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.



Nov 152012

I while back, I did a mass mailing to a lot of Palmeris listed in the Buffalo phone book. I ended up finding a bunch of grandchildren (and one child) of the Palmeri brothers, Angelo, Calogero, Pietro, and Salvatore.

This week, I got a message from a grandson of a Pasquale Palmeri, who was also born in Serradifalco. Apparently, Pasquale, born in the 1860s, was a cousin of the Palmeri brothers and came over with them to the United States. Pasquale and his wife Ida and their family lived on 7th Street in Buffalo, the same street that my great-grandfather Angelo and his brother Calogero lived on.

He also sent a photo, probably taken in the days when the Palmeri brothers and Giambrone sisters – and their cousins – worked as farm laborers down in Eden, picking peas. I gave him the link to the Story of Charles and Barbara, and he recognized my great-grandmother, Maria (Giambrone) Palmeri, and her sister, Barbara (Giambrone) Palmeri – women that he could never identify in this photo.

Oh, and the Jim Palmeri in this photo is the person who accidentally shot Josephine (Palmeri) Christopher with a BB gun in the story of Charles and Barbara.

back row: Jim Palmeri, Lucy Palmeri, her husband Charlie Palmeri
middle row: prob. Barbara (Giambrone) Palmeri, Ida Palmeri (mother of Jim, Charlie, and Sam),
unknown, Maria (Giambrone) Palmeri
bottom row: Alfred Portale (married to Connie Palmeri), Pasquale Palmeri in front of him (son of Charlie and Lucy),
Sam Palmeri, unknown, Ida Palmeri (daughter of Charlie and Lucy)

Jan 262012

I found the marriage record for my great-great-grandparents, Giuseppe Giambrone and Giuseppa Amico, from Serradifalco, Sicily.

They were married 10 May 1885. It gives my great-great-grandfather as 24 years old (born abt 1861) and my great-great-grandmother as 20 years old (born abt 1865). It identifies their parents, my great-great-great-grandparents, who were until now unknown, as Vincenzo Giambrone and Francesca Ianello for Giuseppe, and Paolino Amico and Maria Catalano for Giuseppa.

Jan 062012

The apostille for my great-grandparents marriage in Pennsylvania arrived today. I think I'm going to try to use this without getting name mistake corrected. If I go to the consulate and they demand a correction, I'll deal with that then.

apostille for my great-grandparents marriage

Jan 012012

My great-grandparents birth certificates finally arrive from Serradifalco, Sicily. It took three letters along with a $50 order to myitalianfamily that still hasn't come. But at least they're here. 

the letter I wrote to get a birth certificate

birth certificate for my great-grandmother, Maria Giambrone

birth certificate for my great-grandfather, Angelo Palmeri

Dec 242011

My great-great-grandparents, Giuseppe (Joseph) Giambrone and Giuseppa (Josephine) D'Amico Giambrone were buried in the United German and French Cemetery in Buffalo, NY. Both were buried in Section 18. I knew that Josephine died before Joseph and that it was probably before 1920 based on her absence from the census record. From the cemetery records, I learned that she died on 18 Mar 1919 at 51 years old age.

grave record for my great-great-grandmother, Giuseppa (Josephine) Giambrone

Perhaps because Josephine died relatively young, and perhaps because the Giambrone's were rather poor immigrants, she was buried in a single grave. When Giuseppe died in 1942, he could not be buried next to Giuseppa, but he could be buried in the next lot over. He is buried in Section 18, Lot 3, Line H, Grave 14. She is buried in Section 18, Lot 5, Line G, Grave 43.

From the gravestone, I also see that my great-great-grandmother was D'Amico, not Amico. Or perhaps it was spelled both ways?

my great-great-grandmother, Giuseppa (Josephine) D'Amico Giambrone

my great-great-grandfather, Giuseppe (Joseph) Giambrone

gravesite record for my great-great-grandmother, Giuseppa (Josephine) Giambrone


gravesite record for my great-great-grandfather, Giuseppe Giambrone

map of United German and French Cemetery

Dec 162011

My great-grandparents' marriage certificate arrived today. My great-grandfather, Angelo Palmeri, was 25 years old. My great-grandmother, Maria Giambrone, was 19 years old. They were both living in Yatesboro. My great-grandfather's brother, Calogero Palmeri, was the guardian for my great-grandmother (apparently, 19 was not of legal age in Pennsylvania to marry without permission). He was married to Barbara Giambrone, Maria's older sister. It lists my great-grandfather as a miner and my great-grandmother as a housekeeper.

