Sunday, March 28, 2010

Nicola and Josephine Angilletta - Philadelphia

It's been a relatively slow week for me in terms of my research. I haven't really been able to accomplish much of anything which has been frustrating. I have been working mainly on helping a family with my surname from Caulonia, Reggio Calabria trace their roots for the last few months. This has been an absolutely wonderful experience for me and although I have not established a direct blood relationship with them yet I feel like I have discovered a whole new family. We have shared pictures, phone calls and family stories. Through this, and with the help of Facebook, the family has reconnected with each other and with relatives in Italy. Together we have managed to source quite a bit of the stories they heard while growing up about their mutual relative, Nicola Angilletta and his wife Rosina Ceraso (A.K.A. Josephine France). Presenting it online for them to all share has been a challenge. Since I have chosen to use a very simple format on all of my websites, I needed to create some basic extraction forms in a html format. Nothing too fancy or fussy - it's all about the content here. And so, I came up with a simple Family Group Sheet format to list the family members and a Manifest Extraction form to pull the ship details and make reading easier. I'd be interested in knowing what you think or if you have any other ideas. Please, drop me a comment if you do.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Surname Saturday - Chiricosta

Working on the surname database this morning. I have had and extremely large amount of entries in the last two weeks so I am a bit behind. It didn't help that I chose to sleep in this morning, but I guess I needed it.
This week has been about analyzing information that I have already found. I'm not sure about any of you, but sometimes I find I get so caught up in entering the information into my database that I forget to actually *look* at it. I also found that it is good to sometimes walk away from a search and revisit it later. You tend to notice things you may have missed before. I have also found that sourcing everything and creating notes has helped me from having to start all over again. Since I have always liked charts, the Research Calendar found on Ancestry has been very useful. What I didn't realize is that Ancestry provides charts in several different languages so I took advantage and downloaded the Italian version of it too.
So, I have traced my Chiricosta line back to the mid 1700's and in the process found that one of my ancestors married a woman with the name of Cottone - a Sicilian name. This now gives me a new branch to follow and one which I am definitely excited about. Meanwhile, here is the link to the Chiricosta's I have charted so far. Look for updates as I have many more to enter as records go up on the Calabria Exchange- Ardore Index.

Friday, March 19, 2010

San Giuseppe

Happy San Giuseppe - or St Joseph's Day! The day is named after Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is a day celebrated in Italy by making, and eating Zeppoli (or in my dialect we call them Zippoli). Some refer to these as Cream Puffs but the traditional ones we make at home have no cream or custard in them. Personally they are more of a doughnut in my opinion. Mom always makes hers with anchovies - not just *any* anchovies but the small ones that come in the cans like the Unico brand. She breaks up the fillets and in her homemade dough (you can substitute for store bought pizza dough if you know of a place that makes a really good dough - although Mom still prefers to make her own) and stuffs a piece or two of the fillets. Then she pulls them slightly and twists them and deep fries them. For those of who don't like the anchovies, she simply fries the dough and sometimes tops them with sugar. I will be heading out to her place later to eat - I mean make - some! Have a great day!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Footnote's Census Records: Free for a Limited Time

As originally Posted by Diane Haddad

Historical records subscription site Footnote is making its US census records free for a limited time.

Footnote spokesperson Justin Schroepfer says there’s not yet a firm ending date, but the records will be free at least through the end of this month.
You’ll need to register as a free member to view the records.

Footnote is carrying out plans to host the complete US census back to 1790.

Here are the census records on the site so far:
- the complete 1860 census
- 5 percent of 1900
- 3 percent of 1910
- 3 percent of 1920
- 98 percent of 1930

When you find a relative’s record, click the “I’m Related” button for a name on the document to identify yourself as a relative and see others who’ve done the same. You also can see others’ photos, stories and comments related to the record. (See Footnote’s tips for starting family history and making the most of its interactive census collection.)

