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52 Ancestors: Pietro Pablo Casillo

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Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.Today I will begin with the first of my mom’s 16 great-great grandparents.  Me > My Mom > Robert Casell > Alfred Casell > Marcantonio Casillo > Pietro Pablo Casillo I do not have a photo of Pietro.  If you do, please let me know. Pietro Pablo Casillo was born around 1835 to Giuseppe and and Maria (Deticcoso) Casillo in Italy. Pietro married Angela Rosa Palmiero most likely in the early to mid-1860s.  They had at least 3 children, Giuseppe Maria Vittorio, Maria Domenica, and Marcantonio Maria.  As a family they lived in Roccaromana, Caserta, Campania, Italy. Pietro took his…

52 Ancestors: Elizabeth Fink Gress

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Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed. Elizabeth with my Gramma (Left) and great Aunt Judy.  Approximately 1944.Me > My Mom > My Gramma > Vera Gress > Elizabeth FinkElizabeth L. Fink was born 6 July 1867 in Buffalo, Erie, New York to Gottlieb and Barbara (Fleeman) Fink.  She was the second of 11 children.Elizabeth married Jacob Gress around 1886, also in Buffalo.  They had 7 children, Chester, May, Walter, Elsie, Beulah, and Vera.Elizabeth and Jacob moved in with their daughter Vera’s family when Jacob was fired from his job right before he planned on retiring, and Elizabeth stayed with them after Jacob died in 1932.…

SNGF: A Critical Life Decision

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From Randy Seaver's GeneaMusings (a bit belatedly). Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music):

1) Did you or your ancestor make a critical life decision that really changed their life in terms of place, work, family, relationships, etc.?

I think all people make a multitude of critical life decisions over the course of their lives.  Things like changing jobs, deciding on a college or career or to join the military, getting married, having children, and moving will alter the course of your life.

My ancestors that most changed their lives with one decision were those that decided to get on a boat and cross the Atlantic to come to the US from wherever they lived in Europe.  Some of these people came with only pennies to their name, in search of a better life for themselves and their family.

In my own life, I would also equate critical decisions on moving, though on a smaller scale.  I moved to Syracuse 10 years ago and everything chang…

52 Ancestors: Jacob Gress

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Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.Woo-hoo, I’m all caught up!  I’m going to try to get back to posting these weekly.Jacob Gress and his son Chester behind the barMe > My Mom > My Gramma > Vera Gress > Jacob GressJacob J. Gress was born 26 January 1869 in Buffalo, Erie, New York to Joseph and Sophia (Possehl) Gress.  He was the second of what would be five children.He married Elizabeth Fink around 1886, also in Buffalo.  They had 7 children, Chester, May, Walter, Elsie, Beulah, and Vera.Jacob worked as a saloonkeeper for many years.  Later in life, he was a handy man at a paint company.Jacob died 11 August 1932 in…

52 Weeks: Anna May Sanderson

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Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.

Me > My Mom > Her Mom > William Whitehead > Anna May Sanderson


I find all of my ancestors interesting.  They were all pretty salt of the earth people, a lot of farmers and laborers, living normal lives like their descendants do today.  But some hold a stronger fascination for me.  I’ve always been drawn to the sad story of Lillian.  I’m very interested in doing a one-place study for Halstead, Kent, England (an area we’ll get to with my 3rd great grandparents.) And of course there is the ancestor who got me into genealogy in the first place – Anna May.  Or Elizabeth Ann.  Whi…

52 Ancestors: Charles William Whitehead

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Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.

Me > My Mom > Her Mom > William Whitehead > Charles William Whitehead


Charles is on the right.  Also pictured are his wife Anna May and, I think, their son William.

Charles William Whitehead was born 12 June 1872 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada to Charles and Mary Ann (Hayman) Whitehead.  He was their third son and the first born in Canada after the family had immigrated from England.  His sister Rose would be born a few years later.

Then it gets complicated.  At some point in the early to mid-1890s, he met Elizabeth Ann (Sanderson) Lawrence.  I’ll get into this a bit more when …

52 Ancestors: Augusta Tross

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Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.

Me > My Mom > Robert Casell > Lillian Eichorn > Augusta Tross

No picture for Augusta.  If anyone out there has one, please let me know.  I’d love to see it!

As my great-great grandparents go, Augusta is the one I need to do the most research on as far as birth and early life go.  I am relatively certain that Augusta M. Tross was born 6 September 1866 is Germany, probably in Eberstardt, the southern-most borough of Darmstadt in Hessen.  Her parents were Wenzel and Maria Elisa (Strassheim) Tross and she was the 8th of 9 children, though 3 of these children had died young.

