The Gift of a Genealogy Goldmine


The gift of a “genealogy goldmine.”  When the clipped newspaper articles are practically crumbling in your hands, you are viewing photos of people born in the 19th century, and the scent of paper older than 100 years lingers in the air, you know you were gifted the “genealogy goldmine.”  That is what my mother’s cousin – a Ferraro cousin – gifted me the other day.  You probably saw the photo of Angelo Ferraro on Facebook wearing the top hat and his Italian military medals with the explanation from the Italian article describing his military campaigns.  That piece of gold and the stories she shared were the best part!

Someone in the family kept clippings, pictures, and programs related to these early Italian immigrants in my ancestry.  I am guessing this collection of memorabilia may have been started by my great grandmother Helen and continued by one of my great aunts after she passed.  There are many names in the “goldmine” I have heard, but can now put into context in the music industry.  Not to mention, there is another little mystery surrounding Immigrant #3 ~ Retired Army Captain and Merchant Angelo Ferraro and who he may have been working for in New York City before he passed away in Ohio in 1926.  More on that later after I sort it out.

Do you remember Immigrant #5 ~ The Disappearing Antonio Ferraro, brother of Carmine?  Well, I found a clue about Antonio, Gerry Valerioti (the husband of Angela Maria Ferraro), and Angelo Scarnecchia (husband of Elena Ferraro).


In 1910, my great grandfather and 6 other Italians apparently formed the Italo-American Forwarding Company in Chicago.  The description of the company in the torn pages from a publication we will never be able to name describes it as an import/export business that specifically specializes in Italian, French, and Spanish goods.  They claimed to have a New York office.  In the 1910 Chicago Census, Carmine was listed as a fruit broker.  Perhaps the Italo-American Forwarding Company imported produce.  You can see Gerry Valerioti and Angelo Scarnecchia were members of the incorporation and Antonio Ferraro is the Vice President!  Could Antonio have been in charge of the New York part of this enterprise?  Maybe he really spent time in Chicago?

Antonio is the Vice President of the company

Another clue I found on Antonio was a translated copy of a letter Carmine wrote to Antonio on February 1, 1948 that was sent to the “Augustinian College” at Santa Rita del Carmine, in Aversa, Caserta.  Was Antonio really the religious brother then?  What does this mean then about abandoning wife Elisa?  Below is a current photo of the Complesso del Carmine in Aversa.

ComplessoThe Augustinians left in 1959 and the complex closed in 1980 after it was damaged by an earthquake.  If you are wondering where Aversa is, it is a town about 5 miles outside of Napoli.

So now we know where Antonio was in the 1940s.  Did he have a family in Italy?  What was going on with this guy?  We now know he lived until at least 1948.  Could unraveling the next little mystery about my second great grandfather Angelo Ferraro lead us to another clue on Antonio in New York City?  Maybe.

The discoveries in my cousin’s gift continue!



Immigrant #23 ~ Great Grand Aunt Elena Ferraro Scarnecchia

Immigrant Elena Ferraro Scarnecchia was born in 1886 in Montecalvario, Naples and came to America in 1904 with her mother and sisters.  She was my great grand aunt, for she was the younger sister of my great grandfather Carmen Ferraro.  Carmen had five siblings: Antonio, Angela Maria Ferraro Valerioti, Gelsomina Ferraro Ciocco, Elena, and Giovania.  Elena was the second youngest.

I found Elena on the 1905 Census in Brooklyn still living with her parents Angelo Ferraro and Filomena Napolitano.  Neither she, nor her 3 sisters were working outside the home.  Same for their parents.

1905 NY Census
Brooklyn, 1905

By 1907, Elena’s parents Angelo and Filomena were living in Columbus, Ohio.  Elena was also likely in Ohio, because by 1908, she had married an Italian immigrant Angelo Scarnecchia and had given birth to their oldest, Armando Scarnecchia.

Elena’s husband Angelo Scarnecchia, according to the 1900 census, came to the United States at age 7 around 1890 and worked as a clerk in his father’s confectionary store.  His father was a confectioner in Warren, Ohio.

A Little Bit on Scarnecchia

Angelo Scarnecchia was born in 1883 in Barrea, L’Aquila, Abruzzo to Orazio Antonio Scarnecchia and Cleonice Santa D’Aquila.  Because I love the Italian records site Antenati, I traced the Scarnecchia’s back to the late 1700s in Barrea, L’Aquila to the great grandparents of Angelo Scarnecchia named Clemente Scarnecchia and Maria Loreta Vecchione.  They were farmers.  I stopped there even though it could have been possible find two more generations.


Antonio Scarnecchia 1815 birth
Antonio Scarnecchia’s birth record from 1815 via Antenati.


Back to my great grand aunt…In 1909, Elena and Angelo had their second son, Orazio (John Horace Sargent) in Wheeling, West Virginia.  Angelo’s parents were also living in Wheeling at the time.  By 1917, Elena and Angelo had moved back to Warren, Ohio, and had their only daughter, Cleonice Elena (Henriksen).  Angelo was working in his own company at this time, according to his World War I draft registration card – Foreign Exchange/Real Estate which also appeared on the 1920 census.  They had two more sons, Angelo and Robert.

My great great grandfather Angelo Ferraro was living with the Scarnecchia’s in Ohio at the time of his death in 1926.  In fact, Angelo Scarnecchia bought the plot to bury Angelo Ferraro in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Youngstown.  He is the only person in the unmarked plot.  Margerita Valerioti also lived with Elena (her aunt) and her family after her mother Maria Angelia Ferraro Valerioti died in 1918.

