Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Honor Roll Project - Merrick, NY Part II


In March, I posted the transcription of an honor roll in Merrick, NY that contains the names of those from Merrick and North Merrick, NY killed in action in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. This summer while waiting for a car in front of me to make a turn, I noticed the plaque at the bottom right of this photo.  Now, I can transcribe the names of those from the village of Merrick who served in WWI.

The building, as the historical markers tell us, is the fourth home of the first library of Merrick, now closed to the public. I don't know how many times in my life I have passed by without giving it a second thought. It sits on a fairly busy road that I travel often and where I once had physical therapy a few blocks away. But that was years before I started researching family, much less transcribing rolls of honor.



Walter E. Angell
Albert J. Betts
Harold Bunker
John Lawrence Burns
John Cameron
H. Schuyler Cammann
Frank B. Carpenter
Tony Carra
Willet C. Cheshire
Layton E. Clark
Eugene Clement
Frank O. Colvin
Herbert A. Colvin
Philip Distefano
George B. Draper
Arthur F. Fish
George F. Giraud
T. Frederick Hall
Alexander D. Harvey
Frederick C. Hewlett
Alfred A. Heuerman
Charles Kupfer
Charles Lawrence
Bryan Loman
Kathleen Loman
Leonard Loman
Charles Mecking
Gustave B. Muller
Henry G. Muller
Herbert A. Muller
George W. Mulcahy
James F. Mulcahy
Beverley W. Robinson
Charles R. Rowe
Francis Savona
Frederick Schebe
Herman C. Schwab
Charles F. Simes
Robert J. Spearman
Walter E. Spear
Calvin Valentine
Albert C. Verratti
Harry T. Northridge

NOVEMBER 11, 1924

While I was searching for information about this library, I came across The Historical Marker Database, a site that catalogs markers including historical markers and rolls of honor. You can find their transcription and photos of this plaque here.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

The Irish Famine and a Dignified Burial



The Irish Famine, Great Hunger, Potato Blight, it goes by many names, but until a week ago, I didn't know much more about it than the overwhelming statistics; one million dead, another million lost to emigration, starving farmers dying at the side of the road.

Reading Paddy's Lament, pictured above, has been eye opening for sure. It is a difficult read, something that I think will stay with me for a long time, but important in understanding Donald's ancestors who were children during the worst years of the famine, but most old enough to remember and to carry their trauma to their new life in America.

Last year, while I was trying to verify the information on the Coughlin headstone at Calvary Cemetery, I discovered the 1884 will of John Coughlin, the elder brother of Winifred, Donald's second great-grandmother. It included the following:

Third: I direct that the sum of one thousand dollars be applied by my Executrices towards my funeral expenses & this item is also to include the expense of a tombstone, Requiem Mass and other masses to be said for the repose of my soul after my death, I most earnestly request that my Executrices will obey my wishes in this respect.

Google told me that one thousand dollars in 1884 would be worth almost thirty thousand today. Both Donald and I thought it was an unusually large amount, but didn't think too deeply about it, not thinking that was an answer we were likely to find. After reading Paddy's Lament, I can actually make an educated guess as to why John Coughlin would direct his sisters to spend that amount.

Before the famine, according to this book, funeral expenses were the one thing that Irish peasants would save money for. Tradition called for a casket, a wake, professional keeners and a horse-drawn hearse, but most important was the casket. As the famine wore on and deaths began to outnumber births those savings would likely have been used to buy food or pay rent. Later, wood for caskets became unavailable at any price. Some families broke up wooden furniture to make caskets, some went without and some even used a casket with a drop bottom that could be used over and over. Many people were buried in mass graves, some even in the homes they and their families died in, with the roof brought down and the whole structure set ablaze with the deceased inside.

John Coughlin was born in Ireland in 1833 and I'm sure would have been very aware of these final indignities going on all around him. Having emigrated to America and done well for himself, he earmarked enough money to ensure that he went to his final rest in a dignified manner.

You never know what you might learn about your ancestors when you delve into the events they lived through, and some of it will be tough, but it is always worth pursuing.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Life Update


When I last blogged, I knew that I would be away for a bit, but I had no idea that it would be for this long.

Donald's recovery from back surgery has been much longer and tougher than his surgeon led us to believe and my plate has been FULL.

