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The views described in this blog are as multidimensional as the sources... Facts are cited wherever possible... and attempts are made to draw an interesting narrative out of our family orchard. If you find something to be incomplete, inaccurate or offensive, please leave a comment or contact the blog team. Thank you!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Thank you Mr. Paglia!

Some understanding finally!!!

So if you've been around a while you've seen my confusion over some Los Angeles families. Any time you find a grave with multiple surnames represented, you just have to figure it out, because living with someone can be temporary, but to be buried with someone, well that's a lot of intimacy.

I'm speaking of Calvary Catholic Cemetery , which set me off in an important direction. We have the names Fragassi, Nicassio and Paglia all together. My profound confusion is best outlined in this post, but I'll begin with how the problem began to be solved. First, I had to make darn sure of the people themselves, because there are a lot of name variants with our immigrants. Mary Fragassi was also called Angelina, and the headstone has her name spelled Marietta, which is much fancier. A man I don't know found this post and commented that Frank Fragassi was Mary's second (?) husband, hence the Nicassio name of her children, and married name combined.

I found this, which helped settle identity. Bonus that there's a photo.

I stumbled upon an Ancestry tree with some of these names in it and gave the user a shout. "Hello! I'm not certain if I've tried to contact you before, but I've done some visiting of virtual graves and found a family connection between ours... I was hoping you might have some additional knowledge or know someone?"  I didn't know if it was even an active account, so I was surprised to get a reply within a day!
...My maternal side of the family is Nicassio. Actually went Connetto di Bari and found my grandmother's birth certificate. Besides that, my grandmother remarried in her sixties to a Frank Fragassi. After her death, he moved back to Bari where he died in his late 90's.
And so it began. Mary's maiden name was DiStaso, and that might explain the Distashe misspelled young men living with Frank in 1940, who he claimed as his sons. Perhaps there were cousins all over the place? I'm still figuring it out.

Friday, February 05, 2016


Yeah, I said it. Multislacking. I'm not actively researching at the moment (slacking) because I'm trying to get a handle on the stuff I already have! I have done years of research and photo-taking and photo scanning and interviewing John Wayne style... shooting from the hip and barely taking names... Well, after a while, it's tiring being so insane. Trust me.

So I'm going back and retro-actively becoming a bad-booty registrar. I've got my groove from museum managers and archivists, and it feels good! If you have outta control family artifacts and information, drop me a line. This is one of my inspirations: Registration Methods for the Small Museum

So I feel like I'm multi-slacking because there is a lot to do at the same time. I want to feel good about my system, so I'm trying to do it all right. I'm not sitting and watching TV, I'm not going to get mani-pedi's, or doing much house work besides the necessities. I'm actually kind of focused on getting this done so that going FORWARD, it will take care of itself. If I had it all done and current, and then I engaged a new research avenue, I would simply log each source I went to - whether online or in person- and catalog every bit that I get from those sources.

So, in my book, if I went to see my cousin Anne at her home, I would talk with her, scan documents and photos, maybe even photograph some heirlooms. I would detail my SOURCE SHEET first, then catalog the notes or recording of our conversation, catalog each scanned image, and catalog each digital photo so that they all come up under the same source code.

If I got a box from my mom and didn't have the time to go through it all immediately, I'd give it a source code and keep it all together so that when I did get a chance to look through it, I'd have a built in place for it all. I don't even have to do it all at once. I can group family and individual photos first, but keeping them in the same batch, have it all together.

If I have a loan of items, I will know exactly where it all came from due to the catalog number itself. After the catalog number I can put whatever tickler words I want to.

201601 - Ancestry.com - Everything gleaned from the megasite this year
201602 - Facebook.com - Family photos I've downloaded, notes from family postings
201603 - Maggie McDonald - Photos and documents from the Krauser line in WA DC (no, mom, this is a fictitious person, I haven't struck any gold there yet)
201604 - Phil Lowe - Interview and scanned documents and photos (again, fictitious)

201604.01 sound recording of conversation
201604.02 death certificate- Josephine
201604.03 birth certificate- Jacqueline
201604.04 crocheted tablecloth by Josephine
201604.05 detail of tablecloth

etc. etc.