In the early 1930s, Angelo Scarnecchia was working as a clerk at Warren State Bank.  I found a couple of newspaper references to Angelo Scarnecchia in Ohio.  In this Akron Beacon clip from May 1930, there was a reference two incorporations bearing his money and name in Warren, Ohio:

ohio incorporations

I found another reference to these incorporations as Scarnecchia and Orlando.  Angelo Scarnecchia died in Los Angeles in 1956.

Elena’s Children:

When I was researching Elena’s children, I lost track of Armand after he appeared to marry in New York City to Ethel DeNaro.  With the number of Angelo Scarnecchias living in the Warren area of Ohio, I also had difficulty tracing that son.  Daughter Cleonice moved to New York City and was a singer like my great grandfather.  I confirmed that sons Orazio and Robert used and/or changed their surname to Sargent.  Robert and his wife Elizabeth were actors in Italian theater that toured the country and played to largely ethnic audiences.

BUT!  Robert was also listed as Scarnecchia in the Social Security Death Index.  Before he was in acting, he enlisted in the United States Navy as a junior grade Lieutenant during World War II.  He died in Nevada in 1996.  His son Bobby Sargent was a comedian who says he shortened his Scarnecchia name to Sargent when his surname got “too big for marquees” according to this clipped article I found from May 31, 1974 in the Reno, Gazette – Journal, in which he says Harpo and Chico Marx were his teachers:


Elena Ferraro Scarnecchia outlived all of the Ferraros in my ancestry that came to America from Naples in 1903 and 1904 and stayed.  She died in Los Angeles in 1964, a few short months after my great grandfather.


Ellis Island Passenger Lists

New York State Census

Federal Censuses

City Directories

New York City Marriage Index

Social Security Death Index

U.S. Navy Enlistment Records

Nevada Death Index

California Death Index

Cleonice Scarnecchia

National Archives – CF files


Next immigrant:  Great great grandmother Emilia Bold – the one with a German Junker ancestor, French ancestors, and Swiss ancestors.




Immigrants 21 and 22 ~ Fritz’s brothers Eduard Eckebrecht of the 4th Cavalry Regiment and Heinrich Ferdinand Christoph Eckebrecht a Druggist

My great great grandfather Fritz Eckebrecht had 5 siblings.  Carl, Auguste, Wilhelm, Heinrich Ferdinand, and Eduard.  His brothers Edward and Henry Ferdinand arrived in New York City on May 25, 1866 aboard the Jennie with him.  Edward was the baby of the family.  You can see him on the far left of this photo taken sometime between 1868 and 1875.  Henry is likely the tallest pictured in the middle back OR the gentleman on the far right.


Edward Eckebrecht

Edward was born in 1859 in Schwarzburg, Thuringia.  He was only 6 or 7 when he came to America with his family.  He looks very young in the above photo!  By 1880, he was living with his brother Wilhelm and working as a harness maker because his mother Marie Louise, seated above – middle, was already deceased.  His father Quirinus, seated above, was living with his oldest son Carl.  On September 27, 1880, at the age of 21, Edward enlisted in the United States Army in St. Louis, Missouri.  His profession was recorded as harness maker and he was listed as 5’5″, having blue eyes, light hair, and possessing a light complexion.  He was put into the cavalry, naturally, because he was a harness maker.  Of the 41 enlistments on the page I found him, he was 1 of 19 men born outside the United States.

Edward Eckebrecht.PNG

Edward was part of a famous regiment – the 4th Cavalry Regiment, Company B.  Edward would have enlisted at the time the United States was engaged in various struggles with Native American resistance in the West.  In fact, Edward enlisted in the 4th Cavalry Regiment at the time they had been sent to Colorado to “subdue” the Utes and then to Arizona to “subdue” the Apache. In Company B he would have served directly under then Colonel Ranald S. McKenzie, aka “Bad Hand/No Finger Chief”.  In October, the 4th Cavalry under MacKenzie was sent to New Mexico to “subdue” White Mountain Apaches, Jicarilla Apaches, Navajos, and Mescaleros. Edward deserted the United States Military on May 5, 1881.  About 1/3 of the page of enlistments where I located his name had deserted.

I find it incredibly interesting this Eckebrecht tale was lost to my side of the Eckebrecht family considering the fact that about ten years earlier his brother, my great great grandfather Fritz, was a “captive” of the Comanche in Texas. Uncle John had doubts about the word “captive” too.  See: The Multi-Faceted Life Of Fred Eckebrecht 1848-1920  If Fritz was a “captive” I never understood how he was allowed to visit a German family for Sunday dinner once a week.  Don’t forget the tale about our Fritz… during a civil case before a judge he spoke with his thick German accent.  A lawyer told him to speak more clearly – more “real American.”  Fritz replied in Comanche.  The lawyer asked him what he had said.  Fritz said, “That was real American, from the people who were here before we came…”

Nobody views desertion positively, right?  Since Edward was part of a military unit that at that time was forcing the Native Americans to reservations, there is no fault in his desertion…  That being said, unless the digging pans out with the potential brother of Johann Schuttler, a.k.a. “The Gigantic Brick Wall” ancestor, Edward was the first of the first in the Ferraro ancestry that served in any capacity in the United States Military.*  Edward Eckebrecht was an immigrant that enlisted to serve his new country.  He deserted for a reason we will probably never know.

