approachingthehill

Focusing on Italian Genealogy and uncovering the testa duras in my family tree

Archive for the tag “family photos”

Concetta Abbate Fiandaca (Ernestine Fiantaco) – 52 Ancestors

Concetta Abbate 2Concetta Abbate was born May 2, 1858 in Villarosa, Sicily, Italy to Ignazio Abbate and Rose Vitale. She married Angelo Fiandaca on September 8, 1881 when she was 23 years old. Angelo was 33 and a widower with at least two children. Concetta and Angelo had three children – Ignacio born in 1888, Guiseppe born in 1890 and Rose born in 1893. Angelo died on April 17, 1910 in Villarosa.

In 1911, now a widow, Concetta came to America at age 53. She sailed from Naples aboard the Cedric, leaving on March 16 and arriving March 29. Concetta indicated that she left a daughter, Rosina behind in Villarosa and is traveling to DuQuoin, IL with her 9 year old grand daughter, Maria Brunco. Maria was traveling to her mother Barbara Fiandaca in DuQuoin. Concetta’s passage was paid by her son Pietro.

In the 1920 census, Concetta can be found living with her son Sam Fiantaco in DuQuoin, IL. She was now known as Ernestine. In 1930, she was living with John and Rose Cubba in Detroit and was present when twins Michael and Rosalie were born.

Ernestine died on February 23, 1951 in Detroit, MI at the age of 83. She may not be considered beautiful by today’s standards, but she loved and raised her step children and children in Italy. Then traveled to America to help her children and grandchildren here. The grandchildren referred to her as little grandma because she was only 5 feet tall.

Concetta Abbate 1

Jane Downey Waelde – from Ireland to New York – 52 Ancestors

Jane Downey WaeldeBeing 100% of Italian descent, I don’t have a drop of Irish blood. But my husband and children do.

My husband’s 3X great grandmother, Jane Shaw Downey was born April 30, 1824 in Londonderry, Ireland. Her parents were Sarah Shaw, born in Ireland, and Robert Downey, born in Ireland. Jane immigrated to the United States in 1844 and married John Charles Waelde, a potter, on May 6, 1850 in Ithaca, Tompkins, New York, United States. 

North Bay Pottery

A rich deposit of clay near mill stream attracted potters to North Bay in New York. In the mid 1800s, potters settled in North Bay, attracted by the abundance of clay, wood and water. German craftsman, John C. Waelde, produced stoneware through 1875. John C. Waelde’s pottery was popular because of its hand painted and stenciled artwork. Many of John’s pottery jugs still exist and bring a pretty penny at auction.

Jane and John had nine children:

Sarah Jane, born 24 March 1851 and died in 1930

Erwin Robert, born 26 July 1852 and died 29 April 1940

Julia Elizabeth, born 21 August 1854 and died 6 February 1955

Mary Ann, born 6 July 1856 and died 20 December 1887

Helena born 1 November 1858 and died 8 September 1861 (only age 2)

Emma Louise, born 8 December 1860 and died 16 September 1945

Charles Henry, born 18 May 1863 and died 26 December 1916

Anna Emile, born 7 January 1866 and died 17 November 1936

William Howard, born 12 March 1870 and died 27 August 1889

On the 1860 Federal Census, John and Jane were living in the Town of Vienna, Oneida County, New York, North Bay Post Office. Sarah Downing, Jane’s mother, was living with them.

In the 1875 New York census, John and Jane were living in Vienna, Oneida county, New York. John was employed as a potter and was a Naturalized citizen. They lived with their 7 children, Sarah, Julia, Mary, Emma, Charles, Anna and Willie. Sarah (age 24), Julia (age 20) and Mary (age 12) all worked as weavers at a cotton factory in New York Mills.

On the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Jane is listed as head of household and married. John is not listed as living with them. I can’t find John in any census records from 1880. She and her children (Emma, Charles, Anna and William) were living in Vienna, Oneida, New York. Also, the children list their father’s birth place as Wurttemberg, Germany.

In the 1892 New York census, John is back living with Jane and their daughter Anna in Maryland Township, Otsego County, New York. John’s occupation was listed as Potting Ware.

According to the 1900 federal census, John C. Waelde and wife, Jane, lived in Maryland Township, Otsego County, New York. John’s birth date was listed as August 1819 and Jane’s was listed as April 1830. Jane indicated that she had 9 children, 6 of which are still living. John said he was born in Germany and his parents were both born in Germany. Jane said she was born in Ireland and her parents were both born in Ireland. John said he came to the U.S. in 1847 and Jane immigrated in 1844. John is listed as blind.

