04 January 2018

The Veneziano Connections Briefly

This story was left with a fine dinner in Virginia in 2015!  After more research it seemed it was bucket time for a trip to  Sicily.  I was fortunate to convince my cousin Patricia Larrabee Anderson and my second cousin Paul James Veneziano to accompany me.  We had a terrific time touring the island and visiting the ancestral hometown of Calascibetta and found no Veneziano's. We were able to visit the church and the outside of the home where my great grandfather Giuseppe (1851-1923) died. I have a Google Photo album for anyone interested.  Thanks for your patience. I will write more about the family.  I promise!

52 Ancestors in 52 weeks – Week One – Thomas Lee Rader (1883-1951)

On a stormy February [i] 15, 1883 Thomas Lee Rader was born!  He was the first of six children of Thomas Bogle Rader (1858-1904) and Charlotte Butterfoss (1859-1935). His siblings were an infant who probably died in 1884, Ralph (1885-1951), Claude (1886-after 1942), Edwin (1889-1965) and Mary (1893-1995).  I can image it must have been an active family!  The sad note is the death of the father at age 45.  In another ancestor week we can explore that ancestor.

The first census record for Thomas is the 1900 where he appears as a 17-year-old male born in February 1883 and has been at school for the last 9 months. Additionally, he as been a member of the Knights of Pythias, one of many organizations to which his father belonged.[ii]

He marries Maggie Branham[iii] on July 1st, 1903 in Jeffersonville, Clark, IN. He as 20 and she 18 years old.  They would have two children who did not live beyond infancy.[iv]  Thomas and Maggie went to Denver in hopes of improving her health; however, she died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis.[v]

On the 10th of January 1906 Thomas marries Bertha Frederick[vi] in Jeffersonville, Clark, IN. They would have an infant daughter born and died October 1st, 1906 and Bertha would die 12 days later of Puerperal Septicemia.[vii]

In Grand Rapids, Michigan on the 25th of November 1907, Thomas marries Hazel Belle White (1889-1976). This marriage ended in divorce the 4th of February 1909.[viii] There were no children from this marriage.

On the third of March 1909 in Crown Point, Lake, IN Thomas would marry Louise Douglas Mackintosh (1887-1962) and they would have two children Douglas (1909-1965) and Virginia (1914-1989).

In 1908 Thomas had gone to work for the telephone company which would continue until his retirement.  He was living in Chicago in 1909 probably at 2538 S. Sacramento and his occupation was listed as Inspector in the 1910 federal census. Also in that census he is listed as renting and married to Louise D., 22 years old along with his 5/12-year-old son Douglas B.  Thomas is in the construction trade for the telephone company.  By 1912 he was a foreman working at 3600 Elston Avenue and living at 2850 N. Albany Avenue. In 1914 the Knights of Pythias in Jeffersonville would suspend him for non-payment of dues!
By 1915 he has bought his own home at 4029 Eddy Street where he would live until his death.[ix]  He can be traced through the census records and city directories for the next 36 years.

He died on September 6, 1951 and was cremated.[x] [xi] My memories of him revolve around his liking to hunt and fish.  His was a cheerful disposition say to his wife at the breakfast table “good morning glory”.  He would take me down in the basement were we would taste beer and limburger cheese!

[i] “In February 1883 the Ohio Valley experienced its wort flood in a half-century, as the waters reached 44.8 feet on the upper gauge at the Falls of the Ohio….About 80 percent of Jeffersonville residents were evacuated, and movement of supplies from the Jeffersonville Quartermaster Depot was halted for weeks.” Carl E. Kramer, This Place We Call Home: A History of Clark County, Indiana, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2007, page 228
[ii] “This is to certify that Brother Thomas L. Rader is entitled to the honor of Past Chancellor, he having service on term as Chancellor Commander. He is a member of this Lodge [Hope Lodge No 13] in good standing and ise entitled to membership in, and to be enrolled upon the roster of the Grand Lodge Knights of Pythias, Domain of Indiana.”  This recognition was given on the 11th day of July 1900.
[iii][iii] Margarita Corine Branham (1884-1905).
[iv] Ralph (1903-1904) and Harrold (1905).
[v]  Jeffersonville National Democrat, Friday, October 18, 1906, page 2, column 4, Indiana Historical Society microfilm reel #285209:
 Prior to that time Mr. Rader, who was the ex-mayor's eldest son and will not be 24 till next February, the anniversary of the great flood of 1883, had married Miss Maggie Corinne Branham, a niece of Dr. H. W. Harrison of this city on July 1, 1903.  Their first child died and Mrs. Rader being afflicted with consumption Mr. Rader removed to Denver, Col where however she passed away on February 15, 1905.  Her baby was brought home but died of inanition one month later, on March 17.
[vi] Bertha J. Frederick (1882-1906)
Mrs. Bertha J. Frederick Rader, wife of Lee Rader, passed away at seven minutes after four o'clock this morning at her home on Indiana avenue at the age of 24 years, death being due to blood poisoning and following shortly upon the death of her baby.  Mrs. Rader had been sick two weeks and her condition had caused the gravest anxiety among a large circle of friends whom she numbered by the hundred.