Surname Saturday - Fuda

Domenica Caterina FUDA
Today I want to honour my Paternal Grandmother, Domencia Caterina FUDA. I only met her once back in 1972 but I remember her as a very small but strong woman. She was born in Gerace Marina (now Locri) on 24 Aug 1889 to Nicodemo & Angela Ferraro. In 1913 she married Enrico ANGILLETTA. By 1915, she became pregnant and Enrico went off to fight in WW1. He was killed in battle in August of that same year. Caterina gave birth to a daughter in February 1916 (who is still alive and well). She remained a widow until Enrico's younger, and single brother Francesco returned from the War. In Southern Italian tradition, it was customary that if a sibling lost a spouse and there was a single sibling available, then he/she would marry the widow/widower of his/her sibling and raise any children as their own. In 1918, Francesco and Domenica married in a Civil ceremony. They had six children together in the 57 years they were married. She died suddenly and peacefully on 14 March 1975. I have not been able to find out much about her other than her parents names. Fuda is a very common name and well spread out in Reggio Calabria and so, with the help of some friends, I have begun collecting as many records about the Fudas as I can in hopes that I will find the connection to her ancestors. You can view some Fuda records on my websites located here and here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - A Different Sort of Tribute

Today is a sad day - what does a person do-what do they say- when they find out that the daughter of a friend has been kidnapped and brutally murdered while the family lay sleeping? Today they will bury my friends 8 year old daughter who was killed almost two weeks ago by a "family friend". The details are not clear as this happened overseas and it's been difficult to contact the family. I haven't seen my friend in almost 20 years - but that doesn't make it any less painful or any less real. Who would have thought so many years ago when we were all so young and life was so worth living that something like this would happen to one of us?
My heart goes out to you my friend and to your family. May your daughter Rest In Peace and the the accused be brought to justice - and that your family may learn to live again.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Surname Saturday

Today I've decided not to focus on one surname but to instead focus on Surname Databases and what they can add to your family research. When I began researching I added my Surnames to almost every mailing list and database I could think of. For a while nothing happened. Then suddenly I was approached by someone who was also researching one of my surnames. We began emailing back and forth exchanging information and eventually we were able to fill in many missing pieces to both our family trees. Mind you, the information people provide you with is only as good as the source from which they themselves got it from so remember to validate your sources by either requesting where the information being given to you came from or by following up on each new lead yourself. I have learned to source my information as I enter it into my software program to avoid having to it at a later date and I always provide sources to people I exchange data with. This has proven to be a real time saver for me as I can go back to any name in my database and know exactly where I got the information and how accurate I believe it to be. It's also important (as I learned the hard way) to back up your database regularly to avoid losing information in the event of a power failure or breakdown. We'll talk about this later though.
So, here is my Italian Surname Database which I just updated this morning. We have had 25 new entries in the last few days. Surnames are grouped in alphabetical order and and require constant updating. The most common surnames being submitted seem to start with the letter C (with over 200 entries), followed by M, S and T. The page sees approximately 300 views a day and this number keeps increasing every few months. For this reason, I highly recommend submitting your name on one or more lists. You may get lucky and find someone who holds the answer to that missing puzzle piece!

My Cantina - 5 Mar 2010

Mom and Dad were over earlier today to check the homemade salami's they have been making over the last few months. Several years ago, after we all got married, they sold their house of 25 years and moved in with my sister. One of my parents biggest regrets about this was the loss of their "Cantina" which is like a pantry - but better. My parents kept *everything* in the Cantina - the homemade tomato sauce, giardiniera, roasted peppers, olives, wine and of course, the "salami".

While my sister did have somewhat of cold room it was quite small and could not fit the amount of food and drink that serve to keep my father entertained (and my mother busy) for many months of the year. Of course, it wasn't long before they discovered that my little home had the perfect Cantina and so, each year, for at least a few months, I inherit the salami's while they cure.

Salami's of course include cappicola's, sausages, prosciutto's and just about any other dried and cured Italian pork meat you can think of. Once dried, my parents vacuum seal some of the meats (because putting them in oil is no good for the "colestraolo") and they slice the rest throughout the year as company comes over.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Follow Friday - 5 March 2010

Today, and for the last week or so I have been following The Genealogy of Torre le Nocelle, Italy. I am not from the Avellino area but I really love the way the author, Carm, is using the blog as a website/forum/research site. It hosts several years of Italian Vital record extractions for Torre and several from the neighbouring towns of Montemiletto and Pietradefusi(which are always a good thing) and some beautiful pictures of the area too. Nice job, Carm and I can't wait to see what else you add to the site.