Season’s Greetings 2021

Sepia Saturday 601 and the Genealogy Blog Party: The holiday season is upon us — and that’s when Molly’s Canopy traditionally takes a winter break so I can relax, kick back and recharge.

Photo: Pixabay

This has been a joyous year writing about my maternal German and Italian ancestors and their lives in Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y. — particularly because of their rich photo legacy.

Amazing how much can be learned by piecing together the clues in photographs, maps and records to tell the ancestral story! And how the process gets those family photos scanned.

The same held true for the April 2020 A to Z blogging challenge, in which I chronicled my early teen years — and thoroughly enjoyed the fond memories conjured up by family photos, news stories and my teen journal entries.

The biggest surprise was how many people shared similar memories of the era’s happenings — such as the New York World’s Fair, the first space flights and swooning over rock ‘n’ roll stars.

Many thanks to my readers and relatives who followed along and shared valuable observations (among them the Sepia Saturday regulars, my Geneabloggers colleagues, and visitors from the monthly Genealogy Blog Party). You made this a magical year of blogging for Molly’s Canopy — and renewed my hope that the New Year will be just as fulfilling.

Happy Holidays to you and yours from Molly’s Canopy! Please stop back in January 2022 when regular blogging resumes. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of other Sepia Saturday participants.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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The Laurence Family’s Wells St. Home In Gloversville, N.Y.

Sepia Saturday 600. Twenty-second in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

By the time the 1920 federal census[1]FamilySearch requires free login to view 1920 census records. was taken, my great-grandparents Peter and Mary (Curcio) Laurence/di Lorenzo had moved with their sons Tony and Joe into a newly-built home of their own at 12 Wells St. in Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y.

They may have moved there as early as 1917, since Peter gave a Wells St. address when he registered, at 45, for the WWI draft.[2]FamilySearch requires free login to view WWI draft records.

Circa 1923: The Laurence/di Lorenzo family on the front steps of 12 Wells Street, Gloversville, N.Y. From left, Joseph B. Laurence, Mary (Curcio) Laurence, Antonio W. “Tony” Laurence and Peter Laurence (nee Pietro di Lorenzo). Scan by Molly Charboneau

The large Laurence house was right around the corner from the home of Mary’s parents, Antonio and Antoinette (Del Negro) Curcio, at 128 E. Fulton Street.

A home of their own

How proud Peter and Mary must have been to finally have a home of their own where their teenage sons could grow into adulthood. The Wells St. house even had a barn out back for Peter’s horse and vehicles — and was within walking distance of the junk dealership he took over from Mary’s father.

The wide steps where they posed, above, led to an open side porch to the right. Later owners narrowed the front steps and enclosed the side porch — as shown in the 1992 photo of the house below.

1992: Former home of the Laurence/di Lorenzo familiy in Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y. The house originally had wide front steps and an open side porch. Later owners narrowed the front steps and enclosed the porch. Photo by Molly Charboneau

My mom’s Wells St. connection

In 1992, my mom — Peg (Laurence) Charboneau — and I took a family history grand tour of her Gloversville, N.Y., hometown. One of our stops was the former Laurence home at 12 Wells St.

After taking the above photo, I noticed Mom looking wistfully up at the house. That’s when she made an unexpected revelation.

“I was born in that house,” she said. Wow, this was news to me. My siblings and I are from the Baby Boom generation — and we were all born in hospitals.

My grandfather Tony holding my mom Peggy, born 4 May 1926. This photo appears to have been taken outside 12 Well St. — possibly by my grandmother Elizabeth (Stoutner) Laurence, a photo buff who is not pictured. Penciled on the back is “May 1926, Tony & Peggy.” Scan by Molly Charboneau

So, I was astonished to learn my mom had been born at home — and in her grandparents’ house at that. Yet after researching my Italian ancestors, I am no longer surprised at mom’s home birth.

Welcoming extended family

In true Italian fashion, my Laurence ancestors quickly opened their home to extended family — starting with their oldest son.

After my grandfather Tony and my grandmother Elizabeth Stoutner got married in 1924, they set up house with the Laurences at 12 Well St. and lived there for several years, through the 1926 birth of my mother Peggy — their first child and the Laurences’ first grandchild.

