Found my fourth great-grandfather Palmeri

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Jun 082015

I found the death certificate for my third great-grandfather Giovanni Palmeri, who was born abt 1812 and died 18 Dec 1843, at only the age of 38. It lists him as a contadino – a “peasant”. It lists his parents as Giuseppe Palmeri (my fourth great-grandfather) and Diega Batera (my fourth great-grandmother); on the death certificate itself, I can’t really read the first name – it seems like it says Giuseppe, but I can’t be certain. On the index, it seems to be a common abbreviation for Giuseppe. “Giuseppe” would make sense, since the tradition is to name someone’s first son after their father – my grandfather was Giuseppe because his grandfather was Giuseppe, and since my second great-grandfather was Giuseppe, my fourth great-grandfather would then be Giuseppe as well. Following that tradition, my first name should have been Joseph (Giuseppe) as well – linking me directly to an ancestor born in the late 1700s.

GiovanniPalmeri1843 PalmeriDeath-1843-index

May 252012

This is the death certificate for my great-great-grandfather, Emanuel De Guehery. He was killed in a railroad accident in 1894 at the age of 30, leaving his wife Marion to take care of six children, including a newborn. Some of the children went to live with Marion's family back in Chalk River, Ontario, until the family could be reunited several years later.

This gives some of the gruesome details of his death.

The chief and determining cause of death was "body crushed and cut to pieces".

Consecutive and contributing cause was "RR Engine".

May 212012

I received the death certificate for my great-great-grandfather, Emanuel De Guehery today. Not a lot of new information on it.

Emanuel De Guehery worked for the railroad and was killed in an accident on 14 Nov 1894.

Dinty Elliot has copies of the Buffalo Morning Express and Buffalo Evening News stories from 15 Nov:

“RAILROAD MAN KILLED Conductor de Guehery Caught his Foot in a Frog Late Yesterday and Met His Death. Edward de Guehery, a conductor in the freight yards of the Erie and East Buffalo, met his death in a horrible manner yesterday. He was pulling pins out of a train when his foot caught in a (switch) frog. Before he could get free Engine 686 struck him. He was killed instantly. He leaves a wife and three children. Coroner Tucker will hold an inquest.”

“RAILROADER KILLED Edward de Guehery Caught his Foot in a Frog in the Erie Yards and was Shockingly Mangled. Another railroader met his fate in the Erie Yards at East Buffalo yesterday afternoon. About 4 o’clock Edward de Guehery, a conductor for the Erie, was pulling pins near Babcock Street, when his right foot became caught in a frog. Before he could extricate it Engine No. 686 bore down on him and killed him instantly. He was shockingly mangled.

“de Guehery was 40 years old. He leaves a widow and three children. Coroner Tucker removed the body to the Morgue.”

The death certificate may explain why the story refers to "Edward" instead of "Emanuel". Since this was an accident, perhaps someone at the railroad yard – a supervisor perhaps – thought his name was Edward since the death certificate initially said "Edward DeGuehery". That was crossed out and "Emanuel DeGuehery" was written in its place. Clearly, they didn't get information from his wife since there is nothing written for father's name (Rudolph) and mother's name (Gottlieben/Katherine).

In addition, in the Saturday 17 Nov 1894 edition of the News, was the following notice:

“By Resolution of Hobab Lodge No. 681, I.O.O.F.

Whereas, Our worthy brother, Emanuel de Guehery, aged 30 years, while employed as a conducter in the Erie yards at East Buffalo, came suddenly to his death on Wednesday afternoon.

Resolved. The Hobab lodge feel with deep regret the loss of our brother, who leaves a wife and six children, the oldest 10 years and the youngest 5 weeks, to whom we extend our heartfelt sympathy.

Resolved. That Hobab lodge attend the funeral in a body on Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock, from Glass Street, South Buffalo, and the resolution be published in the daily papers and a copy sent to the bereaved wife of our departed brother. The Committee.”

