Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo Riva

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JeanR
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Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo Riva

Postby JeanR » 03 Dec 2008, 07:24

Does anyone have any suggestions for finding information on my grandfather? I'm interested in locating the town he was born in, details on his service in the army, his parents statistics, anything on his wife. Here's what I do know:

Name: Giacomo Riva
Birthday: March 26, 1873
Father: Giovanni Riva
Mother: Margaret (?)
Lived in the northern mountainous border region
Served in the Italian Army two years - discarded 1896
(oral family history says he served in Africa)

Immigrated to America from Italy at age 23
Departed from: LeHavre, France
Ship: LaBourgne
Arrived at Ellis Island: January 18, 1897
Naturalized citizen: October 29, 1898

Married: on August 19, 1905
Lived most of his life in Illinois, USA---different towns
He was a coal miner
Died: November 1944

His wife was an Italian immigrant named Josephine Alaria. She was born in or about 1886 in the same region as my grandfather, although she may have been born across the border in France. She was under two when she came to America. Her parents were Peter Alaria (born in or about 1859 to 1931) and Ourellia Masoero (born in or about 1863 to 1928).

Thank you for any pointers you can give me!

Jean

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Re: Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo

Postby wldspirit » 03 Dec 2008, 08:34

James Riva of Putnam County, birthdate March 26, 1973, occupation coal miner, wife Josie, is listed as being naturalized. Since you have the exact date of this naturalization have you sent for this record, which may list the exact town of birth?
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Re: Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo

Postby JeanR » 03 Dec 2008, 15:13

Thank you for the reply. I hadn't thought to try that. I have my grandfather's original nationalization paper but he carried it around for so much of his life that it has a badly decomposed fold line right where the town would be listed. It's actually come apart right at that line. All I can really make out is:

from the _____ of (then hand written) D _____ic F____ Ra___le M_lani

In between the D and the ic it looks like it could be some m's or n's and an o. In between the Ra and the le there could be two p's included. Of course, I don't know what any of this means---which of those partial words is the actual town and what the others words are.

I hadn't really notice this writing on the document before you mentioned a town may be listed. With a magnifying glass I was able to pick up another clue, thanks to your suggestion.

Jean

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Re: Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo

Postby PeterTimber » 03 Dec 2008, 15:41

Lets go interactive...Go to www.prontoimprese.it and on the left hand side about halfway down is the alphabet which is for locating the towns in Italy by clicking the first letter of the town you are seeking. when you click on that letter a entire listing of every towni n Italy starting with that letter will show up. If you can go thru those towns you might be abkle to pick out the town with the letters that you already have sdeen are part of the name of the town. =Peter=

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Re: Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo

Postby PeterTimber » 03 Dec 2008, 15:46

If you happen to know the region where your father came from (Piemonte, Lombardia Veneto, Liguria etc) then click the region and all the town in that region will come up so that you can narrow down your search for his town of origin. =Peter=

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Re: Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo

Postby uantiti » 03 Dec 2008, 15:56

Hi,
a Northern region bordering France is Piedmont. The three surnames you listed are common in the provinces of Torino and Cuneo. The province of Torino has more than 300 communes and Cuneo has 250.
You could try and post the document you have, we might read it in a different way.

Ada

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Re: Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo

Postby wldspirit » 04 Dec 2008, 00:29

The state archives are very receptive to emails, I have had great success in responses. I live in Marshall county, not to terribly far from Putnam county.

A death certificate as well as an obituary may also list the town of origin.
Some research into the Catholic church records, marriage, baptism of children, and funeral mass may reveal further clues. One of the questions asked would be was Giacomo baptized and where was he baptized, as well as his parents full names.

Just a few more ideas to get over that brickwall.. :)
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Re: Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo

Postby wldspirit » 04 Dec 2008, 01:37

In looking at the 1910 census, there is a JOHN RIVA living next door to JAMES. Note that both of these men have first born daughters with the name MAGGIE.....possibly indicating that they followed Italian naming tradition. Perhaps brothers? Also, JAMES first born son is named JOHN.


