A Letter in Italian

When my grandmother passed away, mom saved a bunch of papers we found in her home.  Among these were letters written in Italian that none of us could translate.  I was in my second year of studying the language and really wasn’t proficient yet.  But, now, twelve years and a study abroad in Italy later, I’ve finally got back at it and have started working on these.  The genealogy research I’ve been doing has paid off as well, since I’ve finally been able to identify everyone in this first letter which is really neat.  I can’t say the translation is perfect – some of the handwriting and nuances of the language can’t be made into a perfect translation, but I think this is pretty close.  If you happen to have any suggestions on how to make my translation better, I’m happy to accept corrections!

The letter is from Angiolina (Ducceschi) Cioletti, addressed to Eugenia (Arcangeli) Innocenti.
Marsilio is Eugenia’s cousin and lived with Eugenia and her children through 1940.
Amos is Angiolina’s husband.

Worth noting, Angiolina uses the word “figlie” when referring to her children, meaning they’re all girls (and census records tell me that they were indeed).  When referring to Eugenia’s children, she uses the word, “figli” meaning that they’re either all boys, or of mixed gender (in this case, one boy and two girls).   She uses the phrase “Vi Fo Sapere” instead of “Vi Faccio Sapere” (I want you to know).  “Fo” is a regioinalism particular to Tuscany.  Angiolina and her husband came from Piteglio, from what I can find, which is in Tuscany.  “Bath Room” is written out in plain English instead of Italian.  Towards the end, she uses the letter z instead of s in Penziero (Pensiero) and Verzo (Verso).  The stamp has been torn off the envelope – grandma was a stamp collector, so it’s possible that this one ended up in her collection, even though she would’ve been 7 at the time this was written.

Haledon NJ 20 September 1928Dearest friend,

I come to write you these few lines on paper to tell you that I am fine. Me, my husband, and my children and so I hope that it is the same with you, your husband, and children. Now I want to tell you that we are together in New Jersey and we’re here willingly, and we’re very happy. We have a house with 5 rooms and the bath room makes 6, and we pay $22.50 a month, cold and hot water, and all the amenities. Also, the place is beautiful for the kids. There is no danger. The house is all fenced in. Also Amos is content with his work. He works every day and brings home $6.50 a day, but he works at night, 13 hours of work, but the work is not as tiresome as in the mines. Especially when he came to work every day at Flinton, Marsilio works all day and I hope that he is still, but we hear that the mines are going very badly. Respond to me. I wanted to write you for a long time, but I never took the time, but I thought about my friends. I have always and will now give my greeting to all of you, your husband and children, from me, my husband, and children. Here I sign, your unforgettable friend, Angiolina, my mother Cioletti. I greet you if you’re ever near to me, it would be nice to have a short walk.

Here is the Address

268 Belmont Ave
Haledon, New Jersey

Nellie Eimer

This one has been the big mystery running around in the back of my mind for the last few weeks.  In the big trunk of photos that we found at Grandpa’s house, there are three photos with mention of Nellie Eimer who doesn’t appear to be related in any way to any branch of the family.  I’m holding out hope that perhaps her mother is the link, but I haven’t yet been able to find her maiden name to confirm that.  Do you have any of these names in your family tree?  Please get in contact by leaving a comment!

The details:

  • “Nellie” Ellen Malden Howell was born 23 July 1868 in Dawley Bank, Shropshire, England and died 10 July 1930 in Carbondale, Lackawanna, Pennsylvania, USA.  Nellie applied for a passport 1 April 1920 and listed the purpose of her passport as, “to visit relatives,” for the duration of four months.  On this same document, she lists her arrival year as 1883.  She married Frank Eimer 17 Jan 1891.  She lived the rest of her life in Carbondale, Pennsylvania and never had children.
  • Frank Eimer was born in 1867 and died 3 Januray 1938.  He was a baker in Carbondale.  After Nellie died, he married Isabell Turnbull.  His parents are Harry (1839) and Mary (1844-1875) Eimer.
  • William Howell, Nellie’s father, was born in England in 1843.  He died 2 December 1920 in Carbondale, Pennsylvania.  He lived with Nellie and Frank in Carbondale, PA until his death.  I haven’t been able to find him on any English census, and there doesn’t appear to be record of his family living in England prior to the first time they show up on a census, the 1910 US census.  Per the information he gave the census taker, he married Lizzie in 1864.  His will lists his living relatives as, “Mrs. Ellen Malden Eimer daughter, Mrs. Sarah McCoy daughter, and Mrs. Elizabeth Stephens grand daughter.”  Frank Eimer was named the executor of the will.
  • “Lizzie” Elizabeth  ?, Nellie’s mother, was born 1843 and died 18 November 1913.  I’m not 100% sure on the death date, but it seems to match up from the PA death record indicies.  Lizzie appears on the 1910 US census and not on the 1920 census.  I don’t know much about her other than this little bit of information.

