Military records - what age?

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weixiehong
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Military records - what age?

Postby weixiehong » 11 Jun 2014, 16:28

Hi all,

I'm trying to find my great-grandfather's military records and whether he even had them.

He left Italy for America in 1904- a few months before his 18th birthday. If he was technically 17 when he left Italy would he even have military records?

Any info is greatly appreciated. :)

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Re: Military records - what age?

Postby johnnyonthespot » 11 Jun 2014, 20:01

More than likely, he would not have been permitted to leave Italy unless his military obligation had been fulfilled or he had been ruled ineligible for health or other reasons.

Sometime soon after his year of birth the comune would have created a book - the Registro di Leva - containing the names of all male children born during that year. Later, in the year of the 17th (?) birthday, each of those boys would have had to report for possible conscription. Their status would have been determined and entered into the Registro alongside the entry.

What comune would this have been? You can contact the state archives (Archivio di Stato) and request a copy of the Registro di Leva, giving your ancestor's full name, date and place of birth.

If he had actually served (which apparently he did not) there are other records which can be requested detailing his service history.

This thread http://www.italiangenealogy.com/forum/language/14470 contains an example.
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Re: Military records - what age?

Postby weixiehong » 12 Jun 2014, 08:25

Thank you very much for the info! The problem is I don't know exactly the comune he was born in. I know he was from the province Reggio Calabria, and the comune listed on his Ellis Island paper as his last residence -Anoia. But I've had someone check there for me and they have no record of his birth.

So I was hoping the military record would be my chance of finding his actual birth place. From what you say, it seems that would be my best chance to find a record of him. Thanks.

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Re: Military records - what age?

Postby weixiehong » 12 Jun 2014, 08:32

One other note, from what I know he was illiterate. Would not being able to read be cause for excusing him from serving? Just a thought.

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Re: Military records - what age?

Postby carubia » 12 Jun 2014, 09:53

weixiehong wrote:One other note, from what I know he was illiterate. Would not being able to read be cause for excusing him from serving? Just a thought.

I highly, highly doubt that. Many, many Italians were illiterate in the 19th century. The government would certainly not want to create such an easy way to get out of military service.

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Re: Military records - what age?

Postby erudita74 » 12 Jun 2014, 18:36

Illiteracy was not grounds for avoiding military service. Here is some info you may find useful-
Erudita

Once called to service, the male had to appear and be subjected to a three-day medical examination. This was conducted at their military district. If the male was a school student, and the medical examination showed that he was capable of serving, he would then terminate his studies and serve his mandated term. There were, however, a number of factors other than the outcome of the medical examination which would determine the male’s eligibility to serve. The following, under the law, constituted some instances of exemption from serving:
1. If the male was the son or brother of a soldier who had died in the war, then he was exempt from serving.
2. If he was the orphan of both parents and the first born
3. If he was a widower or was unmarried with children
4. If he was an enlistee with offspring
5. If he was the only brother of an unmarried disabled dependent.
6. If he was the third or later male or son of two brothers who had already completed military service
7. If he was directly responsible for the conduct of family business

some additional info you may need:

As mandated by law no. 2248 dated March 20, 1865, all males, once they had reached the age of eighteen, were required to serve, or at least register for, military service. Unless their entire family had emigrated, they had no right to emigrate from Italy before that age. Males were required to serve for a period of five years, unless otherwise exempted. In 1872, however, the law was reformed, and the period to serve was reduced from five to three years. This was law number 2532, dated June 7, 1875. In 1910, obligatory service was reduced to two years or twenty-four months. By the end of the Second World War, it was lowered to eighteen months and, by 1964, to fifteen months. Mandatory service remained in effect in Italy until the end of December of 2004, and no male citizen was free from military service until his forty-second year.

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Re: Military records - what age?

Postby johnnyonthespot » 12 Jun 2014, 19:40

weixiehong wrote:Thank you very much for the info! The problem is I don't know exactly the comune he was born in. I know he was from the province Reggio Calabria, and the comune listed on his Ellis Island paper as his last residence -Anoia. But I've had someone check there for me and they have no record of his birth.

So I was hoping the military record would be my chance of finding his actual birth place. From what you say, it seems that would be my best chance to find a record of him. Thanks.


Would you mind sharing his name and date (or, at the least, year) of birth?

Do you have an ancestry.com account? If so, try searching for a WWI draft registration card; he would have been required to complete one. You should find the place of birth listed therein.
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Re: Military records - what age?

Postby weixiehong » 13 Jun 2014, 08:34

Thank you all for the info!