They were married on 5 Nov 1910 in Yatesboro in St. Mary's Church. Salvatore Baglio (probably the brother-in-law of Angelo and Calogero's brother Peter) and Sam Iannello (probably the brother-in-law of Angelo and Calogero's brother Salvatore) were witnesses.

Unfortunately, my great-grandfather's name is misspelled Angelo Palmieri and my great-grandmother's name is misspelled Maria Giambroni. I guess I will be needing to do a court appearance in Pennsylvania sometime too. Ugh.

But it's so clear that they were illiterate. Note that they all signed the documents with an X. It says "his mark" and "her mark".

marriage certificate for Angelo Palmeri and Maria Giambrone

Dec 142011

Last week, I emailed several churches in Buffalo in order to find a record of marriage for my great-grandparents, Angelo Palmeri and Maria Giambrone. NY State said they had no record, but they also said that marriage licenses were not required until a few years after my great-grandparents were married.

Today I received this wonderful email from someone at Holly Cross Church:

We received your request for a copy of your great grandparents, Angelo and Maria Palmeri’s, marriage certificate. You wrote that your great-grandparents were married around 1910. Our records begin in 1914, when our parish was founded, so your great-grandparents marriage record is not here.

I did some research. Our records show that your great-grandfather was buried from here. Having the date of death, I was able to find his death notice in the Buffalo Evening News. Then having the names of his siblings, which were listed in the death notice, I was able to find his listing on the 1910 U. S. Census. With this information, I located your great-grandparent’s marriage record. It was in Saint Mary Mother of God Catholic Church in Yatesboro, Pennsylvania. I called the Saint Mary Mother of God parish office and told them to send a copy of the marriage certificate here. When we receive it, we will mail it to you.

Your great-grandparents were married on November 11, 1910.

I will also be contacting (again) the Armstrong County clerk to see if they have an official copy. Then I will need to get them apostilled.

Nov 262011

I requested official certified copies of the 1900, 1910, and 1920 US census showing my great-grandfather, Angelo Palmeri. They arrived today. The 1910 is from Pennsylvania, where he and his brothers were coal minres. The 1920 and 1930 are from Buffalo.

Now if they could send me something on his naturalization, I'd be happy.

1910-NARA certified census

1920 NARA-certified census

1930 NARA-certified census

Nov 202011

The mystery of where and when my great-grandparents were married continues.

Today I received a "NO RECORD CERTIFICATION" from the NY State Department of Health. No record of marriage was found for the period 1 Jan 1910 (before my great-grandmother immigrated) and 31 Dec 1911 (after my grandfather was born).

Next to do is see if I can search Buffalo records.

Next after that is to get a search and certification from Serradifalco (even though she lists herself as single on the immigration manifest).

Update 4 Dec 2011

I learned that before around 1915, an official marriage certificate was not required. So it's quite possible that my great-grandparents were married in the church without ever having obtained a marriage certificate. I have mailed Holy Angels and Holy Cross Roman Catholic Churches on the West Side of Buffalo to see if they could possibly search their church records for me.

Update 10 Dec 2011

One of the churches also suggested that I contact St. Joseph's and St. Anthony's in Buffalo. Both were founded in the 1800s. Particularly, St. Anthony's was the church for many Italian immigrants.

Update 14 Dec 2011

It turns out that my great-grandparents were married in Yatesboro, Pennsylvania.

for Angelo Palmeri and Maria Giambrone marriage

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 272011

This evening, I searched microfilm of birth records (Atti di Nascita) from Serradifalco and found my great-grandparents, Angelo Palmeri and Maria Giambrone.

Not only is this an interesting tidbit, but I needed to make sure that these records could be found in order to apply for dual citizenship. This at least proves that these records existed when the LDS church microfilmed the Serradifalco records.

Angelo Palmeri, born 27 Jan 1886 in Serradifalco, Sicily

Maria Giambrone, born 12 Apr 1890 in Serradifalco, Sicily

Oct 232011

From various census records, and because my grandfather was born in the US in 1911, I knew that my great-grandfather came to the US sometime between 1904 and 1910. The 1920 census said 1907 or so, the 1930 census said something like 1904, but it was hard to read. I had no luck at all finding his immigration record on I was reading a genealogy book and was reminded about

I suppose I always figured that it was just the free version of what I was already paying for with my occasional subscriptions. I should have realized that these are independently transcribed and indexed, so it was quite possible to find something on one and not on the other. Sure enough, with a search I found my great-grandfather, Angelo Palmeri.