Jane died 16 March 1914. She was preceded in death by John, who passed away in 1903.

From the Syracuse Herald, 17 March 1914, page 4

Mrs. Jane Waelde – North Bay Woman of 90 Years Died at Daughter’s Home

North Bay, March 17 – At the home of her daughter, Mrs. Sarah Brown, on Main street, yesterday morning occurred the death of Mrs. Jane Waelde. Last fall she came here to spend the winter with her daughter and until several weeks ago she was in her usual health. Her maiden name was Jane S. Downey and she was born in Londonberry, Ireland. Had she lived until April 16th she would have been ninety years old. Her marriage to John C. Waelde took place May 6th 1850 and for twenty years they resided here leaving here in the spring of 1881 to make their home in Schenevus.

She leaves six children, Mrs. Sarah Brown of North Bay, Mrs. Julia Palma of Durhamville, Mrs. Emma Mason of Newport, KY, Mrs. Anna Earing of Maple Valley, Erwin R. Waelde of Poughkeepsie and Charles Waelde of Newburgh, also several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The funeral (not legible) Mrs. Brown at 1 o’clock this afternoon, the Rev F. J. Fulton officiating and tomorrow morning the body will be taken to Schenevus, Otsego county and laid to rest beside her husband.

Rosaria Cuba (or Sarah Cubba) – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 2’s theme is King.  January 8 is Elvis’ birthday. January 15 is the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Do you have a connection to royalty?

With my Italian ancestry completely filled with peasants, I can’t claim any connection to royalty. However, I have an aunt that shares a birthday with Elvis.

sarah cubba

Rosaria Cuba, was born on January 8, 1914 in DuQuoin, Perry, IL. She was the second child of Giovanni and Rosa Cuba and the first born in America. Rosaria, or Sarah as she was called, was listed in the 1920 census as Rosie Jr! Sarah married Piotr (Peter) Kuzdal on July 25, 1936 in Detroit, MI. Peter was 31 at the time and Sarah was 22. Peter Kuzdal worked on the Detroit to Cleveland boat and lived in Dunkirk, NY. Family legend says his boat caught fire in the Detroit River and he swam to shore and there after he lived in Detroit. Peter met Sarah when she worked in a restaurant at the foot of Woodward Ave called Eagle Cafe. Tragically, Sarah died on July 29, 1950 at the age of 36 during surgery leaving behind her husband of 14 years and 4 children. Sarah is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Detroit, Wayne, MI.

Just as I mentioned in my previous blog, sometime between the 1920 census and the 1930 census, the entire Cuba family changed their last name to Cubba! The confusing thing is that Sarah’s father, John registered for the World War I draft in 1917 as John CUBBA, but is listed on the 1920 census as John CUBA. Giovanni (John), Giuseppe (Joe) and Michele (Mike) all appear in the 1930 census and everything there after as Cubba. The brothers were all illiterate and signed their draft cards with an X. I haven’t been able to find out why the second B was added. I think perhaps because of prejudice and discrimination against Italians at this time. Or maybe because of trouble with the country of Cuba? Years ago, I asked my Uncle Angelo and he said he was told that it was changed at Ellis Island, which documents show, is not true. If I meet anyone with the last name of Cubba, I know I’m related to them. But like the Fiandacas, I have lost my Cuba paisans.

Picture from 1916.

It’s Too Late

I have been working on my family tree for over a decade now. I have always wanted to scan our family photos so that I have digital copies for archiving and sharing. However, my Mom would not let her precious photos out of her sight. If I did take a few, I had to return them promptly the next day or receive a reminder phone call every 12 hours until they were back in her loving care. These were obviously her most prized possessions and she guarded them intensely. She disdained technology and was loathe to share any private information with the world. She always promised to make copies for me, but never found the time to do so.

My Mom passed away last year. Recently, I was helping my Dad clean up the basement and found the old photo albums. “Can I borrow these for a few days? I promise I will bring them right back.” “Keep ’em,” was my Dad’s reply. He is not a pack rat like my mother and he saw no reason for them to sit neglected in the dark basement.

So I have been scanning, archiving and yes, sharing the old photos. Some have writing on the back so I know when they were taken and who the people in the photos are. The majority give me no clue as to why they were so precious to my mom, and their meaning is lost for all time.

To quote the Carole King song, “It’s too late baby, now it’s too late.”

1968 family

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