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Saturday, July 15, 2017

New Family Lines for Riccardo Chialastri and Maria Sapochetti - Stepping Back Generations Through The Portale Antenati (Ancestors Portal)

Italian records present an ideal chance to reach through the generations and build the family tree. The digitization of Italian State Archives records in Italy and published via the Italian National Archives on what is generally called the “Antenati” has been invaluable to those with Italian ancestors and lucky enough to have their State records published online.  According to the Anetenati website (http://www.antenati.san.beniculturali.it), 49 state archives are available totaling over 57 million images.  These records are valuable when researching both the male and female lines, but particularly for the female.  The reason stems from the fact that the taking of the husband’s name upon marriage is not practiced uniformly across cultures.  I and Specifically, Italian women often kept their maiden names upon marrying making the records valuable since the female surname’s could be across birth, marriage and death certificates.

A critical component to researching ancestors who immigrated to the United States or any country is being able to identify where your ancestors came from in the old country.  The identification of the exact town will be very helpful to narrow a search when using the Antenati records.  The Chialastri-Sapochetti line was stalled at the parents of Riccardo Filippo Antonio Chialastri and Maria Flavia Sapochetti, who were married in Italy, immigrated to the United States and are the focus of this analysis.  

Riccardo and Maria were from Cave in the province of Lazio and the state of Roma. Cave is located about 40 km southeast from Rome. 


Cave is on the western side of Mt. Prenestini between its slope and the Valle del Sacco. 


Riccardo’s daughter, Elizabeth (Chialastri) Sacco passed down the information that Riccardo was born in 1892 in Cave to Salvatore Chialastri and Anna Maria Scacchetti.  Riccardo married Maria Sapochetti, daughter of Salvatore Sapochetti and Anna Maria Cleri in Cave.  Maria was also born in 1892 in Cave.  Ricardo and Maria Sapochetti had the following children all born in Atlantic City, New Jersey1,2: 

  •     Elizabeth Chialastri was born 19 November 1913. 
  •     Nannina Chialastri was born 7 May 1915. 
  •     Salvatore N. Chialastri was born 29 April 1917. 
  •     Emilia Chialastri was born 12 February 1921. 
  •     Richard Chialastri was born 26 November 1931. 

Elizabeth told how sometime between 1921 and 1931, the family left the United States for Cave, Italy.  According to these family stories, the children, Elizabeth, Annie (Nannina), Sam (Salvatore), and Mim (Emila) were upset with leaving the United States and threatened to leave as soon as they were old enough such that Riccardo and Maria finally settled in the U.S. prior to their last child, Richard’s birth.  The immigration will be covered in a separate analysis since the focus of this work is trace the ancestors in Cave.

The 1930 U.S. Census3 entry provided the first clue to search the Antenati for marriage records for Riccardo and Maria.  A census question asked the age at which they married, both indicated 20 years old. Since both were listed as 38 years old in 1930, the likely year of marriage for Riccardo and Maria in Cave was approximately 1912. 


Cave records for various years for birth, marriage and death certificates were available on the  Antenati website.  The “Pubblicazioni  di Martimonio"4, which is essentially the declaration of Riccardo and Maria to marry, typically a marriage bann.  The record is dated 24 October 1912 and contains a trove information related to Riccardo and Maria.  


Riccardo is 19 years old with occupation of “contadino”, farmer.  His father, Salvatore, is 62 years old, also a farmer and Riccardo’s mother is Anna Maria Scacchetti, no age provided.  They are all residents of Cave.  Approximate birth dates calculated from the ages suggests Riccardo’s was born about 1893 close to 1892 and presents a range to search, while his father, Salvatore was born about 1850, again providing a range to search for birth records if available.

Maria Sapochetti is 20 years old, providing a birth year of about 1892.  Her father, Salvatore is 65 years old, born around 1847, and he works as a farmer in Cave.  An important notation is also on the form relative to Maria’s mother, it reads, “della fu Cleri Anna Maria”.  This identifies her mother as Anna Maria Cleri, but the designation of “della fu” in Italian records indicates she is deceased.

The witnesses to the bank are Pietro Milani and Vincenzo Foschi.  The document is signed by Riccardo, Pietro and Vincenzo.

Searching the records resulted in the Atti di Matrimonio or Act of Marriage is the actual certificate for the marriage of Riccardo and Maria.  This was found as well in the Antenati records for Cave.  The marriage date was 4 December 19125, no new information was noted on the record. 


A family tree with some additional data was constructed based on these records. 

