52 Ancestors: My Earliest Known Immigrant Ancestor

Posted on January 5, 2019 in #52Ancestors
View of the town of Winterbach, Sankt Wendel, Saarland, Germany, by Sebastian Decker (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

View of the town of Winterbach, Sankt Wendel, Saarland, Germany, by Sebastian Decker (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As this is the first week in 2019, the theme is First. One of the questions that might be answered under this theme is “Who was my first ancestor to arrive in this country?” My first proven ancestor to arrive in the United States is my 3rd great-grandfather, Michel Meisberger.

According to his marriage certificate, Michel (Michael) was born 04 June 1812 in Winterbach, Sankt Wendel, Saarland, Germany. At that time, Winterbach was in what was known as Rhenish Prussia and later became Saarland. He married Margarethe (Margaret) Bettinger on 10 August 1837 in Sankt Wendel, Saarland, Germany.

All seven of their children were born in Steinbach, Neunkirchen, Saarland, Germany (at the time of their birth Steinbach was in the Sankt Wendel district but today appears to be a suburb of Ottweiler in the Neunkirchen district).

According to the children’s birth certificates: Theobald Casper was born 25 December 1837; Michael [Jr.] was born 24 February 1839; Johann was born 8 April 1841; Elizabeth was born 20 April 1843; Eva was born 11 June 1845; Helena [Magdalena] was born 7 November 1847; and Barbara was born 3 January 1850. Theobald is my 2nd great-grandfather.

I found a passenger list record that shows that a Michel Meissberger, born about 1811, arrived in New York on 30 September 1853. The ship, the Rhine, left from La Havre, France. I did not find any other family members on this passenger list. Michael filed his Declaration of Intent to apply for naturalization on 6 August 1855 in Pottsville, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania, with a final Petition of Naturalization being issued on 1 November 1858 in Sunbury, Northumberland, Pennsylvania. These naturalization dates support an 1853 or earlier arrival.

Michael appears in the 1860 US census enumerated as Michael Mischenger and in the 1870 US census enumerated as Michael Winberger. Neither Michael nor Margaret appear in the 1880 US census.

The first date of death that I found for Michael is 10 April 1878, which came from the Winterbach family book owned by Roland Geiger, Sankt Wendel, Germany.

Later, I found this poignant and heartwarming notice of death on Chronicling America at the Library of Congress. It publicizes the deaths of Michael and Margaret (Bettinger) Meisberger. The article was published 15 January 1879.

Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. Juniata Sentinel and Republican, Vol. XXXIII, No. 3, Wednesday, January 15, 1879

Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. Juniata Sentinel and Republican, Vol. XXXIII, No. 3, Wednesday, January 15, 1879

I was very surprised to find this notice in the Juniata Sentinel newspaper since Michael lived in Northumberland County, PA. The Juniata Sentinel (Juniata County, PA) picked up the story from the Selinsgrove Times (Snyder County, PA) that carried the story around a week earlier. The publication date of this notice gives rise to the possibility that the actual date of death for Michael and Margaret may be late in 1878 or early in  January 1879. I am in the process of trying to trace this back to additional death records. While currently there is no direct evidence for a specific death date, both dates appear to be consistent with the US census data.

Michael and Margaret are most likely buried in Saint Edwards Cemetery, Shamokin, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, with the rest of the family. The plot is in Range 12 – Lots 23 & 24. There are two illegible tombstones here that are presumed to be theirs. There is no additional data in the lot records, so this cannot be proven.

 

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 First.

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Old Bones Genealogy’s Top 5 Blog Posts for 2018 and All-Time

Posted on January 2, 2019 in Blogging

2019 has already begun, but before moving forward, I wanted to look back at this blog’s most popular new posts of 2018.

5. 52 Ancestors: Mickey Furlani Breaks All-Events Record!
(Pub. 8 October 2018) Mom had just won both her class and all-events in the Chester City WIBC Tournament in 1957. I think the article I spotlighted in this post is from her first year of bowling. I have memories of her telling us that she won the Chester City tournament in her first year and scored even higher than the highest class. In fact, according to this article, her all-events score broke a record for the tournament.

