Jul 06

Your Story – Career

Scrapper’s Guide theme for the month of July is Career. I’ve completed two pages (teacher & genealogist), but have not yet completed the roles that were most important to me (#1 mother & #2 wife). I’ll be completing those pages later this month. But for now….


© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.musingsbylinda.com/MyFamily/?p=510

Jun 29

Remembering Walpole High School

Three more scrapbook pages illustrating some of our high school activities. Can imagine growing up in a nicer community than Walpole, New Hampshire.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.musingsbylinda.com/MyFamily/?p=504

Jun 27

Remembering WHS, Class of ’59

We were so very lucky to have been raised in a small village, Walpole, New Hampshire. Walpole (like many places in the state) was a friendly place, where everyone knew each other, doors were never locked, and the neighbors were all special and caring.

The village of Walpole had a large Town Hall. The second floor boosted a stage with a dance floor (of course the room was frequently set up with for plays, large meetings and all). On Saturday nights, the Allen Kendall orchestra played wonderfully dancing music, including both ballroom and square dancing—something for everyone. It was the place to be on Saturday nights when I was in hight school.

Our high school class (WHS, class of 1959) was small—there were 27 of us from three communities, Walpole, Drewsville, and Westmoreland. Though a very small community during our sophomore year some of our parents called in a professional dance couple to teach us the basics of ballroom dancing and etiquette. I remember that year fondly. At the end of our sessions, my parents hosted a small dinner party for my twin and I and our dates and another couple before we headed out to show off our skills in a dance competition.


© Linda Woodward Geiger. All rights Reserved.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.musingsbylinda.com/MyFamily/?p=500

May 30

Family Scrapbook Pages

This is the fifth challenge of “Your Story. Brilliant!” offered as a class by Linda Sattgast of ScrappersGuide.com. For this challenge I used paper & elements from Ever After kit by Krystal Hartley (Copyright 2010) and Scrappers Guide. The photographs are from my family collection.

The focus theme was “Early Childhood through Grade School.” Again the pages are not just about me, but about my twin (we were tighter than two peas in a pod). As usually, as the the month neared its end, I completed the task.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.musingsbylinda.com/MyFamily/?p=493

May 08

Postcard from 1886 Acknowledges Birth

Alice Margaret Brown was born in Canterbury, New Hampshire, 20 February 1886, to Alfred Hermon and Margaret Elizabeth (Gale) Brown. My sister recently found the postcard scanned for display here among some old papers of Nana Perkins (AM Brown). Although she is not named, the card obviously is in reference to her birthday three days prior to the date on the postmark of the postcard.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.musingsbylinda.com/MyFamily/?p=484

Apr 20

Family Scrapbook Pages

This is the fourth challenge of “Your Story. Brilliant!” offered as a class by Linda Sattgast of ScrappersGuide.com.

This month the focus is on “Birth and Early Years.” As I have a twin brother it would be impossible to isolate my story since we were rarely apart during our youth. Peter is 5 minutes older than I and I remind him every year of how pleased I am that I’m not the oldest of four siblings—he is! Our younger brother is about 6 years young and the baby of the family is about 10 years younger than we are.


© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved

Permanent link to this article: http://www.musingsbylinda.com/MyFamily/?p=475

Apr 11

Wordless Wednesday

This postcard was found among some photographs belonging to my late Aunt Virginia (Woodward) Smith. It appears to be an advertisement for a tobacco product.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.musingsbylinda.com/MyFamily/?p=420

Apr 04

Lorusso Family in Worcester, Massachusetts

In 1940, the Lorusso family (grandparents and great grandparents of my son) were residing in Ward 4 of the city of Worcester at 767 Franklin Street. Nicholas and Antoinette Lorusso had resided in Ward 4 at 615 Franklin Street in 1930. Because the house numbers were different, I was not able to use the simple enumeration conversion from 1930 to 1940 provided by SteveMorse.org. After studying and searching several enumeration districts, I finally found the families for whom I was looking. The were enumerated on 2 April 1940 by Arthur F. White, enumeration in ED 23-86.[1] In 1935 all of these families were residing in Worcester.