*My 3rd great grandfather Johann “The Gigantic Brick Wall” Schuttler made wagons for the Union Army but never served. I am on the trail of a potential close relation to him that served in the Civil War for Illinois as a wagoner.

After he left the army, Edward married Mary Ruebhausen, a German-American.  They had two children:  Loretta and Elmer. By 1900 Edward was a machine engineer for a bank. He had a stepdaughter through that marriage – Sophie Eckebrecht.  Sophie married Gerald Brown.  Edward died in 1926 in Chicago.

Henry Ferdinand Eckebrecht

Researching Fritz’s brother Henry Ferdinand Eckebrecht gave me a hint about the migration of the Eckebrecht family to Chicago.  I always thought the Eckebrechts stopped off somewhere between arriving in NYC in 1866 and appearing in Chicago on the 1870 census.  I found the confirmation of Henry Ferdinand in the St. Paul’s First Lutheran Church in Chicago with a date of April 5, 1868.  So Quirinus and Louise Eckebrecht already had the family in Chicago by 1868.  I believe at this point that our Fritz was wandering around the Post-War South picking crops.

Henry Ferdinand was in the medical profession, the only sibling of Fritz that didn’t work in a laboring capacity.  He was a pharmacist. In fact, he was comfortable enough in the 1900 census to have a servant.  Henry Ferdinand married a German-American born in Wisconsin named Theresa Louise Engleman.  They had three children:  Henry Frederick, Theresa, and Albert.  Henry Ferdinand has many descendants on the West Coast today. Below is a photo of his son Henry Frederick that I retrieved from his Seaman’s Certificate application on Ancestry from 1918.

Henry Frederick Eckebrecht, 1918


Fritz has one sibling left.  Wilhelm.  He will be featured later in the year.  Follow this link to read about his brother Carl.  Follow this link to read about his sister Auguste.

Researching Edward Eckebrecht was a surprise for me.  You have to read everything on a military record!  I have not found any biological descendants of Edward alive after 1920.  I would like to research more about Edward’s time in the United States Army to find out what his Company did while he served. 


New York Passenger Lists

Chicago City Directories

United States Federal Censuses

Chicago Birth, Marriage, and Death Indexes

United States Social Security Death Index

Chicago 1892 Voter Registration

National Archives, U.S. Army Register of Enlistments

Father John G. Leies (Uncle John)

St. Paul’s First Lutheran, Chicago

Wikipedia – Ranald S. MacKenzie

Wikipedia – 4th Cavalry Regiment


Coming: Carmine’s sister Elena Ferraro Scarnecchia.

I do plan to do write-ups on the Gerbing immigrants (the family of my third great grandmother.) Her siblings had huge families, who had huge families, who are now allover the country.  They may likely come last.


Immigrant #10 ~ Cesidio Marcella, Construction Worker

Immigrant Cesidio Marcella, my great grandfather, was born in 1895 in Case Bruciate, Farindola, Pescara, Italy.  He came through Ellis Island in 1923 when he was 28 to earn money to send home to his family.


He was 1 of 15 children.   His aunt, Maria Marcella, was the midwife that was present at his birth.  He was the oldest child of his mother, Elisabetta Rossi.  She was the second wife of his father, Filippo.  Filippo had 9 children with his first wife, Maria Antonia Lacchetta, of which, the following, that I know of, survived to adulthood:  Raffaele (father of Gabriele Marcella), Pasqua, Filomena, and Serafina.  All of Filippo’s children to Elisabetta survived to adulthood.  In order of birth, they were: Cesidio, Maria Domenica, Antonia Vincenza, and Andrea Antonio.  Andrea greatly resembled his brother Cesidio.

At age 20, my great grandfather was made to perform military service during World War I in the 3rd Regiment Artillery.


Portion of his Military Draft Record


The above photo is the physical description written down by the commander when he reported for his mandatory military service.  His hair was straight and chestnut colored, his eyes were chestnut (we knew them as hazel) and his nose is described as greco for Greek.  His hair would redden in the sun.  At leggere/scrivere it says “si”, so he knew how to read and write.  His profession is contadino.

I would like someone again to tell me the name of the place in the North of Italy where he had boot camp.  After having served on the front line in the trenches in Austria, he was admitted to the military hospital in June 1916.  In October 1916, he was released to go home on permanent leave.  While he was away in the Army, his father had passed away in April of 1916..  I have the rest of his military record but some of the dates are so light I can’t make other things out.  Is anyone willing to try?

A few weeks ago, I found the marriage record of my great grandparents at the LDS.  Because of Italian privacy and contractual laws, this record is not available online for all to view, because it happened in 1919.  At that time, my great grandfather was still a farmer.  I will explore their marriage record later, on their anniversary.  But for the purposes of this post, a written paragraph at the bottom stated the marriage legitimized the birth of a child born to a natural union, she was named Maria Battistisimi, and was born in 1916.  Yes, it said 1916.  Maria, according to the marriage record, was born October 29, 1916.  When I first saw her birth date on my great grandfather’s petition for naturalization in the United States, I thought he misremembered the actual date.  I will post the paragraph later and you can decide if I did indeed read her birthdate correctly.  So how could she have been conceived while my great grandfather was in the trenches in Austria?  He must’ve been on leave, right????  I COULD EASILY get her birth record from Farindola…you tell me what you think after you read about the marriage on their anniversary.

