A continuation of the hiatus of “Digging for Italian Roots”

Titles, tags, and categories of the posts on this blog so far

Hello everyone! I know this blog has been relatively inactive since its creation in 2020, and I’m sorry about that, its just that this past year has been a bit busy. Having four family history blogs is hard to juggle, so I’ve decided to keep this blog on hiatus for now. I’m going to refocus my energy on writing posts for the Packed with Packards! blog, which includes some posts about Packards who were involved in the slave trade, for instance, and an upcoming post on Milling ’round Ireland about an ancestor who may or may not have been gay. It pains me to keep this blog on hiatus because I love learning and writing about my Italian ancestors so much, its just that I don’t want to stretch my energy for writing and research family history too thin.

As always, thanks for all the support up to this point, everyone. I really appreciate it.

– Burkely

Angelo LanFranchi, the H1N1 flu pandemic, and the granite mines

In my last post on this blog, I posed a theory that my ancestor, Angelo LanFranchi, immigrated to the U.S. in an effort to avoid the draft in the then-Kingdom of Italy. Since I can’t (and won’t) request the original documents from the State Archives of Parma, which has a series titled “Leva Militare,” meaning “military draft,” with a 209 pages of records from the Parma Draft office (1883-1915) due to COVID-19, there is something that I am apt to write during these times: a story about my ancestors and the H1N1 flu pandemic, incorrectly named the “Spanish flu,” which lasted from 1918 to 1920. I would like to focus mainly on Angelo LanFranchi in hopes of answering why he moved, in 1918, from Barre to Avonmore, something which some of my cousins wouldn’t answer because they weren’t sure of the answer themselves, something which is no fault of their own.

As I noted on my last post, Angelo was born in Casola, Parma, in northern Italy, on September 6, 1896, and he came first to Avonmore in 1914 from Italy, where his sisters Barbara and Angelina were living. But, I didn’t tell the other part of the story. Angelo then moved to Barre, Vermont, where he worked as a stone mason, also known as a stone cutter, from at least 1915-1918. [1] He was living at 408 North Main Street with his sister, Marietta “Marie”, and his brother-in-law (and Marietta’s husband), Giuseppe Berte. Like Angelo, Giuseppe also worked as a stone mason, working for the Kelly Brothers, [2] while his brother, Dino, also lived in the city, working for the Chioldi Brothers, on 308 North Main Street. [3] I’ll focus on Dino, Giuseppe, and the others in another post, here is a photograph of where Giuseppe, Marie, and Angelo lived in Barre, a location which is still standing to this day:

While living there, Giuseppe and Marie, who had married sometime before September 1912, would have three children: Lina (b. 1915), Ketri (b. 1913)  and Ancilla (b. 1918) as shown in this 1919 photograph below. Lina is on the left side of the picture, Ancilla is in the middle, and Ketri is in the right side of the picture.

In later years, Giuseppe would be a bearer for his sister Ermalinda Berte, at her funeral, as would his brother Dino. He would be living in Barre, Vermont with his wife and two children, saying he needed he needed to stay there for “family support” rather than fight in Europe. [4] He noted, as an interesting aside to my last post, that he previously fought in the Italian military. Although Giuseppe, Marie, and their family, stayed put in Barre for a few more years, why did Angelo leave? The family story that he left because of dust in the stone mines, which is still a possibility, as a reason he came to Western Pennsylvania. After all, in 2000, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services condluded that ” tiny crystalline rock particles found in granite dust can cause lung cancer,” while OSHA has stated that workers who “inhale very small crystalline silica particles are at risk for silicosis – an incurable, progressively disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease.” This is likely what Angelo was worried about, although they didn’t have a term for that then.

As for the H1N1 flu pandemic, we know it first cropped up in Vermont in late September 1918, hard hitting the state capital of Montpelier and the city of Barre over the next few months. [5] The crisis peaked from October 15-30, with medical authorities lifting the statewide ban on public gatherings on November 8. This severe pandemic quickly spread across the country, with 50,000 Vermonters sickened by the virus and over 2,100 dying from its complications. One group were affected,  group apart from any other: granite workers, whose lungs were already weakened by silicosis, and industries were shut down, [6] with towns cancelling gatherings and meetings, travel in and out of Vermont banned on October 4. [7] As the pandemic, then called the “grippe,” leveled out by late 1919, it had torn through the population “like a grassfire.” It often struck without warning, whether running its course over three weeks for some and killing others in three days or less! Many years later, a granite monument was constructed in Barre’s Hope Cemetery to commemorate those that died from the influenza. Ultimately, the flu would affect over 25 percent of the U.S. population, with the average life expectancy in the United States dropped by 12 years as noted by the National Archives.

Due to the fact that infection from the influenza was only reported “after the pandemic began,” reliable data is unavailable currently, meaning that the brevity of the pandemic has to be determined using other information instead. We do know, however, that this pandemic was unique because it killed “many healthy 20- to 40-year-olds,” while those who usually due of the flu are under five or over age 75, with those born in the years around 1889 most vulnerable. Like the current crisis, those who died directly or indirectly from the disease were under-reported, but for a different reason: to support pro-war propaganda during the U.S. war with Germany (World War I) under the Sedition Act of 1918, which prohibited any “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language”about the U.S. armed forces, U.S. government, flag, or anything else deemed “un-patriotic.” While the origin of the H1N1 pandemic continues to be hotly debated, there is no question that the virus was a virulent one, from which most patients recovering after having a 3-5 day fever, although those affected were often worn down by the flu which attacked the lungs, caused terrible pains, delirium, high fever, and nausea, with people often dying from pneumonia. This unique virus hit New England hard, killing thousands, including 9,500 in the state of New York alone. While it is hard to know if Avonmore was like the communities across the U.S. that escaped the H1N1 virus, such as Fletcher, Vermont, the state of Pennsylvania was hard hit, especially Philadelphia. [8] Pittsburgh, only 33 and 1/2 miles from Avonmore, as the crow flies, originally dismissed mild cases of the disease, first reported by local papers on October 1, with hundreds of cases of influenza within a couple days, trying to take strains off hospitals by asking for people to care for the sick at home. There were over 4,400 cases by October 16, jumping to over 7,500 only a few days later. As the article on the Influenza Encyclopedia, put together by the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and University of Michigan Library, gives some further notes about the state of the population:

By late-October, Pittsburgh residents were starting to get anxious over when the closure orders and gathering ban might be lifted. Saloon owners and wholesale liquor distributors were particularly eager to have state Health Commissioner Royer rescind his orders…Although Babcock failed in his attempt to have the bans lifted immediately, Royer offered hope they would be lifted in Allegheny County shortly so long as the infection rate continued to decline…Taking Batt’s report into consideration, on November 1 Royer announced that Pittsburgh might be allowed to reopen its places of amusement as early as November 4. Residents, and especially affected business owners, sighed in collective relief. Overnight, Pittsburgh’s great expectations were dashed when Royer abruptly announced that Pittsburgh would not be allowed to reopen until November 9…An industrial powerhouse with a large population, Royer dared not try to isolate the Steel City, especially during wartime. Instead, he issued a statement condemning the city’s actions as an invitation to lawlessness and disorder…Ultimately, Royer held true to his promise to lift the state-ordered bans on November 9…Other than these restrictions, Pittsburgh was once again free to return to life as usual [by late November]…Pittsburgh continued to experience cases of influenza and pneumonia throughout the rest of the winter…Overall, Pittsburgh experienced the worst epidemic of any major city in the United States. The average death rate for Eastern cities was 555 per 100,000. By contrast, Pittsburgh’s excess death rate was a whopping 807 per 100,000 people. The Steel City’s ordeal with influenza was even deadlier than that of Philadelphia (748) or Boston (710), two communities where influenza ran rampant in the fall of 1918. Despite advance warning and preparation, organized local leadership, and efficient allocation of resources, Pittsburgh fared horribly during the crisis…It is also possible that Pittsburgh’s high death rate was in part due to the city’s notoriously poor air quality during the time…Combined with the delay in closing schools, Pittsburgh’s pollution may have contributed to the severity of its bout with influenza in 1918.

