Monday, October 24, 2016

Carrolls and Mulveys and Irish, Oh, My!

This weekend I made more discoveries on one of my Irish lines.  Using a combination of burial information from my trip to the Family History Library last February and some New Jersey vital records, with a few census records thrown in, I think I've captured a picture of another generation back, to my 3rd great grandparents.

I started with the information on who was buried in plot G L 13 at Holy Name Cemetery in Jersey City, NJ.  This is where my great-grandfather James Carroll was buried in 1911.  According to the Holy Name Cemetery records, the plot was owned by Michael and Elizabeth (Mulvey) Carroll, James' parents.  Looking through the records of all who are buried in that plot, I found some previously unknown relatives, and a number of names I did not recognize at all.  So, time to sort them out!

The first person buried in this plot was William Carroll.

Burial - Carroll, William - 1897 - FHL Film 1411752

The plot was purchased on May 14, 1897, by Michael and Elizabeth Carroll, and that was the date that William, their 12 year old son, was buried there.  The next burial in that plot appears to be Michael Carroll himself, on April 3, 1900, at age 42.  Michael's death record indicates that he was a widower when he died, implying that his wife Elizabeth Mulvey Carroll passed away sometime between the purchasing of the cemetery plot in May of 1897 and Michael's death in April 1900.  Why there is no record of her burial here is mystery for another time!

The next burial was that of 7 month old Catherine O'Brien in July 1907, daughter of Thomas and Nellie.  Since up until this point, there have been no O'Briens in my tree, I started with the theory that Nellie was a Carroll.  So I searched for marriage records for Thomas O'Brien and Nellie Carroll around 1906 or earlier.  And what do you know - Thomas Francis O'Brien married Ellen Elizabeth Carroll, daughter of Michael Carroll and Elizabeth Mulvey, on February 11, 1906.

So now I have learned that James had a brother, William, and a sister, Ellen (Nellie).  In 1900, both parents are deceased as is his brother, so instead of looking for James Carroll, son of Michael and Elizabeth, I need to search for James Carroll and sister Nellie in the 1900 US Census.  And I find James, born November 1876, which matches the birth date on his death record, in the 1900 US Census with sister Nellie, born September 1880, as nephew and niece in the household of John Callery and his wife Catherine.  Callery here is not a misspelling of Carroll - the census record has distinct last names for niece and nephew compared to head of household.  And that implies that John's wife Catherine is the blood-related aunt, either a Carroll or a Mulvey.  So, it's back to the marriage records, in search of John Callery's marriage.  In 1876 he married Catherine Mulvey, daughter of James and Catherine Mulvey.  And so, James and Catherine Mulvey are my 3rd great grandparents!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

WikiTree Source-a-Thon!

This past weekend, WikiTree sponsored a Source-a-Thon - a challenge to update as many profiles as possible with legitimate sources.  Since I had a free weekend, and despite the insanity that was work in September, managed to hear about it a few days before it was going to happen, I decided to register and see what it was all about.

I was assigned a "race number" (413), and participants were organized into teams.
My WikiTree Source-a-Thon Race Number
In some cases, people created/joined teams to work in a common geographical area.  Those who had not joined a team beforehand were assigned to existing teams until each team reached 20 people.  I was one of those random late assignees, since I had not seen a team for where I planned to do work - Sweden!  Although later I did discover a Team Europe where folks were working on Swedes, and tried not to step on their toes too often.  :) 

I was assigned to Team Tennessee.  Each team was essentially a smaller group to keep tallies on how many profiles were being sourced throughout the event.  The teams had separate forum threads in which the members posted their updates of sourced profiles.  Periodically the team captains would provide summary information to the WikiTree leaders so they could keep track of the overall progress.  Because of course, there would be prizes for the winners!

The race started at midnight on Saturday morning, and I put my own house in order first.  I had a number of my relatives that had not been documented yet within WikiTree, and that was just a matter of adding the sources I had in Family Tree Maker into the appropriate WikiTree profiles.  Those Irish had a whole pile of Jersey City city directories to enter, so that took awhile.  But I was finished with my 16 profiles by lunch time on Saturday (and I had about 5 hours of sleep in there, too!), and then I moved on to tackle unrelated Swedes, armed with my ArkivDigital subscription and my copy of the Swedish Death Index, 1901-2013.  Oddly for me, I was not feeling at all competitive in this environment (though clearly some folks were!), despite the bragging rights for largest number of profiles sourced by individual and by team.  I just wanted to source the profiles I worked on as well as I could.  In the case of genealogy sources, quality is better than quantity!  Luckily, my team captain felt the same way, and there was no pressure to do any more than I felt comfortable doing.