Mrs. Rader's untimely death removes from the family the sixth near connection of her husband in the space of three years, these including two wives, three children and his father.  The latter, former Mayor Thomas B. Rader passed away on June 14, 1904.  Prior to that time Mr. Rader, who was the ex-mayor's eldest son and will not be 24 till next February, the anniversary of the great flood of 1883, had married Miss Maggie Corinne Branham, a niece of Dr. H. W. Harrison of this city on July 1, 1903.  Their first child died and Mrs. Rader being afflicted with consumption Mr. Rader removed to Denver, Col where however she passed away on February 15, 1905.  Her baby was brought home but died of inanition one month later, on March 17.

Mr. Rader was married to his late wife, who was the daughter of Mrs. Catherin Frederick of Port Fulton, by the Rev. Father John O'Connell on the evening of January 10, 1906, the marriage being a surprise to all their friends.  Previous to her marriage Mrs. Rader had been night operator at the telephone exchange and was one of the most efficient operators the company ever had.  She was also one of the most handsome girls in their employ and one of the most popular.

Besides her husband and mother Mrs. Rader is survived by a large number of brothers and sisters as follows:  Mrs. Frank Egbring, Mrs. Arthur Gresham, Mrs. A. R. Schimpff, Mrs. John Featheringall, Miss Hattie Frederick, of this city.  Mrs. John Murnan, of Birmingham, Ala., David and Charles Frederick.
The funeral will take place from St. Augustine's church on Monday morning.

Apart from it peculiarly sad surroundings the death of Mrs. Rader will be heard of with deep regret by a very wide circle of friends among whom she was immensely popular.  In her position at the telephone exchange she and many friends, having there an opportunity to come into contact with a large number of people, all of whom were charmed with her pleasing personality while her sterling character and unfailing good nature and readiness to oblige made her many friends.  Her bereaved husband and family have the warmest sympathy of many friends and acquaintances for this bright young life thus cut off in its early prime.

Jeffersonville National Democrat, Friday, October 18, 1906, page 2, column 4, Indiana Historical Society microfilm reel #285209
[viii] The divorce occurred in Grand Rapids and both parties swore they would not remarry AND both parties did remarry!
[ix] From August 1947 to November 1951 I lived in that home with my grandparents and parents.
[x] On 10 Nov 2001 I visited the Cemetery and confirmed the cremation and was told there was no record of the disposition of the ashes.
[xi] The "Record of Funeral" from Malec and Sons Funeral Home (successor to Mee and Ramee)  indicates the cost of the funeral was $526.20 which included $448.00 for the casket, hearse and 1 limonsine, $5.00 for 5 certificates of Death (No. 64456), $50.00 for cremation and $19.10 for two newspaper obituaries.  Tax was $4.10.

02 November 2015

Delightful Dinner and DNA

The dinner with Arlington (VA) second cousin was delightful at the Ristorante Murali (1201 S. Joyce Street).  Several hours were passed listening to family stories from his perspective.  This second cousin was born and raised in Chicago, IL unlike my LA second cousin who was a Los Angeles product.  Further the age difference between these two cousins was 13 years with LA being older.[1]  There were family visits from time to time.

A great deal was learned about the Chicago family and in some ways the lack of contact between the two parent siblings.  What I did learn was more about the Denver (CO) second cousin and found that one of the three children I was researching was still alive (born 1923 in Chicago).

Remember that I am seeking a Y-DNA sample and Arlington was a direct male line back to a potential great grandfather so without skipping a beat in the conversation I learned that both Arlington and his sister were both adopted!!  He had some notion as to his biological parents and later I sent him information about adoption in Illinois if he was interested in finding out more about his experience.

What I did obtain was the cell and phone number for Denver second cousin whose line would go back via his Mother (an autosomal DNA test).  Arlington and I have continued to be in contact and I hope he makes another trip West to visit now two cousins he has in California.

[1] I am “protecting” the given names consciously as I only have their permission to use them publically when making presentations.  Sorry if it sounds awkward to characterize based on geography! 

28 October 2015


“Patience is a virtue.”  Someone said that and it has a kernel of truth for those of us who are impatient!  I left the story with the note send to my second cousin along with a Y-DNA sample kit.  Well I waited some weeks for a response since we had only met once.  Good thing I did not pester as the package was returned.  Seems I had used the address xx54 and the correct address was xx56.  One would think that the post office just might deliver with the street address that close.  Patience, right??!!  So I resent the package after and email exchange to clarify.  And waited again.