Nov. 1926: A studio portrait of my mom Peggy at 6 months. My maternal grandmother Elizabeth , who was a fashionable dresser, seems to have gone all out on my mom’s cute winter outfit. Scan by Molly Charboneau

By 1930, the federal census shows[3]FamilySearch requires free login to view 1930 census records that my grandparents Tony (by then a garage proprietor) and Elizabeth — along with my mom and her younger sister Rita — had moved across the street to 9 Wells St.

The same year, my great-grandmother Mary’s younger sister Millie, her husband Frank Somella (a junk dealer) and their children Anthony and Marie were living with the Laurences at 12 Wells St.[4]ibid.

And so it went. House sharing, job sharing, mutual support — that was a way of life for my maternal Italian ancestors as they helped one another make progress for themselves and their children.

And much of it was wrapped up in the Laurence house at 12 Wells St.

Up next, Season’s Greetings and a holiday break for Molly’s Canopy. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.


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References

References
1 FamilySearch requires free login to view 1920 census records.
2 FamilySearch requires free login to view WWI draft records.
3 FamilySearch requires free login to view 1930 census records
4 ibid.

1924: Tony Laurence’s Del Negro Cousins

Sepia Saturday 599. Twenty-first in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

Letting my ancestor’s photos frame their story has led to some interesting revelations about them. My maternal ancestors, in particular, passed down a significant photo archive — with every week bringing new discoveries.

So I was delighted this week to find a series of photos showing my maternal grandfather Antonio W. “Tony” Laurence and some of the Del Negro cousins he grew up with.

1924: My maternal grandfather Tony Laurence, 22, with his cousin Frances Del Negro, 20. This photo appears to have been taken outside the Del Negro home at 72 1/2 E. Fulton St., Gloversville, N.Y. Scan by Molly Charboneau

An extended Italian family

Previous posts have described the crowded home of my Italian great-grandparents Antonio and Antoinette (Del Negro) Curcio — located at 128 E. Fulton Street in Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

My grandfather Tony and his younger brother Joe lived there until their teens with his parents, Peter and Mary (Curcio) Laurence/di Lorenzo — and Mary’s many siblings.

Also in the household were Antoinette’s brother Michael Del Negro, his wife and their large family until they moved circa 1920 to their own home down the block at 72 1/2 E. Fulton Street — which appears at the bottom of a previous post about the Del Negro family.

1924: Reverse side of photo of Tony Laurence, 22, and his cousin Frances Del Negro, 20. The other photos are similarly labeled. Hats off to my grandfather for taking the time to identify these photos. Scan by Molly Charboneau

First cousins one removed

The Del Negro children were my grandfather’s first cousins once removed. Yet many of them were close in age to Tony and Joe — and when they were children, it may have been like having extra siblings in the house.

So what a treat to find photos of my grandfather at age 22 with some of his Del Negro cousins. And hats off to my grandfather for taking the time to label the photos!

1924: George Del Negro, 12, with his sister Frances, 20. Across the bottom border the year 1924 is written in pencil. Another photo has “E. Fulton St.” written on the back. From the size of the driveway, this is probably the Del Negro’s home at 72 1/2 E. Fulton St. Scan by Molly Charboneau

Time and place

The photo above of George and Frances Del Negro has the year 1924 penciled across the bottom border. Using this year and federal census data for the Del Negro family, I was able to determine everyone’s approximate age.

Figuring out the location was a bit trickier. One of the photos has “E. Fulton St.” written on the back — but both the Curcio’s and the Del Negros lived on that street.

1924: Del Negro siblings George, 12, Carmela (aka Millie), 15, and Frances, 20. They seem to be having so much fun posing for this photo. Scan by Molly Charboneau

However — looking at the number of cars parked in the driveway, the porch detail in some of the photos, and the fact that the house appears to be set back from other homes in the background — the location was most likely the Del Negro home at 72 1/2 E. Fulton Street.

1924: Del Negro siblings James, 22, and Ann, 27. James was the same age as my grandfather Tony. Ann was the oldest of the eight Del Negro siblings. Scan by Molly Charboneau

Tony the newlywed

One last item of interest about these photos is that they were taken just a few months after my maternal grandparents Tony and Elizabeth (Stoutner) Laurence were married.

Tony and Lisbeth eloped in January 1924 and were married in Detroit, Michigan, where he was studying auto mechanics — which may explain why he looks so happy in the first photo.

Up next, more photos of my Italian extended family. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Growing family trees one leaf at a time