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The first photo is a photo postcard.  The stamp area in the top right corner of the second photo gives me a date range of 1904-1918 (AZO with four triangles up).  The back reads, “Mr & Mrs Wm Howell later on their 50th anniversary on our front porch,” and was likely written by Olga (Powis) Kitko, the front porch being in Beccaria, Clearfield, Pennsylvania.  Below that, written later, is, “Nellie Eimers Mother & Father,” again, probably written by Olga.  If the Howells married in 1864, that would give us 1914 for their 50th anniversary which isn’t possible if Lizzie died in 1913.  I’m pretty comfortable saying this photo was taken in 1913.  Olga would’ve been 13 at the time.

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Another photo postcard, dating again between 1904-1918.  Written on the back in Olga’s older handwriting is, “Aunt Nellie Eimer, Carbondale,” and printed is a Photographer’s Studio, “F. E. Allen Studio, 3d and Pine Sts., Williamsport, PA.”  I haven’t been able to find the photographer’s name in any local directory, so I’ve got no lead on a date for this one.  I’d definitely put it closer to the 1918 mark.  This is where I get the “Aunt” title from though and why this has me so confused.  I suppose it’s possible that Aunt was used to describe a close family friend – I know I grew up with a number of “Aunts” that I wasn’t related to, and the term was used symbolically for a person of importance to our family.

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And the last photo – not a photo postcard.  There are a few other photos of the same size (only about three inches high) that are marked with ’17 on the back – I’m taking this to mean that they were taken in 1917.  This photo is labelled in Olga’s older handrwriting, “Nellie Eimers Father Carbondale Mom & Me.”  If this was taken in 1917, Olga would’ve been 17 in this photo (she graduated high school, something rare for girls at that time).  From Left to right, we have William Howell, Jessie (Battin) Powis, and Olga (Powis) Kitko.  Lizzie is missing here which makes sense, because she passed away years before the photo was taken.
Sources:
L ackawanna Public Records  – The search for Marriage licenses and Register of Wills was used to find Frank Eimer’s will, William Howell’s will and the marriage license for Frank and Nellie Eimer.
Playle’s Photo Postcard Dating – I go back to this resource often since it seems to be one of the most comprehensive databases for dating photo postcards
Pennsylvania Birth and Death indices –  The indices are a great place to start for information.  Records can be ordered for a fee, but sometimes just the index is enough to collect an exact date.

Photo of a Grave Stone

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This is another of the photos found in the trunk of photos from my grandpa’s house. We thought it was a little weird to have a photo of a gravestone in one’s stash of pictures, but given the circumstances, it makes sense. I have enough data to confirm that this marker is from St. Michael’s at Lawhitton, Cornwall, UK (map).  The stone lists these people:

Mary Jane (Harris) Battin, wife of George Battin, born in about 1834, died 12 July 1884, aged 50 years.
William Henry Battin, son of George and Mary Jane, born  7 Oct 1860, died 11 Mar 1879, aged 18 years.
Dinah Battin, daughter of George and Mary Jane, born  9 Mar 1867, died 28 Nov 1884, aged 17 years.

The birth dates and other information was found via the Cornwall OPC database (links to the burial data are included above) which has church records for all of Cornwall.  REALLY helpful.  We have documentation showing that Jessie (Battin) Powis (sister of Dinah and William Henry and my great-great grandmother) took a trip back to England from Pennsylvania after the birth of her first son (Alfred Herbert Powis) to visit her sisters and father.  I’m going to guess that this photo was taken around that time (January 1896), and she brought it back with her to her home in Pennsylvania, USA.  It’s on a hard cardboard backing similar to a Carte-de-Visite, but there’s no marking indicating who the photographer is or when/where it was taken.  I’m still amazed at the amount of genealogical data that’s now available online, and the individuals who care enough to spend the time, transcribe records, and make them available to the public for free.

UPDATE – 16 May 2012
A kind user on flickr pointed me to a wikimedia photo that shows a more current photo of the grave stone, and even shows George’s gravestone next to the original from the photo!    SO NEAT!

Coal Miners on the way home

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Written on the back, “Herb & D. Alexander on the way home”

From the handwriting, I can tell that my great grandmother labelled the photo, in part, long after it was taken – the style on the top line is a crisp, clean sort of penmanship, and the, “on the way home,” is written in her rather shaky handwriting from when she was older. The back of the photo is set up like a postcard, and the area where the stamp is supposed to be placed can be used to date the photo. This one has “NOKO” stamped on it, which indicates the date is between 1907 and 1920.  This resource  is REALLY helpful for dating photo postcards.  I’d put the date closer to the 1920 end of the date range since Herb, Alfred Herbert Powis (my great-grand uncle), was born in 1892 and died in 1926.  As for D. Alexander, I’ve got no idea!  Herb lived in Beccaria, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, but I don’t know which mine this is.  It is pretty neat to see these two, dirty from working in the mine, riding a mine cart on their way out, ready to go home.  This is just one of many, MANY photos from an old trunk, and hopefully I’ll be posting more soon!