One of the interesting aspects of this challenge was the online hangout/chat that happened every 2 hours throughout the 3 days.  Some of the WikiTree leaders would run the hangouts, give the updates posted by the teams, and give away prizes randomly selected by race number.  This social interaction aspect was great fun! I had been tossed into a group of complete strangers, and came away with some new friends from the forums and especially the live chats.  It was also a way to stay motivated.  So often in genealogy we are working in a little vacuum of our own, on our own stuff, and it is nice to be able to have some social interaction with folks as obsessed with dead people as you are.  :)  When you get tired, or frustrated by some crazy family linkages, there are other folks right there sympathizing, helping get through the roadblock, and just understanding exactly what you're going through, since they are right there in the trenches with you.

I sourced 100 profiles over the 3 days, and decided to stop there about 2 hours before the end, deciding that I needed to look as something that wasn't Swedish for a bit.  :)  In my continuing 2016 genealogy winning streak, I also won one of the prizes in a 4 am giveaway.  All in all, an exhausting but fun experience. I will probably do it again sometime.  But not until I've had several months to catch up on sleep!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Italian DNA connections

I have been making good progress connecting some of my Italian DNA matches to each other.  Eventually I will have to figure out how they connect to me, but connecting them up makes me feel like I've accomplished something!

I have been working through my Italian DNA matches on AncestryDNA, creating new online private trees to trace their family lines.  In some cases I've been able to trace back several generations more than my matches have in their trees, at which point I generally share my work privately with that match.

However, another option is to create a family tree for a group of matches that match each other, either via the Shared Matches listing (which really needs to be included for all matches, not just 4th cousins and closer!) or by common ancestors in their family trees.  I suspect this is similar to the DNA circles idea, but since none of my test kits have any DNA circles, I have to make up my own.  :)

So far I have successfully linked two out of three shared matches on the Larro / Lerro common surname.  I was able to fairly quickly connect two of the matches as 2nd cousins with common ancestors Domenico Antonio Larro and Mary Josephine Perri.  I think I may have spilled the beans to the two of them that they are actually second cousins, but maybe they had already figured it out.  :)

The third match is more challenging.  She is the daughter of an adoptee, and his father, George Larro, is the connection point.  But she has very little information on this ancestor, and trying to connect with living cousins, some of whom don't want to know about the family line abandoned by George so long ago, is difficult.  We have some theories on how he might connect to the tree, but I am leaving that to her to pursue.

In addition to these shared matches, I have a connection-by-marriage with another DNA test taker who shares these same three matches.  However, he and my father's DNA tests do not show up as matches to each other on AncestryDNA.  Our marriage connection is via my Giordano line and his Lerro line, and that shared line makes my cousin in Italy his cousin, too, through opposite sides of that marriage.  But we suspect we are related by blood as well, since we have a number of shared DNA matches.  Not only do we share on the Larro/Lerro group above, but we also share matches with the group I connected back in March.  So we are both convinced we are cousins.  We just have to figure out how!

OMG, No! Another indexing milestone

Today I finished indexing the last of the Omignano death records that were in form layout, so I have now completed the years 1875 - 1929.  That's the end of the civil records available in the image collection on Family Search.  YAY!  The next step in this indexing process should be to read the fully handwritten death records from 1866 - 1874, but I may postpone that in favor of birth or marriage record forms.

As I was indexing the death records in 1926 and 1927, I noticed that the name of the recorder on some of the records looked familiar - Silvino Lerro.   I have a 2nd cousin 2x removed by that name!   It turns out that he worked as a clerk in Omignano for a while. So not only am I reading records about my relatives, I am seeing the handwriting and signature of one of my relatives recording it!  How cool is that?!?  Pretty darn cool, in my opinion.  Just a little icing on the cake for wrapping up this record set.

In the meantime, I will be taking an indexing break before starting the next batch.  There are some other genealogy tasks on the to-do list!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Great War

Today I reached another indexing milestone on the Omignano records on - I've completed indexing the deaths from 1897 - 1917.  The last few records were heartbreaking, as they were records of deaths outside Omignano reported back to the town of soldiers who died in World War I.  Word was sent to the town in 1917 about the deaths of three soldiers that had occurred in the summer of 1915.