That brings us to the question about my ancestor, Angelo. I need not read an epidemiologic study or survey of the of the influenza to ask if this crisis affected him. The below draft card, dated June 5, 1918, lists his address as “Waterman Box 54 PA,” birthplace as Parma, employer is J & C.C & J Co. in Waterman, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. He also lists his nearest relative as is mother, Adelaide in Casola, Parma, Italy, and is noted as not currently a US citizen. [9]

This record means that Angelo did not flee Barre to move to Avonmore, immediately, at least, with Waterman about 24 miles away from the town. While the CDC’s timeline for the H1N1 influenza notes that in March, “outbreaks of flu-like illness are first detected in the United States,” spreading sporadically across the U.S., Asia, and Europe over the six months to follow. It also notes that a second wave hit the U.S. between September and November, which was “highly fatal, and responsible for most of the deaths attributed to the pandemic.” In the spring and winter of 1919, there was a third wave of influenza which kills may others, subsiding in the summer. For Pennsylvania, it first began to take root in the state in September 1918, and as the PA Department of Health noted,

Unlike seasonal flu, which mostly threatens the health of the very young and elderly, the Spanish Flu caused serious illness and death in otherwise young, healthy people…The Spanish Flu pandemic affected almost every part of American society. With one-quarter of the US infected, it was impossible to escape from the illness. As the disease spread, schools and businesses emptied. Telephone, mail, and garbage collection services stopped as workers became ill and could not do their jobs.

Furthermore, from October 1918 onward, the flu roared through Western Pennsylvania, sickening tens of thousands in Allegheny and Westmoreland County, with 2,000 dying in Westmoreland County alone. [10] Since Avonmore sits on the edge of Westmoreland County, Angelo was lucky he didn’t die from the flu, part of one of the many families in the state which were affected by the pandemic, with the context of how your ancestors survived the pandemic likely described in newspaper accounts.

While there are, sadly, no original records of noting how Angelo, his immediate or extended family, dealt with the pandemic and their thoughts at the time, there is no doubt that it affected him and those nearby in ways that he probably couldn’t imagine. In order to understand, fully, why Angelo ended up in Avonmore, its important to first look back at what was happening in Barre, involving the Bertes, Chioldis, and many other interconnected families, which will be focus of either the next or an upcoming post on this blog.


Notes

[1] Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Barre, Vermont, City Directory, 1917, p. 92; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Barre, Vermont, City Directory, 1916, p. 92; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Barre, Vermont, City Directory, 1915, p. 94; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Barre, Vermont, City Directory, 1918, p. 107; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Barre, Vermont, City Directory, 1914, p. 93. The 1914 city directory does not list him, but could either because he arrived early in 1914 and the city directory is issued early that year, or because he wasn’t living in Barre until 1915. In all of these records, he is listed as “Lanfranchi, Angelo.” His January 13, 1915 Declaration of Intention to becoming a U.S. citizen rightly describes some of his particulars (five foot 7, blue eyes, brown hair, 160 pounds, born in Parma, Italy) and the ship he came on are correct, but it incorrectly states he was living at 405 North Main Street in Barre, when he actually only lived at 408 Main Street during his time in the city.

[2] Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Barre, Vermont, City Directory, 1916, p. 41, 230-231

[3] Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Barre, Vermont, City Directory, 1915, p. 36.

[4] Registration State: Vermont; Registration County: Washington; Roll: 1984100 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.

[5] Feeney, Vincent. “Spanish Flu Hit Vermont Hard in 1918.” Burlington Free Press. September 18, 2015. https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/local/2015/09/18/spanish-flu-vermont-1918/32561715/; Bushnell, Mark. “Then Again: In an age before antibiotics, a killer epidemic struck Vermont.” Vermont Digger. March 8, 2020. https://vtdigger.org/2020/03/08/then-again-in-an-age-before-antibiotics-a-killer-epidemic-struck-vermont/; “History of 1918 Flu Pandemic.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, March 21, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-commemoration/1918-pandemic-history.htm; “Pandemic flu preparedness.” Vermont Department of Health. State Government of Vermont, January 22, 2020. https://www.healthvermont.gov/immunizations-infectious-disease/influenza/pandemic-preparedness.

[6] Frederick, Keith. “Workforce Continuity During a Pandemic: Is Your Business Ready?” Disaster Recovery Journal, February 6, 2020. https://drj.com/journal/workforce-continuity-during-a-pandemic-is-your-business-ready/. As the Disaster Recovery Journal notes, “during a pandemic, absenteeism rates can climb to as high as 20-50 percent due to employee illness, caring for sick family members, fear of contagion, or lack of medical, public, or transportation resources.” Although this is referring to what could happen in the present, back in 1918, the absenteeism rates were likely higher.

[7] Feeney, Vincent. “Spanish Flu Hit Vermont Hard in 1918.” Burlington Free Press. September 18, 2015. https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/local/2015/09/18/spanish-flu-vermont-1918/32561715/; Viglienzoni, Cat. “Terrible times: Remembering the 1918 flu pandemic’s impact on Vermont.” WCAX3. March 27, 2020. https://www.wcax.com/content/news/Terrible-times-Remembering-the-1918-flu-pandemics-impact-on-Vermont-569164611.html; Picard, Ken. “Recalling the Flu Pandemic of 1918.” Seven Days Vermont. February 28, 2018. https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/recalling-the-flu-pandemic-of-1918/Content?oid=13143570; Thibault, Amanda. “This Place in History: 1918 Flu Pandemic.” mychamplainvalley.com. November 15, 2018. https://www.mychamplainvalley.com/news/this-place-in-history-1918-flu-pandemic/; Brundage, John F., and G. Dennis Shanks. “What Really Happened during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic? The Importance of Bacterial Secondary Infections.” The Journal of Infectious Diseases 196, no. 11 (December 1, 2007). https://doi.org/10.1086/522355. The Feeney post is an excerpt from his book “Burlington: A History of Vermont’s Queen City.”

[8] Gray, Richard. “The places that escaped the Spanish flu.” BBC News. October 24, 2018. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20181023-the-places-that-escaped-the-spanish-flu; Almond, Douglas. “Is the 1918 Influenza Pandemic Over? Long‐Term Effects of In Utero Influenza Exposure in the Post‐1940 U.S. Population.” Journal of Political Economy 114, no. 14 (August 2006). https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/507154.

