More Refined Ancestry DNA map

 Burke, Giambrone, Millonzi, Palmeri  Comments Off on More Refined Ancestry DNA map
Mar 282017

I just received an email from AncestryDNA. They have more refined maps. For example, rather than just showing Italy/Greece, it highlights Sicily and the southern tip of Italy, and rather than just showing Ireland/Scotland, it shows a region that I know some of our Irish ancestors were from. Pretty cool.

My ethnicity from ancestryDNA

 Brady, Burke, Cruice, Cuthbert, de Guehery, Downie, Giambrone, Millonzi, Palmeri, Parisi, Wilson  Comments Off on My ethnicity from ancestryDNA
Jun 242015

I recently completed a DNA test from

The DNA test largely confirmed what I knew based on my genealogy:
Italy/Greece 39%
Ireland 35%
Great Britain 13%

There was also trace evidence – meaning either a small amount or a spurious evidence – for the following:
Iberian Peninsula 2%
European Jewish 2%
Europe West 1%
Middle East 4%
Caucus 2%


The most obvious region was Italy/Greece – Palmeri, Giambrone, Millonzi, Parisi. Sicily and southern Italy were settled by the Greeks in the 7th and 8th centuries BC; Magna Grecia – Greater Greece – referred to these areas. Today, some of the best Greek ruins are found in Sicily and southern Italy.


Some of the trace amounts are also consistent with my Sicilian heritage. The three most common other regions seen in natives of Italy and Greece are Caucus, Middle East, and Iberian Peninsula. The Caucus and Middle East DNA could be explained by the Islamic control of Sicily from around 827 to 1061. Muslim Sicilians were living in central Sicily, in the region that includes both Montemaggiore and Serradifalco, well into the 1200s. And from the 1400s to the middle 1800s, Sicily was controlled by the Bourbons of Spain – the Iberian Peninsula.




The other obvious component was my Irish DNA. The Cruice, Wilson, Brady, and Burke families all came from Ireland. This DNA could also include my Scottish heritage, from the Cuthberts and Downies.


The remaining major portion of my DNA is from Great Britain. While I have no English heritage that I know of, the map includes areas of Scotland (Cuthbert and Downie) and areas of France (de Guehery). Also, the Wilsons, from Northern Ireland, who were Presbyterian, could have originally come from England or Scotland.


The last trace amounts are listed as Europe West and European Jewish. Both of these maps cover portions of France (de Guehery) and Germany (Mack). The European Jewish is an interesting possibility. I wonder if there could be some Jewish ancestry, perhaps in the same family tree as the Macks from Germany.



Sep 282012

As I was looking through some of my Burke records, I realized that I had my great-grandfather's social security application. This clearly lists his mother as "Anna Brady". His birth and death certificate say "Maria Brady". I am betting that her name was probably "Maria Anna Brady" but went by Anna Brady. I'm betting that she first married Henry Howard, who either died or she divorced, and then married Anthony Burke. Henry Howard was Amelia Howard's brother. She was mother of Bishop Burke. Anthony Burke was Joseph Burke's brother. He was the father of Bishop Burke. Anthony Burke's death certificate listed his deceased wife as "Anna Howard." So here's my tentative, revised Burke family tree. My great-grandfather and Bishop Burke were first cousins by blood (Burke) and step cousins by marriage through Henry Howard.

Sep 252012

I learned that I could possibly order the complete military records for my grandfather. He fought in the Pacific during World War II as a glider pilot in the Army, later became part of the Air Force, and retired a Captain or Major I think. I have a few photos and some basic outline of his military career. Since my mother passed away, I checked to the National Archives to see if and how I could order my grandfather's records. This is their response:

Thank you for your inquiry. You may download a form SF-180, complete it, and mail it, along with a copy of a record of death or obituary, to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO. You can download the form at: On the form we suggest that you note that you would like copies of all records in the file.

Please note that a 1973 fire at the records center destroyed a large number of files. Hopefully, your grandfather's records survived.

We hope this information will be of assistance.


The National Archives at Chicago

May 212012

Today I received the death certificate for my great-great-grandfather's brother, Peter J. Burke, from the City of Buffalo. This also lists my great-great-great-grandfather as Patrick Burke, and it lists by great-great-great-grandmother as Nancy McNulty – my great-great-grandfather's listed her name as "Ann" not "Nancy".

It gives his date of birth. Perhaps someday I'll be able to use this to find some Irish records. I tried a copy of online search tools, but none turned up him or my great-great-grandfather.

May 102012

When I found the obituary for my great-great-grandfather, Anthony Burke, it listed that his service was going to be in St. Stephen's RC Church in Buffalo. That church is now St. Clare's, so I wrote them asking if they had any information.