 Household of Antonio Conuglio

Lines 3–10; 769 Franklin Street, household no 17, home worth $4,500 owned by Antonio Conuglio. Informant: Antonio Conuglio

  • Line 3: Antonio Conuglio, head, age 42, single, born in Italy. Alien, pressman in metal shop
  • Line 4. Rosario Campaneli [daughter of Nicholas & Antoinette Lorusso],  lodger, age 45, widow, born in Italy, housekeeper
  • Line 5. Albert Campaneli, son of lodger, age 19, born in Massachusetts, blocker in shoe shop
  • Line 6. Anthony Campaneli, son of lodger, age 13, born in Massachusetts
  • Line 7. Albert Lorusso [son of Nicholas & Antoinette Lorusso], lodger, age 43, born in Italy, naturalized citizen, ice cream maker
  • Line 8. Antoinette Lorusso, daughter of lodger, age 13, born in Massachusetts
  • Line 9. Albert Lorusso, son of lodger, age 10, born in Massachusetts
  • Line 10. Francis Lorusso, daughter of lodger, age 9, born in Massachusetts

Family of Anthony Lorusso
Lines 11–16, 767 Franklin Street, household no. 18, home rented for $17 per month . Informants: Anthony and Loretta Lorusso

  • Line 11. Anthony Lorusso [son of Nicholas & Antoinette Lorusso], head, age 32, born in Italy, [naturalization column faint, it may read, AL (alien), tanner in leather shop
  • Line 12. Loretta Lorusso, wife, age 31, born in Massachusetts
  • Line 13. Nicholas Lorusso, son, age 10, born in Massachusetts
  • Line 14. Shirley Lorusso, daughter, age 9, born in Massachusetts
  • [The middle child, Anthony Lorusso, born in 1935 is missing from the family]
  • Line 15. Peter Lorusso, son, age 4, born in Massachusetts
  • Line 16. Barbara Lorusso, daughter, age 2, born in Massachusetts

Family of Nicholas Lorusso
Lines 17–18, 767 Franklin Street, household no. 19, home rented for $10 per month. Informant: Antoinette Lorusso

  • Line 17. Nicholas Larusso [sic], head, age 73 born in Italy, first naturalization papers filed, janitor,
  • Line 18. Antoinette Lorusso, wife, age 63, born in Italy, first naturalization papers filed

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.



[1] 1940 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, Worcester, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Enumeration District 23-86, Sheet 2-A; downloaded from Archives.gov 4 April 2012.



Permanent link to this article: http://www.musingsbylinda.com/MyFamily/?p=467

Apr 04

1940 Census – Loudon, Merrimack County, New Hampshire

1940 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, Loudon, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, Enumeration District 7-57, Sheet 3-A; downloaded from Archives.gov 3 April 2012.

The unincorporated area called Loudon Village was enumerated on 9 April 2012 by Wm. Joyce Medlock. My parents were listed with their respective parents. Their homes where on opposite sides of Main Street directly across from one another.

Family of Alice M. Perkins (Alice furnished the information)
Lines  18–20, household no. 42; Alice owned her home worth $3,000; in 1935 the family lived in the same house;
Household members (all born in New Hampshire): 1) Alice M. Perkins, head, age 54, widow, completed 4 years of high school; 2) Josephine E. Perkins, daughter, age 22, completed two years of college, and employed as an office attendant in a hospital; and 3) Alice M. Deprey, lodger, age 28, completed two years of college, and employed as a school teacher.
Family of Oscar H. Woodward (Sara Woodward furnished the information)
Lines 21–24, household no. 43; Oscar owned his home worth $3,000; in 1935 the family lived in Concord, Merrimack County, NH
Household members:1) Oscar H. Woodward, head; age 60, completed four years of high school, born in NH, and employed as a trackman for a steam railroad;  2) Sara M Woodward, wife, age 58, completed two years of high school, born in Nova Scotia; 3) Oscar H Woodward Jr, son, age 25, completed four hears of high school, born in NH, in 1935 he was in the U.S. Army, and employed as a truck driver; and 4) Jean M. Collins, lodger, age 15, completed 8 years of school, and born in NH.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.musingsbylinda.com/MyFamily/?p=457

Mar 26

Lorusso: Early 20th Century Immigrant Family

This post is a copy of an article originally published in the Digital Genealogist (July/August 2007).