1910 United States Federal Census
about James Riva
Age in 1910: 36
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1874
Birthplace: Italy
Relation to Head of House: Head
Father's Birth Place: Italy
Mother's Birth Place: Italy
Spouse's Name: Jossie
Home in 1910: Greenfield, Grundy, Illinois
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Male
Year of Immigration: 1895
James Riva 36
Jossie Riva 26
John Riva 4
Maggie Riva 2
Eurelia Riva 1

1910 United States Federal Census
Name: John Riva
Age in 1910: 26
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1884
Birthplace: Italy
Relation to Head of House: Head
Father's Birth Place: Italy
Mother's Birth Place: Italy
Spouse's Name: Minnie
Home in 1910: Greenfield, Grundy, Illinois
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Male
Year of Immigration: 1897
John Riva 26
Minnie Riva 24
Maggie Riva 2
Minnie Riva 1

By 1920, James is widowed. Living in Franklin County, as is John Riva.

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Re: Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo

Postby JeanR » 04 Dec 2008, 04:00

Thank you all for your interesting replies! I've posted a photo of my grandfather's nationalization certificate on my brand new family history blog if anyone is interested.

PETER TIMBER: I will explore the web link. Am I correct that 'comune' means city? What a lot information on that site!

ADA: That sounds like a good jumping off place for my search. Thank you. After looking at Peter's site, I've decided the first handwritten word on the certificate looks like 'Domanico' and the last word like 'Malani.' But that doesn't make much sense because they appear to be on opposite ends of Italy. So my guess might be way off.

WLDSPIRIT: Thank you so much for the census information! The first one is my grandfather for sure. The children listed were my dad's siblings. (He was born the following year). The John Riva on that 1910 census was my dad's uncle. My grandmother Josie died in the Flu Epidemic of 1919 so James was, indeed, widowed by then.

Again, thank you all for the help. Jean

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Re: Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo

Postby wldspirit » 04 Dec 2008, 05:03

Do you have an ancestry account? If not, I can provide the actual document image of the census, and James does have another child listed in census info, name of Peter.

I also checked into WW1 draft registrations, both men registered, but no town of birth listed... :?

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Re: Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo

Postby JeanR » 04 Dec 2008, 05:47

Wldspirit:

Do you mean Ancestry.com? If so, no I don't have an account. I'm just learning my way around the genealogy sites. If it's not too much trouble I'd love to have an image of the census record! Peter was, indeed, my dad. I don't like posting my e-mail address in public forums so how do we go about doing this?

Thanks, Jean

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Re: Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo

Postby wldspirit » 04 Dec 2008, 07:33

I will post the image here thru a site called ImageShack, no need to post your email. From there you can save the image to your computer or print it off.

Working on it now.... :wink:
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Re: Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo

Postby wldspirit » 04 Dec 2008, 07:49

John and James listed at 79/80 on Sixth Avenue:

1910 Census Link

James at line 247:

1920 Census Link

John at line 145:

1920 Census Link

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Re: Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo

Postby uantiti » 04 Dec 2008, 08:14

Hi Jean,
from what I can see on that document the words are very probably names of the witnesses. The document says (from what I can see): " ......as from the testimony of Domenico F....and Raffaele Milani". To me there is no mention on where he is from other than Italy. If you don't succed in finding his hometown you could try and inquire with the state archives in the provinces of Torino and Cuneo. If he served in the army then they will have his records but this search, especially Turin, might take months, so you'd better try and find something there, as Wldspirit suggested and then in Italy.

Ada

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Re: Need Help Finding Information on my Grandfather Giacomo

Postby wldspirit » 04 Dec 2008, 08:21

James WW1 Draft Registration:

1918 Image

John WW1 Draft Registration:

1918 Link

Interesting to note, there is another John Riva listed in the draft, also of Putnam county, father is listed as Bartolomeo:

Another John Riva

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