Sunday, June 7, 2009

Another piece of the puzzle and another puzzling piece

Earlier today I remembered I never got around to checking the mail yesterday. I decided the mail would still be there tomorrow and then thought that maybe the genealogy records I was waiting for came and decided to go out and check. I don't know what made me think this. I ordered my grandmother's application for her social security number and my great-grandparent's marriage certificate on 5/21/09. Both were expected to be here in 6-8 weeks, which it clearly has not been.

The first thing I pulled out of the mailbox was an envelope from the Social Security Administration. Then came some junk mail followed by an envelope from the New York State Archivist. (After predicting the Brewer's manager was about to make a double switch in the bottom of the 6th, I should have run out and bought a lottery ticket since I was clearly on a roll!)

After sorting through and disposing of the junk mail, I decided to open the letter from the Social Security Administration first. Since I provided my grandma's social security number when I requested the application, I was confident a copy of her application would be in the envelope. I was not disappointed. This didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know. I wanted the application to see what she listed as her place of birth. According to her social security application, her marriage license and her death certificate, she was born in New York City. I am hoping that having three legal documents stating her place of birth as New York City will finally be enough to convince my mother that Grandma was not born in Schenectady. I still need her birth certificate, but at this point I am pretty sure that no matter what documentation I produce, Mom is still going to believe her mother was born in Schenectady.

I was hesitant to open the envelope from the New York State Archivist. My luck with receiving vital records from New York has been hit and miss and the envelope was pretty thin. Much to my delight, my great-grandparent's marriage certificate was enclosed. This is exciting because I know virtually nothing about my great-grandmother, Teresa Codignotto Fromia. I now know that she married my great-grandfather, John (aka Giovanni) Fromia at the age of 22 and Codignotto is in fact her maiden name. They married in February 1912, so I can estimate her birth year as 1889 or 1890, given I don't know what month she was born in.

The biggest piece of my genealogical puzzle this solves is I now know her father was Antonio Codignotto. The new puzzling piece is that her mother's first name was Caterina but her mother's maiden name is illegible. Grr!!! It starts with a "C" and ends with "ssi" and is not a long name. I now suspect my great-aunt Catherine was named for Caterina, and my great-uncle Angelo (aka Andrew) was named for my great-grandfather's mother, Angela.

Not to be deterred, I decided to search a couple of genealogy sites. My favorite Italian Genealogy site,, was down so I tried A search for Codignotto returned a marriage record for Francesco Codignotto and Maria Niedda in 1908. Francesco's parents are listed as Antonio Codignotto and Caterina Casso. I have found spelling errors with Family Search before, so it is possible this should be Caterina Cassi. According to my mother, Teresa had a brother named Frank (aka Franky Cody). Frank and John worked together which is how he met Teresa and the Codignotto family was against them getting married. The way she told me the story implied there was another Codignotto brother as well. Mom also said Teresa was raised in a convent in Italy "for some reason." Unfortunately, most of what Mom has told me I have proven to be false.

I know more than I did when I woke up this morning, which is always a good thing. Now I need to try to find death certificates for John and Teresa and a birth certificate for my grandmother. I also need to find a passenger list showing Teresa arriving in New York. After that, my search moves from New York to Italy, and I have no idea how to go about requesting records from Italy. My next vacation may just have to be in Sardinia, with a layover in Suffolk County, NY.

1 comment:

Rick said...

I can't believe NY State even mailed that out THAT quickly!!

Good Luck with your research!!!

Visiting Italy would be fun!!!