[9] Pennsylvania; Registration County: Indiana; Roll: 1893240; Draft Board: 2; Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005; United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.

[10] One local historian, Thomas Soltis, even wrote a 23-page bound book titled “The 1918 Influenza Pandemic,” published by the Westmoreland Historical Society. There is also a slightly cheaper digital copy.

Did Angelo LanFranchi come to the U.S. to avoid the draft?

The Society of American Archivists recently wrote, in promoting Margot Note’s new book, Creating Family Archives, that “family history is important” with photos, videos, aged documents, and cherished papers, saying “and they need a better home than a cardboard box,” adding that “gathering up the boxes of photos and years of video is a big job.” I can’t agree more, which is why I am putting together this post.

On September 6, 1896, in Casola, a town in Parma, within Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, my great-grandfather, Angelo LanFranchi, entered the world with shining eyes. [1] While we don’t know much about his parents, his mother was undoubtedly Adelaide, with a likely last name of Berte. While there is no doubt that his father had the surname of LanFranchi, his first name is in dispute. Some records, like Angelo’s  passenger record call him Giuseppe, while others call him Francesco. In any case, Angelo had five siblings back in 1896: 14-year-old Francesco, seven-year-old Marietta “Maria” Louisa, seven-year-old Giuseppina “Pina,” nine-year-old Barbara, and two-year-old Angelina (also named Angiolina or Angela). In later years, he would have two more sisters: Rosina in 1903 and Elena, with an unknown year of her birth. Of these siblings, four of them immigrated to the U.S.: Francesco, Maria, Angelina, and Barbara. Angelina married two times, having one child with her first husband, whose name is not currently known, and six children with her second husband Ettory Bertolo (1886-1974): Secondnina “Nina” (1914-2010), Frank (1917-2009), Peter “Pete” (1917-1982), Angelanna “Babe” (b. 1918), Irene “Rena” (b. 1924), and Henry (1926-1999). As for Barbara, she married Giovanni “John” Cattani, and had eight daughters: Genevieve “Jean” (1911-2002), Alice (1914-2002), Onellia “Nellie” (1916-1998), Frances Ann (1919-p 1998), Lena (1921-1994), Perina “Perry” (1926-1993), Mary (1929-1990), and Rosemary (1934-p 1998). As for Francesco, he arrived first in April 1907 and again in 1914, living in Avonmore from 1908 to 1911, marrying Domenica Cattani. Maria, on the other hand, married Giuseppe Berte sometime before September 1912, arriving in the U.S. later that year, living in Berte, Vermont, and had three children: Ketri (b. 1913), Lina Maria Nita (1915-1992), and Ancilla Francesca Ermelinda (b. 1918). The stories of Angelo’s two other sisters, Barbara and Angelina tie into his own story.

In this post, I’d like to investigate why Angelo, who later took the name of Louis Franci, came to the U.S., giving some background before addressing the question posed in the title of this post. Below are photographs of the ships that the LanFranchis and Cattanis traveled on to the U.S. from Italy:

Angelo arrived in the U.S. in 1914. In the passenger manifest, it states that he is a 18-year-old laborer (more on that later) who last lived in Lesignano, also known as Lesignano de’ Bagni, a municipality (or comune) in the province of Parma, 56 miles west of Bologno, 9 miles south of the city of Parma, and 15 miles southwest of the small town of Casola. The port he left from, Le Havre, France, 587 miles or 944 kilometers as the crow flies. Undoubtedly, Angelo got to Le Havre by using a railroad. As historian Bruno Derrick writes on the National Archives of the UK’s website, railways across Europe grew exponentially from 1874 to 1914, new lines and capacities were being built, “with virtually every major town and city being connected by railway lines.” James Simpson, a web developer and writer, added that the scale of the continent’s railroads made World War I possible. He was single and unmarried at the time he immigrated, as the below document indicates:

Angelo listed at the bottom of the page. A Paulo Cattani and Gugligemo Chioldi also listed on this page. We’ll get to them in a later post.

The following page shows he was en route to Avonmore, Pennsylvania, a small town with a nearby railroad and a population of about 1,200 people as noted in the 1910 and 1920 censuses for the borough, situated in Westmoreland County. This record also claimed his birthplace as Lesignano, while also noting that a 27-year-old married man named Paulo Cattani traveling to the house of his brother, Valentino, in the town (Box 844), with his wife Angela still living in Italy, and a 22-year-old single farm laborer named Gugligemo Chioldi, leaving his mother Rosa Branchi in Lesignano, where Angelo has last lived before leaving the country, but to no specific address.

Says he is going to Avonmore, the same place that Gugliemo Chioldi, and varied others are going.

But why there? It is relatively far out of the way, about 34 miles away from Pittsburgh, not near any major center of commerce now or in the past. The reason is obvious: his siblings were already living there! His married sister Barbara traveled with her husband, John Cattani and their child Genevieve “Jean” back in 1912. They also left from Le Havre, France, and traveled on the S.S. Rochambeau.

John’s brother, another Cattani, lived in Avonmore at the time, so it only made sense for them to travel there. But, that wouldn’t be the only reason of course, as they likely had other family connections, something which later posts will expand upon.

That’s not all! Angelina came to Avonmore two years after Angelo and went to live with Barbara. This record names their father (and my great-grandfather) as Francesco LanFranchi, despite the passenger manifest of Angelo (noted earlier in this post) which called their father “Guiseppe LanFranchi.” This also lists her birthplace as Casola, which more aligned with what I have heard about Angelo.

Angelina goes to her sister’s home

That brings us to the one million dollar question: why did Angelo immigrate to the U.S.? This is an important question because 1914 was at the tale end of the wave of immigration in the early 20th century to U.S. shores, most coming from Southern Europe and Eastern Europe, with Italians, by the 1930s, as the largest group, in terms of immigrants, in the nation as a whole, in various states, including New York, Louisiana, New Jersey and Nevada. During this immigration movement to the United States, roughly from 1890 to 1919, 18.2 million came to the U.S., 62% from South/East Europe, 26% from North/West Europe, 3% from Latin America, and 2% from South/East Asia.

One theory I heard from some relatives and I considered myself, is that Angelo ran away from Italy due to the draft and that he would be arrested if he went back to Italy. As the story goes, he couldn’t even attend the funeral of his mother Adelaide due to fear he would be jailed as a result. Just to be clear, the draft in Italy wasn’t like the still-existing “Selective Service System” in the U.S. Some have argued that Italy wouldn’t have existed without conscription, a part of wider social and political reforms, and introduced onto the peninsula by none other than Napoleon! In recent years, some Italian politicians wanted to bring it back, claiming there were “threats” which necessitated it! As Marcia Melnyk writes in Family Tree magazine, you can get conscription papers on an Italian ancestor, with the records called registro di leva and listing all “males by year of birth within each military district,” with the records often indexed.

