For more than 20 years, I have been actively researching and documenting our families’ histories. Over the course of two decades, I have learned lots of interesting historical facts and made quite a few interesting and/or noteworthy discoveries.
So many, in fact, that this week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks’ writing prompt, Favorite Discovery, has proved more difficult for me than I thought. With so many from which to choose, how am I supposed to select just one favorite discovery?
Well, being who I am, I determined that I could not, in good conscience, only focus on just one of my favorites. Instead, in an effort to be equitable, I will name one favorite discovery per line for both my spouse’s family and my own.
First up, are the Caimi-Culatina kin. Although these are our families’ most recent immigrant ancestors, almost nothing is known about their lives before they came to the States. What we do know is that Luigi Caimi, my husband’s paternal grandfather, was born on 2 April 1890, in Belforte, Mantua, Lombardy, Italy to parents Geraldo Caimi and Teresa Riccardi.
In May 1920, Luigi Caimi boarded the S.S. Guiseppe Verdi in Genoa, Italy, bound for America. He arrived at Ellis Island, New York, New York on 27 May 1920. From New York, Luigi traveled to Blairsville, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, to stay with his sister and brother-in-law, Luisa and Enrico Vighini. Luigi worked alongside his brother-in-law Enrico at the glassworks factory. The money he earned was sent home to his wife and children.
Using the monies Luigi sent, wife Adalgisa (daughter of Giuseppe Culatina and Cesera Galelli) and their three young sons purchased passage aboard the S.S. Ferdinando Palasciano in Genoa, Italy. The family arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 18 February 1921, where Luigi was waiting to take his family to their new home.
Although we have plenty of famous kin from the Cole-Marriner line that I could highlight, I believe that I would rather feature a more infamous one: Bertram Erickson Marriner, my 2nd great-grandfather.
Unfortunately, Bertram is not a particularly likable character. At times, it is hard to comprehend his misdeeds. But when I began digging into the records to learn who he was, I uncovered such sadness, that I felt compassion for him. Although I cannot forget what he did to his loved ones, I can forgive him for his transgressions.
Like the Cole-Marriner family, the Harwick-Bush family has some famous kin, specifically six Mayflower passengers. Even though I could highlight these well-known family members, I would rather talk about Matilda Jane (Robinson) Harwick, my spouse’s 2nd great-grandmother.
Although Matilda Jane (Robinson) Harwick was an everyday woman living an everyday life, she experienced great heartache several times over in a short span of time. I admire her fortitude.
For the Noel-Ardinger line, one of my favorites discoveries was a simple woman who lived a simple but slightly unorthodox life, Ida Catherine (Patton) Ardinger, my 2nd great-grandmother.
For the Spangler-Kenney line, one of my more memorable discoveries is James William (J.W.) Kenney, who lived his life near the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia. Although most of his life is relatively uneventful, both his and his wife’s deaths were anything but.
My Taylor-Thomas line is laden with everyday people. Many were born, lived, and died in the same town. However, there were a few who stepped outside of their small world, some by choice and some by necessity.
Henry Conrad Trone, my 3rd great-grandfather, was one of these people. A smalltown farmer, he felt compelled to take up arms in the Civil War.
Like the Cole-Marriner family, the Watts-Stark line is loaded with historical figures. Each new discovery continues to amaze me.
However, my favorite discovery for this line is a man who took steps within his own life to right the wrongs of slavery: James Benjamin Stark, my 4th great-grandfather.
Finally, one of my favorite discoveries for the Williams-Stott line is my spouse’s 6th great-grandfather, Johan Georg Goss, a German immigrant who settled in the Colony of Pennsylvania, where he married and had three known sons.
The two elder sons were slaughtered in the Wyoming Valley Massacre. Grief-stricken and determined to strike back at the Tories who orchestrated this killing, Johan Georg Goss enlisted in the Continental Army. Also joining the army as a nurse/cook was his wife Elizabeth and son Abraham, who became a fifer-drummer.