My great grandparents had four children: Zia Maria, Zia L. (who is still alive), my grandfather Biagio Filippo (who perished in World War II in the Alpini), and Zio Alberino (who died in the United States).  Zia Maria married Iezzi.  Zia L. married Fiore Generosi, son of Giuseppe Generosi (a foundling from Teramo) and Maria Di Gregorio.  Alberino married another Farindolese who he brought to America, Gabriella Perilli, daughter of Angelo Perilli and Regina Colangelo.

After the birth of my grandfather, my great grandfather came to America.  The previous post about his travel to America, Naturalization and time here can be found at this previous post: On this day in 1923….

I believe my great grandfather looked like this when he became a citizen of the United States:


I don’t care what anybody says but when I do a quick double-take, my brother resembles this photo, sans mustache.  When his passport from 1929 becomes public record in a few years, we should have another young photo of him.

Cesidio’s Ancestry

When I started genealogy, someone in my family said to me, “The Marcellas have been in Farindola for centuries.”  It is simply true.  I have traced back directly to Donato Marcella (my 6th great grandfather), born around 1700 in my paternal line who was likely born in Farindola because I still have not found Marcellas born in any neighboring Pescara towns.


Donato may be the son of Domenico based on the number of Domenico Marcellas that were alive at the same time as my 5th great grandfather Domenico.  I think the wife of Donato Marcella may have been Domenica Cervo.  Unfortunately, I have only found one record that says the mother of Donato Marcella’s daughter was named Domenica Cervo, and that is on the death record of one Giustina Marcella, #110 Morti 1816, the widow of Mattia Macrini.  This is the link to her death at Antenati.


This tree is public on


Through what is available on Antenati in Pescara, the earliest baptismal record I could find of any related Marcella in our tree was from Anna Saveria Marcella, sister of my 4th great grandfather Giuseppe Antonio Marcella, and is from her 1818 marriage to Vito Antonio Di Vico.  Her baptismal extract is from 1773 and can be viewed at this link on Antenati.  You can see her grandparents are listed as Donato (Marcella) and Giacinto (Ferri).

The earliest record I could find of a Marcella being born in frazione Case Bruciate was the brother of my 3rd great grandfather, Massimo Nicola Marcella, named Vincenzo, who was born there on April 2, 1812.  Vincenzo’s birth record can be viewed here from Antenati on the right and continues to the next page.  Massimo Nicola married Maria Carolina Colangeli and they moved to frazione Trosciano and then back to frazione Case Bruciate.  It surprised me they lived in Trosciano, so perhaps any Marcellas there are relations of the Marcellas in Case Bruciate.

The Marcellas were farmers while their wives were filatrici (spinners) and levatrici (midwives).  There was a branch of Marcellas in Farindola in the late 1700s and first half of the 1800s that were falegnami (carpenters).  I have not been able to establish a connection between the contadini (farmers) and falegnami, even though they appeared in the same civil records as witnesses to each other’s life events.

Cesidio’s mother’s ancestry


Penne, Pescara


While Elisabetta Rossi was born in Baccuco (Arsita, Teramo), her father Giuseppe Antonio Rossi was born in Penne, and her mother, Anna Antonia Ricci, was born in Castiglione Messer Raimondo, Teramo.  However, all of Elisabetta Rossi’s grandparents were born in Penne and as you can see in Cesidio’s pedigree chart posted above, the tree is filled out to at least 6th great grandparents in most lines, and goes back further than can be pictured in one little snipping tool insert.  Elisabetta also descended from filatrici from Penne and most of the males I found in her lines were literate.  Penne, if I may compliment them, kept impeccable records and I am glad all of these records are available on Antenati.

A note about the Sciarras

Can you see Baldassare Sciarra in the pedigree posted above?  He is the 2nd great grandfather of Cesidio,  He was born in Fara San Martino, Chieti.  He was a lanaro, which meant he worked with wool, and/or was a merchant of wool.  Because Baldassare brought the surname Sciarra to Farindola, I am almost positive all of the Sciarra from Farindola today descend from him.  He married a Farindolese, Angela Gabriele Dell’Orso.  She was the daughter of Cinziarosa.



United States Naturalizations

United States Social Security Deaths


Arhives of Teramo (for military documents)

Archives of Pescara (

Comune di Farindola Anagrafe (our Colangeli cousin)

Zia C. in Canada

P. D’Angelo in Penne that assists with the Penne ancestry

Coming: The anniversary of the marriage of Cesidio Marcell and Serafina Merlenghi

Send me a message if you need an invitation to the tree on Ancestry.








Immigrant #8 ~ Carl Johann Eckebrecht, Grocery Company Owner, Saddle-Maker, Carpenter, and Foreman

Immigrant Carl Johann Eckebrecht was the oldest sibling of my great great grandfather Fritz Eckebrecht.  He was born in 1844 in Schwarzburg, Germany.  Uncle John was not certain when he came to America, but with research, it has been narrowed down to about 1863.  He appears to be the first Eckebrecht in Illinois, having stated he was living in the County of Cook and State of Illinois for 29 years on his 1892 Chicago Voter Registration Record.  Therefore, Carl got here before his brother Fritz and the rest of his clan did in 1866 on the ship the Jenny.  He would have been around 19 when he arrived in America and it would have been smack dab in the middle of the Civil War.

The earliest actual record I could find of Carl or Charles was in 1867, where he is listed in the Chicago City directory as Charles and he works at Eckebrecht & Company as a grocer.  This appears to be his own grocery company.  Next, from what was also noted on the Chicago Voter Registration listing of 1892, Charles stated he was naturalized in the Circuit Court of Cook County on September 7, 1868.