4. 52 Ancestors: Emigration – Bearding the Unknown
(Pub. 8 November 2018) As we genealogy researchers know, our immigrant ancestors all braved the unknown when they made their decision to emigrate to a new country. In the case of my Bianchi grandparents, I believe they bearded the unknown with some added burdens on their voyage to the United States.

3. 52 Ancestors: Do You Use Tax Records in Your Research?
(Pub. 13 April 2018) I had never used tax records in my research until the late John Humphrey showed me how powerful they could be. To quote John from my report:

“In the absence of records that make statements of fact about relationships in families like probate and birth and baptismal records, the most effective way to establish relationships between generations within a family is to locate young men and women in records when they achieve their majority because young men and women generally come of age in the area where their parents were living.

Tax records are one of the most effective sets of records that help to achieve that end because among other things all segments of society were taxed. Thus, information can be found in these records on people who were relatively poor as well as those who were wealthy.”

2. Genealogy Mysteries 2018 – What’s New? Part 2
(Pub. 24 July 2018) From acclaimed author Steve Robinson comes a thrilling new Jefferson Tayte mystery, Letters from the Dead. Released August 14, 2018, it is the seventh book in the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series. Genealogy Mysteries is my comprehensive list of all genealogy mysteries that I have discovered to date and contains any new books I have discovered since my last post in February 2018.

1. Genealogy Mysteries 2018 – What’s New?
(Pub. 3 February 2018) Nathan Dylan Goodwin released his latest Morton Farrier mystery, The Wicked Trade, on February 5, 2018. For those of you who also enjoy genealogy and reading mysteries, this is my comprehensive list of all genealogy mysteries that I have discovered to date and contains any new books I have discovered since my last post in March 2017.

I have been blogging now for six years, so I decided to include the all-time top 5 blog posts published over the last six years. What surprised me most on this list is that the following posts 1, 2, 3 and 5 all appeared as 4 of the top 5 performers in 2018. They were not included in that list since they were not new to 2018. The ranking is based solely upon the number of readers.

5. DNA and Me
(Pub. 22 August 2013) I was spinning in circles with this topic, so I decided to put my DNA experiences down in writing, which sometimes helps me clarify my thinking. In this blog post, I cover some of my early experiences with testing at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) and AncestryDNA. The data in this post reflects what I knew at the time and was prior to additional updates by these sites to improved algorithms. I suspect there will be more coming on this topic as I have since tested at 23andMe, MyHeritage and Living DNA.

4. Genealogy Mysteries – Expanded and Updated
(Pub. 25 March 2015) In 2012, I published my first post titled Genealogy Mysteries. It provided a summary of the genealogy mysteries I discovered at that time. In 2014, I published my expanded update. Since then, I have updated the list to add new books, authors, and series in this sub-genre.

3. Early Land Grants in Maryland
(Pub. 2 July 2012) I was recently asked to transcribe some land grants from Prince George’s county. The records covered a period from 1739 to the early 1800s and were related to properties in what was originally called Tom’s Creek One Hundred and later became the Emmitsburg area of Frederick County, Maryland.

2. Genealogy Mysteries
(Pub. 29 July 2012) Genealogy is not something that can be done from start to finish in a weekend or even a year of weekends. It is, however, an enjoyable activity that is done by millions of people. While you enjoy doing your family research, I am sure you would like your family tree to be as accurate as possible. Here are ten (10) ways to avoid genealogy’s most common mistakes.

1. CONNACHT IRISH?
(Pub. 9 May 2017) AncestryDNA released a new feature called a Genetic Community™. I saw that I had one community to view and it is Connacht Irish. The provided map seemed to imply that this area is partly in County Mayo. My interest picked up. Next thing to consider is how valid is this new Genetic Community feature. Is the algorithm that placed me in this community science or speculation? The Genetic Community feature is now a region within the Ethnicity Estimate.

Thank you for visiting my blog and making this a great year. I hope you continue to read my posts in 2019. I wish a healthy, prosperous and happy New Year to you and yours!

Best wishes for the coming year and may we all realize our goals.

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Blog Caroling – The Little Drummer Boy

Posted on December 21, 2018 in Blog Caroling

 

Posted today for Footnote Maven’s traditional blog caroling event, held every year at
Christmas time by the genealogy blogging community. You can see her 2018
announcement here .