Online Databases: A Before and After Case Study of an Early Twentieth-Century Immigrant Family

This article contains the trials and tribulations of finding families in a variety of sources before the arrival of a multitude of online databases, as well as some of the continued trials and tribulations with the current online sources. The study uses the family of Nicola Lorusso—an early twentieth-century immigrant.

It was about 1972 when I became ardent about searching the history of my family, as well as that of my son, Marcus Lorusso. At that time Marc’s grandfather, Antonio “Papa” Lorusso, a native of Italy, told us that he didn’t really know when his actual birth took place, but he celebrated his natal day on 5 September and suspected that he was born in 1907. Papa Lorusso also told us that he was about four years old when his father sent for his wife and children to join him in New York. A little arithmetic indicates that Papa, his mother, and siblings arrived in New York in 1911, perhaps 1912. We were anxious to learn more, but Papa and his brothers (he thought that the eldest was about ten or eleven when they arrived) could remember little about their trip across the sea. He was sure that they sailed directly to New York from Italy and joined his father in a place called Cold Spring.

Nicola (frequently called Nicholas) Lorusso moved his family from a community in New York to Worcester, Massachusetts, before 1920. His surviving children indicated that the family always resided on Franklin Street. Nicola struggled to make a living in the new country and, like so many of his country men, he was a laborer.

The death records of Nicholas and Antoinette were easily located at the vital records registry of the Commonwealth in Boston. Information about the “old country” was scarce on the death record of Nicholas. His wife reported that he was eighty-five years old and that his parents were Pasquale Lorusso and Rosaria Prichillo.1 The informant for Antoinette’s death was Mrs. Rosaria Coniglio, her daughter, who reported that Antoinette (Pellegrino) Lorusso was 79 years old at the time of her death, her parents were Michele Pellegrino and Marie Centidocati, and Antoinette’s birth place was recorded as Palazzodi, San Gervesio, in the Province of Potenza, Italy.2 Each had been buried in Worcester’s Notre Dame Cemetery.

Now it was time to visit the 1910 federal census records—after all Nicholas Lorusso should have been in New York by 1910.

Before online databases

Heretofore all of my research had involved rural New England families who had made their way from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony before 1650. It was wonderful fun searching the census line by line of the towns where my ancestors resided. Neighbors were readily identified and I recognized many of the families in each of the towns. Why would anyone want to use a Soundex? It soon became obvious that a Soundex would be very useful. The only concrete information that I had was the names of some of the immediate household and the possibility that they resided in Cold Spring, New York. I had no street address and I did not know any names of relatives or neighbors. I decided to skip the 1910 census and continue my search after the 1920 federal census became available in 1992—after all I heard that there was a complete Soundex for 1920. In addition, I strongly expected that the family moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, before 1920. Although Worcester is a fairly large city, it certainly is a lot smaller than New York City.

I was really excited at the possibility of learning what years Nicholas entered the United States—one of the columns on the 1920 census is “year of immigration to the United States.” Finding our Lorusso family in Worcester should be a walk in the park. After all, there was a Soundex. My spirits were dampened somewhat when the household of Nicola (Nicholas, Nick, Nickolas) did not surface in the Soundex code L620. There was an alternative, however—search the census of the city of Worchester page by page. Fortunately, I was fairly sure that the family had resided continuously in a triple-decker on Franklin Street. The National Archives-Southeast Region had maps showing wards, etc., of large cities. We were able to whittle down the number of pages to search considerably—most of Franklin Street was located in Ward 4 of Worchester, so I was able to start my line-by-line search with the entries on Franklin Street in Ward 4. I was rewarded for my efforts. The family of Nicholas Lorusso was residing at 606 Franklin Street.3 Briefly, the family consisted of:




Year of Immigration

Birth Place

Lorusso, Nicholas





———, Antoinette





———, Patrick





———, Michal





———, Antonio





———, John D


4 ½


———, Frank


7 ½

New York

The 1920 census had given me the years of immigration for the family. It was very likely that the family was in New York by 1910 and should be on the census, but I still did not have an address and didn’t know where to begin the search. However, I had clues regarding the dates of immigration for Antoinette and her children.

