Dorothy Mills, truly the baby of the family

Dorothy Mills, 1934, about 18 years old

Dorothy Mills, 1934, about 18 years old

Meet Dorothy Mills, 18 in this photo of the class of 1934 from Williamsville Township High School. Born in 1916, she was the last child of John Mills and Lydia Sparks. The year of her birth her father was almost 60 and her mother over 40. Dorothy’s oldest sibling Flora was born in 1890. Then Bertha, Winifred, Mary, Helen and finally Dorothy. The family lived all their live in Williams, Illinois where John and son Winifred were farmers.

In 1928, when her father died, Dorothy and mother Lydia went to live with Winifred and his wife Cecelia and children. They lived with them at least through the 1930 and 1940 census in Williams. Dorothy’s mother passed away in 1947. John and Lydia, and many other members of the Mills family, are buried in Wolf Creek Cemetery in Sangamon county. I did not find a Dorothy Mills there.

I don’t know what happened to Dorothy. In 1940, she was still single and worked in “domestic work” with 4 years of high school. Did she ever marry and have kids of her own? Hopefully family can fill in the blanks.

Williamsville Township High School, 1934, with handsome Orlando Viola

Orlando Viola, 1934

Orlando Viola, 1934

Orlando Viola was 18 in this class photo from Williamsville Township High School in 1934. He was the son of Nikolas “Nick” Viola and Maria “Mary” Jannesse, both Italian immigrants. Nick and Mary married about 1911 in Illinois. They would have 8 children in all, Orlando was their second born, and first son. From at least 1920 to 1940 the family lived in Fancy Creek, Sangamon county, Illinois; the same county as the high school. Mr. Viola worked as both a coal miner and a road laborer.

In 1940, Orlando still lived at home and was working as a railroad laborer with his high school education. But on February 18, 1942 he decided to join the army. His mother died the same year. Per his army enlistment record Orlando was married at the time. Younger brother Julio would join him in the army.

Orlando’s parents lived out their lives in Sangamon county (near Springfield). They are buried in Calvary Cemetery there; as are many of his siblings. Orlando’s burial location is unknown to me. According to SSDI he died in 1977 while living in Virginia. He may have been the only one of the Viola children to leave Illinois.

I’m still searching for anyone searching for Orlando!

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). ┬áCity 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.

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!