Anna May Lagana 1934 – into the looking glass of life and a census stumper!

Anna Lagana, 1934, 5th grade in Peekskill, NY

Anna Lagana, 1934, 5th grade in Peekskill, NY

There’s something odd about looking at a photo of a 10 year old girl and reading the words of her obituary: “Her husband of 45 years died in 1993.” It’s like looking into a crystal ball and seeing a future we’re not supposed to know about. Anna certainly didn’t know what life would hold for her in 1934.

At the time of this photo she was living in Peekskill, Westchester county, New York with her parents (Matteo and Agnes Lagana), and two older sisters (Agnes and Margaret). Anna was born in 1923 in New York. The 1930 census listed her as Matteo’s sister rather than daughter; but it’s clear from the age difference and other census records that she was a daughter. Her father was from Italy and her mother from Ireland. Interestingly the exact same family (parents, children, ages, birthplaces) was living in Suffolk, Brookhaven, NY in 1930. The census records were only 14 days apart. The duplication existed in the 1925 NY census as well. One Matteo/Agnes family lived in NYC and another in Cortland, Westchester, NY (likely our Anna).  City directories show Matteo in Peekskill 1924-1927. In 1940, “Matt” and Agnes were still in Peekskill with Anna and younger brother Francis. Matt is a bar tender now, he had worked in grocery before. So far, I haven’t found the duplicate family in 1940.

Any ideas on that??

Here’s a snippet from her obituary: “Anna May Brendel, formerly residing in Tucson, Arizona, died on June 7, 2006 in Pasadena, California from advanced Alzheimer’s disease. She was born as Anna Lagana in Peekskill, New York on September 29, 1923. She married Oswald R. Brendel in 1948, having met him in Saudi Arabia while she was an employee of the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) for eight years. In 1953 they returned to live in Peekskill until 1961, when she and her family moved to Tucson, Arizona, where she worked as a x-ray technician. In 2002 she then moved to Pasadena, California to live closer to her two sons. Her husband of 45 years died in 1993.”*

*”Brendel, Anna Mae.” The Arizona Daily Star July 2, 2006. Obituary and Death Notice. Print.

The Gaines couple and Eastman Business College, Class of 1888 in Po’keepsie

Photos of the 1888 class as well as President and Treasurer, Clement C. Gaines and Mrs. C. C. Gaines.

Here’s what the documentation shows: Mr. Clement Carrington Gaines was born on March 15, 1857 in Charlotte county, VA according to a passport application. He was 53 at the time of the application in 1911. The wife Elizabeth he listed was 27. Likely NOT the same wife as in this class photo.

In 1880, the closest census to this photo, 23 year old Clement was living at home in Virginia with his parents and siblings. Parents were Richard V. and either Virginia or Elizabeth Gaines (different names in different years). Clement was listed as a student, his father a farmer. By 1900, Clement had married Mirina E. who was 13 years his senior. They lived in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, NY. Clement was a teacher. I believe it is Mirina who is pictured here as Mrs. C. C. Gaines.

The could had no children listed as living with them. But, thank goodness for the 1892 NY census, in that year, in Poughkeepsie, Clement was 38, a professor, no wife was listed, but a young Minerva Gaines was 14 years old. This was likely Mirina’s daughter, but I can’t find anything else after that one census. Was this a mis-recorded wife? Had Mirina already died?

By 1920, second wife Elizabeth had entered the picture. She and Clement, now 62, still lived in Dutchess county, NY with 4 small children – aged 7 to 2. I hope Clement had a lot of energy!

An additional list of life events follows on his Find A Grave memorial. According to that site, he died in 1943 and is buried in Gaines Family Cemetery in Virginia. Other photos of the couple are for sale in an autograph book listed here.

Anyone know what happened to Mirina or Minerva?

Peekskill, New York 1934: A gem of a 5th grade class

Fifth grade class of McKinley School in Peekskill, NY 1934

Fifth grade class of McKinley School in Peekskill, NY 1934

What a wonderful photo this class makes. This is the 1934 Fifth grade class of McKinley School in Peekskill, New York. I love the way the individual pictures are arranged and the background – they really do look like little angels!

I’ve randomly chosen one of these youngsters to research. His name is Joseph Palmiotto (2nd row from bottom in the middle). Joseph was born in New York in 1923 to Italian immigrant parents. He would be about 10 in this photo. Pascuale and Philomena Palmiotto (that’s a mouthful) likely married in New York. Pascuale came over in 1911 and Philomena in 1921 – according to the 1930 census of Peekskill. Pascuale was a yeast maker. I can only imagine the yummy pizzas in that household!