Angelo Palmeri
arrived on 1 May 1909
departed out of Palermo
traveled on the "Italia" (see below)

"Italia" : Built by D. and W. Henderson and Co Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland, 1903. 4,806 gross tons; 400 (bp) feet long; 49 feet wide. Steam triple expansion engine, single screw. Service speed 14 knots. 1,420 passengers (20 first class, 1,400 third class).One funnel and two masts. Steel hull with two decks. Built for Anchor Line, British flag, in 1903 and named Italia. Mediterranean-New York to 1922 service. Later Glasgow-New York service. Scrapped in 1923.

Interestingly, it lists him as "single" in 1909. That means that he came the US in May 1909, married my great-grandmother Maria Giambrone when she came in June 1910, and my grandfather Joseph Palmeri was born in October 1910.

Angelo was traveling with his sister-in-law, Pietro Palmeri's wife, Giuseppa (Baglio) Palmeri, and his nephew, Pietro's son, Giuseppe Palmeri. The manifest says Angelo was joining his brother Pietro too. Until this past summer, I never knew that my great-grandfather had a brother Pietro, so if I found this before, I would have just rejected it out of hand.

The manifest goes say that they are going to "Yatesboro, PA". Originally I just chalked that up to the immigration officer continuing ditto marks from the people above them. Those listed above him were also from Serradifalco, so he probably assumed they were all going to the same place.

But now I'm a bit uncertain. On the 1920 and 1930 Census, when I found both Pietro and Salvatore and their families, it notes some of their children having been born in Pennsylvania. It could well be that those two brothers spent some time in Pennsylvania (possibly Yatesboro), had some children born there, and later moved to Buffalo.

Serradifalco was a sulfer mining community, and a number of immigrants from there went to work in mines in Pennsylvania. I found some things online that indicated that Yatesboro had coal mines in the early 1900s that were run by the Cowanshannock Coal Company. 

So, it looks like my great-grandfather first went to Yatesboro, Pennsylvania, where his brothers Pietro and Salvatore were, possibly working in the coal mines, before heading to Buffalo to join his brother Calogero.

manifest for Angelo Palmeri

My great-grandmother, Maria Giambrone, arrived 24 June 1910. She was going to stay with her sister, Barbara Giambrone, and her brother-in-law, Calogero Palmeri, at 174 Terrace St. in Buffalo.

manifest for Maria Giambrone

Also on, I found that brothers Pietro and Salvatore Palmeri arrived 30 June 1907. They were going to join brother Calogero who was living at 174 Terrace St. in Buffalo. The manifest also lists father Giuseppe in Serradifalco. They arrive on the "Perugia". It may well be that after joining their brother they went to work in the coal mines for several years in Yateboro, Pennsylvania.

"Perugia" : Built by D. and W. Henderson and Co Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland, 1901. 4,438 gross tons; 375 (bp) feet long; 47 feet wide. Steam triple expansion engine, single screw. Service speed 13 knots. 1,170 passengers (20 first class, 1,150 third class).One funnel and two masts. Steel hull with two decks. Built for Anchor Line, British flag, in 1901 and named Perugia. Mediterranean-New York service. Torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off Italy on 3 December 1916.

manifest for Pietro and Salvatore Palmeri

I also found Maria's father, my great-great-grandfather, Giuseppe Giambrone, and her mother, my great-great-grandmother, Giuseppa Amico Giambrone. They arrived Jun 13, 1913, out of Palermo, on the "Principe di Piemonte". They were going to daughter Grazia (Grace) Giambrone at 68 Efner St., Buffalo, NY. He was listed as a laborer. They were also traveling with two of their daughters, Concetta and Paulina, and their son, Vincenzo.

"Principe di Piemonte" : Built by Sir James Laing & Sons Limited, Sunderland, England, 1889. 6,560 gross tons; 430 (bp) feet long; 52 feet wide. Steam triple expansion engines, twin screw. Service speed 14 knots. 1,960 passengers (60 second class, 1,900 third class).Two funnels and two masts. Built for Lloyd Sabaudo, Italian flag, in 1889 and named Principe di Piemonte. Italy-New York service. Sold to Uranium Steamship Company, in 1914 and renamed Principello. Rotterdam-New York service. Sold to Cunard Line, British flag, in 1916 and renamed Folia. Only one trip Avonmouth to New York service. Torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off the Irish coast. on February 11, 1917.

manifest for Giuseppe, Giuseppa, Vincenzo, Concetta, and Paulina Giambrone

Oct 152011

One of the first suggestions you get when you start doing genealogy is to talk to your relatives. Well, sometimes it takes a little work to figure out who your relatives are.

