Colorado city directories

Many of our ancestors from Trentino emigrated to southeastern Colorado during the late 1890′s and early 1900′s to work in the coal mines.  I have previously written about some of the mines and dangers these early emigrants experienced:

Miners in Hastings, Colorado ; Colorado Coal Mine Dangers
Our Ancestors at the Colorado Mines ; Our Ancestors from Trentino to the Colorado Mines

There is a resource to find names and other information about actual persons working and trinidad1910-1911living in southern Colorado during the 1890′s to 1920′s.  The city of Trinidad, Colorado, which was a major stopping point for our ancestors on the way to the coal mines, has placed city directories online for those years and more.  These directories, which can be more than 200 pages for each year, are available for download in pdf format can be found at Trinidad City Directories.  Of particular interest are those for the years 1899 – 1916, which were the years during which large numbers of emigrants from Trentino went to Colorado.

The directories list almost all persons living in the city of Trinidad during specific each year, and gives information as to their address and occupation.  The directories are broken down into first, residents and businesses in the city of Trinidad, then listings at each of the nearby towns and mine camps (for example, Hastings, Ludlow, Primero, Segundo, Sopris, Starkville, etc).  The directories for the earlier years lists laborers at the camps.   This is followed by a listing of landowners and their holdings, and then a listing of businesses and their owners.  Some of the information I found (depending on the directory year) includes:

Emigrants bearing names of Bacca, Casagrande, Dalsass, Fedrizzi, Fellin, Flaim,  Franch, Melchior,Menapace,  Moser, Yob, Zanolini, Zanon, and more.  Not all emigrants are listed.  Although I found my grandfather’s brother, sadly my grandparents are not listed.

Specific persons include:  Peter (Pietro) Bacca from Flavon, who owned several businesses, including a wine dealership, and hundreds of acres of land. He emigrated to Colorado in 1884, first appeared in an 1895 Hastings directory, and operated a dry goods store there in 1918.  Persons bearing the surnames of Dalvit, Franch, Pedron, Ruffini, and Tretter were laborers at various mines.  During 1903, Abramo Menapace was a laborer at the Victor Fuel Company coal mine in Hastings.  As were Emanuelle, Modesto, and Frank Yob.  Frank Menapace was a saloonkeeper in Segundo, as was Arturo Menapace.  Abramo Menapace also owned property in Ludlow, assessed at $1025, while Frank Yob owned 267 acres in Segundo assessed at $1105.

Reviewing all these directories can lead to new information about our ancestors who worked, lived, and died in those coal mines so long ago.  It will take a while to go through all the pages of each directory, but the time spent will give us some insight to those times.

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Calendar Months in Trentino Records

A large portion of Italian genealogical records write dates numerically rather than spelling out the calendar months. For example, we will see a date written ” 4-8-1826″. Interpreting this to our way of thinking in the US, we happily enter April 8, 1826 as the date of the birth, death, marriage, etc. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Most European records are written day-month-year rather than month-day-year. Thus, “4-8-1826″ is actually 4 August 1826.

Many of us have come across the Italian and (in older records) Latin names for the months of the year (April = aprile = aprilus).  Civil records in Trentino during the early 1800s and prior generally use the Latin version of months and events.  One thing that can cause confusion in reading dates is the use of a combination of numbers and letters to record months.  Not very common, but still often found.  I will not go into why or how the use came to be, but you may see months written as “7bre”, “8bre”, “Xbre”.  Notations such as these are for the months of September through December.  Following are what you may find –

     7bre or VIIbre = September

     8bre or VIIIbre = October

     9bre or IXbre = November

     10bre or Xbre = December

If you do see these references for dates, then congratulations — you have found records that are likely a few hundred years old.  Hopefully they are of your family heritage.

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A Courageous People From the Dolomites now online

It has been quite a while since I last posted – I guess getting out in the sunshine and enjoying the fresh air and scenery takes precedence over sitting in front of a screen.