In 1986 (long before many New York passenger lists were available online) I learned that most of the passenger lists for New York arrivals had been microfilmed and that there was a Soundex index to passenger lists of vessels arriving in New York from 1902 to 1943. I diligently searched every line of the Soundex code L620 hoping to find our Lorusso family.4 More heart ache—I did not identify Antoinette and her family and there seemed to be hundreds of men with the name Nicola Lorusso who had entered. There was no way to cull the list found in the Soundex.

I still had another alternative. Passenger lists for New York had been microfilmed for 1908. How long would it take me to read each passenger list for ships entering New York from Italy? After reading one full reel,5 I set in on my heels and baulked like a mule. Frequently three or four ships arrived daily from Italy.

After online databases

1Aarriving in New York in 1911 that had departed from Italy (1911 was the emigration date that Papa Lorusso had given me.) Fortunately, the passenger lists for that time frame had been microfilmed. Countless hours spent reading the name of every passenger on ships entering New York from Italy (the Soundex was of no help—I was sure the family had just been skipped) left me frustrated. The family was not to be found.

Ancestry.com was one of the pioneer companies that provided genealogists with online databases. Several years later, my heart stopped a beat or two from my excitement when I learned that passenger lists for Ellis Island would be available. At long last we would be able to learn about the arrival of Antoniette and her children. After considerable fumbling about they were located. They arrived in New York City on 23 May 1910 on the S.S. San Giovanni sailing from Palermo and Naples, Italy.6 [When I conducted the microfilm searches, you’ll recall, I had been relying on the 1908 date reported in the 1920 U.S. Census and 1911 family tradition.] The ship manifest indicates her last permanent residence was Palarro S. Gervain (her death record had indicated that she was born in Palazzodi, San Gervesio),7 and that her husband and father of the children, Nicola Lorusso, had paid their passage. His address was Box 586, Cold Spring, New York. The name and address of the nearest relative was Augusta DiPaola, her sister-in-law from Palarro S. Gervain who was also residing in Cold Spring.

Traveling with Antoniette were her children: Rosaria, age 15; Pasquale, age 12; Michele, age 9; and Antonio, age 4. The next passenger on the manifest was Antonio Pellegrino who was going to join his brother-in-law at Box 224, Cold Spring, New York. Eureka!

Today my preferred access to the Ellis Island database is via the wonderful Web pages of Stephen P. Morse. If you’ve not already taken advantage of this Web site, you will want to do so. As you all know, many Web sites are not user friendly and the task of obtaining information is sometimes daunting. Morse has developed search tools that make it much easier to access records. One such tool is “Searching the Ellis Island Database in One Step.” Some of the other search choices we have, courtesy of Morse are [2007]:

  • Castle Garden and earlier Ship Arrivals
  • NY Passengers (1920–1957)
  • NY Manifests (1820–1957)
  • Other Ports of Immigration
  • Canadian and British Census
  • New York Census (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island by street name)
  • Illinois Death Records (pre-1916 and/or 1916–1950)

Nicola Lorusso and Augusta DiPaola (including spelling variations) continue to elude identification on the 1910 U.S. Census for New York. But that doesn’t surprise me. The indexing parties for Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest Online created a massive number of errors. Curiosity led me to search online for our Lorusso family in 1920—I’d found them in Worchester, Massachusetts. It took a while, but I finally found the family indexed as “Nicholas Larusso” on HeritageQuest Online and “Nicholas Sorusso” on Ancestry.com.