Initial information was that Anna Maria Cleri died after giving birth to Maria. Focusing on Maria Sapochetti (b. 1892), specifically her mother, Anna Maria Cleri, who died before the Publicazzioni in October of 1912 a potential range of search years spans 1892 to 1912. The Atti di Morte for Cave includes this range and the record for Anna Maria Cleri was found, she died according to the record 1 June 19016.  The record confirms this is the wife of Salvatore with the statement, “moglie di Sapochetti Salvatore”, with moglie meaning wife of.


The record indicates that Anna Maria was 48 years old when she died (quarantotto) indicating a birth year of approximately 1853.  The record also identifies Anna Maria’s parents as Giovanni Cleri and Giacinta Milani.  Giacinta Milani is deceased by the preposition “fu” prior to her name.  It is unclear what designation proceeds Giovanni.  The identification of the next generation provided enough information to search for a marriage record for Salvatore Sapochetti and Anna Maria Cleri.

The marriage record for Salvatore and Anna Maria was located in Cave records on the Antenati website and provides a marriage date of 30 December 18747.  The handwriting is difficult to discern but from the left side, it is certificate #11.  An important note is Salvatore is the son of Antonio, who is likely alive by the use of “di” while Anna Maria is the daughter of Giovanni, with the designation “fu” typically used if the parent is deceased.  This might help clarify what precedes Giovanni from Anna Maria’s Atti di Morte where the writing was unclear. 


The marriage record lists the parents for Salvatore Sapochetti and Anna Maria Cleri.   Salvatore’s parents are listed as Antonio, as previously noted, and his mother is Francesca Calajacomo. The designation preceding both parents is “di” indicative that they were living at the time of the marriage.  

Anna Maria’s parents are Giovanni, as previously mentioned, who appears to have died prior to the marriage.  Her mother is Giacinta Renzi.  This is different from what was listed in her Atti di Morte, where Giacinta Milani was identified as her mother.  It is not clear from the record whether the mother is living or not.  The records provided details to Maria Sapochetti’s parents and helped provide a generation back.  

The focus turned to Riccardo and his family.  The Atti di Morte for Anna Maria Scacchetti was located, certificate #1 dated 13 January 1918.8  Anna Maria is listed as “moglie di Chialastri Salvatore”, the wife of Salvatore Chialastri.  Anna Maria was 65 years of age when she died in Cave, putting her birth year at approximately 1857.  Anna Maria Scacchetti’s parents are identified and both appear to have the “fu” designation indicating by 1918 they are deceased.   Her father is Francesco Scacchetti and her mother is Annafelice Traversi, both of Cave. 


Salvatore Chialastri, Riccardo’s father, Atti di Morte was found and indicates he died 16 September 1919 at the age of 69.9  This suggests he was born about 1850.  He is predeceased by both parents as noted again by the “fu” prior to their names.  Salvatore Chialastri’s father is identified as Filippo and his mother is identified as Anna Moroni.  A cross-check with regards to his wife, Anna Maria Scacchetti is provided with the statement, “vedovo di Scacchetti Anna Maria”, where vedovo means widower, aligned with the previous record for Anna Maria Scacchetti.


A final discovery was the Atti di Morte for Anna Moroni “fu Domenico” dated 3 December 1891.10  This information can add another generation to the tree with the identification of Anna Moroni’s father.  The record indicates Anna is “vedova di Chialastri Filippo”, the widow of Filippo Chialastri.  Her father is Domenico, deceased and her mother, Giroloma Fari, is also deceased as noted by “della fu”.  Anna Moroni was 76 when she died, putting her birth at about 1815.


The records found in the Antenati provided enough information to create the most current family tree, and yielded important information to continue searching the records.  Through analysis of the records, an additional generation has been added to what was known for Maria Sapochetti and two generations in part were added for Riccardo Chialastri. 



