Friday, April 30, 2010

Graveyard Trip - All Saints Braddock Catholic Cemetery in Braddock, PA - Need a photo?

I'll be heading down to this cemetery on Tuesday of next week (5/4), unless it stops raining around here by Monday. Many of my relatives with the DiBernardo surname are buried there. It's in Braddock, although its postal address is Pittsburgh. I noticed that there are many photo requests for graves in this cemetery on, so I'll be fulfilling those while I'm down there as well. I thought I'd post here to see if anyone has any other photo requests for that cemetery. You can ask me here, or submit a request through Find A Grave. Tom & Nancy McAdams have compiled an extremely helpful list of transcriptions from the headstones in the cemetery here, as well as a map (thank you thank you thank you to them for that). Hopefully, I'll get a good Wordless Wednesday post from that as well :) In the meantime, I'm working on tomorrow's Surname Saturday post, as well as a post about my progress in my NIGS classes.

All Saints Braddock Catholic Cemetery is here:

View Larger Map

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ancestor Approved Award

I was surprised and very honored to see that I was recently nominated for an Ancestor Approved Award from three fellow genealogy bloggers: Betty at Betty’s Boneyard Genealogy Blog, Leslie at Lost Family Treasures and Bonnie at Amore e Sapore di Famiglia. I apologize that it took me so long to respond!
There are two conditions to this award. First, I must list ten facts about my ancestors that surprised, humbled or enlightened me. Second, I must pass the award on to ten fellow bloggers who “do their ancestors proud.”
So here we go :)

I was:

1) Surprised to learn that my great-grandfather Everett Brenton was (allegedly) a bootlegger during Prohibition, and that he and my great-grandmother went through a very ugly divorce as a result.
2) Humbled to discover that, even though I thought I knew a lot about my extended family, I have many living relatives that I've never met.
3) Surprised that I have a few other relatives researching our family tree as well – all I had to do was reach out on Internet research sites, and there they were!
4) Humbled the power of the Internet to bring people together. I'm meeting more and more distant cousins all the time, and it's wonderful to bring our pieces of the puzzle together.
5) Surprised to find that I would have had another aunt on my father's side, but she was stillborn. For that matter, surprised and saddened by the number of children in my family tree who died young.
6) Enlightened by Ancestry's World Archives project as to how little I really know about paleography. I took a look at some of their “advanced” transcribing projects and went skittering back to the “easy” ones.
7) Humbled to be able to reveal to my boyfriend's family that they were in all likelihood descended from passengers on the Mayflower – and surprised by all that those two passengers and their ancestors had to go through just to get to the boat!
8) Surprised to receive a letter from William Fritzley's sweetheart (he was my maternal grandfather) from his days at an Army base in Kentucky. Even more surprised, and grateful, that she sent pictures of him from 1941!
9) Surprised by the number of helpful and earnest researchers I have met, who were willing to share important information with me about my family.
10) Humbled by just how much I don't know.

These ten bloggers surely make their ancestors proud:

1) Becky - Cemetery Explorers
2) Claudia - Claudia's Genealogy Blog
3) Tina - Gen Wish List
4) Monica - Digging In...To My Past
5) Diana - Random Relatives
6) Kirsten - Hearts And Bones
7) Tony - Across An Ocean
8) Kerry - Clue Wagon
9) Loujean - Family Trees R We
10) Mary - Mary Chrapliwy's Genealogy Blog

Thanks again to Betty, Leslie and Bonnie!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Surname Saturday – The DiBernardo Family of Western Pennsylvania

This name has been hard to trace. It’s an Italian patronymic name (literally “of Bernard”). My great-grandfather, Giovanni DiBernardo, came to Pennsylvania in 1910 from Caserta, Italy and settled in Rankin in Allegheny Country, PA. He lived most of his life in nearby Braddock, PA. His first wife, Maria died young in childbirth, and so did the infant. Another son died soon after, leaving one son, Guido “Guy” DiBernardo. He married my great-grandmother Raffeala a few years later.
Bisnonno Giovanni helped build the beautiful Madonna del Castello Church in Swissvale, PA. (Bisnonno is Italian for great-grandfather). You can see photos of the church as well as its history here. They have photos of the church from when it was built in 1933, which make me very proud. Grazie, bisnonno!
According to my relatives, though, Giovanni preferred to go by the English translation of his name: John. John was a laborer at Union Switch & Signal, a manufacturer of railway equipment. What's interesting is that I only have record of him working there up to 1917, when US&S became a subsidiary of Westinghouse Air Brake. Maybe he was a victim of some downsizing? I feel you, bisnonno. On the 1930 U.S. Census, he is recorded as a mixer in a glass factory. I could look at old census records all day. Most likely a good sign for my future career, I think :)
Back to the DiBernardo family; my information stops at my great-great-grandfather. All I know about Giovanni's father is that his name was Gaetano DiBernardo and that he lived in Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy when Giovanni came to the United States in 1910. Hoping to find more info on him soon, but as I'm sure many of you know, gaining access to some Italian records is quite a task.