The Marriage of Salvatore Maggio and Maria Grazia Mortillaro

One of the hardest branches of my tree to research, I’ve found, is the Italians. Tracing them from the late 1800s in Baltimore isn’t a problem; it’s the immigration records and Italian records that give me trouble. Partly, it’s because I don’t speak Italian and partly because the records aren’t online or they aren’t indexed. The spelling of names is also inconsistent; names tend to become Americanized over time. Linking a Mary to a Maria is simple enough, but DiPaula…we know that it most likely was changed at the time of immigration, but what was it originally? DiPaola? DePaola? DePaolo? DiPaulis? Space or no space?

Cefalù, Italy

Cefalu, Italy

The one thing I do know is that most of my Italian ancestors came from Cefalù, Sicily. Recently, I discovered that the civil records for Cefalù were available online through Family Search. The problem is most aren’t indexed, the handwriting is hard to read, and they’re in Italian. It’s going to be a long process, but I was able to find the civil marriage record for one couple because I knew the year they were married and there was an index available luckily.

I was slightly disappointed that there wasn’t more new information in the record I didn’t already have, but I was elated nonetheless. Thanks to a couple of reference pages (Italian Genealogical Word List and Italian Marriage Document Translation), I was able to translate most of the marriage record.

Marriage record for Salvatore Maggio and Maria Grazia Mortillaro

Marriage record for Salvatore Maggio and Maria Grazia Mortillaro

In the year 1890, on the 15th of October, at 7:15 PM in the city hall of Cefalù, open to the public.

Before me [name of official, usually the mayor] an official of the civil registration, officially appeared personally:

1st Salvatore Maggio, unmarried, age 24, cobbler, born in Cefalù, resident of Cefalù, son of Vincenzo, resident of Cefalù, and Maria Culotta, resident of Cefalù.

2nd Maria Grazia Mortillaro, unmarried, age 18, housewife, born in Cefalù, resident of Cefalù, daughter of Luigi, resident of Cefalù, and Rosa Carnaggio, resident of Cefalù.

[block of text; formalities]

Witnesses:
Baimondo Vaccaro, 21, decorator
Matteo Marsiglia, 24, cobbler

[script; hard to read handwriting]

The new information I was able to gleam from this (other than beginning a hobby of learning Italian) was the date and location of the marriage, that Salvatore’s father’s name was Vincenzo, and (most importantly) everyone was from Cefalù, including the parents. So now I know to keep looking for more records from Cefalù.

Daniel Leven Wooters – A Womanizer?

Daniel L. Wooters, Sr.

Daniel L. Wooters, Sr.

This particular part of my grandmother’s side of the family (one of his daughters, Mary Cecelia, married into the Foard family) is a constant headache. And I still don’t think I have it completely figured out. You’ll see why…

Daniel Leven Wooters, Sr., was born about 1845 in Maryland. Over the course of his life, he constantly moved around and had multiple wives and many children. I think he may have had two wives at the same time, at one point, but I don’t know for sure. This is what I do know:

In 1862, he volunteered for the Home Guard in Denton, Maryland at the age of 17. In 1863, he  is listed on the Draft Registration list for military duty during the Civil War. On line 19, his information is listed as follows:

Draft registration records for Daniel Wooters

Draft registration records for Daniel Wooters

  • Residence: Denton
  • Name: Wooters, Danl
  • Age: 21
  • Color: White
  • Occupation: Soldier
  • Single
  • Place of Birth: MD
  • Former Military Service: 1st E.S. Regt
  • Remarks: In Service

On March 24, 1868 Daniel married Sarah Elizabeth Gibson (about 1849-1875) in St. Michael’s, Talbot County, Maryland. They had two children (this where is starts to get complicated – trying to figure out what child belongs to which wife): Ellen Virginia Wooters (1869-1952) and Mary Cecelia Wooters (1873-1935). On the 1870 census for Talbot County, Daniel’s occupation is listed as osytering. Living with them are possibley Sarah’s younger brothers, Richard, William, and Charles.

Sarah died in or about 1875. Daniel remarried not long after on February 17, 1876 to Mary J. Pocock (1857-?). She was 19, and he was 30. Their marriage was filed in Baltimore (unsure if that’s where is took place). Daniel is listed as widowed and his occupation is Stevedore (according to Wikipedia: Stevedore, dockworker, docker, dock laborer, wharfie, and longshoreman can have various waterfront-related meanings concerning loading and unloading ships, according to place and country).

In 1880, the lived at 20 Binney Street in Baltimore. The children listed with them are Mary C. (from previous marriage), Jenny (most likely this is Ellen Virginia; born about the same year [before Mary’s marriage to Daniel]), and Laura M. (born about 1879). Daniel is listed as a laborer and Mary as “working in house pickling.”