 

My first encounter with the carol, “The Little Drummer Boy,” occurred while I was in high school, with the release of the initial 1958 recording by the Harry Simeone Chorale. My second encounter came the following year when the school chose to give a performance of this carol in the annual Christmas Pageant, and I was selected to paint the backdrop, a stained-glass window.

The window had a light shown through it, making it appear as glass. Mary, Joseph, the babe and manger were all arranged in front of it. Mary, who was a classmate of mine and had a beautiful voice, sang the carol. The drummer boy was a young boy from the lower grades. All went beautifully–until the drummer boy vomited!

Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati, and Harry Simeone composed the Christmas song “The Little Drummer Boy” (originally known as “Carol of the Drum”). Davis first composed the words in 1941, Onorati arranged the song for recording in 1957, and in 1958, Simeone re-arranged the song yet again for his hit single.

According to Wikipedia, the most notable rendition of this song was a duet by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. But I’ve always loved the classic Harry Simeone Chorale version best, that is, until recently, when I discovered two very different modern versions of this well-known classic, and both brought a tear to my eye. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Both can be found on YouTube.

The first of the two is the most traditional rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy.” It is performed a cappella by Pentatonix, and I think you’ll be astounded at what they do with it. You can find it here.

The second of the two will take you by surprise as it is magnificently performed by For King and Country here.

For those of you who prefer the traditional version by the Harry Simeone Chorale, it can be found here.

Finally, here are the lyrics courtesy of carols.org.uk:

 

The Little Drummer Boy

Come, they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A newborn King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy, too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

 

 

 

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52 Ancestors: A Random Fact Happy Dance Story!

Posted on December 2, 2018 in #52Ancestors, Interesting Finds

I did the genealogy “happy dance” several times this week, and it all came about due to a random fact. Searching my Pennsylvania death certificates to select one for a blog post, I noticed that one of them listed the place of death as Fort Sam Houston, Bexar County, Texas. I had never noticed this before, and I wondered if this individual was associated with the Army. The certificate recorded the death of my first cousin once removed, Rita Viola [Gunther] Kinard.

I had heard a family story about Rita. The story has Rita going into the convent but leaving before her final vows. That story was all I knew about Rita until now.
According to the death certificate, Rita Viola Kinard was the daughter of John Albert Gunther and Esther E. Chamberlain. She was born on 24 November 1919 in Ranshaw, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania and she died 22 October 1973 in Fort Sam Houston, Bexar County, Texas at the age of 53. I decided to pursue the military connection first.

I found her immediately on Ancestry in the collections, U.S. Veterans’ Gravesites, ca. 1775-2006 and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010. These references stated that Rita V Kinard was a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army during the Korean War. Her service started 11 June 1951 and ended 26 April 1953. She is buried in the Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery at 1520 Harry Wurzbach Road San Antonio, TX 78209. She is buried in Section 2b, Site 2185. Most of this information is also documented in the death certificate, so I was able to confirm that this is the same person.

First happy dance!

I then searched various historical newspaper sites to see if I could find any local news relating to her military service. I found an article that she and two others from the Shamokin area were completing basic military training at Medical Field Service School, Fort Sam Houston as members of the Army Nurse Corps. Upon completion, Rita was assigned to the Army hospital at Camp Gordon, GA. The best news—her photo was in the article. In another article, her brother Louis enlisted in the Marines, joined in military service by his seven older brothers (J. Albert, Lawrence, Roy, Leo, Andrew, William, and Theodore) and one sister, Rita. Imagine, my great-grandparents had nine of their twelve children serving in various wars and services.

Second happy dance!

Rita Gunther & Marguerite Gunther

Rita Gunther & Marguerite Gunther

Finally, I found an article in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, dated 12 Mar 1938, about 17 young women who took vows at the Villa Saint Teresa Chapel at the Provincial House in Dallas in the order of the Sisters of Mercy. It listed Miss Rita Gunther, Ranshaw who would now be known as Sister M. Justin. The 12th of March 1938 is the day Rita became a postulant. The family story must be true, or later she would not have been able to marry. According to her high school yearbook, this event was only two years after she graduated high school in June 1936. She would have been around 19 years old. I wonder if she received her nurse’s training from the Sisters of Mercy?