Some of my previous posts suggested using published books to learn about our culture and heritage — Researching Ancestors Through Published Books. I suggested reading “A Courageous People From the Dolomites”, by the late Bonifacio Bolognani. This book is considered the definitive treatise on emigration from Trentino to the United Courageous People from the DolomitesStates. It discusses why our ancestors left Trentino, how they traveled, where they went, their lives in their new country, working in the mines of Colorado, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. Of particular interest is the mention of many hundreds of names of emigrants to the US.

I also mentioned at times that the book was out of print and sometimes difficult to find. Well, not any more!!!! Thanks to the efforts of many people, and of the Emigration Office of the Province of Trentino, the full text of this book is now online at Courageous People book
Upon clicking to read the book, you will be presented with a small version of the pages — click on the page to see a larger readable version. Additionally, you can print pages of interest, or entire book (if you have about 500 sheets of paper available) or download it to your computer for later reading and reference. Again, I cannot emphasize enough the importance and usefulness of this book in understanding what our ancestors went through. Many many thanks to the Department of Emigration for making this book available to everyone.

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The story of a Pinamonti Family from Rallo

Rallo is a small village in Val di Non, Trentino.  Families bearing the Pinamonti and Valentini names have been in Rallo for generations, many of whom came to America during the emigration years of the late 1800′s and early 1900′s.   Carlo Pinamonti, born in

Carlotta Valentini and Carlo Pinamonti, 1920

Carlotta Valentini and Carlo Pinamonti, 1920

Rallo c. 1885 arrived in 1900 and found work in the Colorado mines at Trinidad and Radiant.  Carlo eventually married Josefina Valentini, a native of Rallo, in 1911.  Unfortunately Josefina died about a year later.  In 1920, Carlo married Josefina’s sister Carlotta.  An enterprising woman, she traveled alone from Rallo to New York by ship, and then to Trinidad, Colorado by train.

As was common with many of our ancestors who arrived from Trentino during that period, Carlo’s life was one of many ups and downs — illnesses, business booms and business busts, hard living, uprooting family, and new beginnings.  Carlo’s daughter Theresa Pinamonti Zeigler tells the story of how Carlo and his family met the challenges of coming to a new place, not knowing the language, but yet overcoming many challenges and finding success and fortune. His story, The Immigration of Carlo Pinamonti and Carlotta Valentini shows how persistence can overcome discrimination, strife, and the other obstacles put in front of our ancestors.  Read it and see how these pioneers from Trentino provided us with what we have today.

Related posts:
Rallo – The Village and its Emigrants

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Early information about a family in Trentino

Much historical and useful information can be learned by researching old books about our ancestral villages.  Also highly useful is contacting (and hopefully receiving a reply) the municipal offices in the villages, and trying to find living descendents of a common ancestor.  Although many of us in the US are interested in our ancestry, we commonly find that persons in our ancestral villages are not — they are living their ancestry, while we are trying to discover it.  Much of the information below was discovered not only by using microfilmed church records, but also by making contact with distant family and their friends in my ancestral villages, and establishing relationships with people in Trentino I met online.   Additionally, there are quite a few online booksellers that deal in foreign books.

The Iob (Job, Yob) Family Name
The name IOB is apparently derived from the Biblical “Job” (Giobbe in Italian).  At times, the name was also used as a first name, as in Job de Job.   Although the most common spelling is IOB, the Latin version JOB is very frequently encountered, especially in the civil records of the 15th to 17th centuries (during this period, the church was the maintainer of the civil birth, marriage, and death records).  Today, both versions are commonly used in Trentino.  Most emigrants to the US had the spelling changed to YOB as a result of the manner in which the name was pronounced (the letters “I” and “J” were pronounced as if it was the English letter “Y”).

Due to the presence of many different branches (or clans) of families with the same last name,  there were a large number of marriages where both husband and wife had the same last name.  In addition, there was a limited variety of first names (Giovanni, Giusppe, Giacomo, Francesco, Maria, Anna, etc.) in use.  Many of us have already encountered the difficulty of trying to find the right ancestor among the many with the same first and last names.

