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
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.