Third happy dance!

I have more to research on each of these events. I also hope to find a record of Rita’s marriage to Ulysses G. Kinard and maybe some additional information on her time in the convent and when she left. This experience proves to me that you need to analyze every bit of information since you never know where a random fact will lead you.

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 Random Fact.

 

Posted in #52Ancestors, Interesting Finds | 4 Comments

Honoring My WWI Ancestor on the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice!

Posted on November 9, 2018 in Family History, Military Stories
Leon Bianchi on the left with two friends

Leon Bianchi on the left with two friends

This Sunday, November 11, 2018, commemorates the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice ceasing hostilities between the Allies and Germany. Armistice Day commemorations initiated in 1919 in the US. In 1938, Congress declared November 11 a legal holiday to be known as Armistice Day. In 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, the holiday was renamed Veteran’s Day to honor American veterans of all wars.

The only veteran of WWI that I found in my family was my great-uncle, Leon Victor Bianchi. Leon was born on 17 April 1891 in Hazleton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, the son of Bonaventura and Mary (Bunt) Bianchi. I don’t know when this family moved from Hazleton to Mount Carmel, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania but they appear on the 1900 US Census in Mount Carmel.

Leon served in World War I and, according to his son, he was very proud of his military service. We can see this pride by his footstone which lists his rank and unit: Pvt. Bat. A 50th Fld. Art.

His WWI Veteran’s Compensation Application states that he enlisted as Regular Army for the duration of the war on 18 April 1917. He was 26 years old. He served overseas from 7 October 1918 to 14 February 1919. He was discharged honorably on 22 February 1919 on demobilization. He was promoted to Private First Class on 22 April 1918, promoted to Corporal on 21 July 1918, and then demoted to Private on 25 October 1918. Until I obtain his service records, I do not know the reason for this demotion. It occurred while he was overseas.

On 7 June 1935, he married Helen (Grochowski) Toczylowski at Saint Peter’s Church in Mount Carmel. A special dispensation was required, possibly because she was previously married. It is currently unknown whether she was a widow or a divorcee.

Helen brought three children into this marriage: Leonard Toczylowski, Edward Toczylowski, and Leona Toczylowski. Together, Leon and Helen had Victor J. Bianchi, born 25 December 1925, died 28 August 1997 and Gerald Bianchi, born 30 January 1927, died 24 August 2009.

After a working life as a minor, Leon died 14 December 1949 in Atlas, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania at the age of 58 of tuberculosis. Leon’s grave is in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Mount Carmel. Below are photos of his headstone and footstone.

 

Headstone of Leon and Helen Bianchi

Headstone of Leon and Helen Bianchi

Footstone of Leon Bianchi

Footstone of Leon Bianchi

Posted in Family History, Military Stories | 1 Comment

52 Ancestors: Emigration – Bearding the Unknown

Posted on November 8, 2018 in #52Ancestors

This week’s theme is Bearded. Alas, after a thorough search of all my photos, there is not a beard in sight. The mustache in the photo below is the only facial hair that I found on a male ancestor. Then I remembered that the word beard is not always used as an adjective; sometimes it is used as a verb, with synonyms like face, challenge, and brave.

As we genealogy researchers know, our immigrant ancestors all braved the unknown, when they made their decision to emigrate to a new country. In the case of my Bianchi grandparents, I believe they bearded the unknown with some added burdens on their voyage to the United States.

Unverified photo of Bonaventura Bianchi (l.) and Maria Bunt (r.) with two of their children

Unverified photo of Bonaventura Bianchi (l.) and Maria Bunt (r.) with two of their children

 

According to his death certificate, Bonaventura Bianchi was born 12 Jun 1855 in Italy. Most dates I have for his birth are c1855. He migrated to Bohemia, probably to work in the mines, to marry Maria Bunt, who, according to her death certificate, was born 8 Dec 1865 in Bohemia. No record of the marriage has yet been found, but the event likely occurred during 1880 – 1882. Their first child, Peter, was born in 1882, in Austria. The next children born before their emigration were, Christine in 1883 in Luxembourg, Henry in 1885 in Germany and Joseph in 1887 in Luxembourg. The only one I am sure of is Joseph because I found his civil registration in Luxembourg.