Sopranomi for the Iob Family
In order to keep track of marriages and relationships between persons with the same last name it was very common to add a second name known as a “sopranome” (nickname) to the different family lines.   The sopranome was used in order to distinguish the different lines from each other, and in many instances, is the only means to determine the person referred to in a  document.  For example, some of the sopranomi for the IOB families in Cunevo are –perotel, -bottes, -sicher, -brun, and –remus.

My IOB  branch was known as  IOB-sicher.  Sicher, of Middle-High-German and Hebrew origin, is derived from the Latin “securus”, meaning “safe” or “certain”. The Sicher name itself is found in area Medieval records, e.g. there are references to a Sicherius, who was a priest in Flavon and attended a Diocesan Synod in the year 1336.  Sicher is also a common surname found in the Val di Non village of Coredo.

The earlist reference that I have found to a specific person using -sicher is Joannes de Sicheriius de Joppis in 1553.  Is this the derivation of the –sicher in my family line?  Unfortunately,  I don’t know.

Although there has been a IOB family presence in the villages of Cunevo and Flavon since the early 1400’s, the earliest I have been able to directly trace my Sicher line is to Gio’ Batta IOB-sicher of Cunevo, born circa 1739.

The Iob Rural Noble
There was a noted Job family (descendents of whom are still in Cunevo) known as de Job.  This family was of the rural noble class, wealthy, and had many highly placed members.  Rural nobles are not nobility, but rather members of a privileged class entitled to special respect, wealthy, and exempt from many of the taxes and duties that the other villagers had to bear. The de Job line has been partially researched to 1409, and during the late 1500’s and early 1600’s members of this branch were granted a coat-of-arms.  The coat-of-arms was granted on behalf of the Emperor of Austria, to whom members of this line performed valuable services during the Rustic War of 1525 and thereafter.  Based upon family stories, I am directly related to this line too.  However, I have not been able to locate any documentary proof of this relationship.

Tracing my  –sicher line further back or directly linking to the de Job line  will be difficult due to the destruction of the church records in an 1802 fire.

Various documents are available at local,  state and notarial archives, but expert and time-consuming assistance would be required to find, read, and translate the material.  The following are examples of documents that have been found:

  • The Trento state archives contain the records of the “notaio” (notary) Giovanni Cemi from Tuenno.  These records document that on  1 June 1671 in Cunevo, Elena, the widow of Sicherio Job assumed custody and responsibility for their minor son Giovanni Giacomo Job-sicher.
  • The notarial records at the Trento archives also refer to a Francesco Iob-sicher, who on 18 July 1751, assigned an income or “wealth”  of 35 Ragnesi to the church of S. Giovanni Battista in Flavon.  The document was signed in the house of  Pietro Pasqual, who along with Giovanni Battista Dolzani of Flavon, acted as witnesses to the signing.

Although there is an almost certain relationship to the Iob-sicher persons mentioned above, I have not  been able to document it, and likely won’t be able to.

Sometimes it pays to think “outside the box” — it is common in Italy to have photos of the cemetery270deceased on their tombstones – one way to find a photo of a deceased ancestor.  For example, here is one found in a Cunevo cemetery that was forwarded to me by a distant cousin I met via the internet (thank you Franz Job).

Related posts (amoung  others on this blog that can be useful):
Using Trentino Church Records
Researching Ancestors Through Published Books

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Emigration Info on Facebook

Storie di Emigrazione in Val di Non – Cagno, Revo, Romallo, Cloz e Brez,  (History of Val di Non Emigration – Villages of Cagno, Revo, Romallo, Cloz and Brez) is a new Facebook page.  Started in April 2013, it is a meeting place for those of us interested in emigration from the aforementioned villages to the US, Brazil, and Argentina.  The page currently has a few stories, links to YouTube videos dealing with emigration from Trentino, old photos with many people in them, photos of the tools and machinery used by our ancestors, and music of Trentino.  Whether you love or hate Facebook, we have to admit that it is a good source of making contact with others sharing our heritage. One I use regularly is Val di Non Storica – although most of the comments are in Italian, the part of special interest is the hundreds of old photographs and picture postcards of villages in Val di Non, such as Cavareno, Fondo, Ronzone, Cles, Romeno, Segno, Revo, etc. You will be required to join Facebook and the Val di Non Storica group (both free) in order to access the photographs.