Last spring, I used a brute force approach, sending letters to about a dozen Palmeris listed in the Buffalo phone book. I included a bit of the Palmeri family tree, asking if any of them were related to Charles and Barbara Palmeri, brother and sister to my great-grandparents. One of the letters apparently went to the son of a second cousin of my father. He passed it on to his father who gave me a call. We met over the summer and he gave me a lot of information on the Palmeri family that I talk about in another post.

He also gave me some contacts on the Giambrone side. I talked to one Giambrone cousin who put me in touch with another Giambrone cousin.

From her, I learned that my great-great-grandfather, Giuseppe Giambrone, and my great-great-grandmother, Giuseppa (Josephine) (Amico) Giambrone, both came to the United States. He died around 1941. She died before him and is buried in Mount Calvery Cemetery in Buffalo. Now I know where to turn to get their death records, which should be filled with information. I'm also sending a letter to the cemetery asking them for whatever information they have on file. She also sent me a detailed genealogy of the Giambrone cousins.

In addition to the useful written information, I got a photograph of my great-great-grandfather!

Giuseppe Giambrone, probably abt 1920

And a photo of my great-grandfather, Angelo Palmeri, my grandfather, Joseph Palmeri, and my great-grandmother, Maria (Giambrone) Palmeri.

Angelo, Joseph, and Maria Palmeri abt 1918

Oct 082011

Until now,this is what I know:

Based on the Social Security Death Index, found by searching on, I know that my great-grandfather, Angelo Palmeri, was born 27 Jan 1886 and died in Sep 1969. Based on census records, I know that my great-grandmother, Maria (Giambrone) Palmeri, was born abt 1891. I know from talking with with my dad that she probably died somewhere between 1970 and 1975.

I try calling Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Buffalo, where I know my grandfather is buried. Maybe his parents, my great-grandparents, are buried there as well. No, they're not. But the cemetery suggests calling Mount Calvary, which is right across the street.

I call Mount Calvary. Sure enough, they're buried there. Awesome!

They can tell me that my great-grandfather died 29 Sep 1969 at the age of 83 and that my great-grandmother died 11 Jul 1972 age the age of 82.

Unfortunately, they have no record in the office about their birth date. But they give me the location of the grave site.

My sister takes on my mission to find their grave. With some calls back and forth, including some searches of google maps by me while on the phone with her, she locates the grave marker and sends me a picture:

gravemarker for my great-grandparents, Maria and Angelo Palmeri

Maria (Giambrone) Palmeri was born in 1890. I don't know the day or month, but this narrows things down a lot from where I was only yesterday.

Jul 202011

After I learned that my great-grandfather, Angelo Palmeri, had a brother, Charles, and that Charles and Angelo had married sisters, Maria and Barbara, I set about trying to find more information. 

Palmeri is not a very common name outside of Buffalo, NY. I think my wife and I are the only Palmeris in Nashville. I figure that at least some of the Palmeris living in Buffalo are related. So I send out about a dozen letters to various Palmeris listed in the phone book. A few weeks later, I get a call from someone who turns out to be my dad's second cousin. He knows my dad, not just as family, but because they both worked for the Buffalo Board of Education. His son, who is probably about my age, received one of my random letters and gave it to him.

Chuck was a treasure of information about the Palmeri family. I learned that Angelo and Charles had two brothers, Samuel and Peter, who also came to Buffalo, and that they may have left a sister, Maria, in Serradifalco. I also learn that Maria and Barbara Giambrone – I finally know their last name for sure – had three sisters and a brother who came to Buffalo and a sister who stayed in Sicily. I also learn that my great-great-grandparents, Giuseppe and Giuseppa Giambrone, parents to the Giambrone clan, also came to Buffalo. I recently learned that they are buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Buffalo.

They shared information about the Palmeri family. They knew by grandfather and grandmother well. They shared information about Serradifalco, including a video that showed the homes my great-grandparents had been born in and that showed a street named after the family in Serradifalco, Via Palmeri.

But maybe the coolest thing they shared was a story of my great-great-aunt and uncle, Charles and Barbara (Giambrone) Palmeri.

You can click here for the full story: Story of Charles and Barbara (Giambrone) Palmeri

There is a lot of really interesting information in their about life as a young immigrant family.

Every summer, the Palmeris and Giambrones would go to the Eden Valley to pick peas and beans. All of the adults and children would work and they would sleep in a barn. They were paid 1 cent a per pound for peas and 2 cents per pound for beans. As the boys got older, they would graduate from picking to hoeing and running machinery.

Apparently, my grandfather, Joseph Palmeri, used to go down every summer until he got married. My father remembers going down there occasionally as a child. But according to my dad, his mother had no interest in being anywhere near farm work. 

Barbara and Maria (Giambrone) Palmeri