1 Ancestry.com, 1930 United States Federal Census (Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2002;), Database online. Year: 1930; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: 1309; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 28; Image: 54.0; FHL microfilm: 2341044 
2 Ancestry.com, 1940 United States Federal Census (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2012;), Database online. Year: 1940; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2301; Page: 9B and Page 10A; Enumeration District: 1-67.
3 Ancestry.com, 1930 United States Federal Census (Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2002;), Database online. Year: 1930; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: 1309; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 28; Image: 54.0; FHL microfilm: 2341044 
4Riccardo Chialastri, Pubblicazioni Di Matrimonio, Parte-1, Year 1912: Numero 44, A Cave, Roma, Lazio, 
5 Riccardo Chialastri, Atti Di Matrimonio, Year 1912: Numero X, Archivio di Stato di Roma, Stato Civile Italiano Cave, Cave, Roma, Lazio, http://www.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/v/Archivio+di+Stato+di+Rom
a/Stato+civile+italiano/Cave/Matrimoni/1912/007660408_01477.
jpg.html?g2_imageViewsIndex=0
6 Anna Maria Cleri, Atti Di Morte, Year 1901: Numero 36, Archivio di Stato di Roma, Stato Civile Italiano Cave, Cave, Roma, Lazio, http://www.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/v/Archivio+di+Stato+di+Roma/Stato+civile+italiano/Cave/Morti/1901/007660541_00062.jpg.html?g2_imageViewsIndex=0 
7 Salvatore Sapochetti, Atti Di Matrimonio, Year 1874: Numero 11, Archivio di Stato di Roma, Stato Civile Italiano Cave, Cave, Roma, Lazio, http://www.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/v/Archivio+di+Stato+di+Roma/Stato+civile+italiano/Cave/Matrimoni/1874/007172125_00026.jpg.html
8Anna Maria Scacchetti, Atti Di Morte, Year 1918: Numero 1, Archivio di Stato di Roma, Stato Civile Italiano Cave, Cave, Roma, Lazio, http://www.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/v/Archivio+di+Stato+di+Roma/Stato+civile+italiano/Cave/Morti/1918/007660409_00237.jpg.html
9Salvatore Chialastri, Atti Di Morte, Year 1919: Numero 35, Archivio di Stato di Roma, Stato Civile Italiano Cave, Cave, Roma, Lazio, Italy, http://www.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/v/Archivio+di+Stato+di+Roma/Stato+civile+italiano/Cave/Morti/1919/007660409_00335.jpg.html?g2_imageViewsIndex=0 
10 Anna Moroni entry, Atti Di Morte, Year 1891: Numero 121, Archivio di Stato di Roma, Stato Civile Italiano, Cave, Roma. http://www.antenati.san.beniculturali.it/v/Archivio+di+Stato+di+Roma/Stato+civile+italiano/Cave/Morti/1891/007172125_00787.jpg.html?g2_imageViewsIndex=0

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Johann Jacob Gossart and Maria Louise Saar: Evidence and Handwriting Lead to Immigration and Potential Parents

Johann Jacob Gossart has been a mystery in the family for many years. Commonly referenced as Jacob Gossart in U.S. Census, it is believed that Jacob immigrated from the area of Achtelsbach in Germany in the early 1850s or late 1840s. Family stories said that Jacob’s wife, Marie Louise Saar was a servant girl who worked for the Gossart family (multiple spellings include Gosart and Gossert). Louise and Jacob fell in love, and it was unsure whether his family sent him to America and she followed, or she was sent to America and Jacob followed.

The lore continued with stories that Jacob ran off twice, the first time Louise chased him on a stagecoach (suckling an infant the entire time) and found him somewhere in the midwest and brought him back. The second time Jacob left his family and rumors include that Jacob ended up in the Northwest running into issues with the law.  Elusive as he might be, determining Jacob’s lineage has proved just as difficult.

A search of immigration records for Jacob and Louise led to two potential findings that included an analysis of the ship manifests handwriting. When taking into consideration the family story that either Jacob or Louise preceded the other in immigrating to the U.S. a search was conducted for each individually.

The first finding was an interesting entry for a Louise Saar immigrating to the U.S. in 1852.1 The ship’s manifest for the John T. Lucy (or John & Lucy) dated 2 August 1852 as indexed listed Louise Saar, 79 years of age, clearly an unlikely candidate at first glance. However,

John Lucy Ship Manifest Listing Louise Saar, Age 79 or 19

analyzing the record, one may challenge the indexed handwriting when reviewing additional numbers from the same manifest. The potential is the indexed seven could be a one putting Louise’s age as 19 not 79 with a birth year of approximately 1833. As the comparison shows, the seven is usually distinctive with definitive up-down-up, u-like, appearance. The number one is less repetitive, sometimes being straight up and down and other times, having the more European look with “top” having an upward slant from left to right before connecting with straight up and down portion.
Handwriting Sample for the Number 7 (Top) and Number 1 (Bottom) from Ship John Lucy
Bottom Right Image is Entry from Louise Saar Line

The second entry involved additional analyzing the handwriting from the manifest for the ship John L. Bogert. Jacob Gossart, age 30 years old2 is listed, which if the Jacob of interest, would make him about ten years older than the U.S. census entries.
John L. Bogart Ship Manifest Listing Jacob Gossart, Age 20 or 30

However reviewing how the numbers were written for other passengers relative to how they were indexed, the age may be twenty rather than thirty which would suggest Jacob’s birth year to be approximately 1832, in line with the census information.