If you have a story of your ancestors’ emigration from any of the villages listed, feel free to add it – or let me know if you would like it posted here.

Thank you Giovanni Rigatti for telling me about the page.

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Emigrants from Pine (Mattivi, etc)

I just received information about a website devoted to emigrants from Baselga di Pine, which is northeast of the city of Trento.  The website Mattivi Family Historytraces the origins of emigrants from Baselga di Pine to Novinger, Missouri, Silverton, Colorado, and other areas. In addition to Mattivi, names include Anesi, Andreatta, Giovannini, and Casagranda.  A brief history of surname origins, facts, surname distribution, documents, and photos are provided.  Well organized, the site is useful not only to those of you with origins in the area, but also as a model for how to obtain information and organize that information.

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Miners in Hastings, Colorado

In a previous post, I mentioned the dangers associated with working in the southern Colorado coal mines during the early 1900s’s (Colorado Coal Mine Dangers).  Hundreds of men were killed aboveground and underground, including my grandfather’s brother and three of my grandmother’s brothers.  All four are buried at Catholic Cemetery, Trinidad, Colorado.  During my research, I found that one of the Family History Library microfilms has a pencil drawing of plots and names from that era (Film number 002786, section 1) plus records of internment which give the cause of death and burial location.  Scanning the names on the the plot maps and burial records, you will find many names of emigrants from Trentino, a large number of whom are listed as dying due to mine accidents.

The photo below (somewhat unsettling) shows the November 1906 graveside services for the burial of Francesco Iob.  There are many people in the photo, many of whom (most?) are likely from Trentino.  Our ancestors kept close ties to each other at the mines due to culture and language.  If you click on the photo, a larger version will be available.

Nov 1906 burial - Catholic Cemetery, Trinidad, Colorado

Nov 1906 burial – Catholic Cemetery, Trinidad, Colorado

If you can identify anyone in the photo, please let me know (I have been told that the man standing on the right is Pietro Moltrer; next to him is my grandmother and kneeling in front of her is my grandfather).  This photo was provided to me by a relative in Trentino — which shows the importance of trying to locate living relatives from your ancestral village.  Additionally, by monitoring the genealogy bulletin boards on the internet, you can make many contacts with others sharing similar interests in Trentino.  By helping them, you will often receive help in return (a fact, a story, a link to others, etc) — that is one method which proved fruitful to me many times over.  Yes, you will likely provide more help to others than you receive, but that is part of the fun in genealogy — more fun is suddenly receiving an email with information you did not know existed.

 

 

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Trentino Department of Emigration

provincia-autonoma-di-trento-stemmaAs many of us are aware, the Trentino Department of Emigration is highly regarded for the services it provides not only to emigrants from Trentino, but also to the descendants of those emigrants.

The Department has offered a free 2013 wall calendar to all who ask for one (as long as supply lasts).  The calendar has large photos of Trentino each month based on a specific theme (this year’s will be the Dolomites Unesco Heritage).  In addition, a free book (in English) will be made available to the first 100 persons requesting a copy.  The book is dedicated to the Trentino coat of arms, the Eagle of St. Venseslas, and related history of Trentino.  In order to receive the calendar and book, send your mailing address to Cesare Cornella at cesare.cornella@provincia.tn.it .  Please do NOT post your address here.

This free offer continues the highly respected projects undertaken by the Department — one example is the database of birth records online at  Nati In Trentino .  The database contains information about 1.2 million residents of Trentino born between the years 1815-1923, including full name, date of birth, village, and names of parents.

