52 Ancestors: So Many Homesteads

Posted by: Eileen A. Souza

Thinking about this week’s theme, ‘The Old Homestead’, I realized that I have not found many of the old homesteads of my ancestors, and for the ones that I’ve found, I have very little information. Not enough to really focus on one homestead for this post. I decided, instead, to highlight each of the homesteads I have identified.

The first home is that of my paternal grandparents, Condy and Anna Bianchi Furlani. I just checked on Google Street View and this house is still there and looks the same as it did when I took this photo in 1997.

I have not been able to find a deed for my grandparents’ purchase of this home. They were married in 1911. I know they were not living here when my father was born in 1912. I have the deed from when the house was sold in 1974, to settle the estate of my grandmother, Anna Bianchi Furlani Profit, who died 21 March 1973.

525 W. Girard St., Village of Atlas, Mt. Carmel Twp., Northumberland Co., PA

525 W. Girard St., Village of Atlas, Mt. Carmel Twp., Northumberland Co., PA

I remember visiting her during the summer when I was a child. At that time, the back of the house faced the foothills of a small mountain across a road. There were huge snowball bushes along the side of the house, no shed and next to it an open field.

My sister and I used to climb up the foothills early in the morning to collect huckleberries for our breakfast. We also liked watching the “billy goats” that roamed the hills. Today, there are no hills or mountain—it has been mined to the ground and the road is now a four-lane highway. So sad…

The second and third homes are my unknowns from the box of photos inherited from my mother. I feel sure that these homes belonged to my maternal ancestors and relatives, but this is pure guesswork. My second great grandfather, Theobald Meisberger, over time, had purchased four lots in Coal Twp., Northumberland Co., PA; and he built four houses on them. On his death, they were inherited by his children and their spouses. Most of my other ancestors and relatives only rented. I do not know the owners or location of either of these two homes, only that they are most likely in the Ranshaw area of Coal Township.

Single family home decorated for July 4th

Single family home decorated for July 4th

Duplex home fronting on a street

Duplex home fronting on a street

You can read about my speculations on this first unknown home on the left in Wordless Wednesday – Celebrating the 4th of July?.

For my other unknown on the right, I can’t make out any of the faces in either photo. The photos do not enlarge well and tend to become pixelated. These two homes may or may not exist today.

I discovered that the home in Newbottle, Durham, England, of my great-grandparents, Edward and Mary (Devine) Noble, whom I managed to trace across the pond, no longer exists. You can read about where the home may have been in Another Brick in the Wall Smashed.

Another homestead I know about is the home of my grandfather, Candido (Condy) Furlani. It is in the village of Vigolo Vattaro, Trentino Province, Italy. When he lived there this village was part of the Tyrol under the Austrian empire and remained there until 1919 when this portion of the Tyrol was ceded to Italy via treaty. My grandfather considered himself a Tyrolean.

The plaza in Vigolo Vattaro ca. 1909 in Tyrol, Austria prior to the town becoming part of Italy in 1919

The plaza in Vigolo Vattaro ca. 1909 in Tyrol, Austria prior to the town becoming part of Italy in 1919

My grandfather emigrated from the village in 1906. He and his brothers lived in a hotel, since his father was the owner of the hotel named “Alla Stella”. I was unable to find this hotel via Google Maps, so it may no longer exist, or it may have morphed into another hotel or inn. The difficulty is that back in my grandfather’s time there were only two hotels and two inns. It now appears that the village has grown into a ski resort and there are many hotels and inns—all with different names.

Finally, there is the home where I grew up. I grew up in the town of Essington, which together with the adjacent town, Lester, make up Tinicum Township in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. After WWII, the township purchased the permanent housing used for military barracks during the war.

My parents rented a row home in 1946 in what was known as the project. During my elementary and high school years we lived first at 87 Center Avenue and then at 35 Center Avenue. I enjoyed my childhood here, especially since the township library was within a short walk from my house. The homes were all torn down around 1960 (can’t remember the exact year). We had to move. I missed the project because there was so much to do. There were lots of kids. There was a small hill with a field for playing hardball and softball, which in the winter provided sledding. Behind the administration building, there was a fountain surrounded by concrete. In the summer, the administration ran the fountain so we kids could play under the streams of water. We also used to roller skate here and hold roller derbies. I have very good memories of growing up here.


The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, initiated by Amy Johnson Crow, is a series of weekly prompts to get you to think about an ancestor and share something about them. The guesswork of “who should I write about” is taken care of. This week’s theme is The Old Homestead.

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3 Responses to 52 Ancestors: So Many Homesteads

  1. Gloria Bridy Zimnawoda says:

    I wonder if we are related. My ‘nonna’ was Domenica Furlani..married my Nonno in Vigolo..came to American 1920

    • Eileen says:

      Gloria, I do not have a Domenica Furlani in my tree but I do not have all the Furlani families in Vigolo Vattaro traced. I believe there was a Valentino Furlani that came to Atlas in 1912 and lived near my Furlani family. We cold not trace a connection either but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one as we go back in time. It shows there were multiple lines of the Furlani surname in the village so we could be connected, just don’t know where.

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