John L. Bogart Manifest Handwriting Sample for the Number 3 (Top) and Number 2 (Bottom)
Bottom Right Image is from Jacob Gossart Line

If the handwriting analysis is correct, these records represent the likely immigration records for Jacob Gossart and Louise Saar which were previously missed due to focusing on the indexed ages. The threes are straightforward with a slight top to bottom initiation at the top. The twos are more unique and varied, the top right image shows similar start to a three but a definitive loop and tail at the base. Comparing that to the bottom, one could interpret the bottom two right images as fancy twos or a three.

An attempt to provide additional circumstantial support for the analysis was undertaken using another passenger with similar potential for a 2 to be interpreted as a 3 (middle bottom photo above being either 26 or 36). A search was conducted for the passenger, Rosina Durr (or Dunn)2 since the family had unique names. An 1860 U.S. Census record for the Doerr (Duerr) family3 was found matching the family in the ship manifest, however the names were Americanized. It was interesting to note that the age of Rosina per the census was off by ten years, in that Rosina was 10 years younger in the census than the ship manifest similar to Jacob Gossart. For Rosina, the indexed record of the ship manifest was 36 rather than 26.

The first evidence of Jacob in the United States after immigrating is a listing in the 1855 Philadelphia City Directory for a Jacob Gossart living at Coates bel Nixon.4 According to the immigration records, Jacob and Louise arrived within a month of each in 1852, it is assumed they married between arrival and 1854 when their first child, Indeman, was born in November 18545 according to a baptismal record. Jacob and family were found in the 1860 US Census living in the 19th ward of Philadelphia, PA. Jacob is a laborer and his birthplace listed as Wirtenburg. He is living with his wife, Louisa and sons Inder (Indeman), Jacob, and Edward. All three children, according to the census, were born in Pennsylvania6, with Indeman and Jacob being baptized in 18577 and Edward being baptized in 1862.8

Jacob and Louise eventually settled in the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania area where according to the US 1870 Census they lived in Plains Twp, Luzerne Cty, PA.9 He was employed as a stable boss. The real estate was valued at $150, about $2600 in today’s dollar.
1. Indeman Gosart was born on 17 Nov 1854 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He died on 31 Oct 1927 in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne, Pennsylvania, USA. He married Rosa Jones in 1887 in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne, Pennsylvania, USA.
2. Jacob Gosart was born on 07 Oct 1856 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He died on 22 Nov 1918 in Courtdale, Luzerne, Pennsylvania, USA. He married Amelia Geiser in 1874 in Luzerne, Pennsylvania, USA.
3. Edward Gosart was born on 06 Nov 1858 in Pennsylvania, USA. He died on 25 Dec 1937 in Jessup, Lackawanna, Pennsylvania, USA. He married Cecelia Jane Flynn in 1880.
4. Albert J Gosart was born on 06 Feb 1861 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA. He died on 22 Nov 1908 in Livermore, Alameda, California, USA. He married Sarrie Gosart in 1887.
5. Charles Gosart was born in 1863 in Pennsylvania, USA. Date of death unknown. He married Lavina Lillie Martin on 22 Jan 1895 in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne, Pennsylvania, USA.
6. Louisa M Gosart was born on 05 Jan 1867 in Pennsylvania, USA. She died on 23 Jul 1948 in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne, Pennsylvania, USA. She married Edward J Smith on 30 Apr 1891 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
7. Emma Gosart was born on 07 May 1875 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She died on 26 Feb 1939 in Wilkes Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, USA. She married William George Worth in 1898 in Luzerne, PA.

In Portrait and Biographical Record of Arizona: Commemorating the Achievements of Citizens who Have Contributed to the Progress of Arizona and the Development of Its Resources, Jacob’s son A. J. Gosart had a biographical sketch which provided some information on his father Jacob:10
"His father, Jacob, led an interesting life, and when a young man came to America from his native land of Germany. He was a gold-beater by occupation, and in Philadelphia earned a fair competence by the exercise of his trade. The severe strain of constant confinement told on his none too robust organization, and he died in Wilkesbarre, PA., when a comparatively young man."

A review of the 1880 Census finds that Jacob is no longer listed with the family, however Louise lists herself as married denoted by the slash mark in the second column after listing her “Relationship” as wife.11 This suggests that Jacob has either passed away or as family stories suggest, he may have left the family sometime between 1870-1880.