In the 1870 Federal Census he was living with his parents Quirinus and Louise and three of his younger siblings and was working as a carpenter. Around this time, Fritz was migrated through the Post-War south picking crops, and making his way to Texas, where he ended up being taken to live with Comanches.

Charles is either in the back center or the man on the far right

In the 1874 and 1875 Chicago City Directories, Charles is listed under the Heading for Harness and Saddle Makers.  He was married by this point to another German immigrant Bertha Rohrbach.  Their first child Minnie, or likely, Wilhelmina, was born.  By 1882, according to the City Directory, he is back to being a carpenter.

Charles may be the man in the back with the mustache.  Can anyone verify or refute this?

In 1896 and in 1897, a few years before he died in 1900, his occupation was listed as Foreman in the City Directory.   He died in 1900 and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery.

Charles had four children with Bertha: Minnie, Henry Charles, Anna, and Oscar Christian.

As you can see, Charles Eckebrecht’s Record of Administration references his wife, son Henry, and brother-in-law Charles Wolter (Augusta Eckebrecht’s husband).

Cook County Probate Records on

Charles Eckebrecht’s Children (Fritz’s Nieces and Nephews) and Their Descendants

Minnie Eckebrecht died in 1902.  Charles’ youngest son Oscar never married and worked at the Post Office as a clerk.  Daughter Anna married an English immigrant from London – Walter Smith.  It appears he entered America through Canada making the ethnicity of Anna’s child Harold Albert a Canadian in the Cook County Birth Index.  I question that reference on Ancestry though.  Walter was a type setting salesman according to the Federal Censuses.  Their son Harold Albert married Vera Lindsay and they had 3 children.  Harold was a copywriter at a publishing company.

This leaves us with the other son of Charles and Bertha – Henry Charles Eckebrecht, one of the most colorful descendants of any immigrant in the Eckebrecht line.  Henry Charles married another native of Chicago and German-American Mamie Schmidt.  She too was the daughter of German immigrants.  They had two children: Henry Charles Jr., who was struck and killed by an automobile driven by Ernest Keg at the age of 5, and Wilbur Mont Eckebrecht.  Pay attention to Wilbur’s middle name because it comes up later.

Wilbur Mont Eckebrecht married Gladys Florence Schweitzer.  They had a son that may still be alive so I will refrain from naming him.  He was elected President of the Illinois State Florist’s Assocation in 1969.  I have several photos of him from  Please email me if you would like to see them.

More on Henry Charles Eckebrecht (Fritz’s Nephew)

Henry Eckebrecht was in a kind of real estate business.  I did find newspaper references to real estate transfers.  One of the transfers was made in 1914 to Peter Tennes, the son of Jacob Mont Tennes, or just Mont Tennes.  That was not the only reference to Henry’s name to Mont Tennes in the Chicago newspapers.  Have you heard of Mont Tennes, Chicago King of Gamblers?  No?  Well then please google him or check out this well-referenced story by another blogger: Jacob Mont Tennes.  Mont Tennes ran a news bureau and a country-wide gambling circuit prior to the takeover of the Chicago underworld by Capone’s gang.  One of Mont’s associates was Big Jim O’Leary, grandson of the Mrs. O’Leary, of the Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow fame.  Mont Tennes was the son of German immigrants like Henry.

Henry was a bookkeeper of sorts for Mont Tennes and clients would visit Henry at their real estate office where money was taken.  Let me point out that Henry, nor Mont were ever convicted of any crime.  Don’t be surprised about this gambling business either because I found many references to Fritz’s brothers and nephews in the paper advertising bettings on sporting events, namely basesball, or winning at gambling on baseball in the Chicago newspapers.  Gambling wasn’t a crime.  Mont was important enough to this family of Eckebrechts for Henry to give the middle name to his son. 

Now in 1916, the future baseball Commissioner Landis was the Federal Judge that was called to oversee the Federal Grand Jury empaneled to investigate Mont’s news bureau. Rolling eyes. Henry testified and a portion of his testimony was in the October 3, 1916 Chicago Tribune below.  The first three clippings are taken exactly as they were printed in the paper but had to be clipped that way for easier reading.


Did you see who Mont’s lawyer was?  Clarence Darrow!


This last section was at the end of the article for that day:


Henry was in several other articles regarding the testimony.  Yes, that is THE Clarence Darrow.  Nothing came of the grand jury investigation.  In the 1920 Census, Henry is still listed as working as a bookkeeper at a real estate company.  By 1940 he was running his own business selling seeds and bulbs.  Perhaps his florist grandon was a part of the business…

Final thoughts:

What did Charles do for the first 4 years in America before I found him in the City Directory with his own business named after him?  No, I didn’t find him on any Civil War draft records, unless they spelled his last name wrong.  Coming here at 18 or 19 without the rest of his family had to have been courageous.  I imagine he wrote home to his family in Germany to tell them about Chicago.  If he hadn’t come first, maybe the rest of his family, and his brother Fritz would not have come here at all. 


Federal Censuses

Chicago City Directories

Chicago Voter Registration

Chicago Birth, Marriage, and Death Indexes

Cook County Probate Records

Social Security Death Index


Frank Eckebrecht’s Research

Uncle John’s Research

Numerous Online Articles regarding Mont Tennes

Next immigrants: Two completely different great grandfathers

Immigrants 6 and 7 ~ Auguste Eckebrecht, domestic servant and Anna Liesbeth N.N., religious refugee

Immigrant Auguste Eckebrecht was the only sister of Fritz Eckebrecht, my great great grandfather, and two years his senior.  Anna Liesbeth was my 7th great grandmother and a religious refugee.  Her last name is not known.