On the 21st of March I presented the family story “Lies, Lies and Damn Lies” to the Sonoma County Genealogy Society.  A normal Saturday general membership meeting like most.  Within 24 hours out of the email world pops a message between two other second cousins I had written postal, so to speak.  Label it serendipity or providence there was now more to pursue!  No patience, full steam ahead.  A series of emails resulted in a phone number for the newest second cousin in Virginia.  This second cousin is gregarious which is a dream for family history and tidbits.

My daughter was on a U. S. Forest Service detail in Washington, D.C. so it was time for a fatherly visit and a contact with this newest cousin.  It turned out that the cousin was in Arlington as was my daughter so it was a small matter of arranging a dinner gathering.  Off to D. C. via Southwest frequent flyer miles and the hide a bed sofa for a week.  One does have to go to the National Archives when in D.C also!!

09 February 2015

The Ask for DNA Sample

Thank you for your warm hospitality Sunday.  It was great to meet you face to face!  It was fun getting to know you some and I hope we will have many more meetings.

I really appreciate your digging into your family photo archives and pulling out so many pictures to share.  I will begin scanning them shortly.  They are a wonderful treasure to have.

Thank you for sharing your Italian family stories, too.  It must have been interesting growing up as a California guy with Midwest parents.  I left the Chicago area at age 13 and for me it was a difficult transition.

It was wonderful to learn of your real estate/property management experiences which are kind of a counter point to my corporate experience.

It was fun to hear about your television career.

You asked about how I made the connection to Veneziano.  The enclosed Death Certificate with you grandfather’s signature naming parents was the final paper clue.  As I mentioned, I would like to further confirm the paper trail via a Y-DNA test.  My results have been measured.

I took the liberty to order a sampling kit from Family Tree DNA and it is enclosed.  I would deeply appreciate your completing and sending the kit back to Family Tree DNA.  I have paid for all the costs.  A very sincere thank you for doing this.

The Meeting

Sunday morning arrived and so did I!  A warm friendly greeting from my newly found second cousin with a cup of coffee and a wonderful visit followed.  My expressed interest in seeing family pictures was exceeded as he had pulled out of his photo collect numerous items.  We proceed to spend the better part of two hours over the pictures and who was in them with me furiously making brief notes on the backs hoping that I would get it correct. Then all the pictures were offered for the taking.  I did!! 

Some genealogy facts were discussed.  For example I could not find the vital record at the Cook County Clerk’s website:

for his parents wedding.  I had found many other family related documents but not that one.  He showed me the Catholic Church document (framed) so I could capture the date.  Nor have I been able to find his grandparents marriage date.  I would not if the Catholic ceremony was considered sufficient and a civil record was not made.

I thought we had a great candid conversation about family which will not be a part of this blog!

I think in two hours it is possible to get a read on another person.  With guests due to arrive shortly I got the sense it was time to pack it up.  Although I had mentioned in writing and verbally my desire to have a DNA test done to tie up my paper trail, my sense was it was not the correct time to “spring” the kit on him.  Rather, when I arrived home I wrote a big thank you letter and included the Family Tree Y-DNA kits.

In the meantime we have been exchanging emails with respect to the pictures and his acting career.

06 February 2015

Getting in Touch

Although the letter was unanswered by the time we left for LA I packed for most possibilities taking numerous file folders with family genealogy, a Family Tree DNA Y sample kit, an Ancestry.com autosomal sample kit, my Flip-pal scanner with extra recharged batteries and phone number to call.

I was nervous to call a complete stranger although the correspondence had softened the nerves some.  My mistake was not calling the number I had in advance.  You guessed it.  The number was no longer in service nor did the area code information have a listing.  A sign of smart phone use rather than land line use.  So I was left with the choice to drive to the address I had from our letter writing.  I did.

The adventure was the address was not where it would be expected.  However, after trespassing and knocking over some cans an occupant asked if they could help me.  I explained the address and found that the property had been split so that the address I was seeking was above the house where I was.  Thank goodness for strangers helping out. 

I drove to the house above and parked.  I screwed up my courage and headed for what appeared to be the front door.  Knock at the door brought no answer.  I was not about to leave without leaving a note or two.  I put one note in the front door frame and left another note with a Family Group Sheet (of course) in the mail box.

So it was time to find a cemetery and the graves of what would be my first cousin once removed.  It was a busy day at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery; however, a person in the business office was able to give me the locations.  After some tramping around I was able to find the grave markers and pay my respects.

FORTUNATELY my smart phone rang and it was my second cousin who had been out running errands. He agreed to meet Super Bowl Sunday morning before the party began at his home.  We chatted briefly and next would be the Sunday visit.