Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rocco Angelo Parlante WWI Draft Card

WWI Draft Card, September 12, 1918
This is the WWI Draft card for my husband's Great Grandfather, Rocco Angelo Parlante(1880 - 1950).  He was his Nana's father.

It's full of good information.  It gives his address at the time, 830 Moore Street in Philadelphia.  His full birthdate is listed, April 21, 1880.  It states that he was a Naturalized citizen (He was from Italy). 

Of course his occupation is musician!  He worked for The Stanley Company.  He played in an orchestra in the Earle Theater on Market Street.  The orchestra would play during the silent movies.  His wife is there, Angelina.  I love that his signature is right there!  He is described as being of medium height, stout build, blue eyes, and light hair.

Rocco Angelo Parlante
1880 - 1950

Monday, January 24, 2011

Andy Riccardi - Brother of A. Rex Riccardi

Here's an article that I came across that mentions my Mom-in-law's Uncle Andy and her father.  It discusses a union dispute of which I do not yet know the outcome.  However, I like it because it mentions the Riccardis and it tells me what Andy did for a living.  He was a Bass player in an Orchestra.  Also, it gives A. Rex Riccardi's title, "Executive Assistant".  He was the American Federation of Musicians President's right hand man!  Could this family have more musicians?!  Just you wait and see!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A. Rex Riccardi - Death Notice, 1953

This is what you can find when you search on google.  This is my Mom-in-law's father.  He passed away when she was young.  He was First assistant to the head of the American Federation of Musicians.

This is from Billboard Magazine.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Antonio Riccardi's Candy Store - Today

I am researching my Grandfather-in-law, A Rex Riccardi, today.  While trying to hunt down where he lived with his parents and family when the 1920 census was taken, I googled their address from 1930.  This was when Rex's father, Antonio, owned and operated a candy store.  Well, this is a picture from 2009 of the location.  The property is located at Passyunk and Montrose.  I "walked around" a bit using street view and I would guess that the store front was on Passyunk.  It was a corner store but has since had the front on Passyunk bricked up.  Now it looks to me like it's a residence with access from Montrose.
This is the view from Passyunk...looks like the logical store front to me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Matilda "Tillie" Dingler Murphy

Tillie was my Paternal 2nd Great Grandmother.  She was born in Ocober of 1859.  She was my father's (Raynor Robinson), mother's (Lettie Mae Black), mother's (Lettie Mae Dingler) Mother.  Can you follow that?

I am unsure of Tillie’s maiden name.  The first record that I’ve found of her is the 1880 census.  She was married to John H Dingler by this point.  They had a daughter named Lettie Mae (Letta in the census record).  John was a police officer for the city.  They resided at 2314 Commerce Street.

Unfortunately, most of the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire, so I am unable to locate them there!

They lived at 2508 Moyer Street in 1900 and at this point Lettie was married and no longer living with them.  Elmer and James lived at home; they were 12 and 15 working as laborers at a pottery company.

In 1910, Tillie lived at 2328 E. Firth Street alone with a boarder (Charles Miller).  Her husband John lived with his parents.  John is listed as single in the 1910 census and Tillie is listed as widowed.  I think it was common for women to be listed as widowed when they were divorced!  Why did they divorce??

John passed away in 1914, from a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head.   Death certificate also says “suicide while temp deranged”.   At the time that John died, Tillie and John lived at 2634 Jeanney St.  Did they get back together since 1910!?  Tillie remarried in 1918 to William Murphy.

In 1920, Tillie and William lived at 2639 Aramingo Avenue.  William was 11 years younger than Tillie.  He was a boilermaker at the shipyard.  They rented this home.  My Dad tells me that boilermaker's were big drinkers...hence the drink name!!

In 1930, Tillie and William owned a home at 2435 Ann Street.

I look forward to the release of the 1940 census, some time next year!  Hopefully I will find them there!

All along, Matilda’s parents are listed as being from Ireland.  I need to find the marriage certificate for her and John Dingler in the hopes of finding her maiden name.

My Dad and Aunt Norma have told stories of Tillie living or visiting with Lettie Mae and Mervyn (Mom and Pop Black) on Aramingo Avenue.

My Dad guesses that she died around 1944, but I am unsure.  I cannot locate a death certificate.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Death Certificate: John H. Dingler

John Died in 1914

John was my 2nd Great Grandfather on my dad's side. This is where the tiny bit of German sneaks into my blood!  I was shocked when I first located this Death Certificate.  Cause of Death:  "Gun Shot Wound of Head.  Suicide while temporarily deranged"  Wow!  He was a Philadelphia Police Officer who lived in the Port Richmond, maybe hovering on Kensington section of Philly. 