The 1930 Census would be another challenge, but at least online databases might come to my rescue. Without waiting for the promised “every-name” index on Ancestry, I went straight to the microfilm at the National Archives-Southeast Region, found the conversion for the 1920 enumeration district, and searched that enumeration district page by page until I found our Lorusso family. The family of Nickolas Lorusso was still residing on Franklin Street in Worcester when they were enumerated on 8 April 1930. Nickolas continued to own his home which was valued at $8000.8





Year of Immigration

Birth Plac

Lorusso, Nickolas





———, Antoinette





———, Frank




———, Daniel




Since Ancestry.com didn’t have the family indexed correctly in 1920, I decided to see what imaginative approach would be found in the 1930 index. The entry for Nickolas Lorusso was correct (the enumerator had used Nickolas). However, his son Antonio (frequently called Anthony or Tony) has not yet been located. He married Loretta Curran in Worcester on 26 April 19309 about eighteen days after the census enumerator visited his father’s household. The 1930 HeritageQuest Online indexes only include the indexes for Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Texas, and Virginia at this point in time.

Using the multiple database search for anyone with the surname “Lorusso” at NewEnglandAncestors.org has been negative to date. In all fairness, remember that the databases on the New England Historic Genealogical Society Web site focus on pre-1900 records.

City directories for Worcester, Massachusetts, are numerous on Ancestry.com; however, some of volumes have only been partially scanned. The city directories have told us that Nicholas and his family were residing at 7 Caprera Road in 1918.10 The 1921 directory shows Nicola at 606 Franklin Street.11

In conclusion

Online databases often lead us to many records we need for our research very quickly, and with greater ease and comfort at any time, day or night.

We also need to remember that just because we don’t find individuals for whom we are searching doesn’t mean that they are not in the records. It may mean that an indexer overlooked the entry, an indexer misread the spelling, or that whoever created the record recorded the name incorrectly.

There are so many opportunities for finding online databases today that researchers need to be educated—it would be foolish to pay for a database on one Web site when it is free on another. Do “pay” services overlap, and if so, is the image quality better on one of those sites? If the option is available, would it be best to subscribe for a month rather than an entire year? Is the Web site user friendly? In order to make informed decisions (it is unlikely that it would be prudent for most of us to subscribe to every available service), talk to other genealogists, being sure to ask why the individual is excited about a particular service.

Probably one of the most important things for all of us to remember is that we should use Online database indexes to guide us to the original record or as close to the original as we can expect to see. Just because a fact is online, doesn’t necessary mean that the fact is correct.

It is also important to site your sources correctly. If a digital image of a document is viewed online, we need to indicate that we viewed that image on a particular Web site (listing the URL) on a particular date.


1. Certificate of death for Nicholas Lorusso, registered number 1343, recorded 31 August 1950; Commonwealth of Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, Boston.

2. Certificate of death for Antoinette (Pellegrino) Lorusso, registered number 1076, recorded 11 May 1956; Commonwealth of Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, Boston.

3. Nicholas Lorusso household, 1920 U.S. Census, population schedule, Worcester City, Worcester County, Massachusetts, enumeration district 246, sheet 6A, dwelling 64, family 101 (National Archives micropublication T625, roll 752).

4. Index (Soundex) to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, NY, July 1, 1902–December 31, 1943; National Archives micropublication M621, reel 390.

5. Registers of Vessels Arriving in the Port of New York from Foreign Ports, 1789–1919; National Archives micropublication M1066, reel 71.

6. “Passenger Record,” Ellis Island  databases, accessed 2 August 2001, for Antonietta Lorusso, 32, arrived 23 May 1910 aboard San Giovanni .

7. Certificate of death for Antoinette (Pellegrino) Lorusso.

8. Nickolas Lorusso household, 1930 U.S. Census, population schedule, City of Worcester, Worcester County, Massachusetts, enumeration district 58, sheet 8B, dwelling 108, family 145 (National Archives micropublication T626, roll 969).

9. Marriage record of Anthony Lorusso and Loretta Curran, no. 416, recorded 12 May 1930, Marriage Book 72: 416; Commonwealth of Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, Boston.

10. Greater Worchester Directory  (Salem, Massachusetts: The Salem Press Company, December 1918), 576; viewed on Ancestry.com  12 December 2006.

11. Worcester Directory, 1922, Containing a General Directory of the Citizens, a Business Directory and the City and County Registers, with Map  (Worcester, Mass.: Sampson & Murdock Co., Publishers, 1922), 422; viewed on Ancestry.com  12 December 2006.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.musingsbylinda.com/MyFamily/?p=429

Older posts «

» Newer posts