Auguste was born in 1846 in Schwarzburg, Thuringia, Germany.  She came to America with her family in 1866 aboard the Jenny that had sailed from Bremen in a journey across the Atlantic that took approximately 3 months.  At the time of the 1870 Federal Census, Auguste lived as a domestic servant in the home of a grocer Adolph Kate and his young wife Emilia.


By 1876 she had married Charles Wolder or Wolter and they had a child that didn’t survive to adulthood.  In the above snipping tool “snipped photo” you can see Auguste is showing you her wedding ring.  She put her hand in that position on purpose.  She was married in this photo that Eckebrecht descendants believe was taken between 1872 and 1875.  I was unable to find the name or the sex of the child she had in 1876 or to trace her husband.  He has proven difficult to find.  Auguste Eckebrecht passed away in Chicago in 1916 and was buried in Rosehill Cemetery.  She was the only sibling of Fritz Eckebrecht that did not have any children that survived to adulthood.

Anna Liesbeth N.N.

Anna Liesbeth was born in Switzerland and immigrated to the Palatinate in Germany around 1675-1685 as a religious refugee.  She and her husband Hans Theobald Rubeli were part of the Anabaptist migration to the Palatinate.  Previous Anabaptist congregations that had already settled in the Palatinate set up shelter for the refugees when they had to leave their Swiss homeland with nothing but the clothing on their backs.  Their possessions had been seized by the cantonal governments.  They were forced to leave their homeland if they refused to take the oath to the state church.   If they stayed and practiced their faith, they were hunted down by Taufer hunters, imprisoned, beheaded, burned, drowned, and in the most extreme circumstances that forced the greatest number to flee their cantons, they were sold as galley slaves to the Venetian Empire.  The former punishments just drew more followers.


I found a church record in the Massweiler area of the Palatinate that references a surname Vetter after a person named Anna Liesbeth.  However, I am not sure they are the same woman, or why an Anabaptist refugee would be mentioned in a Catholic church record.  I suppose it is possible.  She was the mother of Balthasar Jakob Rubly, the Gerichtsschoff and 5 other children born in Germany.  She was my 7th great grandmother.  Since I do not positively know her last name, I do not even know her birth or death dates.

These two women are parts of separate lines in my German grandmother’s ancestry.  One went to Germany and another left Germany.




New York Passenger Lists

United States Federal Censuses

Cook County Birth and Death Indexes

Photo from Frank Eckebrecht

Weisbach Catholic Church Registers

Massweiler Catholic Church Registers

Contwig Catholic Church Registers

Aeschlen bei Oberdeissbach Evangelical Reformed Church Register List of Taufers (Anabaptists) living in the vicinity

Palatine Mennonite Census Lists

Bernese Anabaptists and Their American Descendants

History of the Bernese Anabaptists

Rubli-Ahnen in Dachsen ZH und Zürich,  Rubeli aus Oberdiessbach BE und Gampelen BE, sowie Rubly und Ruble in Deutschland, im Elsass und in Amerika (dort auch Ruble, Rublee, Rubley, Ruple, Ruplely, Rupley, Rublier, Rupple, Ruppley, Robblee,  Robilyrd, Roblee, Roblyer)

Emigrants, Refugees, and Prisoners: An Aid to Mennonite Family Research

~Next immigrant:  Carl Johann Eckebrecht, and his colorful descendant ~

Immigrant #3 ~ Retired Army Captain and Merchant Angelo Ferraro

Immigrant Angelo Ferraro, my great great grandfather, sailed from Napoli to Ellis Island in 1903.  As I have repeatedly written here, a seemingly harmless 61 year old retired Italian Army Captain was detained and held for special inquiry when he arrived.  As I have also revealed here, the reason for his detainment is not listed at the end of the batch of ship manifests for that day that are held at the National Archives.  The above photograph on the left is likely a photograph from Italy before his immigration.  The photograph on the right is likely a photograph taken in Ohio after his immigration.

Because I have written before on Angelo here and on his life here, I will instead note what still can be found on Angelo.  I have also written about the place our Ferraros came from in this older blog post: Ferraro di Talanico, San Felice a Cancello, Caserta, Campania, Italia. The surname is present in that Casertan town back to the 1400s.  So far I have only been able to trace our direct line back to 1590.  I have no doubt the tangle of church records could take it back to the 1400s.

The following puzzle pieces can be focused on for further exploration of this immigrant’s life:

*Finding the marriage record of Angelo and Filomena Napolitano.  That record could be found after the civil records of the Archives of Napoli are added to Antenati in the future.  The marriage record should have data about his profession and the professions of his parents.  It could contain military service information.  The record should seemingly be in the town of Filomena’s birth – Nola.  Maybe writing to Nola is in order.

*If the aforementioned civil records are added to Antenati, clues could be gleaned about Angelo from the records of his children’s births.  While we do have the birth record of my great grandfather, Angelo and Filomena had 5 other children.

* keeps adding more newspaper collections.  I  have to keep checking to see if there is information about him in the Ohio newspapers.  I love

*The possibility of the digitization of historic Italian-American newspapers.  After all, Angelo’s son, my great grandfather, was the Publisher and Editor for one in Columbus, Ohio.  What a gold mine those could contain on all of my Italian immigrant ancestors.