The next record I have of Daniel is the 1910 census. Here, he is married to Rose (born about 1880) and they live at 839 William Street, Baltimore. They had been married for 14 years (1896). The children listed on the census with them are: John Albert (born about 1901), Daniel Leven, Jr. (born 1904), Laura Irene (born about 1907), and William Henry (born about 1901). They also had Ethel and Rose Elizabeth (information provided by a descendant of Daniel who described him as a “scoundrel”).

Residence of Daniel in 1920 (1920 Sherwood Avenue)

Residence of Daniel in 1920 (1920 Sherwood Avenue)

Daniel died January 11, 1920. He lived at 1920 Sherwood Avenue in Baltimore. He is listed as widowed on his death certificate and is buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery. His father is listed as Daniel R. Wooters and his mother is unknown.

Death certificate for Daniel Wooters

Death certificate for Daniel Wooters

Whether he had multiple wives at the same time is not known, but what I do know is that he remarried very quickly after his first wife’s death, he liked his wives young (19, 19, and 16 years old), and they don’t seem to have lived very long despite their youth. Hmmm….

I would love to be able to find death certificates or graves for his wives. It would be very interesting.

John & Anna Schaffer

So a while back, I posted a Victorian photograph of who I thought were the Maggios. It recently came to my attention that the couple pictured was actually John and Anna Schaffer. Here is that photo again:

Anna and John Schaffer - 1884

Anna and John Schaffer – 1884

One of my favorite things to do is to try and date photos. If you have a good knowledge of historical clothing and context, this can be relatively easy, depending on what garments and hairstyles those in the photo are wearing and the event that is pictured. I have a degree in costume design, so I have a passion about historical clothing.

This is one of my favorite photos, and probably the oldest my family has. Judging by the clothes, we can determine it falls into the late Victorian era, specifically the bustle era, the 1880s. It is clearly a wedding photograph, with the bride wearing a long veil. While Queen Victoria did make it fashionable to wear a white wedding dress, many women still wore the customary dark dress. This was a practical choice – their best dress, if dark, could be worn both at their wedding and when in mourning (plus, my personal opinion – it hides dirt better). The groom is wearing a typical Prince Albert coat of the period.

1413 E. Lafayette Avenue - The listed residence in 1892

1413 E. Lafayette Avenue – The listed residence in 1892

John G. Schaffer was born on December 29, 1858 in Baltimore, MD to Bavarian immigrants Gabriel Schaffer and Julianna Walgardt. For most of his life, John was a cobbler.

Anna M. Davidson was born on November 9, 1864 in Baltimore to Samuel George Davidson and Mary Jane Pow/Powell (not sure which is the correct last name). Before marrying John, her occupation was listed as a seamstress.

1804 Aiken Street - The listed residence in 1930

1804 Aiken Street – The listed residence in 1930

They were married in 1884 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church. Together they had four children: Mary Jane, Elizabeth, Francis X., and an unknown child who died before 1900. They raised their family in various homes on the 1800 block of Harford Avenue.

Anna passed away first on September 29, 1930. John died four years later on September 3, 1934 succumbing to injuries inflicted after being hit by a car eight months previously. Both are buried at Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Baltimore.

 

Scottish Roots & Scotland’s People

I finally gave in and signed up for ScotlandsPeople in order to search and view the documents, hoping to gain more information on my Scottish ancestors. The way this site works is they let you “search” for people but do not allow you to view the results without payment, only allowing you to see how many results are in which category. You have to purchase credits (30 credits for about $11) to see any details . It costs one credit to view the actual search results, and another 5 credits to view the document.

My overall thoughts of this website, while comprehensive and vast, is not worth the price. I do not like their style of payment and would rather pay a flat fee to view as many documents as I want. Because of this, I was not able to explore as I wished to see if I could find new people. Instead I confirmed a couple dates and relations I already knew, though I did find a father for someone. Also, I thought this site would provide more  detailed and substantial information that I have found elsewhere, but other than occupation, the same information could be found for free on FamilySearch.

My conclusion: only pay for this site if looking to view the actual documents of information you already know.

With that said, here is what I did find:

The parish birth records for Burton Thoms

The parish birth records for Burton Thoms

The records states that Burton Thoms was born to William Thoms (who was a weaver) and Isabella Anderson in Dundee on January 15, 1803 and christened January 23, 1803 (there are two dates listed, one next to the father and one next to the mother; as the first is always earlier than the latter, I assume this is the birth and christening dates).

The parish records for the marriage of Burton Thoms and Jean Strachan

The parish records for the marriage of Burton Thoms and Jean Strachan

On the 13th of March, 1825, Burton Thoms, weaver, and Jean, daughter of William Strachan, weaver, were married, both in this parish [Dundee].