His name was Vincenzo Cherubino and according to US soc. security death index was born July 5, 1886. He came to US in I believe 1904 (before his 18th birthday). He was from the Reggio Calabria region but I don't know exactly where he was born.

I do have an ancestry.com account and that's where I've found some of his info.

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Re: Military records - what age?

Postby weixiehong » 13 Jun 2014, 08:41

One other thing, I did find what I (and my aunt - his grand daughter - independently) thought was his Ellis Island arrival papers.

Shows his came in 1904 and last resided in Anoia, RC. But I have had someone check for his birth record there and nothing was found in that commune. So since I don't know where he was exactly born, my next hope was to find it in his military records.

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Re: Military records - what age?

Postby johnnyonthespot » 13 Jun 2014, 14:35

I took a quick look at ancestry.com and found remarkably few records for Vincenzo; his social security death record and passenger manifest and not much else.

Here is what ancestry.com has to say about WWI and WWII draft registrations:

In 1917 and 1918, approximately 24 million men living in the United States completed a World War I draft registration card. These registration cards represent approximately 98% of the men under the age of 46


and

After the U.S. entered WWII a new selective service act required that all men between ages 18 and 65 register for the draft. Between November 1940 and October 1946, over 10 million American men were registered. This database is an indexed collection of the draft cards from the Fourth Registration, the only registration currently available to the public (the other registrations are not available due to privacy laws). The Fourth Registration, often referred to as the "old man's registration", was conducted on 27 April 1942 and registered men who born on or between 28 April 1877 and 16 February 1897 - men who were between 45 and 64 years old - and who were not already in the military


So, Vincenzo should be found in both cases, but he is not. The lack of records raises many possibilities: that he traveled often between the US and Italy (or another country) (and thus was not present during these important times) or that he routinely used another spelling for his surname.

As you no doubt found yourself, there no obvious census records either. Not the New York 1905, 1915 or1925 census nor the US 1910, 1920, 1930 or 1940 census. That's a lot of censuses to be missing and quite unusual in my experience.

Do you have any thoughts on other names he may have used? Did he always live in Westchester County? If you can give us some family member names and approximate birth years we might have better luck finding a relevant census.
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Re: Military records - what age?

Postby weixiehong » 13 Jun 2014, 15:06

Hi Carmine,

I know! It's tough to find him! I actually did find him in the NY 1925 census under his regular name. He lived his whole time in America in Yonkers, White Plains, and finally Pleasantville, NY.

He was apparently an "itinerant ice cream salesman" for a while, so his lifestyle may not have been on the grid - so to speak - for the census takers.

http://fultonhistory.com/newspaper%2010 ... 203826.pdf

But I I believe he may have also gone by the name "Mike" and "James" at different times. I do find him in various Yonkers and White Plains business directories, but tracing it back to his actual birth place has been where I've gotten stuck!

I also found his 1911 first marriage license to a Gaetana Arrigo (his first wife who died and no relation to my grandmother), listed with him in one of those Yonkers business directories, and this marriage license actually gives his perents names as Francesco "Cerubino" and Rosie Rosco. So they did spell his last name wrong in that case. I was lucky to stumble across that peice of the puzzle, and those names give me hope if I ever do find a Vincenzo Cherubino birth cert. at least I'll be able to check the parents names!

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Re: Military records - what age?

Postby weixiehong » 13 Jun 2014, 15:12

Also, on your point of other family members:

His daughter is Rose Cherubino born 1932 in Yonkers. My grandmother, who I found in the 1940 census. She was living at a non-relatives' house as a "lodger" in the census. This is because Vincenzo's 2nd wife (my great grandmother) also died very young at 30 years of age!

This wife is Jenny Zaffino and there is even less about her! All I know is she was born in Connecticut (I believe Bridgeport or somewhere around there). And I found her grave that shows she lived from 1905-1935.

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Re: Military records - what age?

Postby johnnyonthespot » 13 Jun 2014, 15:26

If you are willing to spend $27, you might find useful info on Vincenzo's original Social Security Application form. See here for details: http://genealogy.about.com/od/online_re ... equest.htm

Fair warning: some of these forms simply say "Italy" for place of birth; others may show the town name as well. You won't know until you get the document.
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Re: Military records - what age?

Postby weixiehong » 13 Jun 2014, 15:38

That's a great idea. Thanks!

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Re: Military records - what age?

Postby adelfio » 13 Jun 2014, 15:53

On his shipmanifest line#23 it says going to see his brother Giovanni?? Cherubino in Utica NY

PG LINK
http://www.ellisisland.org/EIFile/popup ... &line=0023

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