That isn't to say I have been away from genealogy completely. I have a project in the works that I hope to share with you sooner than later, I've been reading some history for that project and for my own and Donald's genealogy and I've even stumbled on a few rolls of honor in my travels around Long Island.

In other personal news, my mother made a full and speedy recovery from Covid back in April thanks to her vaccinations and a course of Paxlovid. Her packing is going much slower than we had hoped, but with Donald's complications that may be a good thing. Now I'm just hoping she'll be in by the end of October.

I hope everyone is having a great summer and I hope to be back shortly after Labor Day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Wednesday's Children - Angelo, Angelina and Tomaso


One of the first things I discovered when I began researching Donald's Scalise line was that Donald's great-grandmother gave birth to three babies who died in childhood and infancy. Until a few weeks ago, I only had transcribed information from FamilySearch. Thanks to Reclaim the Records and their unrelenting pursuit of the release of records by New York City, I now have scans of their death certificates for free instead of $45.

Donald's great-grandparents, Giuseppi Scalise and Marie Vecchio, came to New York after they were married, but years apart. They already had at least two children, who came with Marie in 1920 and began again as soon as Marie arrived, starting with Donald's grandmother Marie Theresa or Tessie.

Angelo Scalise, born in 1923, was the third child born in the US, and died at 10 months of bilateral lobar pneumonia. His sister Angelina was born in 1925 and died at the age of three, also from bilateral lobar pneumonia. After two more children, both of whom lived to adulthood, Tomaso was born in 1930 and lived only 17 days. He died of congenital endocarditis. All three death certificates list the same cemetery, Mount Saint Mary Cemetery in Flushing, Queens, as their final resting place. I strongly suspect that they are buried in the same plot as their parents and siblings, with the headstone above.

Sadly, it appears that Giuseppe and Marie may have lost other children before they came to the United States since Beatrice was born in 1908 and her brother, Frank, was born in 1913. Or perhaps Giuseppe came to America more than once?

Among the items on my wish list for this family; see what I can find out about the Scalise home in the 1920s and how it may have contributed to these illnesses (Giuseppi also died of pneumonia in 1936), find records from Italy that may give us information about additional children, find out for sure who is buried in this plot, and see if the family would like these babies' names added to the headstone. I would love to see that happen some day.

Side Note: You know what they say about good intentions. I would love to be doing more blog-able research, but things have been hectic to say the least. Donald is having another surgery, hopefully next week, my mother tested positive for Covid yesterday (she is vaccinated and started a course of Paxlovid immediately) and we are preparing to have her move in with us by the end of next month. I am losing my genealogy office, so I'm documenting the downsizing, moving, storage of my personal archives and if it turns out to be interesting/helpful, I will share it here. In the meantime, I will post when I can.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Honor Roll Project - Merrick, NY

 As part of Heather Wilkinson Rojo's Honor Roll Project, I have transcribed this Roll of Honor in Merrick, NY to make the names visible to search engines so that family researchers can find them.

This memorial park is located on Merrick Avenue at Lee Avenue, in Merrick, NY. It contains a few monuments. This one is dedicated to all who have served the United States in times of war and peace.

This memorial is in remembrance of the victims of September 11, 2001, and contains steel from the World Trade Center.

This monument honors all the volunteer firefighters who serve the community of North Merrick.

And finally, this memorial honors those who have made the supreme sacrifice for the United States in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.

World War II

Harold Kenneth Ahlquist
Alfred William Amari
Clifford E. Bahnsen
Walter Edwin Baldwin
Walter J. Burke Jr.
Harry Gregory Chernucha
Edward MacDonald Dobson
William C. Edghill
George Justus Fisher
Norman C. Gianelli
Bernard Peter Helfrich
Walter Edward Johnson
George T. Johnston
Thomas George Kees
Clarence Dexter Lane
Francis Lippold
Roderick A. McDermott
Stanley Michalicki
Joseph Orr
Laurence D. Solowey
Arthur Evans Temple
William R. Wirges Jr.


Eugene C. Barry
Xavier J. Benziger Jr,
Manuel John Yduate Jr.


Frederick John Burns
Paul William Casey
Paul James Coates
Joseph William Devlin
John Frederick Dugan
Peter F. Gerstenlauer
Roger Edward Huestis
Lawrence George Koch
Donald Edward Kreuscher
Joel Melnick
Robert Gary Piazza
Joseph Ralph Simone
George Frank Sodaitis
George Henry Ulrich
James Francis Westphal


Scott Michael Bandhold

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

A Citation Puzzle for a PA Birth Register

Howard Matthews, photo enhanced with MyHeritage.