Someone wrote back and said, "I was able to take some time today to look into the request you've made on April 24th. Anthony Burke is recorded in our Death Register, no age was written, said he died on January 3, 1931 from heart condition, I found it interesting that under the priest name whom celebrated the funeral mass it read, Rev. Joseph Burke, (was his brother a priest)"

It's almost certain that this "Rev. Joseph Burke" was the person who later became Bishop Burke of Buffalo. He would have been in his mid-forties around that time. He became Bishop in the 1950's and died in 1962.

She also said, "Also found death record of Peter J. Burke, died March 15, 1928, age 75, reason for death read hardening of the artieries, under priest again read Rev. Joseph Burke, I think this might be the brother, because a different priest name is on the others registered on that page."

That is probably Anthony's brother Peter. So now I have a birth year and death date to see if I can find some more information about the Burke family.

Unfortunately, there was no information (so far) from them about Maria or Anna (Brady) Burke.

Apr 242012

Growing up, I always heard stories that we were somehow related to Bishop Burke. He was Bishop of Buffalo from 1952 until his death in Rome in 1962 while attending the Second Vatican Council. Finding my great-great-grandfather's death certificate has given me some confidence about the relationship between my family and the Bishop.

It appears that Anthony Burke was the brother of Joseph Burke, the father of Bishop Burke. I knew that they were close – possibly first cousins – based on correspondence my aunt had from the Bishop. Joseph Burke's death certificate only listed his father as Patrick, his mother was unknown. My great-great-grandfather, Anthony's death certificate lists his father as Patrick and his mother as Ann McNulty. It's likely they were brothers, making my great-grandfather and the Bishop first cousins.
But my mother also said they were "more than first cousins". I think now that was more by marriage than blood. Bishop Burke's mother was Amelia Howard. Her brother was Henry Howard, who was the first husband of Anna Brady, who appears to have been both sister-in-law and second wife to Anthony Burke. (Another possibility is that Anna Brady and Maria Brady are the same person, though that seems less likely for several reasons I posted about before.)
So Bishop Burke's father, Joseph, was my great-grandfather's uncle. And Bishop Burke's mother, Amelia, was my great-grandfather's step-mother's sister-in-law. Not quite "two brothers married two sisters" either but it makes some more sense now.

relation between Bishop Burke and Arthur Burke

invitation to my great-grandparents from the Bishop

papal blessing of my great-grandparents from Bishop Burke

Apr 242012

My great-great-grandfather, Anthony Burke was born 14 Dec 1849 in Ireland and died 3 Jan 1931 in Buffalo.

His death certificate lists his wife as Anna Howard. The mother of great-grandfather, Arthur Burke, from his birth certificate and death certificate, was Maria Brady.

The 1905 NY Census listed an Anna Howard living with an Arthur Burke; both were living with Thomas and Laura Sullivan. Anna was listed as a "mother-in-law" and Arthur was listed as "stepson" of the head of house, Thomas Sullivan, on the census. The 1910 US Census lists the same family, now with an Anna Burke listed as "mother-in-law" and an Arthur Burke listed as "brother-in-law" to the head of house, Thomas.

That Laura Sullivan was born Laura Howard, daughter to Anna Brady and Henry Howard, based on her death certificate. Anna Brady married and became Anna Howard and gave birth to her daughter Laura Howard in 1873. Hence her being listed as "mother-in-law" on the census.

One likely possibility is that Anna Brady and Maria Brady were sisters. Anthony married Maria and they had Arthur, my great-grandfather. Maria died while Arthur was still a child. Anna's husband Henry must have also died young. Then Anthony married his sister-in-law Anna, his decreased wife Maria's sister. Following tradition, she would have retained her married name and been known as "Anna Howard" when she married my great-great-grandfather, even though she was born Anna Brady.

So the "stepson" on the 1905 NY Census for my great-grandfather is for his relationship to Anna, not his relationship to Thomas. And he is a brother-in-law of sorts to Thomas – more of a step-brother-in-law. That would help explain my mother's claim that "two brothers married two sisters and then two of them married each other when their spouses died". It's not quite that, but the story makes some sense. 

It is possible that Maria Brady and Anna Brady are the same person, not sisters – as in, Maria Anna Brady first married Henry Howard and then married Anthony Burke. That seems unlikely to me given the story my mom told about the Burkes. And it does not jive with the "stepson" notation on the 1905 census. But until I find birth, marriage, and death certificates for Maria Brady and Anna Brady, this will need to remain a possibility.

Oh, and I believe that the Mrs. Anna Fleming, listed as informant, is Anthony's sister Anna G. Burke, who died in 1962. Given that Anthony died at 81 years old, Anna must have been both a lot younger than Anthony and died very old. Also, assuming this is his sister, then there is very high confidence about the parents names (Patrick Burke and Ann McNulty); Joseph Burke's death certificate listed Patrick but the mother was unknown.