I found this a couple years ago.  I remember Aunt Grace telling me that she remembered that Tillie's last name had been Dingler.  She remembered eavesdropping on a conversation that she wasn't supposed to hear.  The fact that they had a German background had been hidden from them.  I never heard about it.  My dad didn't know until Aunt Grace shared it with me.  This was during the World War II era, they were afraid the kids would be called nazis.  But, knowing that Tillie's name was Dingler, I was able to locate this document.  While it is morbid, it provides good information.  Both of his parents are listed, including his mother's maiden name.

It also states that he is buried at North Cedar Hill Cemetary.  I wanted to add him to my cemetary visitation list, so I contacted the cemetary.  After they looked it up they had no record of him.  I plan to call again.  My Aunt has mentioned that she thinks that Tillie is there as well!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

World War I Draft Card: Rocco Angelo Parlante

It's a bit hard to read, but great anyway!  Rocco was my husband's Great Grandfather.  Not that he ever knew him.  He died when My Mother-in-law was quite young. This was Nana's Dad!  His wife was Angelina Marrone.

I LOVE his name, it's just wonderful!  He was born in Bisenti, Italy on April 21st, 1880.  Bisenti is near the sea, on the eastern side of Italy, kind of across from Rome.

He was a musician and worked for The Stanley Company.  He worked in an orchestra that would play in the theater while silent movies were playing.

They lived on Moore Street in what I'm guessing is South Philly.  There is a lot more to be told about Rocco, but I'm focusing on this Draft record, for now!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Smyczynski's Candy Store

I just wanted to share this picture.

She is so cute!  This is my Granny, Helen Smyczynski.  It is from a newspaper clipping about the candy store.  It was taken in 1953, so I assume it was shortly after they opened.  I love the sign behind her.  It says "Credit Makes Enemies, Let's be Friends!" 

Helena Jospehine Samsel Smyczynski (aka My Granny)

This is my favorite
picture of Granny
1.10.1906 to 3.10.1992
Since this week was Granny’s birthday, I will write about her!  Granny would have been 105 this past Monday!  Helena Josephine Samsel was born on January 10, 1906 to Polish-Catholic immigrant parents in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia.  Her parents, Ignatius Samsel and Julianna Gadomska(Gadomski), both came to this country from Poland.  Helen was the oldest girl of the 8 siblings in her family.  If I remember correctly there were also 3 or 4 siblings who died when they were babies.  Helena was christened on January 21st at St Adalbert's Roman Catholic Church on Allegheny Avenue.
While it appears that the Samsel family stayed in the Port Richmond area throughout Helen’s life, I am unable to locate them in the 1910 or 1920 censuses. 
In 1918, Helen made her First Holy Communion at St Adalberts. She attended school there until 8th grade.  She then had to help the family by going to work.  By 1930, Helen was 24 and living with friends of the family, the Pachuckis at 2532 Gillingham Street.  It looks as though this was in the Bridesburg section of Philly.  She worked as a reeler in a woolen factory. 

Two Helens
Granny is on the right holding her dog, Esso.
She is with her sister-in-law.

On January 27th, 1932, she married Zygmunt James Smyczynski (he went by Jimmy) at St Ann’s Church in Frackville, PA, which is northwest of Pottsville.  Helen’s cousin SJ Gartska was the minister.  This is why they went out there to marry.
Helen and Jimmy (Sonny Boy, as he was known to his family) had their first child, Leonard Vincent Smyczynski on April 27th, 1934.  He was born at Northeastern Hospital.  I knew him as Uncle Lenny.  Helen and Jimmy then had their little girl, Constance Helena Smyczynska.  She was born on Mother’s Day, May 14th, 1939.
The Smyczynski families often used Smith as a last name.  They did this to avoid discrimination and misspellings.  It does make it quite difficult to track them all down!  The children seem to have always been Smyczynski, but Helena and Zygmunt Smyczynski frequently went by Helen and James Smith.
Helen and James opened a candy store to help pay the tuition for Connie to attend Nazareth Academy High School for girls.  She started there in 1953 and graduated with High Honors in 1957. They were very proud of her accomplishments while there. 
Both children married and had families of their own.
Granny with my sister,
Donna Rae in Merchantville, NJ.
James died in 1970 from a heart attack.  It was quite sudden.  I never met my Grandpop, since I wasn’t born until 1973.  I know that my Mom and Granny really struggled with the adjustment.  My Mom frequently told me how great my Dad was at the time.  He really helped her cope.  I found a note that My Mom sent to My Granny in 1976, 6 years after his passing.  Having realized that we often take people for granted until its too late, she wanted to thank her mother for all that she did.
She remained very close to Connie and her family.  Unfortunately, money came between her and Lenny’s family.  I remember him from when I was very young.  Then we never really saw them. 
I spent so much time with Granny.  I absolutely adored her.  She lived at Belgrade and Ontario Streets in Port Richmond.  I visited her on most weekends.  I would sleep over Saturday to Sunday, or Monday if I was lucky enough to be forgotten when my dad was heading home from the city! My Dad would arrive home from working in the city and my Mom would say, “Did you forget something?”  Whoops!  We would get the call that he forgot me and we would both celebrate!  I was “Her Becky”!
Granny, Donna Rae and Me
Easter 1982
I spent 2 weeks with her most summers.  Occasionally, my girlfriend, Tracey, would join me!  We loved to play in her tiny back yard.  It was all concrete, but fun and secluded.  She would set up a little pool for us and we’d let our barbies swim!
Thinking about this now makes me sad, not so much for me, but for my kids!  I would have loved for them to have developed a similar relationship with my Mom.  I think my eldest nieces were lucky enough to have had something similar with her.  I think my kids have a chance at that with their Dram!
Granny was at our house for all of the holidays.  I was always excited when my dad would bring her up from the city.  My dog, Freckles, got very excited to see her, as well.  He ate like a king when she was around!  She cooked special meals for him.  Bacon, just for him, or Meatballs, for the pup!  Spoiled!
Granny in 1991
Granny passed away shortly after I went away to college.  She had been suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease for quite some time.  It was terrible to see.  My Mom took great care of her at our house.  I remember the day of her funeral, us grandkids wanted to be the pallbearers.  I couldn’t do it…I was crying too pathetically.  My Uncle Jim jumped in to take my place! 
I love and miss you Granny, and Happy Birthday Week!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ida Alice Mason Robinson Kuster (Mom Kuster)