Another month has passed without posting. Again, I have not been doing too much active research but I have been able to do something genealogy related every week, I think. Things get a little fuzzy the last two weeks because I've been dealing with the longest bout of sciatica I have ever experienced. Thank goodness that has finally progressed to just enough of a twinge so I don't forget my stretches in the morning.

One thing I have been working on is a citation for a birth register containing an entry for my paternal grandfather, Howard Matthews, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1901, just a few years before they started issuing birth certificates. In 1938 he had a heck of a time proving his birth so that he and my grandmother could get a passport for a work trip to the Near East. Too bad he didn't know about this register.

The PA archives website says these records were kept by the Clerk of the Orphans Court, the microfilmed records on FamilySearch seem to indicate something else and and state statutes indicate that by 1901 it should have been the Board of Health who was collecting these records, even before they began to issue certificates. In the end, what matters most is who provided that information, and that is still a mystery. Under any statute for these records, the information could have been provided by a physician or midwife if one attended the birth, or by a parent, if there were no attendant.  Now that I'm feeling better, I'm going to reread those state statutes and contact the archives to see if I can get some clarification on their part at least. I'll probably never know who provided the information since it was not recorded in the register.

Speaking of those statutes, I'm sure most genealogists are already following Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist. But, in case you missed it, she has shared the wonderful work of Debbie Mieszala who is compiling a state-by-state online law library you can access here at the Advancing Genealogist. This is where I found links to the laws that governed the collection of information for these birth registers in Pennsylvania. As Judy says, you have to understand the law to understand the records.

My next post will be for the Honor Roll project, and then I'll be getting ready to research Donald's family in the 1950 census but I will certainly post my citation once I've done some more digging.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Honor Roll Project - Massapequa, NY - Klestinec Park

As part of Heather Wilkinson Rojo's Honor Roll Project, I have transcribed this Roll of Honor in Massapequa, NY to make the names visible to search engines so that family researchers can find them.

This memorial park is located on a triangle formed by Broadway, Franklin Avenue and Michigan Avenue. I photographed this honor roll some time ago and now I can't remember if I knew it was there or if we stumbled on it.

This first stone does not contain names but is a memorial to all who served in the Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Grenada and the Persian Gulf.

This memorial lists the names of soldiers killed in Vietnam, it also gives a their rank, branch of the military and the date they were killed.

1st Lt. Thomas A. Sanders
USAF Killed July 7, 1965

Cpl. Albert F. Klestinec, Jr.
USMC Killed July 10, 1966

Sp/4 William Mansfield
USA Killed October 29, 1966

Sp/4 Thomas Gray
USA Killed February 18, 1967

Cpl. Patrick Gallagher
USMC Killed March 30, 1967

Sp/4 Leonard F. Jantzen, Jr.
USA Killed April 8, 1967

Pfc. Steven L. Millett
USMC Killed June 7, 1967

Pfc. Robert J. Kubinciak
USA Killed July 7, 1967

Sp/5 Joseph C. Lupo
USA Killed August 27, 1967

L/Cpl. Michael J. Ferrara
USMC Killed March 6, 1968

Sgt. Alan Giannelli
USA Killed September 14, 1968

Maj. Robert H. Harrison
USAF Killed June 18, 1972

W.O. Thomas J. Casey, Jr.
USA Killed February 18, 1969

Sp/4 Brian E. Swane
USA Killed May 8, 1969

Sp/4 Karl A. Schofer
USA Killed June 9, 1969

L/Cpl. Joseph E. Colorio
USMC Killed August 12, 1969

Sp/4 Kim Michael Diliberto
USA Killed August 17, 1969

Sp/4 Frank T. Henson
USA Killed May 10, 1972

There is also a mounted plaque in honor of one of the men listed above, Cpl. Albert F. Klestinec, Jr., and according to Google, although I did not see a sign, this is Klestinec Park.

I haven't found any other memorials or rolls of honor in Massapequa, although there are some in neighboring Massapequa Park that I have yet to locate and photograph.

Honor Roll Project - Merrick, NY Part II

  In March, I posted the transcription of an honor roll in Merrick, NY that contains the names of those from Merrick and North Merrick, NY ...