Apr 192012

I found the obituary for Anna G. Burke from 1962. At first, I thought this person, however unlikely, could be my great-great-grandmother. A memorial card for her funeral was in records my aunt had, and we thought (and now know) that my great-great-grandfather (Anthony Burke) had a wife named Anna.

But it turns out that this was Anthony's sister, not his wife. She must have been quite old since Anthony died in 1931 and he had outlived his brothers.

This lists her brothers as Patrick, Peter, Anthony, and Joseph. Anthony's obituary also listed a brother Michael. This lists a sister Katherine (Flynn). Anthony's listed sisters Jane and Mary. I'm going to try to get her death certificate in September, after 50 years have passed, and it becomes a public record.

Apr 192012

I went to the Buffalo library downtown and searched for obituaries. I found one for my great-great-grandfather, Anthony Burke.

He died 2 Jan 1931. His wife predeceased him and her name was Anna. It's still unclear if her name was Maria Anna, since "Maria" was the name on Arthur's birth certificate, or if Anna was his second wife and Maria was his first wife (and if the two of them were sisters). One sibling was Anna (Fleming), who was still alive at the time of his death, and could have possibly lived until 1962 (Anna G. Burke). Siblings who died before him were Patrick, Peter, Joseph (probably the father of Bishop Burke), Michael, Jane, and Mary.

Feb 242012

My great-grandparents, Arthur Burke and Margaret DeGuehery, were married on 25 May 1910 in SS. Columbia-Brigid R.C. Church in Buffalo. I wrote the church to ask for more information about my great-grandparents and especially about the Burke family. While they did not have information about by Burke great-great-grandparents, the certificate did give another hit to a Brady name, John H. Brady, who witnessed the marriage. Brady is in the Burke-Brady-Howard troika that I am still trying to unravel.

I wrote back the church giving them birth dates and possible birth years for my great-grandfather and his parents to see if they might have some information about them.

Jan 092012

Apostilles arrive today. Thankfully, they apostilled the only certified copy of my mother's birth certificate that we could find. That means no need for a court order to get a copy of it. Now I only need a court order for my grandfather's birth certificate. And then court orders to get the "Palmieri" misspellings amended.

Dec 242011

While home before Christmas I obtained the following documents needed for dual citizenship:

– copy of my father's driver's license

– a signed and notarized affidavit that my father had never renounced his claims to Italian citizenship

– my parents' marriage certificate (short form and long form), need to get that certified by Erie County and then apostilled by NY State

– my father's birth certificate, need to get that certified by Erie County and then apostilled by NY State

– my mother's birth certificate, need to get that certified by Erie County and then apostilled by NY State

Dec 192011

Today we celebrated Christmas with my family. I took some time today to search through my dad's records and found an official copy my father's birth certificate, my mother's death certificate, and my mother's birth certificate. I had a photocopy of my mother's birth certificate, but I thought I would need to get a court order to obtain an official copy with a raised seal. Assuming I can get this version apostilled, no court order may be necessary. I also found a copy of my parents' marriage certificate, but it was a short version, not the long form. I will going to the Town of Tonawanda town hall with my dad to get a long-form copy.

Oct 302011

Until a few months ago, I was 1/2 Italian, on my dad's side, and 1/4 Irish and 1/4 French, on my mom's side. My mom's parents were both 1/2 Irish and 1/2 French.

Now, things are a little different. My dad is still full Italian. So that 1/2 is intact. My mom's side is a bit more complex now. 

My maternal grandmother is a Wilson and Cruice. I now know that Wilson side is probably "Scotch-Irish" since census records list Samuel Wilson's parents as being from Belfast and since Samuel Wilson listed his religion as Presbyterian on his marriage record. The origins of the Scotch-Irish lie primarily in northern England and the lowlands of Scotland. They came to Northern Ireland in the 1600s. According to lore, the Cruice family escaped the French Revolution to Ireland. While we considered that part of the family "French", given that Patrick Cruice's wife is Bridget Sweeney, and given that Patrick Cruice's mother appears to be Mary Golden, both decidedly non-French last name, it seems likely that the Cruice side is more like 1/4 French and 3/4 Irish. 

My paternal grandfather is a Burke and de Guehery. The Burke family is Catholic Irish, but we don't know what the Brady family is (Anthony Burke married Maria Brady), but we'll list her as Irish until we know more. We now know more of the history of the de Guehery family. Margaret de Guehery's mother was Marion Cuthbert, who was Scottish. Her father was Emmanuel de Guehery, who was 1/2 French and 1/2 German.