According to the passenger list, the family came to the US on the ship SS Noordland out of Antwerp, Belgium with all four children-Joseph still an infant. The manifest listed their place of residence as Dudelingen, which is in Luxembourg. Maria was about four months pregnant with her fifth child. The family was not berthed together in steerage, making the long voyage even more burdensome. Under Room column, we find Bonaventura in 3 H, Maria in Aft U and the children in Aft V. Hopefully, Maria was near the children, after all, she had to care for an infant who was under a year of age.

In the 1900 US census, there are nine living children listed. The number of children column states that she had 11 children, so two of the children were no longer with us. One of those two children is Joseph. The passenger list did not list any deaths, so I do not know if he survived the voyage. He did die sometime before June 1900.

The family arrived at Castle Garden in New York on 01 December 1888. I don’t know whether the family was detained here until the birth of the baby that Maria was carrying or whether they were cleared and found a place to stay in New York City until the baby’s birth. Violet Josephine Bianchi was born 20 May 1889 in New York. I know that the family stayed in New York until the birth of Violet. The stay was five months and nineteen days minimum. I am sure they would not have immediately traveled to Pennsylvania. Violet’s middle name just struck me. I wonder if they named her Josephine for her brother, Joseph, which may indicate he died on the voyage.

When the family left New York, they settled in Hazleton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, finally ending up in Mount Carmel, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania by the mid-1890s. Bonaventura was a laborer in the coal mines who later advanced to a coal miner. Overall, he and Maria had fourteen children, of which twelve lived and grew to adulthood. He died 25 Dec 1906 at the age of 51 of Coal Miner’s Asthma or Black Lung. The image in this post is the only photo that I have of Bonaventura.

 

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 Bearded.

Posted in #52Ancestors | 2 Comments

52 Ancestors: Some Frightening Style Guides

Posted on October 31, 2018 in #52Ancestors

Yes, I said “Style Guides.” For the theme, Frightening, I want to introduce you to several style guides that I use, in addition to the Chicago Manual of Style and Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. They are all written by Karen Elizabeth Gordon. My favorite is titled The Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed. I am resorting to this topic for this week’s theme due to the lack of relevant material related to my family and it’s Halloween.

What do style guides have to do with genealogy? Well, as genealogists, we do a lot of writing. Karen Elizabeth Gordon is no ordinary grammarian, and her works are no commonplace style books. They include:

  • The Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed,
  • The Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed,
  • The Disheveled Dictionary: A Curious Caper Through Our Sumptuous Lexicon (all of which I own) and
  • Torn Wings and Faux Pas: A Flashbook of Style, a Beastly Guide Through the Writer’s Labyrinth (which I do not yet own).

The Transitive Vampire is inhabited by a motley cast of gargoyles, werewolves, nymphs, fauns, debutantes, mastodons, and, yes, vampires, who frolic and assemble to illustrate basic principles of grammar. The sentences are fascinating, for example, “The Styrian String Quartet is a four-headed monster of catgut and mediocrity that shouldn’t be let out of its cage.” but the rules and their explanations are as thorough as any you might find in Strunk and White.

The Transitive Vampire breathes new life into our old grammatical demons. In the words of Gordon’s introduction,

“Before I leave you in the embrace of the transitive vampire, I should introduce him to you…
…He had become one of night’s creatures, with a grammar he had received from the great and jagged unknown.”

Karen Elizabeth Gordon’s Torn Wings and Faux Pas: A Flashbook of Style, a Beastly Guide Through the Writer’s Labyrinth, a quick-fix handbook, is an ideal complement to The Deluxe Transitive Vampire. In this book, she defeats such confusing grammatical beasts like elliptical clauses, split infinitives, and many more.

My favorite quote from The New Well-Tempered Sentence is “for everyone who thinks a semicolon is a small intestine, or a dash is something you make for a taxi…” This little gothic volume saves punctuation from boredom, with original explanations of the rules of punctuation, whimsical and scary graphics, and unforgettable characters.