History is Now Magazine notes that Italy, generally a new nation-state, only becoming a united country in the 19th century, had an economy mainly based in agriculture but lacked a “competent military.” However, the magazine adds that those who wanted Italy to not enter the war (neutralisti) and those who did want want to enter the war (interventisti) clashed with each other, in the political arena. The latter group won when Italy ceased to be part of an alliance with Austria-Hungary and Germany, joining France, Britain, and Russia, declaring war on Germany and Austria-Hungary on May 24, 1915. This meant that Italy didn’t enter the war until that point. At the same time, the size of the Italian Army increased from 300,000 in 1915 to five million by the end of the war in November 1918. A strong anti-Austria-Hungry sentiment likely spread across the country since Austria-Hungary was “Italy’s historical enemy.” The country’s armed forces only expanded due to…conscription, which Italy relied upon since its creation in 1861, in an attempt to supposedly “forge a sense of nationhood.” The Italian the army forces used it to acquire personnel until the abolition of conscription in peacetime in 2006, phasing it out after 2000.

Europe in 1914, via The National Archives (UK)

Of course, there are records of such recruitment, since the Italian government introduced military conscription in 1907. Alexander Watson of the British Library writes that 55% of male Italians aged 18 to 50 were called to military service from 1914 to 1918, while another says conscription of those over age 18 began in 1865. Due to the Pope’s message and high death rate, peasants in Italy, apparently, shunned the war, refusing to abide by conscription orders or enlist. This wouldn’t be a surprise since Italy decided to base their army after 1870 on unfree labor. Even in August 1914, General Luigi Cadorna, chief of staff of the Italian Army, expected war and began building up the Italian army, concentrating military forces on the country’s borders with Austria-Hungary. A few months later, in June 1914, widespread strikes (including a two-day general strike) and rioting rocked the Italian provinces of Emilia-Romagna and Marche, with seizing of railway stations, cutting telephone wires, and burning tax registers, the so-called “Red Week,” with the former being the province where Angelo was living.

Furthermore, this description from Mary Tedesco, a professional genealogist who co-authored a book titled Tracing Your Italian Ancestors, gives some tips on tracing your Italian genealogy, points to military conscription records as one of the sources of genealogical information:

Following Italian unification in 1861, military service was required by each Italian male. These records are classified by city or town of birth and year of birth, and in many Italian areas date back to birth years 1840 – 1842. Historical draft records and military service records can typically be found at either the Archivio di Stato [Italian State Archives] in the province where you ancestor lived.

At first, I thought draft records for the Province of Parma didn’t survive since a listing of Italian military records lists none for the province, abbreviated as “Reggio Emilia” within the Italian State Archives. However, the State Archives of Parma holds a series titled “Leva Militare” meaning “military draft” [2] which has a 209-page collection from the Ufficio di leva di Parma, otherwise known as the Parma Draft office, the series lasting from 1883 to 1915! This would be a much better resource than trying to page through the hard-to-navigate census (there are only ones for 1861, 1871 and 1881) for Reggio Emilia, which I have basically given up in trying to search through on my computer. I WILL pursue that in the days to come.

War Resisters International claims that draft evasion under existing Italian law is “punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment, and five to 15 years’ in wartime,” relying in a 1991 report on “Conscientious objection to military service” by Amnesty International. However, when translating article 336 of the Italian penal code, known as Codice penale [3], into English, it only clearly only refers to anyone who uses violence or a threat of violence against a public official or someone “in charge of a public service.” It has nothing to do with draft-dodging, which is illegal under U.S. law. At the same time, it wasn’t until 1972 that the Italian Parliament approved a law which made conscientious objection to the draft by those with “profound religious or philosophical or moral beliefs” legal. Even so, those who were approved to be conscientious objectors still had to perform an eight-month term of “unarmed military service, or civil replacement service” in its place. If someone refused that, then they could be imprisoned for 2-4 years. I’m pretty sure that this provision is no longer valid since conscription fully ended in 2006 for the country as a whole.

How in the world does this relate to Angelo? In order to determine that, some background needs to be established. Italy has established three criminal procedure codes since its creation: one in 1865, another in 1913, one in 1930, and a final one in 1988. Furthermore, the current constitution of Italy wasn’t enacted until 1948, and the current civil code, also known as Codice civile, began in 1942. This replaced the one in 1865, an Italian translation of the Code Napoleon, the French Civil Code established in 1804. [4] I am also aware that the Albertine Statute, also known as Statuto Albertino, established by the ruler of Sardinia in 1848, soon became the constitution of the Kingdom of Italy, remaining in force until 1948. This is despite the fact that the fascist rule of Benito Mussolini after 1925 mostly voided its text. The Albertine Statute  mentioned the draft in Article 75, stating “the military conscriptions shall be regulated by law.” In doing some digging around, I found that article 11 of the Italian Civil Code of 1865 stated that those who received citizenship of a foreign country lose their Italian citizenship. Luckily for all Italian immigrants, a 1912 law revised this. The latter asserted that if someone naturalized after July 1, 1912, all their children “retained Italian citizenship even if they were unemancipated minors as long as they were granted the same foreign country’s citizenship automatically when they were born in that country.” As such, Angelo was unaffected by this change.

There is only one mention of “leva” or military service in the 1865 Italian Civil Code: clause 6 of Book 1, Title I (Of Citizenship and Enjoyment of Civil Rights), which focuses on citizenship. That section is shown below:

The son born in a foreign country from a father who lost citizenship before his birth is considered a foreigner.

However, he may elect the status of citizen, provided that he declares it in accordance with the preceding article and establishes his home in the kingdom within the year from the declaration made.

However, if he has accepted public employment in the kingdom, or has served or serves in the national army on land or sea, or otherwise satisfied with military service without invoking an exemption for the quality of foreigner, he will certainly be considered a citizen.

Without a need to examine the previous maritime penal code of Italy or the 1865 procedural code, I looked at the 1869 Codice penale per l’esercito del regno d’Italia, otherwise known as the Criminal code for the Army of the Kingdom of Italy. One provision, article 277, noted how soldiers who forces conditions on others will be excluded from the military for five years. However, a later version of the same document, in 1869, indicates, in Appendix I, Title I, clause 1 that the military will recruit people voluntarily and through the draft, sometimes translated as “military lever.” The next title focuses entirely on the draft, with the first chapter outlining those subject to it. I expected the parts about how there is an obligation to contribute to the draft, with certain distributions and determinations, or that all citizens of Italy are subject to the draft, only men in certain draft categories, called upon in “extraordinary contingencies.” Even so, clause 7 was the most chilling of all. It stated that citizens subject to the draft cannot “obtain a foreign passport if he does not obtain authorization under the precautions determined by the Regulation mentioned in article 1.” A footnote explained this further:

The naturalization abroad, without the prior consent of the Government of the King, does not exempt the citizen from the obligation to draft, whose enrollment must follow only the list of the municipality of the last domicile in the State.

This would mean that if Angelo was naturalized in the U.S. after he immigrated, but had been put on a draft list, then he could NOT return to Italy as he would be arrested for a crime of avoiding the draft, commonly called “draft-dodging.” He, like all young men those in Italy from age 16 to 19, would have also needed a written statement known as a nulla osta to legally emigrate. However to get this document would would need to fulfill your military obligations and then you could get a passport. Under Italian law, you could be exempted from “reporting a vital necessity of emigration” if you had brothers or relatives who would engage in “permanent service to the Italian Army.”