*Angelo’s father was a soldier in the Terzo Cacciatori, which was a regiment in the Army of the Bourbon King of Naples in the 1820s.  If a military record is ever retrieved from Italy (I am still trying), it could aid in the Angelo research.

*Speaking of military service, I have requested Angelo’s pension from Caserta.  I think they may be sending what I already have. We will see.

*Last, but not least, the Board of Special Inquiry case file.  We are entering the 9th month of waiting for this file to be found by the USCIS.  At this point, is there any hope left the genealogical request to that government agency will be fulfilled before a professional Philadelphia team wins another championship?  Villanova does not count.  Do I have to be a famous person on Who Do You Think You Are for them to pull and copy it for me?  As of ten minutes ago, the search request that required a $25.00 fee before they would even start looking, is STILL listed as active.  Once, I asked my congressperson for help getting a federal file on one of my ancestors and it didn’t even help.  I refuse to go this route again.  Sigh….I am not a fan of my congressperson either…

Next Immigrant:  Anne Marie Aloisia Heinzen Kirsch from Switzerland





Immigrant #2: Angela Maria Ferraro Valerioti – Mother of a Renowned NYC Investigator and a NYC Refuse Company President


Immigrant Angela Maria Ferraro Valerioti was a younger sister of my great grandfather Carmen (Carmine) Ferraro.  Because she was the oldest daughter, Angela Maria was named after her paternal grandmother Angela Maria Delle Cave.  She was born about 1881 in Naples and came to America with her mother and sisters to meet Angelo Ferraro, on April 28, 1904.  Like her father Angelo, she was detained at Ellis Island, as indicated by the “X” next to her name.  Unlike Angelo, we know the reason for her detainment.   By scrolling to the detained passenger listing at the end of the manifests in the archive’s batch, it was written that she was detained because Angelo was late picking all of them up.  As soon as he arrived they, they were released to go with him and live in Brooklyn.

U.S.S. Lombardia’s manifest

By 1905, Angela Maria, or Maria as she was called, had married immigrant Gerardino (Jerry) Valerioti and had her first child, Albert in New York City.  I found Jerry living in Waterbury, Conn. in 1904.  He was employed as a barber.  By 1907 Maria and Jerry had moved to Columbus, Ohio where he was employed as a masseur.  She stayed close to her parents and siblings who also were living in Columbus.  Her daughter Margherita was born in Ohio.

From there, in 1908, Maria and Jerry had moved to Chicago where they had their son Umberto and Jerry once more found employment as a barber.  Again, Maria and her brother Carmen appear to be in close contact, because at this time, Carmen had also moved to Chicago, was working as a language instructor in Chicago, and was getting married to Helen.  Maria had two more children in Chicago – Angelo and Celestino Vincenzo (Charles) before moving.

By 1913, like Carmen, Maria and Jerry were back in Columbus where Jerry continued his profession as a barber.  By 1918, Maria and family had moved to the Bronx and that is where we pick up Jerry having to complete his World War I draft card.  According to the card, he was employed in his own business at that time – wine dealer at Monte Vesuvio Cellar Company.  I still haven’t been able to find Jerry’s entry into the country but am aware the surname isn’t common.  Censuses say he entered the US between 1894 and 1899 and was naturalized about 1908.  A few Valerioti are present in Naples today and the rest are present in Calabria.  Seeing the name of his own wine dealing company, I suspect he was as Neapolitan as Maria.  But am not entirely convinced of that yet.

In 1919, Maria passed away in NYC and was buried in Calvary Cemetery.  In 1920 Jerry was employed as a salesman for a steamship company.  In 1925 he was involved in selling real estate.  According to the 1930 Census, he was a laborer in construction, and also in 1930, he was on Carmen’s letterhead as “Representative” in the International Opera Association Company Carmen had based in Chicago.  That fact makes it clear that Jerry seemed to be in contact with his brother-in-law Carmen after his wife’s death.  Jerry re-married to a woman named Mary by 1925, and it is apparent that he adopted her son Michael.  She died at some point before 1928, because he then married Immaculata Rongo.  He also adopted her daughter Gloria.

I traced Maria’s children.  Umberto was deceased by 1925.  Her daughter Margherita appears to have died in Las Vegas in 1976.  I couldn’t determine whether or not she ever married.  Charles (Celestino) and Angelo both married Italian-Americans and stayed in New York and raised families there.  Charles Valerioti was a president of a refuse company called C.A. Refuse Company based in Mount Vernon, New York.  An article posted below from Tarrytown, NY has a mention of his refuse company as well as a grand jury proceeding.

Portion of the November 11, 1969 article.  Please contact me for the entire article.

Charles was never charged with anything and didn’t appear to be involved in the Mount Vernon incinerator issue that brought about the inquiry.

The oldest child of Maria, Albert, was in the newspapers too. An article about private investigators featured in articles across the country said he was a former New York City Police Officer.  It also stated he was the head of the United Stated Army Security Office on Long Island during WWII, but I have found no proof he was ever in the military.  So I am not clear what that exactly means.  He ran a business called the United Service Detective Bureau on Broadway.  The company was formed in 1954 and closed in 1983.

In 1959, Albert was elected President of the International Council of Investigators at the Waldorf-Astoria.  This council is still in existence today.  Albert took all kinds of cases, some involved background checks, some involved security for royalty, some involved investigating murders for rich murder defendants, etc.  The picture below comes from the newspaper.  Unfortunately we have no photos of Maria.

Is that the Ferraro chin?  Was his investigatory nature inherited?  Was it a Ferraro trait?