One of the deaths recorded in 1916 is that of Giuseppe Cammarota, my first cousin 3x removed through his grandparents (my 3x great grandparents), Giuseppe Cammarota and Antonia Petillo.  Giuseppe served in Italy's 48th infantry regiment.  He was injured with an abdominal wound at the Ninth Battle of the Isonzo, in Gorizia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy.  After his injury, he was transported to the hospital at camp 79, where he died of his wounds.

Prior to this, I didn't know of any blood relatives involved in WWI - only in-laws.   But now, with a blood relative on the field, this part of history became more important to me.  The death record, of course, does not indicate that my cousin participated in the Ninth Battle of the Isonzo.  Learning of his death as a soldier at Gorizia on 3 Nov 1916, I did a little research on WWI to find out what was going on at that time and place.  The Italians fought the Austro-Hungarians along the Isonzo river throughout the war.  The conflict occurring Nov 1-4, 1916 was termed the 9th such battle.

According to the death record, Giuseppe was buried in an Italian military cemetery in Gradisca, Italy.  I may need to visit someday!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Two citizenships are better than one?

As I was putting together my Italian documentation for my research win with Lo Schiavo Genealogica, I noted that one of the other services they provide is helping people apply for US-Italian dual citizenship.  So I did a little digging, and it looks like I am eligible for Italian citizenship.

According to Italian Law 91 of February 5, 1992, one can have Italian citizenship by descent or bloodline, known as jus/jure sanguinis.  Following some specific guidelines, and assuming no one renounced Italian citizenship along the way, many individuals of Italian descent living elsewhere can have their birth right of Italian citizenship recognized by proving the direct line of descent.

My paternal great grandfather was born in Italy and immigrated to America in 1889, which is after 1861, when the present-day country of Italy was formed.  Once in America, he did not become a naturalized US citizen - he completed an Alien Registration file in 1940, and his death certificate from 1950 showed his citizenship to still be Italian.  Therefore my grandfather was born in the US to an Italian citizen, making him a citizen of the US and Italy.  And that right of citizenship passes through my grandfather to my father to me.

There are numerous businesses that provide services to put together the paperwork required to have Italian citizenship by descent recognized by the Italian government. Official birth and marriage records for all generations between you and the Italian immigrant, proof of non-citizenship of the Italian immigrant in the new country when descendants were born, translation of all non-Italian records into Italian, and an apostille (a type of legal certification recognized internationally) for each are required as part of the request package.  The more generations back to Italy, the more paperwork - there is always red tape!

Citizenship in Italy includes a number of benefits, such as the ability to apply for an Italian passport and travel as a European Union citizen in Europe, access to education and health care, and less hoops to jump through to acquire property in Italy.

There are also potential drawbacks, however.  The Department of State has some warnings about dual nationality, including potential law conflicts as well as making it more difficult to protect US citizens abroad, especially when in their other country of citizenship.  If you are looking to hold a job that requires a US security clearance, having allegiance to a second country, or worse, actively seeking it, is perhaps not the best move.

So, it is something to consider.  Since I currently don't possess the NYC birth and marriage certificates for my grandfather's birth and my great-grandparent's marriage, not to mention the official Swedish birth certificate for my Swedish great-grandmother, it is a moot point for me at the moment.  But it is still cool that I *could* claim Italian citizenship. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Keep On Keeping On

Today I completed the indexing of the 1875 - 1896 image set of death records for Omignano.  YAY!  To truly call that image set complete, I still need to index the completely handwritten 1866-1874 records, but I made it to the end of the set and will call that a major milestone in the process.  I have been busy with other things this last few weeks, so it's good to get back to this genealogy project and make some headway on it.

I plan to finish out the remaining death record sets (Morti 1897-1917, Morti 1918-1929) using the forms before venturing back to the handwritten death records.  Then there are 3 sets of birth records, three sets of marriage records, and three sets of marriage banns records, with the 1866-1874 records all being completely handwritten in the first set of each.  Still a long way to go!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Winning Week

This past week has been an excellent one for genealogy wins.  Last Tuesday I was notified that I won the €100 worth of publications prize from Eneclann's RootsTech drawing.  And Saturday at the Fairfax Genealogical Society Spring Conference I won 5 hours of Italian genealogy research with Lo Schiavo Genealogica.  It must be my birthday week!