Further clauses (9, 10, and 11) explained how the King of Italy would determine the distribution of the draft quota, with each province subdivided, and having drawings of citizens for the draft itself. However, as noted in second section of this law’s chapter, exact draft operations would be overseen by the Minister of War, seemingly appointed by the King, coupled with various draft boards and commissioners, the latter appointed by the King, to enforce the draft itself. Clause 19 of the law’s second chapter noted that men when they turn age 19 (I’ll come back to that later on in this post) need to be registered with the draft. The following clause said young people are considered as residents of a certain municipality if their father, father, or guardian lives there, those born in the municipality itself, those from another country who been naturalized in that municipality, and so on. Clauses 22, 23, and 24 were intriguing as they pointed out that the draft list was originally compiled in January by the town mayor:

The Leva [draft/service] list is compiled for the care of the Mayor within the same month of January on the declarations referred to in art. 19, and investigations to be made in the civil status records, as well depending on other documents and information. The first of the following month of February, and for fifteen days consecutive, the list of young people inscribed on that list is published by the Mayor…During the same month of February the Mayor must record all the observations, declarations, or reminders that are made to him for omissions, for false indications, or for errors whatever they may be. The Delegated Council examines the list of Leva [draft/service], and if it is necessary to rectify it in regard to young people who in any way are omitted or unduly registered; and taking into account the observations, declarations and recalls, referred to in article 23 above, it follows the modifications, additions and cancellations that are necessary.

Lets go back to the passenger manifest for the S.S. France. It notes that the ship left Le Havre on January 24, 1914 and arrived in New York on January 30, a six day journey. Angelo’s birthday was on September 6. When he left for the U.S. he wasn’t 18 years old, yet. He was 17 years, 4 months, and 18 days old, when he left Italy, and six-days older when going through Ellis Island, having lived on the planet Earth for 6,354 days, to take from a handy dandy age calculator. Angelo would turn 18 later that year. I looked back at clause 19, to refresh my memory:

On the 1st of January of each year the Mayors are obliged to make known by express notification to young people who in the beginning of the nineteenth year of their age, the duty to be registered on the Leva [draft/service] list of the Municipality in which they have legal domicile, and their parents or guardians. Obligation that they are required to take care of their registration.

For Angelo, he would not be notified by the mayor of Casola he was being drafted until January 1, 1915, taking this law literally. As such, under this law, he wouldn’t be eligible for the draft at the time he left Italy because he wasn’t old enough. Later clauses (28 and 29) talk about those who “escaped” draft registration, and note there is a crime for those who escaped the draft, while also noting how the draft will be conducted (see clauses 34-43), specifically this crime is for those that aided and abetted those on draft lists, a punishment of prison and a fine of two thousand lire (see clause 169). This punishment applies to draft dodgers per the previous clause, clause 168. However, if the age Italians was drafted was lowered to age 18, as some sources indicate, then that means that he would have been notified on January 1, 1914!

What I found so far makes me skeptical that avoiding the draft was his reason for immigrating to the U.S. One source contradicts the age I found in the Italian Criminal Code: FamilySearch. The page on Italian military records states that all Italian males since the creation of the Italian state have been “subject to military duty,” and stating that the draft of young men began at age 18, a compilation of lists into the liste di leva. [5] These records categorized individuals by year of birth, providing the name of the young men, their parents, place of birth, where they were living, and other relevant data. This is followed by the Liste d’Estrazione (also known as liste di arruolamento), with age 21 males examined by the draft board, looking at the physical, mental, and legal eligibility of men. Again, the men’s name, parents’ names, place of residence, and other information is listed. In 1923, the preparation of the liste di leva ended, replaced by only the estrazione. Here is where Angelo would have gotten in trouble, without a doubt

Young men had no right to emigrate from Italy before the age of 18 unless the whole family had departed. From the list of all males eligible for the draft, a certain amount of young men were called (extracted) to actually serve the draft. This depended on eligibility and the number necessary to fulfill the draft quota of the Italian State. Therefore, the liste d’estrazioni set forth the names of those draft-eligible men who were actually drafted or exempted. If a young man did not present himself for the draft and was not represented at the draft call he could be declared eligible and labelled as a deserter or accounted for because of an exemption. This happened at times to those who legally emigrated to North or South America and also to those who illegally emigrated and who did not return because they could be imprisioned [sic] for draft evasion.

Other Italian military records include the Registro dei Folgi Matricolari (draftee curriculum of service record), Foglio di Congedo Illimitato (discharge records), and Registro di Ruolo (service records). These would all be part of a “treasure trove of information” than some Italian genealogists have written about. This makes it likely that the law that stated that those age 19 and older would be added to the draft role was changed, especially since terms one would be conscripted into military service declined from five years in 1863 to two years in 1910. [6] Not only in September 1915, when those born in 1896 where called into service, 12.1% did not appear for draft calls, despite a decline in emigration, but to escape extreme misery in the country’s agricultural sectors, Italian men (mostly) left the country in huge numbers, about 6.5 million in total from 1905 to 1914, equivalent to 1/6 of Italy’s population! Almost 60% went to the U.S., while those that remained, like the peasants (contadini) undoubtedly continued to reject conscription despite the Italian state trying to impose it. [7]

What FamilySearch says puts some credibility to the story he would have fled Italy to avoid the draft. As Jerry Finzi, a semi-retired photographer writes on Grand Voyage to Italy, many Italian men wanted to leave Italy to escape military conscription, although many others wanted only to America, “earn money and return to buy their own land.” Avoiding the draft was not uncommon, as thousands did so, either by dodging it, revolting or deserting, when it was introduced during Napoleonic rule over Northern Italy from 1802 to 1814, even though such an effort was said to be “successful,” despite the cost that Italians had to bear in Napoleon’s imperial designs, coupled with heavy taxation.  If FamilySearch has their date wrong, which doesn’t seem likely at this point, perhaps Angelo was a planner and realized he would be drafted ultimately and wanted to leave as a result. After all, there were a good number of people who had the surname of LanFranchi who died in Italy in WWI, as noted when you search this Italian genealogical website. I may need to go to a Family History Library to continue this quest to get records or directly request them from Parma. [8] In any case, Angelo had family in the U.S., including his sister Barbara, and joined by his sister Angelina, all concentrated in Avonmore. Even so, there were intracies in Berte which pulled Angelo away from Avonmore, which created a fascinating set of circumstances…


Notes

[1] This is noted by his 1929 Declaration of Intention, his WWII draft card in 1942, Al Franci’s notes on his father, and his birth certificate issued in 1959. Some other documents say he was born on September 7, specifically his 1915 Declaration of Intention, his WWI Draft Card in 1918 and the marriage application with Jennie Baccarini in 1931. Some information in this post relies on information from one of living cousins, who also mentioned a number of other people like Ralph Nastari.

[2] Leva means either lever, draft, conscription, and so on. After all, the term “servizio di leva” means “national service,” referring to the draft. I have used it to be draft or service here, just in case there are any translation errors.

[3] As noted by one legal site, Italian criminal is codified into the Codice Penale (Criminal Code) and Codice di Procedura Penale (Code of Criminal Procedure) and is divided generally into three books: “Crimes in general”, “Types of Crimes”, and “Types of Misdemeanors”.