1953 Long Island City NY Star Journal.P.I.for guilty defendant.PNG

I have not found any Find-a-Grave memorials online for any of Maria’s descendants.  I also never found Jerry after the 1930 census.  Charles and Albert and their families were mentioned in Carmen Ferraro’s Farewell program at Carnegie Hall from 1962.  How many of my cousins reading this met the Valeriotis?  I am going to keep looking for obituaries for Maria and her children and will try to determine what happened to Margherita.

As for Maria’s children – WOW.  You never know what you will find in online newspapers articles.


Ellis Island

Waterbury, Columbus, Chicago, and New York City Directories

Cook County, Illinois Births

New York Death Index

Reclaim the Records

United States Censuses

Social Security Death Index

1925 New York City Census



International Council of Investigators



Immigrant #1: Chicago Police Officer Alexander Bold

Alexander Bold was a younger brother of Great Great Grandmother Emilia Bold Leies.  He was born in 1848 in Nuenschweiler, Germany and was a musician and a hard-working Chicago Police Sergeant and Lieutenant with a colorful family life that made the Chicago papers.  He became a naturalized American citizen one year before his future brother-in-law Johann Leies in 1866 in the same county in Ohio – Wayne County.

Alexander Bold married a German-American lady named Magdalena Bucholz in Ohio in 1869.  Her father was born in Baden, while her German-American mother was born in Pittsburgh.  They had 5 children: John, Richard, Otto, Rose Mary, and Joseph Frederick.  By 1876 the had moved to Chicago.  Alexander and Magdalena lived down the street from Emilia and Johann Leies on Larabee Street.


Officer Alexander Bold brought down the “fiend”


Both of Emilia’s brothers were members of the Chicago  Police Department.  In fact, Lieutenant Alexander Bold was one of three immigrants in my tree that were members of the Chicago Police Department.  While looking at men in the force in Chicago in the 1800s, researchers always mention whether or not someone was an officer during the Labor Riots of 1877.  The first reference I can find to Alexander working for the department is 1879 because in 1878, Alexander was listed in the city directory as a musician.  So I looked in the Chicago paper.  In 1879, Alexander was already a Police Sergeant getting transferred to the Third Precinct.

Here are some of the career highlights I found in the papers:

-the recovery of a drowned man;

-raising an alarm to a fire;

-a chase and struggle with a “crazy fiend” who had just shot 5 people.  Officer Bold was nearly shot but he shot him first;

-capturing burglars red-handed;

-shooting and killing a run-away thief;

-promotion to Lieutenant at Desplaines Street Station on September 10, 1887;


-and arresting a gang of rough necks in February 1888.


In May 1888, a William A. Haerting publicly accused Lieutenant Bold of adultery with his wife.  Mrs. Haerting was estranged from her husband and was boarding with the Bolds and their children.  So he was let go from the force.  After a hearing before the Police Board in which both Mrs. Haerting and Mrs. Bold testified on Alexander’s behalf, it was revealed the only evidence against Alexander came from the statements of his two sons.  Alexander had submitted signed affidavits from them re-canting their previous statements saying they were due to being under the influence of alcohol.


Alexander was re-instated in September of 1888 but his sons didn’t stay out of the papers.  One month later, they were in the paper for their legal problems like fraud and embezzlement and Alexander was again in the paper when he had to escort them to hearings for scamming little old ladies.

In  May 1889 the libel suits Alexander Bold and Mrs. Haerting had commenced against the Chicago Herald were dismissed.  The same month, Mrs. Magdalena Bold filed for divorce on grounds of cruelty which means she suffered physical abuse.  By 1900 Alexander was living in a boarding house and was employed in private security as a watchman according to that year’s census.

Alexander died on September 2, 1910, outliving his sister Emilia and was buried in St. Boniface where she also rests.

I traced the children of Alexander a little bit.  At least two of Alexander’s grandchildren served in World War II in the Army and the United States Coast Guard.  Some descendants of Alexander live in Western Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and still live in Chicago today working in Leitelt Brother’s Casting Foundry, a company founded by Alexander’s daughter Rose’s husband Charles Leitelt.

I couldn’t find a photo of Alexander Bold but cannot help but think he had to be a big and fit individual to be able to provide chase and possess the ability to subdue some of the roughnecks he arrested during his time as a police officer in the Chicago Police Department.  I also can’t help but think that Emilia and Johann Leies named their oldest son, my great grandfather, Alexander Leies, after Emillia’s brother because I could find no other Alexanders in the Bold or Leies ancestry.


United States Censuses

Chicago City Directories

Wayne County, Ohio Naturalization Records

Nuenschweiler, RP Church Records

United States Social Security Death Indexes

Cook County Birth, Marriages, and Deaths




My Personal 2017 Family History Writing Challenge: 41 Immigrants in 41 Weeks

Our ancestors possessed a right, which nature has given to all men, of departing from the country in which chance, not choice has placed them. – Thomas Jefferson defines an immigrant as: 1. a person who migrates to another country, usually for permanent resident; or 2. an organism found in a new habitat.

I can count 41 immigrants in my tree that are my direct ancestors and blood relations.  41.  This number does not reflect the living immigrants in my tree or the potential lateral immigrants in my tree I have yet to find.

So before the year is out, I hope to appreciate each one of them, even if it is just for a small written passage.  The “immigrant” label in my tree doesn’t just apply to those that changed countries by moving to the American continent.  It applies to those in Europe too.  The first one will be Alexander Bold.