What do you think?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Another way for ANYONE to contribute to the World

Yes, anyone with a computer can do this. I'm talking about indexing and transcribing... Seriously addictive and one can't help feeling a kind of pride in making vital and historical information available to the world for FREE. I've done about 100 records so far and I've just gotten started. I still feel a driving need to do my own homework, but when I can't sleep and I don't have the brains or patience for coherent research, transcribing is great!

Just go to https://www.familysearch.org/volunteer/indexing and take a test drive... you won't regret it!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Unravelling: either family relations or my brain

So a while back I posted some updates from Calvary Cemetery, some people who seemed to be related to the Fragassi's but I couldn't quite put my finger on how... We knew we had Michael Fragassi there because of his 1939 death certificate. While talking to the people at the cemetery, they mentioned they had a couple graves belonging to Frank and Mary Fragassi, which had me jumping in my seat because of the "Uncle Frank" character whom Rocky's kids got to know... sorta...

Mary Fragassi, also known as Angelina Marietta Fragasi Nicassio in the cemetery records, was born in Italy April 3, 1892- dod August 26, 1971 Social Security Death Index has spelling FRAGAS, The California Death Index has FRAGASI, MARY born 1892 04 03 FEMALE from IT died in LOS ANGELES 1971 08 26 ssn 570182702 age 79 record #3920645

This is more or less confirmed by the 1940 US census, which shows Frank Fragassi's wife to be Angelina, also confirmed by the city directories of the time. Frank and Michael's mother's name is rumored to be Angelina, so that's a coincidence his wife's name is the same...

So when did Frank die, and where is Frank buried? Not with his wife... but there are two others that are in the Fragasi-owned digs... Mike Nicassio and Mary Fragasi are in Grave 6, L-378, Section R, Charles Paglia is in Grave 5. And who are these guys? Well, if you look at the snapshot above there are two young fellas Frank claims as his sons, but they have a different last name.
Both are born in California, one presumably in 1918 and the other in 1922. CABI search using 191% (wild card for any year in the teens) and Distas% (to pick up spelling variants) yields this ->

Ok... How about the 1922ish birth? Well we have a possible match... Either Peter Destaso born May 30, 1920 to a Russo... or Peter Distashio born May 23 of 1922 to a Gasparda... I wonder what Angelina's maiden name was?... Or maybe these were kids he'd adopted.

So then I look for Charles Paglia, because he's next to Mary Fragasi... Charles was born 17 April 1911 in California, according to the California Death Index... he died 13 Feb 1983 in Los Angeles, age 71.

Mike Nicassio died in 1972 at the age of 43. He's also next to Mary. He was born Nov 27, 1928 but doggone it if the CADI does not have a mother's maiden name... I ran that birth date in the CABI with Los Angeles and start of first name MI... nuttin... ran again without the MI... meh... I don't think so, even with a lot of results...

Took off the date except the year and month and BAM!
Well THAT one is good! Crimany sakes... I'm going to have to come back to this, my head's spinning...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Because "They" said so

I've become strongly aware that our Stewart lines need redefining. Ever since we started tracing these lines 30 years ago, we have found odd dates and relationships and widely varied places of origin. It's disturbing. I wanted to gain a membership with the DAR for my mother's sake, for her enjoyment, and her chief lines of ancestry have more than one Patriot. I also want to instill that pride and patriotism in my young son, who is thirsty for identity.

Back in 2010 I attached something to my tree in Ancestry.com that looked informative. It was someone else's research summary on a William Stewart discrepancy. I may have read it, but I haven't thought much about it until recently. (remember, it was others' info that caused the mess)