[4] One site remarks that “the civil code of 1865 seemed to be the perfect goal of li-beral politicians, who wanted to strenghten State’s unity through legislative unity. The State Library of Louisiana adds that in 1865, the newly-formed Kingdom of Italy created “its own new Codice Civile, which retains and reflects much of the original Napoléonic Code.”

[5] The age of 18 as the beginning year for those drafted has also been asserted by David A. Fryxell in Family Tree, ItalyGenWeb, My Italian Family,  By 1927, the age the draft began was also age 18. In A Handbook of Military Conscription and Composition the World Over, Rita J. Simon and Mohamed Alaa Abdel-Moneim write, on page 85, that “after a 200-year old practice of conscription since the Napoleonic time in Italy, where all males aged 18 to 26 had to perform military service for 10 months, the Italian Senate voted overwhelmingly in 2000 to abolish conscription…conscription can still be reactivated in times of war or national crises.”

[6] John Gooch, The Italian Army and the First World War (US: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 8-9.

[7] Ibid, 135, 214-215.

[8] There are four collections which I’d look at: “Liste di leva della provincia di Parma 1913-1914“; “Liste di leva della provincia di Parma 1914“; “Liste di leva della provincia di Parma 1914-1915“; “Liste di leva della provincia di Parma 1915“. It says that to access these images you need to access the site at a family history center or at a FamilySearch affiliate library. If anyone could help with this, that would be great.

Louis Franci and the story of the Ship Hotel

Postcard of the Ship Hotel (personal collection). Likely this is in the 1950s. Sorry for the degraded nature of the image.

In 1930, 33-year-old Louis “Lou” Franci and 37-year-old Emilio Rosso were living in the Turtle Creek Valley. They were not only neighbors on Humbert Street, with the Rosso family living in house 69 and the Francis in house 68, but were both Italian immigrants. The census from that time shows an Italian enclave in the area: of the nine families in Patton Township’s Mellon Plan, a jurisdiction in Turtle Creek, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (PA), eight of them had Italian heritage. [1] Louis Franci and his wife, Jennie Baccarini, both Italian immigrants themselves, definitely felt at home.

Emilio lived with his 25-year-old wife, Adelina, his 5-year-old daughter, Clara, and 1-year-old son, Raymond. As for Louis, he lived with his 29-year-old wife, Jennie, 8-year-old daughter Lena, 6-year-old son Frank, 3-year-old daughter Alma, and seven-month-old daughter Ellen. While Jennie had come over to America in 1900 or 1901, as a baby carried in her mother’s arms, the story went that Louis was, a stowaway on a ship bound for America and joined by an unnamed friend. [2] However, this story is completely false, which should be explained in later posts on this blog. As for Emilio, he was an Italian immigrant and a World War I veteran who fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and Battle of St. Michel in 1917.

Both Emilio and Louis had one thing in common: they were building contractors or more simply they were construction managers. In 1930, a hunting buddy of Louis, Dominick/Dominico Rustici, who was, like Louis and Emilio, an immigrant from Northern Italy, listed two people as witnesses for a naturalization document. [3] One of these men was Emilio, who was described as a general contractor from Wilmerding, PA, with his last name spelled incorrectly as Rasso by an unnamed immigration official. In later years, Rustici was a lodger with the Baccarini family, who likely treated him like a family friend since he listed John Baccarini, the father of Jennie, on his draft card as a person who would know where he lived.

Emilio and Louis would soon work on a project that would stand for years as a tourist attraction and symbolic of their achievement. Family lore had claimed for years that Louis was in charge of building the entire ship, but this is obviously an exaggeration. Dutch-born Herbert Paulson, had the idea for what would become the Bedford, PA landmark, the S.S. Grand View Point Hotel or Ship Hotel for short, and he would be its captain from the 1930s until the 1970s. Census information shows his progression into this role. In 1920, he was listed as a married employer in a boarding house, in 1930 he was listed a married storekeeper with a grocery store and in 1940 he was listed as a hotel keeper. [4] By 1940, he had been living in the Ship Hotel from 1932 onward, with his wife, Mary, and German-born children, two of whom (Walter and Erna) worked as clerks. Two other clerks, Cecilia Davis and Etta Pellis, were also listed as living with them.

In order to provide some more context, it is worth talking about the architect of the Ship Hotel, Alfred Sinnhuber. He was born in or around Berlin, Germany, arriving in the U.S. in 1903. He often called himself a “building designer” or architect and lived in Turtle Creek, but he had a job at the Westinghouse plant in East Pittsburgh. [5] He was at one point a “checker” and at another worked on the lathe, even as he was married to Elsa Marie Kristen and his children joined him in the plant. Working in the Westinghouse plant was the norm for those living in Pittsburgh and its suburbs, with Louis and Emilio likely working there at some point as well.

1931 would be a fateful year where 57-year-old Herbert and 56-year-old Albert would work with Emilio and Louis to build the Ship Hotel. [6] As the story goes, Herbert invited Emilio and Louis on a hunting trip, proposing to these two men the idea of expanding his existing hotel into the Ship Hotel. As local historian Brian Butko notes, Herbert has chosen these two men, who lived near the Westinghouse plant where he (and they likely) worked, assuming that folks living in Turtle Creek Valley “knew all about building on steep hillsides.” As Albert designed the new hotel and reportedly supervised the construction, Emilio and Louis were the construction managers. As for Herbert, who was a tool and die maker in the Pittsburgh plant, he reportedly told the PA state government, “it’s my property, either you let me build it or you buy the property!”

The construction itself began in October 1931 the hotel, which would be shaped like a ship since fog in the valley reportedly looked like the sea. Herbert told them that they had from October until May of the following year to expand the hotel, a time frame of less than eight months, mostly in cold and snowy weather. A former owner of a car dealership in the area, Walter T. Matthews, told Butko that the ship needed over 63 tons of steel and cost about $125,000 to build, which was borrowed at 16% interest. [7] Matthews further claimed that Emilio and Louis went broke in attempting to build the base of the hotel, having to drill down 32 feet to find rock. But, this doesn’t tell the full picture. The site was over 2,400 feet above sea level and 500 feet below the Allegheny Mountain summit, making it hard to build. Specifically, there was burrowing under the Lincoln Highway (also known as U.S. Route 30), in order to insert the three heavy I-beams, with embedded huge concrete piers allowing the ship to “ride.” Other than the cement and 18 steel piers, numerous carloads of lumber were used for the 3/4-inch thick wood which was overlaid with metal siding, coming from at least 22 junked car frames to cover the hotel’s exterior. Also, nails and 72 tons of steel, by some counts, went into the construction of the expanded 5-floor-hotel, coupled with water piped from half-a-mile away.

Emilio and Louis undoubtedly did manual work to build the expanded hotel. However, as construction managers, they had a crew to help them with the laborious process. Years later, a living relative, Lou Balya, noted that her father, Joseph Ovarec had, in the words of the article writer, “helped build the Ship Hotel with the Paulson family back in the 1930s” and that four generations of her family were associated with the hotel itself. [8] In 1931, Ovarec, according to census records, was a 42-year-old coal miner from Czechoslovakia. He had a family of five, including himself, which were his 34-year-old wife, Anna, his 16-year-old daughter, Mary, and his 14-year-old daughter, Josephine. Later information described him as an “outside laborer.” This means it is possible then that many of the other laborers on the project were Eastern European.