Joseph Palmiotto, age 10Joseph was their first born of eight children – at least that’s all they had had by 1940. He died in New Jersey in 2003, just a few days after his 80th birthday. His parents are buried in Assumption Cemetery in West Chester County, NY along with several siblings. But Joseph is not there.

That’s about all I’ve discovered in my quick search on Joseph. I hope to find a family who would enjoy seeing him as a spry 10 year old!

Wrapping up the boys of Adams High School, New York, 1941

It’s been a crazy fun time these past 10 days, and because of that my blogging has suffered greatly. To make up for lost time I’m going to research four young gents in this post. This information will wrap up all the boys of the 1941 class of Adams High School in Adams, New York. They are, in order of appearance: David Woodall, Francis Murray, Edwin Nicholas, and Charles Brown.

David Woodall was born in New York in 1923. Adams was his home from at least 1925 to 1940 but the household shifted. In 1925 David lived with parents Ira Woodall and Mary Abbey, siblings and an aunt; down the street from Ira’s parents. In 1930 the family had moved in with grandfather John Woodall. It was a large household. John (the grandfather) was head. His daughter Alma and her son lived with him as well as son Ira and his 6, including David. No in-laws listed (Alma’s husband or Ira’s wife). Ira was the only household member listed as having a job; he was an electrician. Hard times in 1930!

By 1940 the household had shrunk. Aunt Alma Nutting was now the head. She ran boarding house. Four Woodall children lived with her, 2 nieces and another nephew and Alma’s son. The oldest niece, Barbara Woodall at 18, worked as a maid in a private house. The oldest nephew, William at 21, was a chauffeur for a publishing company. David was in his 3rd year of high school. I don’t know if David ever married or had children. I hope to find some trees bearing his name to pass the photo onto.

Francis Murray – unfortunately there are far too many Francis Murray’s in the area to successfully identify this young man. Hopefully someone will recognize the photo (even though it’s a little on the fuzzy side).

Edwin Nichols was born in New York in 1924 to Raymond & Hattie Nichols. In 1925, one year old Edwin lived with his parents and several boarders in Wilna, Jefferson Co., New York. His father was a farm laborer and his mother a house laborer. In 1930 and 1940 the family lived in other towns near Adams. Lorraine in 1930, with the addition of a sister. His father was still farming. By 1940 the family had really expanded with the addition of 4 children. They lived in Worth, New York at the time. He married Alice Hobbs in 1945.

Edwin died on March 11, 2002 and is buried in Lorraine where he likely spent all his adult life. At the time of his death, he had 4 children, 12 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. What a rich life! According to his obituary,

Mr. Nichols bought his family’s farm in 1955 and operated it until 1987, when he retired from farming. Earlier in his working career, he had been a mechanic for 10 years at C.N. Snyder & Sons, Adams, and for two years for R.H. Ennis, Burrville. He had done custom spraying for farmers in the area and was town of Worth highway superintendent for 32 years, retiring in January.

Charles Brown has a very common name, and while I’m not 100% certain on the ID, I’m fairly confident this is our man. He was the son of Walter and Bertha Brown, born in New York in 1924. The family lived in Lyme, Jefferson county, New York from 1925-1940 at least. In 1925, father Walter was a farmer originally from Canada. They had 11 children, Charles was the youngest. The oldest, son Claude, was 23! The family looked much the same in 1930, but several children had left home. And in 1940, Charles is one of 3 children still at home, which was still Lyme. Bertha was head of household, so likely that Walter had died by this point.

Charles Thurston Brown, I believe his full name was, died in 1988 in Hawaii. His parents, and many siblings are buried in Three Mile Bay Cemetery in Jefferson County. It’s possible that Charles joined the war effort and ended up in the Pacific, but I haven’t been able to confirm that.

James Whelan

James Whelan #114

James Whelan, another Westbrook Academy student from 1925, was born in New York in 1908. His parents were Richard and Catherine/Katherine Whelan. The family lived in Olean, New York in 1910, 1920, and 1925 according to the census records. For some reason Mr. Whelan (Richard) didn’t live with the family in 1925, but appears in all other census. In 1930 they had moved to Buffalo. James had about 6 or 7 siblings – including a pair of twins on the end (named Mary & Joseph!)

Father Richard was from Ireland and worked as a machinist in a steel company. In 1930 James was a clerk in the steel industry as well. There are several James Whelan’s in NY in 1940 both born in 1908 one married to Elizabeth with 2 kids, working as an accountant, one married to Geraldine with no children – not sure which one is the right one, but I’m sure his family does.

Hope to reconnect James with some descendants!

Shuster & Bordeaux

Two more classmates from the 1924-24 Westbrook Commercial Academy in Olean, New York: these ladies are Mary Shuster #71 and Viola Bordeaux #56. Disappointingly, I was unable to find any information on Mary in the online records. Such a cute … Continue reading