Aug…

52 Ancestors: William Fred Eichorn

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Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.

Me > My Mom > Robert Casell > Lillian Eichorn > William Fred Eichorn

No picture for William.  If anyone out there has one, please let me know.  I’d love to see it!

William Fred Eichorn (also spelled Eichhorn) was born 22 June 1874 in Chippewa, Welland, Ontario, Canada to Charles Herman Eichorn and Katherine Weiß (Weiss).  He was the first of, as far as I know, eight children.

The family crossed the border and lived in Niagara Falls, Niagara, New York by 1878 and were enumerated there in the 1880 census.  By 1884 they had moved to south to Buffalo, Erie, New York and lived there…

52 Ancestors: Carolina Izzo

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Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.

Me > My Mom > Robert Casell > Alfred Casell > Carolina Izzo

Carolina Izzo was born 3 May 1876 in Calvi Risorta, Caserta, Campagna, Italy to Giovanni Izzo and Caterina D’Onofrio.  There were a lot of Izzos in Calvi Risorta whom I have not yet sorted out.

She married Marcantonio Casillo there 6 December 1901.  They immigrated to Buffalo, Erie, New York and were living there in 1903 when their first child, Amelia Angela Maria, was born.  Following Amelia were twins Alfredo Marco and Angelina Caterina, daughter Lucia, a child (name, date, and gender currently unknown) who died soon…

52 Ancestors: Marcantonio Maria Casillo

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Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.

Me > My Mom > Robert Casell > Alfred Casell > Marcantonio Casillo

Marcantonio Maria Casillo (also known as Marco) was born 11 January 1868 in Roccaromana, Caserta, Campania, Italy to Pietro and Angela (Palmiero) Casillo.  I’ve found two siblings so far, but need to do more research into the Italian records.  FamilySearch is slowly indexing Italian records which will be much easier than the microfilm and browsable digital records I’ve used in the past considering my lack of Italian language skills.

Marco first came to the US on a trip with his father in in 1887.  He married Caro…

52 Ancestors: Vera Louise Julia Gress

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Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.

Photo: Vera on left, her mother Elizabeth, her husband William; scanned from my great aunt Lois’ album.

Somehow February came and went, so let’s see if we can play catch up a bit this weekend.  Vera Louise Julia Gress is my mom’s maternal grandmother.  Unbeknownst to any of her children, her birth certificate had her name as Vera Louise Gress, with Louise likely being being for either her aunt Louisa Gress or her uncle Lewis Fink (or maybe both.)  However, she was always known as Vera Julia Gress.  In fact, my mother, Julie, was named after her, and my son, Julian, then named for my mom.  …

52 Ancestors: William Herbert Whitehead

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Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.
Week 3 is late, as I realized I hadn’t gotten to the Whiteheads yet in OneNote, though everything is in Legacy.  William Herbert Whitehead is my mom’s maternal grandfather.
William, who went by Bill, was born 29 September 1896 in Buffalo, Erie, NY to Charles and Anna May (Sanderson) Whitehead, who had recently immigrated to the US from Canada.  He was their first child and would eventually have a brother and sister (Harry Hobson and Adeline.) He was baptized at the St. James Episcopal Church (in Buffalo) 11 December 1904.

He married Vera Louise Julia Gress 28 March 1921 in Buffalo and had …

52 Ancestors: Lillian Eichorn

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Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.


Week 2 is my mom's paternal grandmother, Lillian Eichorn Casell.  Lillian was born 22 December 1908 in Buffalo, Erie, NY.  Her parents are William and Augusta (Tross) Eichorn.  Lillian was the fifth child and fifth girl in the family, though she would get a little brother in 1914.

Lillian married Alfred Casell 11 Jul 1928 and preceded to have a daughter followed by three sons.  This must have been a big change for her and Al, as he also grew up in a house surrounded by sisters.

Lillian died 19 December 1938 of lobar pneumonia along with myocardial failure (toxic) and rheumatoid arthrit…

52 Ancestors: Alfredo Marco Casillo

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Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.

Week one is my mom’s paternal grandfather, Alfredo Marco Casillo, also known as Alfred Macro Casell.
Alfredo Marco Casillo and twin sister Angela Caterina (also known as Angelina) were born 28 June 1906 in Buffalo, Erie, New York to Marcantonio and Carolina (Izzo) Casillo.  They had one older sister, Amelia, and would have four younger siblings, Lucy, Clara, Roberto, and one who died young whose name I still need to find.

Alfred married Lillian Eichorn 11 July 1928, also in Buffalo.  They had four children, Beatrice, Robert (my grandfather), Alfred and James.  After Lillian died in 1938, A…