Related post:  Trentino Birth Records – Online Database

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A Iob in 18th century Cunevo

My 5th great-grandfather Gio’ Batta Iob - sicher was born in Cunevo c. 1739.  His exact date of birth is not known due to destruction of most records during a fire in 1802.  Gio’ Batta was a short form for Giovanni Battista.  A common name at the time, Giovanni Battista was also written as “Giambatta”, “Giambattista”, Baptista, and as “Bapta” in the Latin of the 1600′s.  Depending on the period and type of record you are searching, you will likely encounter each form of the name.  The name loosely translates as “John Baptist”, a sign of the importance of religion during that period.  The “sicher” suffix was actually a “sopranome” used to distinguish between branches bearing the same last name.

Documents in the Cunevo village archives refer to an April 1769 meeting held in the nearby village of Terres for the purpose of discussing and settling civic matters between the two villages.  Among the 21 heads of families from Cunevo attending this meeting was Baptista Iob – sicher and a Josephi (Giuseppe) Iob – sicher.

The archives also contain records of an April 1773 meeting held in Cunevo to discuss the admittance to Cunevo of a Terres villager.  Attending this meeting was Gio’ Batta Iob – sicher, who was referred to as a “regolani“.  In 18th century Trentino, the Regola, a system of laws and regulations was in effect.  Each community had it own “Carta di Regola” containing the laws applicable to the specific village.  It provided that officials (“regolani”) were elected by the townspeople and were responsible for administraton of village affairs.

Gio’ Batta Iob married Teresa Vilot (a not uncommon surname during that time, but not often found today).   Of their four children, a daughter married Francesco Iob – perotel, and another daughter married Gio’ Batta Iob – bottes.  Here we see the importance of using “sopranome” to distinguish between the different Iob clans.

A 1793 Cunevo tax census showed that Gio’ Batta Iob – sicher owned 19 different pieces of property, including house #16.  A portion of the census document is shown below.  At that time, rather than street addresses, houses were given numbers (I am guessing that the numbers were based on the sequence in which they were built, importance, location, or some other factor).  The early houses were very modest structures made of stone and wood, with most having two levels.  Outside stairs were used to reach the second level.  In the winter, the kitchen served as the focal point of family activities due to the warmth generated by the cooking fires.  The living conditions were very rustic, and often three generations of a family lived together.

1793 Cunevo censusclick image to enlarge

During this period, Trentino (including Cunevo) came under the control of the French Republic.  In September 1796, the French army, under the command of Napolean Bonaparte, enter the city of Trento.  His goal was to defeat the Austrian army and eventually link up with French forces in Germany.  The Austrian military authorities ordered the formation of companies of volunteers for the purpose of defending Trentino.  The villages of Cunevo, Flavon, and Terres were asked to form a 34-man company.  However, even with the offer of compensation, no one volunteered.

Faced with opposition from local defense forces, Napolean left Trento in November, but returned in January 1797.  Intervention by Austrian forces ousted the French in 1799.  In 1803, Trentino was returned to the control of the Austrians, who in 1805 abolished the “regole” used by the towns for administrative control.  It is unknown if Gio’ Batta Iob sicher was still a regolano at that time.

In 1805 Trentino was annexed to the Kingdom of Baveria.  With the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1810, Trentino was aggregated with the Kingdom of Italy, until 1816, when it was returned to the control of the Austrian Empire.  Gio’ Batta Iob died of fever in Cunevo in March 1814.  Thus, for the last 18 years of his life, Gio’ Batta was a subject first of Austria, then of the Kingdom of Bavaria, and lastly of the Kingdom of Italy.  His wife Teresa Vilot (my 5th great-grandmother) died of a stroke in July 1822, and thus died a subject of Austria.

Related posts:
The Iob (Yob) Families of Trentino
Emigrants From Cunevo to the United States
Cunevo – History and More

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