Now for the hard part - choosing my Irish publications, and determining what Italian information I want to focus on for my research.  I don't know where in Ireland my ancestors came from, so I don't have specific counties or townlands from which to request data.  And now I have quite a number of Italian ancestors to choose from for further research in Italy!  Decisions, decisions...

Friday, March 25, 2016

March Madness - Genealogy Style!

That Geneaspy, J. Paul Hawthorne, caused a March Madness explosion on social media yesterday.  He decided to create a 5 generation pedigree chart in Excel using just the birth locations, and then color each location with a different color.  And then he shared it with everyone.  :)  This led to much lively discussion and colorful feeds across many social media platforms, and it was all good!  Not only does this activity gain involvement for all ages, but the potential for "You have relatives from there, too?" is better than average.  Connections on many levels happening here.

Here is my contribution to the game:

Birth Location 5 Generation Chart
Many posts out there were entirely filled with US states.  I've only got one line still in the US in 5 generations, and that 6th generation will turn it green for Ireland like the rest of that branch.  My family has not been here that long!

Want to make your own?

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match....

A Smart Match on MyHeritage has led me to my first Italian cousin, as opposed to the Italian-American cousins I have been connecting with up to this point.  In my experience, MyHeritage, being an Israeli-based company rather than US, attracts more European users.  So if you have European ancestry and want to connect with living cousins, put a tree out there.  Unless your ancestry is the British Isles, in which case Find my Past is probably the better bet.  If I ever find Irish townlands of origin for my Irish lines, I might finally spend some time on Find my Past, but I'm not there yet! 

I've connected with many Swedish cousins on MyHeritage (lots of cousins of Buzz Aldrin!), but had not updated my Italian line recently.  Adding in some of the recent Italian discoveries from my Omignano focus the last couple of months brought up some new hits.  I sent a message via the web site to contact my potential cousin, and a couple of weeks later, she replied!  And even though I don't speak Italian, and she doesn't speak English, we've traded emails and exchanged pictures of our Italian Giordano ancestors.  So now I have a cousin to visit when I finally get my Italy trip plan together.  And maybe local feet on the ground to hunt down records, especially if they are OUR family records and not just MY family records.  :)

Working through the Omignano records is reaping benefits!  Time to get back to it....

Sunday, March 20, 2016

OMG No! The Saga Continues....

I have been continuing to index my Omignano (OMG, No!) records, in between hunting down family of DNA matches.  Every time I locate a record for one of my DNA matches, I add that record to my index, so even when I'm chasing matches I am still indexing!  So I have some indexing that is done by year and other runs by surname.  I've filled in a few more of the deaths for 1866-1874, completed the deaths for 1875 through part of 1889 and the births for 1866 and 1899. 

The DNA match tree building has yielded some results - the Mobius strip twists further!  I've managed to connect two sets of DNA matches (a woman and her nephew; a man, his first cousin, and his nephew) to one set of common ancestors, Francesco Giuliano (1808-1869) and his wife Carmela La Palementa (1815-1875), making the woman and man 4th cousins 1x removed.  I've just merged a couple in my tree that I added from two completely different line building exercises (Francesco's parents via his sister Carmella), so now I am connected to those DNA matches via one marriage instead of two, but I'm not there yet.  :)

I have a few potential connections that I have no paper trail to support.  How many Nicola Chiariellos can there be in Omignano?  In records that list only a father, that name appears alone.  In records that list both parents, there is a Nicola Chiariello and his wife Luigia Giuliano.  My suspicion is that those are all the same Nicola, which would connect two more siblings to the two with the known mother of Luigia, but given the number of name repeats in this town, I don't think I can make that claim yet.  Maybe I will find another Chiariello record in the set to make those connections.  <fingers crossed>

The index spreadsheet is definitely helping with the DNA matches.  Being able to filter on surnames and find all the children from a particular couple is definitely a great time saver!  At least, when they are all entered.  The data entry continues....

Thursday, March 10, 2016

O Little Town of Omignano....

My last name, Jordan, is an Americanization of the original surname of my great grandfather: Giordano.  Francesco Giordano came to America in 1889 from the little town of Omignano, Salerno, Campania, Italy.  My father's family knew him as Frank Jordan.

