possible birth records to find if there are any death records attached to them as well before my great grandparents left Italy to Greece to have 3 more children who survived (they might have another children who died there in Greece as well…..we are told that my great grandmother had 11 children and only 5 of them made it to adulthood).  After my grandfather’s birth, it seemed that they returned to Italy between 1903 and 1905, then sailed to America in 1905.

My next plan to trying to locate birth records of my Grand Uncle Joseph, Grandfather Lawrence and Grand Aunt Mary, in Greece.  *crossing fingers*  I am blessed that with years of doing genealogy research, attending workshops, reading genealogy newsletters online, chatting with some people especially Tom J., and gaining my experiences – they are helpful for me to figure out where and how to search….Not only I learned so much about doing research, but how to be patient, tenacity with finding my long lost ancestors across the globe, and share stories/tips with the community.  I am grateful that I am giving something back to the genealogical community by indexing some records and transcribing some grave site photos.  Without these volunteer efforts, I may not able to find my long lost ancestors as quickly as it is now.

Volunteering some of my time with projects


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I just added a couple of pages – World Archives Project and FamilySearch Indexing Project – among with other project – Find A Grave Website.  These projects/website are something I can contribute to our genealogy community as thank you for doing some work to make it possible for any of us to identify and discover our long lost family member(s) in our family tree.

Check out these pages.  🙂

Correcting a vital record


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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:

  • Birth
  • Death
  • Marriage
  • 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.

Graves of the Lepore Family at Holy Name Cemetery


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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:

Headstone of Andrew and Irene Lepore

Headstone of Andrew and Irene Lepore – my great uncle/aunt

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:

Headstone of The Lepore Family

Headstone of The Lepore Family – Angelo, Angelina/Angelica, Vincent & Anna

Headstone of The Lepore Family with new inscription

Headstone of The Lepore Family with new inscription – Angelo died in 1943 and his name had not inscribed until mid 2000’s.

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.  🙂

Benson/Murphy/Lepore/Ciceri pictures


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Last night, I came across some pictures of Benson/Murphy/Lepore/Ciceri Family, so I uploaded some of them to Ancestry website.  For anyone who is connected to me, they should be able to view these pictures.  Amazing pictures especially a picture of Mary Elizabeth Frances Murphy when she was 7 years old!  Also, some pictures of my great Grandmothers – Benson and Murphy and grandfather Lepore – Pop.  Wow!

Mary Frances Murphy - 1914

Mary Frances Murphy – 7 years old

I treasure this particular picture as it was the last time Benson/Lepore siblings were in the same room in 2001 at Thomas & Carol’s 50th Anniversary party.

Last picture of entire Benson/Lepore Siblings

Last picture of entire Benson/Lepore siblings in same room – 9-June-2001, Pearl River, New York USA
From Left to Right:
James B, George B, Thomas B, David B, Robert B, Patricia C nee B, Eileen B, Lawrence L, Vincent L
They are in order of their birth – Number 1, Number 2, and forth on. 🙂

As of today, only four of them are still living.  Gosh, I am honored that my family met all of them as they were wonderful relatives along with their children.   I leave you with one of quotes about Family:

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.

Learned a lesson today


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My parents and I visited a cemetery in East Hanover, New Jersey – Gate of Heaven – to search for Joseph Lepore’s grave – my grand uncle.  We went to the office to get grave location information.  We found out that a person who buried with him had different name.  We knew that Joseph Lepore married a woman named Lucy/Lucille (haven’t discovered her maiden name yet) and they had a son named Joseph “Sonny” Lepore, Jr. and a daughter named Angelica T. Lepore.  So, we went to locate the grave location.  We found the grave and read the plaque that Mary C. was buried with Joseph P. Lepore.  There were two Lepore plaques, but we didn’t recognized who they were.  I took some pictures of them, anyway.

Plague of Joseph & Mary Lepore

Plague of Joseph & Mary Lepore – not related to our Lepore Family

Plague of Unknown Lepores

Plague of Unknown Lepores

Plague of Anthony & Rose V. Lepore

Plague of Anthony & Rose V. Lepore – not related to our Lepore Family

We went back to the office asking about Lucy Lepore and got the grave location.  We were told that she was buried alone.  We knew that these people were probably not related to us, nevertheless we headed out to hunt for her grave location.  We found it and knew that Lucy/Lucia Lepore was not related to our family. I took some pictures, anyway.  As we walked back to car, we noticed another headstone with Lepore on it.  I took a picture of it.  🙂

Headstone of Lucia Lepore

Headstone of Lucia Lepore – not related to our Lepore Family

Headstone of Anna & Ambrose Lepore

Headstone of Anna & Ambrose Lepore – not related to our Lepore Family

I backtracked to find out what was going on with Joseph Lepore’s profile in my Family Tree and found out that back in mid 1990’s, my Dad bought the Broderbund Family Tree Maker software.  We looked through and assumed that Joseph Lepore was related to our family, so we attached his birth and death date to his profile.  Upon my discovery of a ship manifest of the Lepore Family in around 2005 (via Genealogy workshop in Salt Lake City, Utah USA), I didn’t went back to Joseph’s profile to double check his birth date.  It was off around 2 years between 2 Joseph Lepores.  *sigh*  Today, I deleted Joseph Lepore’s birth and death date from his profile.  I am back to square one to try to find his birth record in Italy – Giovinazzio in province Bari, Italy along with his parents – Angela/Angelo and Angelina.

With the pictures I took of the Lepores today from the cemetery, I uploaded these pictures to these Lepores via Find A Grave website as my gift to them to give them a picture of their graves for anyone who searches and finds them online.  At least, our trip was not totally wasted.  🙂

Journey from Italy to USA & new life


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Yesterday, I worked on some records via Ancestry and Find A Grave…..I noticed something interesting with the dates….if the dates are correct and verified, then….my paternal great grandmother, Angelina L., from Italy was pregnant with Andrew L. (my great uncle) while her family was sailing from Italy to USA in May 1905.  Andrew was born in Dec 1905.   Mmmmm!?!?!  Very interesting, indeed!

What’s even more intriguing is that my family figured out and agreed that Andrew was named after his paternal uncle, Andrea L., who sponsored my family (at that time, it involved parents – Angelo and Angelina – and children – Joseph, Mary, and Lawrence).  I noticed that from the record, Andrea lived in Little Italy area in New York City at time when my family arrived in USA!  I have a copy of ship manifest somewhere…so I need to locate, scan, and share it with y’all.  This manifest comes with amazing stories which I plan to share later on.  🙂