So that makes me:

1/2 Italian (1/8 Palmeri, 1/8 Giambrone, 1/8 Millonzi, 1/8 Parisi)

7/32 Irish (1/16 Burke, 1/16 Brady, 1/16 Sweeney, 1/32 Golden)

1/16 French (1/32 de Guehery, 1/32 Cruice)

1/32 German (Mack)

1/16 Scottish (Cuthbert)

1/8 Scotch-Irish (Wilson)

Oct 292011

Today I received information on the naturalization of my mom's maternal grandfather, my great-grandfather, Samuel Wilson. I had found his gravemarker on recently. That gave me his birthdate so I could search for his naturalization records, hoping they might reveal something about his parents and his birthplace in Ireland.

This is the first step in genealogical search through Homeland Security ( You first do an Index Search, which gives you this minimal information. Then you use the case number and file number to get a copy of the actual naturalization documentation.

One thing that's interesting from this is that I now have a different birth date. On his grave marker, it gives 30 Aug 1874. This gives 30 Aug 1871. Given that this was filled out by him, I imagine this has a higher probability of being the correct birth date. I'll give 1871 a try before checking out 1874. I'll also ping Ireland again. I had originally given them 1874 and they returned no match. Maybe they'll have better luck with 1871.

my great-grandfather, Samuel Wilson, naturalization information

Oct 072011

My mother's mother's parents were Samuel Wilson and Anna Regina Cruice. I've had information on Gramma Wilson for a while. I remember her from the few times we visited Florida, where she lived near my grandparents.

I had little on my great-grandfather, Samuel WIlson, who died many years before I was born. 

From census records, I was able to get his birth year, abt 1872, and that he was born in Ireland. Nothing on the date of his death. My aunt thought he might have died in the late 1950's but I was unable to find any records. 

I finally stumbled on I think I tried using this a year or two ago, with nothing of use turning up. Maybe I've gotten better. Or the database has gotten better. Or both. But this time I got a hit.

I had no idea where my great-grandfather was buried. But on I was able to search all cemeteries in their database in Erie County in New York State. The trick for me was to first click on "Search for a cemetery" on the right column of the menu list, which bring me to this page That let me narrow the cemeteries to Erie County and let me enter in "Samuel Wilson" into the name field. And there it was:

grave marker for Anna and Samuel Wilson

My great-grandfather, Samuel Wilson, was born 30 Aug 1874 and died 30 Apr 1946.

I tried a quick-and-dirty request for his birth certificate from the Civil Registration Service in Dublin, Ireland. Fortunately, a "no record found" only cost me 2 Euros. The Irish Family History Foundation ( also turned up nothing. But I'll keep searching.

Update (29 Oct 2011)

Received information on Samuel Wilson's naturalization on 13 Jun 1928. This indicates his birth date as 30 Aug 1871 (age 56 in 1928), not 1874.

Oct 062011

One lesson I've learned over the past couple of years is to regularly check and New databases are added all the time.

I'm particularly interested in any records related to the date of my great-grandfather's naturalization. I'm 99% certain that he became naturalized after my grandfather was born. My great-grandfather came to the US around 1908. My grandfather was born in 1911. I'm pretty sure there was a waiting period before people could become naturalized. Also, the 1920 census listed him as "pa", which means that his first papers were filed (declaration of intent), but he was not yet a citizen. Only on the 1930 census is he listed as "na", which means naturalized.

But now I need to find proof. So any documentation will help.

My new search on brought up a pretty spartan record from something called the "U.S. Naturalization Record Index".

Not much to go by here. But I try contacting the National Archives in Chicago (because they were the only ones I could find easily oneline) to see if they can help find an original record to go with this index filing.

They tell me that this appears to be the naturalization of Angelo Palmeri while serving in the military during WWI. According to them, the copy of the index card, along with associated information, indicated that he was naturalized in the U. S. District Court, Western District of New York in 1918. But I needed to contact the NY office of the National Archives. I email them (twice) and am still waiting for a response.

I'm not sure if this is my great-grandfather, given that he was listed as "pa" in the 1920 census, but maybe this indexes when papers were filed not when naturalization was finalized. I also don't know whether he actually served in WWI. We'll see if they turn up anything. Leave no stone unturned.

Update (19 Oct 2011)

I received a reply. It turns out this belonged to someone who is definitely not my great-grandfather:

Military Petition Number S2-302 from the Western District Court of New York
Name – Angelo Palmeri
Address – Stationed at Fort Niagara, NY
DOB – January 14, 1887 at Perugia, Prov. Prorricia, Italy
Date of Naturalization – June 1918

Too bad. But now that I have a contact in the National Archives, I'm asking if they can search their records given the information I have. This is in parallel with a search request I submitted to Homeland Security. Still waiting.