After 1931, the Ship Hotel blossomed. At noon on May 29, 1932, after it was announced in the local Bedford Gazette, the ship opened, offering tours, staff inspections, and concerts. [9] On that day, the Bedford American Legion Junior band, a local German band, and Bedford High School band played, while a plane flew overhead dropping flowers on the ship’s deck and a stilt walker entertained guests later in the day. With the hotel, it remained, as one book put it, “one of the most significant scenic views on the North American continent” with views of a fertile region of PA, West Virginia, and of Maryland’s rolling hills. The main claim was that you could see “3 states and 7 counties” from the ship, with no official list of what one could see from the ship itself.

As years went by, the hotel stayed on despite difficulties. The Paulson family lived on the ship for years upon years, with Clara Paulson having the distinction as the only person who was born on the ship, and the family worked to keep it running. [10] As a part of day-to-day entertainment, a local comedian used his craft, a grand orchestra played, and much more, even when it was snow-bound in the winters. Beyond this, the ship was remodeled numerous times, thrived even with the building of the PA turnpike, suffered the brunt of anti-German discrimination during World War II, and stayed busy until the 1970s when public interest in roadside attractions was beginning to seriously wane.

It is not known whether Louis revisited the Ship Hotel later in his life. Despite the seventy-mile distance from Turtle Creek to the hotel, there is still a possibility he, or some of his related family members, visited again the ship he, along with many others, had worked laboriously on. [11] If he had visited it in 1954, for example, he would have been among the ranks of the reportedly 2 million people who visited it by that point, covering 20 volumes of registers, including those living in 62 foreign countries and possibly famous celebrities such as Calvin Coolidge, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and others. He likely would have seen the big business in souvenirs and refreshments the hotel did starting in 1932 and until Herbert’s death in 1973. Due to his death in 1967, he never saw the Loyas, who still have the old guest registers, owning the ship, after 1978 and turning it into “Noah’s Ark” before it fell into disrepair, then burning down in October 2001. He saw the Ship of the Alleghenies, as some called it, in its glory days, in its height.

Even though Louis Franci died on March 13, 1967, the Ship Hotel stood as a testament to his achievement as a contractor and builder, standing for seventy years (1931-2001) after its construction. In the end, his memory lives on not just in his living relatives but in the blueprints of the Ship Hotel still sitting in the office of his late son.

Editor’s note: This is a story I wrote back in September 2016 but am publishing here to start off this blog on a strong footing. Some revisions have been made to protect living individuals.

Notes

[1] U.S. Federal Census of 1930 for Patton, Allegheny, Pennsylvania. United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls. Courtesy of ancestry.com; Route from Humbert Street to Mellon Plan, Google Maps, accessed September 5, 2016.

[2] According to conversation with my cousin M.G. on July 31, 2016 and in Summer 2016. Apparently, two of his sisters, Angelina and Barbara came to the United States while three of his sisters stayed in Italy along with his parents.  Emilio Rosso Veterans Compensation Application, February 10, 1934, World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948. RG 19, Series 19.91. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg Pennsylvania. Courtesy of ancestry.com.

[3] Dominico Rustici Petition of Citizenship, November 24, 1930, Naturalization Petitions of the U.S. District Court, 1820-1930, and Circuit Court, 1820-1911, for the Western District of Pennsylvania, National Archives Microfilm Publication M1537, Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21, National Archives, Washington, D.C. Courtesy of ancestry.com; Dominico Rustici Petition for Naturalization, 1930, Record of Admissions to Citizenship, District of South Carolina, 1790-1906, National Archives Microfilm Publication M1183, Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21, National Archives, Washington, D.C. Courtesy of ancestry.com; Passenger list of the Pesaro, 1921, Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C. Courtesy of ancestry.com; U.S. Federal Census of 1910 for Young, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910, NARA microfilm publication T624, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. Courtesy of ancestry.com; Draft card for Domenico Rustici, United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, Record Group Number 147. National Archives and Records Administration. Courtesy of ancestry.com; 1940 U.S. Federal Census, April 1940, Alleghany County, PA, Patton Township, Mellon Plan. Courtesy of ancestry.com. This census claims that there are four people in the Baccarini house: John (aged 65, a coal loader), Celesta (his wife, aged 59, houseworker), Mario (aged 35, a coal loader), and Domenico Rustico (aged 48). The latter is a lodger who has, it seems, more money coming in, and working more hours than them in one category and the same in another.

[4] U.S. Federal Census of 1920 for Alleghany, Somerset, Pennsylvania, Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. Courtesy of ancestry.com; U.S. Federal Census of 1930 for Juniata, Bedford, Pennsylvania, United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls. Courtesy of ancestry.com; U.S. Federal Census of 1940 for Juniata, Bedford, Pennsylvania, United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls. Courtesy of ancestry.com.

[5] Birth of Elsa Irene Sinnhuber, Pennsylvania (State). Birth certificates, 1906–1908. Series 11.89 (50 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Courtesy of ancestry.com; Draft card of Albert Sinnhuber, United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm. Courtesy of ancestry.com; Albert Sinnhuber declaration in Pennsylvania, March 3, 1917, Naturalization Petitions for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1795-1930. (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1522, 369 rolls); Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21; National Archives, Washington, D.C. p. 258. Courtesy of ancestry.com; Albert Sinnhuber declaration in Pennsylvania, March 25, 1929, National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1820 – 1979; NAI Number: 2837692; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21. Courtesy of ancestry.com; U.S. Federal Census of 1930 for Turtle Creek, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls. Courtesy of ancestry.com; U.S. Federal Census of 1940 for Turtle Creek, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls. Courtesy of ancestry.com; Draft card of Albert Sinnhuber, United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm. Courtesy of ancestry.com; U.S. Federal Census of 1930 for Turtle Creek, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls. Courtesy of ancestry.com; U.S. Federal Census of 1940 for Turtle Creek, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls. Courtesy of ancestry.com.

[6] Herbert Paulson gravestone. Find A Grave, updated May 13, 2010, accessed September 5, 2016; Albert Sinnhuber gravestone. Find A Grave, updated October 10, 2011, accessed September 5, 2016; Death certificate of Albert Sinnhuber, Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Courtesy of ancestry.com. Dates of Sinnhuber on his grave seem to be wrong if one relies on his death certificate, which says that he was age 68 at his death in 1943, meaning he was born in 1875. Also see Brian Butko, The Ship Hotel: A Grand View along the Lincoln Highway (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2010), 34-5; “U.S.S. Grandview Ship Hotel: Lincoln Highway,” Miniature Railroad & Village, accessed September 5, 2016; Brian Butko, “Ship Hotel: Afloat with the Lincoln Highway’s Most Unusual Landmark,” Pennsylvania Heritage Vol. XL, No. 2, Spring 2014.