So recently I re-read the very well researched blurb, coming away with the feeling at first that perhaps everything we had thought we knew was bunk... ..
William Stewart Born: 1755, Sussex, Delaware 10 Sep 1850, Russell County, Virginia
When William Stewart and his wife were in their 60s, they had an agreement with their daughter, Judith, and husband, Nimrod Taylor to take care of them in their old age. Prior to 1840 William Stewart had made an agreement with his son-in-law, Nimrod Taylor, Jr., by which Nimrod would have use of William's land, in return for which Nimrod would take care of William and Jemima's needs. This was a very common arrangement for elderly parents at the time. However, things did not work out as planned. 
At their advanced ages William Stewart brought suit in court 13 April 1843 against their son-in-law. The Circuit Superior Court of law and Chancery ruled for eighty year old William in his complaint that Nimrod was enjoying the benefits of the land in controversy, but, in violation of his contract to make ample provision for the complainants, had instead driven off his very aged and infirm father- and mother-in-law on 29 May 1841 without making any provision for their support . It was ruled that "because of mutual ill feeling it would be cruel and unreasonable to require the elderly Stewarts to return to Nimrod's home, and that Nimrod Taylor, Jr., should pay $60 annually during the Stewarts' life and $30 to the survivor." 
In 1850, Nimrod Taylor age 57 and Judith Stewart Taylor age 51 are living alone in Scott County, Virginia. William is no longer with them. Also in 1850 on the Census we now find William (who is 96 years of age) now living with his daughter, Nancy and her husband John Hale as listed below. 
1850 United States Federal Census about William Stewart .... Name: William Stewart Age: 94 Estimated Birth Year: abt 1756 Birth Place: South Carolina Gender: Male Home in 1850(City,County,State): Western District, Scott, Virginia John Hale age 36 b. 1814) Nancy age 36 TN (Stewart b. 1814) William Stewart age 96 b. Tennessee William is living with his daughter and her husband, John Hale.
He died in September after the Census was taken. Parents: John Albertus Stewart and Ann Robinson Married about 1786, Russel County, Virginia Jemima Carter born about 1767, Virginia. Died before 1850 in Scott County, Virginia.
Children: (12)
  • James Stewart b. 28 feb 1790, Russel County, Virginia
  • William Stewart b. 10 Aug 1791 Russel County, Virginia
  • Elizabeth Stewart b. 1794 Russel County, Virginia
  • Judith Stewart b. 1799 Russel County, Virginia
  • Joseph Stewart b.1800 Russel County, Virginia
  • Ann Stewart b. Abt. 1806 Russel County, Virginia
  • David Stewart b. 1804 Russel County, Virginia
  • Jemima Stewart b. 1805 Russel County, Virginia
  • Mary Polly Stewart b. 1808 Russel County, Virginia
  • Elijah Stewart b. 1810 Russel County, Virginia
  • Nancy Stewart b. 1814 Russel County, Virginia**
  • Lucy Stewart b. 15 May 1804 Russel County, Virginia
The father of William seems to be John Albertus b. 1720; d. 14 Mar 1773. Once I found the connection to his father's tree on the Website "Myhre Osborn Tucker Beuadette", by Colleen Osborn Myhre; it fell into place on my tree. This William Stewart was not the son of John J. Stewart and a Susannah Fulkerson-Bledsoe wife.
John J. Stewart, son of Samuel Stewart who married "Elizabeth "Lydia" Harrison" dtr of Isaiah Harrison and Elizabeth Wright married Hannah Boone, dtr of Squire Boone and sister to Daniel Boone as recorded in the Boone Manuscript and in the Books. This connection is confirmed by the Boone manuscript and by the son of Hannah Boone and her second husband, Richard Pennington. He was questioned by Lyman C. Draper of the Draper manuscript and wrote a letter confirming the marriages of his mother. "Lydia" was used by Elizabeth as her name, probably because her mother was Elizabeth Wright. We know she was named Elizabeth at birth because it is in the Church Records in the manuscript, "Settlers by the Long Grey Trail". See the family page of her father, Isaiah Harrison. She used the name "Lydia" exclusively in her Will and in the land records. This was not at all unusual for the times. Nicknames became permanent names many times. They were considered legal names when documents were signed in that manner.
(John J. Stewart had no sons only 4 daughters with Hannah Boone. This is the son of Samuel Stewart and Elizabeth "Lydia" Harrison, dtr of Isaiah Harrison and Elizabeth Wright.)  
If you follow the records, land, marriage, and all the connections to Samuel Stewart documented in "Settlers by the Long Grey Trail", plus the Wills of the parents of John J. Stewart, you can see the connections to the Stewarts, Cravens, Harrisons. They married each other. The connections are unmistakable. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why so many people insist it is otherwise. This is a wonderful fun genealogy; connecting to the Boone family, the Harrison family the Cravens family, the Wright family and the family of Abraham Lincoln. Try it.
