Massachusetts criminal records, 1910-1920

Are you looking for an Italian surname? Do you need more information about your family heritage?
This is the right place to start your genealogy search.
User avatar
johnnyonthespot
Master
Master
Posts: 5229
Joined: 04 Aug 2008, 15:01
Location: Connecticut, USA

Massachusetts criminal records, 1910-1920

Postby johnnyonthespot » 25 Dec 2008, 13:37

Any ideas as to how to research Massachusetts criminal records from the 1910 - 1920 era?

Family oral history says that my paternal grandfather was living in a boarding house in Massachusetts after arriving via Boston in 1910. At some point, another boarder was found murdered, having suffered one or more knife wounds. A knife ("the" knife?) was found in my grandfathers room and he was charged and convicted of the crime.

Some time later, it was determined that the crime had been committed by another tenant and my grandfather was released from prison and given a full pardon. Supposedly a letter written by Queen Elena of Italy (consort to Victor Emmanuel III, 1900-1946) attesting to my grandfather's good character was instrumental in assuring his release and pardon.

The timeline would have been between April, 1910 when my grandfather arrived in Boston, and September, 1919 when his wife and eldest son arrived from Italy to join him in New Jersey. The crime, by the way, may in fact have been committed in New Jersey, but my sense is that Massachusetts was the more likely venue.

I would like to learn more about this episode in my family history. Does anyone have any idea where I might begin to locate records?

User avatar
PeterTimber
Master
Master
Posts: 6817
Joined: 16 Dec 2007, 18:57
Location: Yonkers NY

Re: Massachusetts criminal records, 1910-1920

Postby PeterTimber » 25 Dec 2008, 13:46

Call Margaret R. Sullivan, Records Manager & Archivist at Boston PD at 617-343-5166. =Peter=

User avatar
johnnyonthespot
Master
Master
Posts: 5229
Joined: 04 Aug 2008, 15:01
Location: Connecticut, USA

Re: Massachusetts criminal records, 1910-1920

Postby johnnyonthespot » 25 Dec 2008, 13:55

PeterTimber wrote:Call Margaret R. Sullivan, Records Manager & Archivist at Boston PD at 617-343-5166. =Peter=


Wow! Thanks, Peter.

Buon Natale!

User avatar
johnnyonthespot
Master
Master
Posts: 5229
Joined: 04 Aug 2008, 15:01
Location: Connecticut, USA

Re: Massachusetts criminal records, 1910-1920

Postby johnnyonthespot » 16 Jan 2009, 19:53

PeterTimber wrote:Call Margaret R. Sullivan, Records Manager & Archivist at Boston PD at 617-343-5166. =Peter=


As it turns out, the boarding house and the murder were in Maine, not Massachusetts. I have found 6 newspaper articles from 1911 (the murder) and 1916 (the pardon). In addition, the wonderful researchers at the Maine State Archives have located the original court case file (very slim) and the Executive Council pardon case file. Copies of these records are on their way to me now.

The letter from Queen Elena is not present in either file. Perhaps it never existed; the Maine State archivist however feels that since the rest of the nearly 100 year-old story has proved to be remarkably accurate, I should not give up hope of locating the letter.

He suggested I contact NARA as such a letter may have been submitted to and became the property of the State Department. I will contact NARA to see what I can learn.

I am also wondering about contacting the Italian government - the question being, who/what department of the Italian government would I contact?

User avatar
PeterTimber
Master
Master
Posts: 6817
Joined: 16 Dec 2007, 18:57
Location: Yonkers NY

Re: Massachusetts criminal records, 1910-1920

Postby PeterTimber » 16 Jan 2009, 20:39

Follow the letter and go to www.statearchives.us/maine.htm these archives include judicial matters where the original letter SHOULD HAVE (?) been included in the appropriate criminal and subsequent pardon files. Luc ky if there is a copy since those kind of documents have a way of going south. =Peter=
~Peter~

User avatar
johnnyonthespot
Master
Master
Posts: 5229
Joined: 04 Aug 2008, 15:01
Location: Connecticut, USA

Re: Massachusetts criminal records, 1910-1920

Postby johnnyonthespot » 16 Jan 2009, 21:53

PeterTimber wrote:Follow the letter and go to www.statearchives.us/maine.htm these archives include judicial matters where the original letter SHOULD HAVE (?) been included in the appropriate criminal and subsequent pardon files. Luc ky if there is a copy since those kind of documents have a way of going south. =Peter=


No, that is where I was and it was the state archivist who suggested that such a letter would most likely have been "handled" at the US Department of State level. It seems that a Queen would never bow so low as to write to a low-level official such as a governor or his executive council. :)

Since the Maine state archives doesn't have it, I am pursuing the State Department/NARA angle, but also curious about contacting the Italian government directly.

User avatar
PeterTimber
Master
Master
Posts: 6817
Joined: 16 Dec 2007, 18:57
Location: Yonkers NY

Re: Massachusetts criminal records, 1910-1920

Postby PeterTimber » 16 Jan 2009, 22:48

The letter would have come thru the Italian embassy forwarded to the State Department who would have forwarded it to the Justic e Dept who would have forwarded their receipt of the letter from the Queen to the Maine Judicial authorities with copy to the Governors office and along with another copy of the Queens letter. The original may have been archived among the Italy desk or its equivalent at the State Department in Washington, DC or retained by the Italian Embassy who sent copies under the Italian Embassy Letterhead or the original(?).

I would settle for a copy at the Maine level since it would be easier to obtain than mucking around with polticos unless you have some clout.

I might go directly to the library of congress by telephone and see if you can catch somebodies ear...at least that is my style.=Peter=
~Peter~


Return to “Italian Genealogy”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Bing [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 6 guests