[7] Brian Butko, Pennsylvania Traveler’s Guide: The Lincoln Highway (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2002), 230-231; “Carnegie Science Center Unveils 2003 Miniature Railroad and Village,” Allegheny City Society Reporter Dispatch, Winter 2003, p. 3, accessed September 5, 2016; William A. White, “Mountain Ship,” The Pittsburgh Press, Section Two, March 23, 1954, p. 21. Courtesy of Google News Archive; “Just Another Roadside Attraction,” The Pittsburgh Press, June 28, 1986, Sunday Magazine, p. 7. Courtesy of Google News Archive; “U.S.S. Grandview Ship Hotel: Lincoln Highway”; “Ship Hotel: Afloat with the Lincoln Highway’s Most Unusual Landmark”; David Greenlees, “The S. S. Grand View Point Hotel On The Lincoln Highway,” The Old Motor, July 9, 2012, accessed September 5, 2016.

[8] Chris Wechtenhiser, “Historic Ship Hotel burns,” Bedford Gazette, October 27-28, 2001; 1930 U.S. Federal Census for Lansford, Carbon, Pennsylvania, United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls. Courtesy of ancestry.com; 1940 U.S. Federal Census for Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne, Pennsylvania, United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls. Courtesy of ancestry.com. Oravec is not the same as one listed in the 1910 census as living in Spangler, Cambria, Pennsylvania and born in 1885. Also dates do not match up. Other workers on the ship included, but are not limited to, Cecelia Davies (Butko, The Ship Hotel, 88).

[9] Brian Butko, Pennsylvania Traveler’s Guide: The Lincoln Highway (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2002), 230-231; Butko, The Ship Hotel, 35-36; “Ship Hotel: Afloat with the Lincoln Highway’s Most Unusual Landmark”; The Federal Writers Project, The WPA Guide to Pennsylvania: The Keystone State (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1940 (2013 reprint)), 451; Patrick M. Reynolds, “Western Pennsylvania Embraces Visitors,” Reading Eagle, June 25, 1978, Leisure, p. 73. Courtesy of Google News Archive; Doug Pappas, “Grand View Hotel Tribute 2,” Lincoln Highway Home, Society for American Baseball Research, accessed September 5, 2016.

[10] Butko, The Ship Hotel, 42-44, 46-47, 49, 51, 54-55; “The S. S. Grand View Point Hotel On The Lincoln Highway.”

[11] Route from Turtle Creek to “scenic overlook” (former site of Ship Hotel), Google Maps, accessed September 5, 2016; Butko, The Ship Hotel, 44; William A. White, “Mountain Ship,” The Pittsburgh Press, Section Two, March 23, 1954, p. 21. Courtesy of Google News Archive; Gilbert Love, “Bedford Immersed In History and Elegance,” The Pittsburgh Press, October 25, 1972, p. 23. Courtesy of Google News Archive; “Just Another Roadside Attraction,” The Pittsburgh Press, June 28, 1986, Sunday Magazine, p. 7. Courtesy of Google News Archive; Butko, The Ship Hotel, 57-58, 61, 66-68, 70; Associated Press, “Fire destroys quirky ship hotel in Pennsylvania,” Rome News-Tribune, October 28, 2001, p. 5A, no. 501. Courtesy of the Google News Archive; Mary Thomas, “Passing Scenery,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 8, 2004, Homes & Gardens, Section B, p. B-6. Courtesy of Google News Archive; “Just Another Roadside Attraction,” The Pittsburgh Press, June 28, 1986, Sunday Magazine, p. 6-7. Courtesy of Google News Archive; Associated Press, “Group wants to restore hotel in shape of ship,” Gettysburg Times, Aug. 3, 1998, Vol. 96, no. 183, Digest, p. A2. Courtesy of Google News Archive; Associated Press, “Group wants to restore Ship Hotel,” Beaver County Times, Aug. 2, 1998, Sports, p. B7. Courtesy of Google News Archive; Tom Gibb, “Fire sinks the ‘Ship,’ U.S. 30 hotel-eatery,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 27, 2001; Chris Wechtenhiser, “Historic Ship Hotel burns,” Bedford Gazette, October 27-28, 2001; Doug Pappas, “Grand View Hotel Tribute,” Lincoln Highway Home, Society for American Baseball Research, accessed September 5, 2016; Doug Pappas, “Grand View Hotel Tribute 3,” Lincoln Highway Home, Society for American Baseball Research, accessed September 5, 2016; “The S.S. Grand View Point Hotel,” Lincoln Highway Corridor, 2016, accessed September 5, 2016; Patricia Lowry, “Ship Hotel has sailed, but a jaunty new book honors its history and heyday,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 12, 2010; Tom Gibb, “The Ship sails choppy seas,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 15, 1998; Doug Kirby, Ken Smith, and Mike Wilkins, “Lincoln Highway’s Ship of the Alleghenies Burns,” RoadsideAmerica.com, Accessed September 5, 2016; David Greenlees, “The S. S. Grand View Point Hotel On The Lincoln Highway,” The Old Motor, July 9, 2012, accessed September 5, 2016; Richard Funk, Along Pennsylvania’s Lincoln Highway (San Francisco, CA: Arcadia Publishing, 2006), 91; “Local Fun,” Schellsburg, PA, Accessed September 5, 2016; Jeffrey J. Kitsko, “Lincoln Highway,” November 27, 2015, accessed September 5, 2016; “3 States And 7 Counties!,” WQED, August 15, 2008, accessed September 5, 2016; Jerin Miller and Angelica W. Capone, “A Coffee Pot for Giants,” Pennsylvania Center for the Book (Penn State), Fall 2010 and Spring 2011, accessed on September 5, 201; Charles Phoenix, “S.S. GRAND VIEW SHIP HOTEL, BEDFORD COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, 1957,” Charles Phoenix, 2016, accessed September 5, 2016.

Welcome!

Recently, the wonderful (and dedicated) Becks Kobel from Washington State, a death positive genealogist (and historian), asked Italian genealogists to name their surnames, noting that she was working “on an Italian line.” Many people, whether family historians like Chris Russo, Josh, Wendy L. Callahan, Renee Pizzo, Ina Neugebauer, Zoe Krainik, Ashley Senske, and Chris Ferraiolo, professional genealogists like Derk Doran Wood, and other individuals (Olivia Meikile, “Ms Redacted,” and Florian Straub) shared their surnames. But, for me, the idea to create this blog was born, along with the sharing of various resources on immigration in the 20th century (see here, here, and here), writing that “I’ve been thinking abt a new genealogy blog that focuses on my dad’s side of the family, including one on my Italian ancestors.” This is that blog! I’ve already briefly mentioned this before on Twitter, noting how “my great-grandfather worked on the S.S. Grand View Point Hotel (otherwise known as the Ship Hotel) with an Emilio Rosso,” adding that “it’s so important there us [sic] even a Wikipedia page on it (which I made extensive edits too, of course).” I’ve also tweeted a photograph of my ancestor, Annetta Rose “Nita” (or “Anita”) Baccarini, who was born December 20, 1909 in Kiskiminetas Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, and went to college. However, her life was short-lived as she died on August 31, 1932 in Avonmore, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, of pneumonia, after she had graduated, at the age of 22! Here’s the photograph:

I then shared a photo of my grandmother, Lena Adelaide (Franci) Hermann (1922-2005), who was 100% Italian, considered “second-generation” (I’ll talk about that in a later post) and sent the following photo to my grandfather when he was building bridges in the Republic of Korea (ROK) in 1946-7:

And with that, the blog is off!

-Burkely