According to Dinty's genealogy, "This must have been a tremendous shock to Marion to be widowed at age 30 with six children. She was a small woman, and rather frail, but she must have had a mighty strong spirit. Her brother, William Cuthbert, of Chalk River, immediately came to Buffalo by train, and made the funeral arrangements. Marion decided she would have to go to work to provide for her children. She chose to train as a nurse. Uncle Willie, as he was known, took five of the children back to the farm in Chalk River, by train, leaving Marion to care for her 6-week-old Edna, and commence her nursing training."

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.

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.

Mar 012012

My aunt had found what looked to be official birth and death certificates for my grandfather, Joseph Palmeri. I wasn't sure if they were indeed official and if they could be apostilled. Today I got them back in the mail.

apostille for my grandfather's birth certificate


apostille for my grandfather's death certificate

Feb 092012

Today my father called to say that he and his sister had found copies of their father's birth and death certificates. That saves both time and hassle, especially since the birth certificate requires a court order in NY State. Now I only need to have court orders to amend the documents that need to be amended.

They also said that they were going to try to get a copy of their parents' marriage certificate. There was none in my aunt's records. But they will try to get one issued from the City of Buffalo or New York State. Fingers crossed. 

Jan 142012

I have finally received a certified copy of the death certificate for my great-grandfather, Angelo Palmeri. It took several attempts, but we finally got it. No surprises. No errors. His last name is spelled Angelo Palmeri, like his birth certificate. Sending this to get apostilled.

death certificate for my great-grandfather, Angelo Palmeri

Jan 142012

My great-grandfather's death certificate arrived today. Samuel Wilson was born 30 August. While this says 1874, his naturalization documents say 1871. His wife, right after his death, fille this form out. He filled out his naturalization papers. So I'm going to assume that he was born in 1871.

He died 1 May 1946 in Kenmore, NY, of prostate cancer.

A couple new things from this document. One is his social security number. I can use that to order his social security application to see if that has some more information. The other is his mother's last name, or at least a possible last name. Some records say it's Elizabeth Watts. This says Elizabeth Gilliland or Gilliband.

Jan 102012

My great-great-great-grandmother, Margaret Ogilvie Downie, married Thomas Cuthbert; she was my mother's father's father's mother's mother, if you can grock that. Her brother, Anthony Downie, was born 31 Oct 1828 in Gorbals, Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland. He died 2 May 1877 at the age of 48 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Here is his death certificate. I had hoped to confirm the name of his mother. I know his father was David Downie. And the death certificate lists his name as David, so that's confirmed. This also confirms that his mother was named Jean. But I need some confirmation on her last name. Various records give it as McMicken or McMeaghan. But this only lists her name as Jean. I've also mailed California to get the death certificate for another brother, David Downie. Maybe that will show more.

Jan 062012

I finally gave up on ordering genealogical records from NY State. They cashed my checks back in July and still have yet to send me any records. I wrote a letter complaining, but I'm sure that will do no good.

So instead I've been emailing and writing various town clerks to see if they might have any vital records.

The Lockport Town Clerk found the death certificate for my wife's great-great-grandfather, John Morris. It's $11 for the death certificate but they charged no search fee upfront.

The Kenmore Town Clerk found the death certificate for my great-grandfather, Samuel Wilson. Again, no search fee. Just a $22 fee for a copy of the death certificate.

Now I'm hoping that this will have the names of his parents, specifically his mother. I have that his father, my great-great-grandfather, was David Wilson, and I even have what's thought to be a photo of David. What I'm unsure about is the name of his mother. It could be Elizabeth Watts. I'm also hoping that it will confirm both his birth date and his home town of Ballymena, Ireland.

Oct 292011

We heard back from the NYS Department of Health. My dad had applied to get a certified copy of his great-grandfather's death certificate for dual citizenship. He received a letter and form that needs to be notarized in order for NYS to release the death certificate.