Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Maltesta Family is from Genoa

I was lucky to get two good death certificates yesterday. One, for Dominick Malatesta (Helen Maltesta Raysor's grandfather; your great grandfather), and the other for Walter Joseph Malatesta, who was Helen's great uncle (George's brother).

From these two docs, I was able to get a more accurate description of Dominick's parents (John B and Mary), his wife Ann (Gerrity) and a specific location of his hometown in Italy: Genoa. I've been unable to conduct further research on the Maltesta line without knowing where they were from in Italy, so this may be a big help.

You can click the following to enlarge:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Carl Raysor: When was the top photo taken?

This is the photo with the mystery date:In the photo above (you can click to enlarge and view details), Carl is on the far right. His collar suggests that the photo was taken before 1915, I think. Arden thinks it was taken in the mid-to-late 1920s. However, compare it to the following photo taken in the summer of 1930:

Although Arden thinks the top photo was taken between 1926 and 1930, it seems to me that, fashion aside, Carl looks significantly older in the bottom photo. His face has filled out, and seems to reflect the tragedies he's experienced in the previous 15 years. In the top photo he looks young, fresh-faced, full of promise.

I'm doing more fashion research to more accurately place the top photo, but my initial guess is that it was taken between 1910 and 1915. I'd love your input!

Friday, July 25, 2008

More Garage Goodies

The excavation of the garage continues, and a box unearthed yesterday (from a pile beneath the dryer vent) yielded unexpected treasures. The first was a letter from Aunt Mae (Lavery) Madden to Helen Raysor on the occasion of Eleanor's death (Click to biggify):

The second letter (from "Lorraine" to your grandmother) below is a puzzler. The topic of the letter is Lavery genealogy, with margin annotations which at first glance, appear to have been made by Helen. There are two distinct handwriting types on the letter. Maybe notes on the family that Helen is leaving behind for Arden? One in particular stands out: "My mother's father Wm D Lavery a brute my mother hated him". (Helen was beginning her descent into dementia at this point, and was not always remembering things clearly -- it could well be an erroneous memory. Lorraine says that her mother had fond memories of "Old Bill," but acknowledges that Ella and Helen did not share those fond memories.) This letter is mined with clues; I just hope we can make sense of them. Click to biggify:

At the bottom, Lorraine is musing on Wm Lavery's whereabouts between Nov 1862 and Mar 1863. Click here for more info on the 44th NY Infantry's involvement in the Civil War. UPDATE: I just received Wm. Lavery's entire Civil War Pension File, which described that he was gravely injured in the second battle of Bull Run at the end of August, 1962. His leg was eventually amputated (when he was about 50 y.o.) due to that injury. Subsequent to finding this letter, I was extremely lucky to be able to make contact with Lorraine through She had a ton of information on the Lavery family, including photos!

Also in this stash was a postcard album, with postcards dated from 1905 - 1912. It provided addresses for your grandmother and great grandparents in Chicago and Alameda for that time period. A couple of the postcards were incredibly politically incorrect, but typical of the time. I'll try to scan them this weekend.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A C Raysor

Here is your great-great grandfather, Abraham C Raysor and the photo was taken in the 1870s. He was a preacher at the Barkeyville Church of God, and instrumental in establishing the BCoG.

I was trying to get cemetery records from the Barkeyville Cemetery (where all the Barkeyville Raysors are buried), and ended up sending a request to the pastor at the Barkeyville Church of God, hoping he would know the sexton and forward my request for cemetery records to him. I hit pay dirt. Turns out, he is not only the pastor of the Barkeyville Church of God, but he's also a member of the Barkeyville Cemetery Board, a member of the Churches of God Historical Society Board AND the resident Barkeyville Historian. He responded enthusiastically that he had a lot of Raysor info, and as a teaser, sent along this photo. I can't wait to see what he has for me: he has promised some "cool surprises." He also promised to "say hello" to the interred Raysors when he went to the cemetery this afternoon.