The Disheveled Dictionary defines words such as amaranthine, chthonic, divagation (featuring the Blond Assassin), internuncio (exemplified by the Grim Reaper), malefic, perfidious (illustrated using mastodons), and tzigane.

Gordon’s language books are not complete references on the English language; there are far more comprehensive guides than these. The real value of Gordon’s books is that they make you want to read through them like fiction novels, with the grammar lessons being absorbed along the way.

Gordon published her original *Transitive Vampire* in 1984. The newer edition, The Deluxe Transitive Vampire, was published in 1993. The latest editions of her grammar books, both new and used, are available at various booksellers. To my knowledge, none are available as eBooks.

 

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 Frightening.

Full Disclosure: I am not an employee or affiliate of any bookseller or publisher.  No one paid me to publish this information.

Posted in #52Ancestors | 5 Comments

52 Ancestors: Mickey Furlani Breaks All-Events Record!

Posted on October 8, 2018 in #52Ancestors
Mickey Furlani Breaks All-Events Record! Chester Times, February 25, 1957, pg. 26

Mickey Furlani Breaks All-Events Record! Chester Times, February 25, 1957, pg. 26

According to Wikipedia, “Bowling is a sport or leisure activity in which a player rolls or throws a bowling ball towards a target.” Its origins possibly date to  around 3200 BC in ancient Egypt. For some very interesting and amusing facts about this sport, please see the Wikipedia article “Bowling.”

I’ve chosen this sport as my topic this week since one of my fondest memories of my mother was her passion (obsession) for ten-pin bowling. Marguerite Mary Noble, known as Mickey, was born in Ranshaw, Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania on 21 May 1918. She married William C. Furlani in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania on 26 Jul 1941. She and my father lived in Mount Carmel, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania until I was four years of age, when we moved to Essington, Tinicum Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania around 1947.

NewspaperArchive and Newspapers have copies of the local newspaper for Delaware County. It originally began as the Chester Times and eventually became the Delaware County Daily Times. So I did a search in the NewspaperArchive database for ‘Mickey Furlani.’ The search returned 143 articles. I checked them all. Everyone featured my mother and not some other Mickey Furlani.

While a few of the articles contained news about her involvement in scouting most mentions were there because she had high scores in some bowling league or bowling tournament. My mother is in the top left photo of the clipping shown here. She had just won both her class and all-events in the Chester City WIBC Tournament in 1957. I think the article I have here is from her first year of bowling, because I have memories of her telling us that she won the Chester City tournament in her first year, and scored even higher than the highest class. In fact, according to this article, her all-events score broke a record for the tournament.

She went on to win many more tournaments and league games. Her average was always around 200, but she could not handle the traveling required to tour as a professional bowler. Both she and my Dad played in leagues several times a week and went at least one evening on their own to practice. Needless to say bowling was also featured regularly on our TV.

It was a great era to be passionate about bowling with some of the biggest names in pro bowling—Don Carter, Dick Weber, and Earl Anthony. One night she came home from one of her league games very excited. It seems that the great left-handed bowler, Earl Anthony, was in town for some tournament and saw my mother bowl. He was so impressed that he spent some time with her giving her instruction and tips to improve her skills. One story she told was that he would place his hand on the lane, showing her exactly where to roll the ball. The trick was not to roll it over his fingers! He was also very brave.

She finally had to give up bowling when her emphysema got too bad and I always thought that was the day she gave up on life although she lived an additional fifteen years before dying of emphysema on 25 May 1985, four days after her 67th birthday.

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 prompt takes care of the guesswork of “who I should write about.” This week’s theme is Sports.

Posted in #52Ancestors | 9 Comments

Society Sunday – Genealogical Oddities

Posted on October 7, 2018 in Society Sunday

Logo of the Carroll County Genealogical SocietyThe Carroll County Genealogical Society’s upcoming meeting is on Monday, October 15 at 7:00 PM. Starting off with refreshments, followed by a brief business meeting and our featured program, the meetings are free and open to the public.

Our program this month features David Powell, presenting Genealogical Oddities. In David’s words, “Doing research on my family history over the past 25 years has been extremely rewarding. Doing that research, I have come across many extremely interesting and sometimes unusual records. Family skeleton closets can be strange, funny or downright bizarre. Join me to hear about some of my family stories and share some of your unusual findings.”