October 1877 – About 1945

Ida was born in Pennsylvania, most likely in Philadelphia.  Her parents, Samuel and Sarah were born in England.
The first record of her, that I have found, is the 1880 census.  Ida Mason was 4 when the census was taken on June 9th, 1880.  She lived with her family at 1923 Emma Street.  Based on a quick search, Emma street no longer exists.  However, if I look at previous pages in the census, I would say it was around Dauphin Street and Germantown Avenues.  Her brother, Joseph was two years old and George was only one month old.  Her father worked in a Woolen Mill.

Ida with Thomas, Samuel and James

She married Thomas C Robinson in about 1898.  My grandfather, Samuel Raynor Robinson,  was born in 1899.  In 1900, they lived on G Street, near Venango, they owned this house.  My grandfather, Samuel was 5 months old at the time of the census.   Thomas’ parents lived on G Street as well, at address 3439.  James B Robinson, whom I knew as Uncle Pete, was born in 1901.
Ida is pictured here with the Robinson Clan.
She is leftmost in the middle row.

I have been told that the family traveled back and forth to England together.  This included Thomas and Ida’s family, his siblings and their families and his parents, John and Mary.  They went to England to work in the winters.  Thomas was a bricklayer, as were his father and brothers.

Lettie Mae and Ida
in Atlantic City

When the 1910 census was taken, Thomas’ father, John Raynor had passed and Thomas, Ida, Samuel and James moved in with Mary (Thomas’ mother).  Thomas’ younger sister, Lillie M and her husband, Harry, lived there as well!  That was a fullhouse!  Thomas' sister Mary Lizzie lived next door at 3441 G Street. 
Thomas died February 21st, 1911.  When he passed, they lived at 807 Shiller Street.  The death certificate states that he died of epilepsy with a contributing factor of mental derangement!

Sam, Jimmy, Norma and Grace with Ida

Sometime after Thomas passed, Ida married Henry Benhard Kuster, known as Ben Kuster.  In 1920, they lived at 3546 G Street.  Ida’s children, Samuel and James, lived with them.  Ben was a carpenter and had come to the US from France when he was 10.  
Mom Kuster with Uncle Sam
and Aunt Norma
Fox Chase

By 1930, Ida and Ben lived at 3029 Cedar Street.  Ben built this house.  They lived there with a "Roomer" by the name of Joseph P. Little.  For whatever reason, Ben is listed at 3031 Cedar, however this was a garage.   The property as a whole was worth $20,000 at the time.  The story craziest story that I've heard about Ben pertains to his car.  My father and his siblings were young when he was still alive.  In fact, my dad barely remembers him.  He would "electrify" his car by hooking it to the light somehow.  If the kids touched the car, they would get shocked!  WOW!

Mom Kuster, Mom Black and Bill?
Grandmom Robinson at Fox Chase
After Ben passed away, Ida lived at 3029 Cedar Street for a while but she couldn’t keep up with it financially.  Her sons, Sam and Jim took over the home and moved Ida to Sargeant Street.   Sam and his family lived in the Cedar Street house.  When the 1940 census is released, I will search for Ida.  I hope it doesn't proove to be as difficult as finding her in the 1930 census was. 
I have been unable to determine the exact date of Ida's death but it is estimated at about 1945.  I have been looking at these pictures of Ida more closely lately, I would guess she had a pretty tough life, but she sure looks like she knew how to laugh!