1880 U.S. Census Line for Louisa (Saar) Gossart


The obituary for Louise from The Wilkes-Barre record 23 Mar 1898, page 8 of 12 provides some additional insight into Jacob’s death:12
Obituary for Louise (Saar) Gossart in Wilkes-Barre Record

The newspaper states that Jacob died twelve years prior to Louise, which was about 1886 at the age of 56, though no records have been found to confirm this event.  There was little information to help determine the parents of Jacob. Jacob’s birth date was estimated at about 1831 from the few records discovered such that a search of German Births and Baptisms led to two potential records:
Jacob Gossert13
Germany, Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898
birth: 28 Jun 1829 Eisen,​ Oldenburg,​ Germany
residence: 1829 Achtelsbach,​ Oldenburg,​ Germany
parents: Jacob Gossert,​ Louisa Alt
Johann Jacob Gossert14
Germany, Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898
birth: 24 Feb 1830 Achtelsbach,​ Oldenburg,​ Germany
residence: 1830 Achtelsbach,​ Oldenburg,​ Germany
parents: Jacob Gossert,​ Louisa Ruppenthal

The closest date being the 24 Feb 1830 entry that identifies the parents of Jacob Gossart as Jacob Gossert and Louisa Ruppenthal. The birth and residence location of Achtelsbach being the same for Louise. The first record was for Jacob Gossert born 28 June 1829 in Eisen, Oldenburg to Jacob Gossert and Louisa Alt. The second entry was for Johann Jacob Gossert born 24 February 1830 to Johann Jacob and Louisa Ruppenthal in Achtelsbach.

The first entry was ruled out as further research found a marriage record for that Jacob dated 11 June 1856 in which he married a Katharina Philippina Alt. The age of Johann Jacob is aligned to John Jacob found in the U.S.

A final piece of evidence that may lend support to family stories regarding the connection of the Gossart and Saar families was found in the birth record for Maria Lousia Saar. The record lists the Taufzeugen as Johannes Saar and Louisa Ruppenthal, possible the same Louisa Ruppenthal listed as Jacob’s mother. Johannes Saar may be the brother to Peter Saar, identified as Jean Charles.

Baptismal Record for Maria Louisa Saar Listing
Godparents: Johannes Saar and Louisa Ruppenthal

The importance of reviewing the actual records versus relying on an index cannot be overstated.  The importance of using family stories to guide research is critical to examining details in fresh ways. The immigration records for Jacob and Louise had not been located for years based on the indexed information, where time and improving research skills led to a re-analysis of previously rejected records. Analyzing the handwriting helped potentially identify the ship manifests for Jacob and Louise based on the story of them immigrating separately from one another. Additionally, ensuring a thorough review of the record for all names has led to further evidence of the identification of Jacob Gossart’s parents through the identification of the godparents of Louise Saar.


What do you think of the handwriting analysis?


1 New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2754-DTD : 15 April 2015), Louise Saar, 1852; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm
2 New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/2754-7P4 : 15 April 2015), Jacob Gossart, 1852; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm.
3 Year: 1860; Census Place: Rochester Ward 6, Monroe, New York; Roll: M653_783; Page: 561; Family History Library Film: 803783
4 Vol. 1855 A. McElroy & Co, Orrin Rogers (Firm), and E.C. & J. Biddle (Firm), McElroy’s Philadelphia City Directory.
5 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985 (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date:  2011;), Database online.
6 Ancestry.com, 1860 United States Federal Census (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date:  2009;), Year: 1860; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 19, Philadelphia,  Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1169; Page: 227; Image: 231; Family History  Library Film: 805169
7 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985 (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date:  2011;), Database online.
8 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985 (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date:  2011;), Database online.
9 Ancestry.com, 1870 United States Federal Census (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date:  2009;), Database online. Year: 1870; Census Place: Plains, Luzerne,  Pennsylvania; Roll: M593.
10 Portrait and Biographical Record of Arizona: Commemorating the Achievements of Citizens Who Have Contributed to the Progress of Arizona and the Development of Its Resources. Chapman Publishing Company, 1901.
11 Year: 1880; Census Place: Wilkes Barre, Luzerne, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1149; Family History Film: 1255149; Page: 558C; Enumeration District: 114; Image: 0440
12 The Wilkes-Barre Record, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Wed, Mar 23, 1898 – Page 8
13 Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NHYS-YYZ : 28 November 2014), Jacob Gossert, ; citing Eisen, Oldenburg, Germany; FHL microfilm 1,053,721
14 Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N6W2-Q3X : 28 November 2014), Johann Jacob Gossert, 07 Mar 1830; citing ; FHL microfilm 493,233