In October 2013 I discovered that Family Search posted unindexed digital images of the collection "Italia, Salerno, Vallo della Lucania, Stato Civile (Tribunale), 1866-1929" on their web site, including Frank's birth record.  Using this image set, I traced back a few more generations, which led me to my first set of direct line kissing cousins.  A pair of first cousins once removed married, so one set of 4th great grandparents double as a set of 5th great grandparents. (Does that count as killing 4 birds with 2 stones?)

Given the small size of the town and the high likelihood of intermarrying, it occurred to me that I might be related to quite a lot of people in the town.  And so, an idea was born, The Great Omignano (OMG, no!) Indexing Project!!!  But it was just an idea, and like many ideas, it sat on the shelf for awhile.  There are gold mines of information in all that Italian text, but to get to them, you have to filter though all that Italian text, an endeavor both time consuming and fraught with bad handwriting.  I worked back a few generations, concentrating on the Giordano surname and not much else, but did not roll forward to closer generations that lead to living cousins.  And after that flurry of excitement on the Italian hometown breakthrough, I moved on to other things.

Fast forward two and a half years. I'm starting to see Italian line DNA matches on the various testing sites.  Trying to figure out where these 4th cousin and further out matches fit in is tricky when my tree is not fleshed out both forward and back.  I found myself creating private individual family trees on Ancestry for each DNA match so I could try to build out their trees to figure out how we connect.  After spending two weekends building trees for OTHER people, I finally remembered my epiphany from 2013 and decided to take action on that idea.  The Vallo della Lucania images include births, marriage banns, marriages and deaths starting in 1866.  In 1875, the Omignano record books were converted to fill-in-the-blank forms, but prior to that, the entire record is one big handwritten paragraph.

So the past few weekends, instead of building out yet another DNA match tree (no doubt more of those will happen later), I turned to building spreadsheets.  I started with death records, capturing a number of data elements for each record, including the URL to the image.  For the totally handwritten 1866-1874 records, I've only captured the year, order number, name and URL information for about 200 people - those will take more work to decipher than the form-based ones to complete the index.  I have recorded all the information from the 1875-1887 deaths, about 320 people.  Since I was not focusing solely on the name Giordano, I actually added several more dates and people to my tree just from those records!  I'll take that as a sign that I'm on the right track.  Already I recognize the common surnames of the town, and they are an immediate clue of a potential shared line in the trees of my DNA matches.

So we'll see how long this project stays at the top of the to do list - hopefully I'll be able to finish some record sets before something else jumps the line.  And then I'll be able to use this spreadsheet index as a tool for looking up potential ancestors of DNA matches! 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

"Forever" Family Tree

Yesterday my copy of the TV series "Forever" arrived on DVD.  This means that I finally have the episodes I was missing when I created a timeline and family tree a year ago for the characters in the show.  If a TV show is going to spend an episode on genealogy, in this case with a finite set of research data to draw on, then I can start a research project on it, right?  And since the series only had one season (still really bummed about that!) I can actually finish it, too!  I already extracted data from 15 of the 22 episodes, so I'm more than halfway there.  I wish I had this much detail on many of my own ancestors and relatives!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Hello, (blogging) world!

Despite the intent of this blog as a genealogy adventure, a form of “Hello, world!” seems an appropriate starting post for this software professional.  I’ve recently returned from my 3rd RootsTech conference, where the tech-based Innovator Summit sessions hold as much interest for me as the genealogy specific ones.  And once again, everyone was talking about using blogs to record your research, share it, and of course, as cousin bait.  Since my main web site is still partying like it’s 1999 (that’s about when I first created it), I figured it wouldn’t hurt to play with some blogging software and see if I could do any better at keeping that up to date.

You may have noticed that there are a number of posts prior to this date, and wonder how I can have started a blog prior to starting a blog.  Is it magic?  Have I learned how to time travel?!?  How can this be?!?!?!?  Lacking a DeLorean, I fall back on what tech knowledge I do have - in this case, backups.  These blog sites provide a way to take a backup of all the posts, as well as a way of restoring that backup.  But what if you were to, say, tweak the backup files?  Maybe change the dates, change the titles...  Well, then you can create posts for earlier dates.  So I thought I might try to document my genealogy journey prior to this date as well, while keeping my discoveries in chronological order.  (My thought of documenting my ancestor's journeys using dates from their timelines was foiled by the blogging software not believing in blog posts dated prior to about 1970, and rejected them on restore. Bummer!)

Let the grand adventure begin!