IResearch; Geneva Greer White, "Geneva's Tree". Also listed as 1763, Surry Co, NC (Not sure which birth date is correct; but if he was in the Revolutionary War, he probably was born as listed in 1755.) . Military. Rev War - Kings Mountain Ancestry of William Stewart 1755, Dr. John Stewart 1660 and Elizabeth Albertus John Stewart 1694 and Mary John Albertus Abt. 1720 and Ann Robinson Ancestry of William Stewart 1755 m. Jemima Carter Greer Genealogy from John J. Stewart Dr. John Stewart 1660 David Stewart 1680 Samuel Stewart 1700 2 sons 1. David Stewart 1728 to the Greer genealogy to Greer Genealogy 2. John J. Stewart 1744 to the Boone genealogy
Sounds pretty darn cut and dried, doesn't it?
I later emailed a lady I found through the Find-A-Grave community, because she had submitted graves for many ancestors of mine. I was gobsmacked at her reply when I told her about this Geneva White and her authoritative information...
I see Geneva White is still out there trying to confuse people. I had some run-ins with her some years ago and while I can't dispute any of her findings on the Boone family - as there are no Boone's in my tree to trace - she is certainly wrong about William Stewart's father.
I'm pretty certain that William's father is named John Stewart and my Mom and I believe his mother is Susanna Fulkerson. Have you applied for William's Revolutionary War pension file? I asked this of Geneva and she just ignored me. I have a copy of it, and it clearly states that he joined the service with his brother David and half-brother Loving Bledsoe. When my Mom and I received the pension file (in the late 1980's) and read that William had a half brother, it was news to us. We began to do some research into Loving Bledsoe, since that would hopefully reveal the name of William's mother. 
But first, John Stewart. There is a very old manuscript of church minutes from the Stony Creek Primitive Baptist Church, which is the church that William, Jemima and many other of our Stewarts and Carters were members. They are all over the records and were members in good standing. We are fortunate that the manuscript exists, as it lists John as a member and includes his baptism date. I am pretty sure that this John Stewart is William's father, as William had neither a son nor a brother by that name, so who else could it be but a father or uncle? (I have a transcribed copy of the church minutes, which date from 1801-1814) 
While researching Bledsoes, we discovered that a young woman named Susanna Fulkerson had married a widower named Bledsoe who much older than herself - and that she had a son named Loving Bledsoe. So we started poking around with the Fulkersons and discovered that Susanna's father Frederick had deeded land to her, and it is on that same tract of land that we find a man named John Stewart in the tax rolls a few years later. From this Mom and I drew the conclusion that if a man named John Stewart was living on the land belonging to a woman whose widowed name was Bledsoe, and if William and David went into the service with a half brother named Loving Bledsoe, it would make sense that these are William's parents.
Geneva White appears to be tracing a different John Stewart, but she doesn't seem to care how much havoc she wreaks in the meantime. She keeps beating the drum that Susanna Fulkerson never existed. Perhaps she doesn't exist because Ms. White hasn't looked - or prefers not to see. Apparently a little knowledge is a dangerous thing!
By the way, I also have a copy of the Sarah Finch Maiden Rollins book which traces the Stewart and Carter lines, among others. I do not know whether or not her research is completely correct or not, but everything that Mom and I have traced on our Stewart line jives perfectly with Mrs. Rollins' book. Mom and I have gone back no further than John and Susannah, but it seems as though Geneva White has a problem with Mrs. Rollins' claim that (our) John Stewart is the son of Samuel Stewart who married Lydia Harrison. Honestly I haven't gone back far enough to figure out who John Stewart's parents are, but I feel certain that  the name of William's father is John Stewart - it's right there in the church minutes.
I hope this helps. If you'd like to see documentation let me know. 

So my point in pointing this out is that I was very discouraged simply because someone authoritative said it was so... I knew that research in history constantly calls for proof, and I wanted to see some documentation myself. I was going to find every thing cited by both women and draw my own conclusions.

Don't ever be put off because someone else says something contrary to what you thought. Always ask questions, always be polite, and always cite your sources...

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