David Powell retired as Vice President and Chief Information Officer for AAI Corporation in 2007. He holds a BA degree in Economics and a master’s degree in Information Management. He has been active in various boards and forums in the Mid-Atlantic region for information systems curriculum development and Information Technology networking and eCommerce.

Mr. Powell has been researching his own family history for over 25 years. He is the current President of the Baltimore County Genealogical society as well as a member of their Board of Directors and, he is a member of the Maryland Genealogical Society. He teaches beginning and advanced genealogy courses at local senior centers, libraries and the Community College of Baltimore County.

Meetings of the Carroll County Genealogical Society (CCGS) are usually held the third Monday of each month, March through May and September through November, at 7:00 p.m. in the Dixon Room of the Westminster Library at 50 East Main Street, Westminster.

Please come to our meeting–bring a friend. You will meet other folks interested in family research and enjoy delightful talks that may help you in your research.  We look forward to seeing new faces!

You can also come early and take advantage of our large collection of books and other materials housed at the Westminster Branch of the CCPL.  On Thursday afternoons, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., one or more society volunteers will be on hand to assist researchers. Of course, this collection is available to all anytime the library is open.

The CCGS Genealogy Section at the Westminster Branch Library. Photo by Eileen Souza

The CCGS Genealogy Section at the Westminster Branch Library. Photo by Eileen Souza

 

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52 Ancestors: My Beloved Grandmother Is Closest to My Birthday

Posted on September 13, 2018 in #52Ancestors

I was born on 20 January. In Family Tree Maker, I generated an individual list that I filtered to include all those whose birth date contained “Jan” (without the quotes). Using this list, I discovered that my paternal grandmother’s birthday is closest to mine. She was born on 16 January, four days and many years earlier. This blog post is dedicated to the memory of my grandmother, Anna Bianchi Furlani.

Anna Bianchi

Anna was born on 16 January 1894 in Atlas, Mount Carmel Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. She was baptized on 11 February 1894 in Our Lady of Mount Carmel RC church in Mount Carmel.

On 20 September 1911, at the age of 17, she married Candido Luigi Furlani in St. Peter’s RC church in Atlas, Northumberland, Pennsylvania. Candido died in on 18 February 1938, before my parents were married, so I never knew him, but I have many fond memories of my grandmother.

My sister and I spent many vacations at her home in Atlas. Right behind the house was the start of a small mountain (today it is not there, having been mined right down to the ground), and we used to go up there first thing in the morning to pick huckleberries. We would then have them for breakfast with milk and sugar.

My family moved from Mount Carmel to Essington, Delaware County, Pennsylvania when I was four, so my grandmother used to visit us once or twice a year. Neither of our families had a car back then so we traveled by train or bus or both, and in those days, it meant the old steam engines.

My grandmother taught me to play Pinochle when I was a little older, and during her visits, we would spend many hours playing. Every year that I can remember when they had the January white sales, she would send my mother a package containing sheets, towels, and whatever else that was a good buy. She loved to shop so on one of her visits, I took her to the EJ Korvette department store, which was over in New Jersey, but not that far from us by car. This was her first time using an escalator, and you would have thought I had taken her to an amusement park.

She taught me to make her spaghetti sauce and to make gnocchi, a pasta made with potato starch water. One of my greatest compliments as a young adult was when she told me that she thought I made the sauce better than she did. This is still one of the most popular dishes in my family.

In August 1962, I excitedly called her to tell her I was engaged to be married, and she told me she was just got married. She had been living on her own since my grandfather died, but twenty-four years later at the age of 68, she decided to remarry. She married Walter Profit in August 1962—he was 79. My grandmother was full of surprises and never lost her sense of humor. I think I inherited that gene, thank goodness.

After several strokes, she passed away, quietly in her sleep, on 21 March 1973, at the age of 79. The previous year, her 2nd husband, Walter, had passed away in April 1972. She is buried next to my grandfather, Candido, in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Mount Carmel, Northumberland, Pennsylvania. I visit her grave every time I go up there on a research trip. I still miss her.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 prompt takes care of the guesswork of “who I should write about.” This week’s theme is Closest to Your Birthday.

 

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