Tag Archives: Joseph B. Laurence

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.


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.

Circa 1915: Tony and Joe, the Laurence Teens

Sepia Saturday 597. Nineteenth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

At one time, the teen years weren’t recognized in U.S. popular culture as a special time of life. That changed after WWII, according to Derek Thompson in his Saturday Evening Post article titled “A Brief History of Teenagers.”

“The teenager emerged in the middle of the 20th century thanks to the confluence of three trends in education, economics, and technology. High schools gave young people a place to build a separate culture outside the watchful eye of family. Rapid growth gave them income, either earned or taken from their parents. Cars (and, later, another mobile technology) gave them independence.

This sociological development occurred after my maternal grandfather Tony Laurence (b. 1902) and his brother Joe (b. 1903) were adults. Yet their adolescent photos shown below, from circa 1915, seem to reveal the type of teenage changes we recognize today.

Circa 1915: My maternal grandfather Antonio W. “Tony” Laurence at about age 13. He posed for this photo at Forbes Studio in Gloversville, N.Y. Scan by Molly Charboneau

More mature expressions

In his baby and toddler photos, my grandfather Tony looked playful and sported an infectious grin. In this teen picture, however, he looks more serious and worldly in a stiff-collared shirt, suit jacket and tie.

The same is true of his younger brother, my mom’s Uncle Joe. Although he was a “tween” in 1915 — about the time these photos were taken — he also looks more staid and serious than in his youth. Every hair is in place and he also wears a suit, shirt and tie.

Circa 1915: My maternal grandfather ‘s younger brother Joseph Bernard Laurence at about age 12. He posed for this photo at Forbes Studio in Gloversville, N.Y. Scan by Molly Charboneau

The Forbes Studio

Tony and Joe posed for their photos at Forbes Studio of Gloversville, N.Y. — a different studio than the one their parents took them to as children. So I went online see what I could find about this photographer, and discovered an interesting ad.

Gloversville Morning Herald, Oct. 12, 1915. Source: fultonhistory.com

Forbes Studio apparently joined other Gloversville businesses in the raffle of a “Pony outfit” — which I am guessing may have been a Halloween costume, since the ad appeared in October 1915.

Forbes Studio placed other ads in the Gloversville newspapers over several decades encouraging parents to bring their children in for portraits at the start of each new school year.

Headed for adulthood

Whatever the impetus, I am glad my great-grandparents Peter and Mary (Curcio) Laurence/di Lorenzo took my grandfather and Uncle Joe to have these photos taken at a transitional point in their young lives.

In 1915, my Laurence/di Lorenzo ancestors were still living at 128 E. Fulton Street — in the crowded Curcio household of Mary’s parents (and my great-great grandparents) Antonio and Antoinette (Del Negro ) Curcio. My grandfather Tony and his brother Joe were both still in school.

Yet how handsome and mature they looked as they headed toward adulthood. And how grateful I am for these portraits — the only adolescent images of Tony and Joe that I have found in the family photo collection.

Up next, my grandfather Tony in a mystery photo. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

1909: The Laurence Brothers, Antonio and Joseph

Sepia Saturday 595. Seventeenth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

The last post introduced my Italian-American maternal grandfather, Antonio W. Laurence, at about the age of two — looking dapper in a studio photograph taken in Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

To my surprise, after publishing that post I discovered another studio photo of him, which appears to have been taken the same day. In the second photo, below, my grandfather seems more serious/coy but just as cute — and it’s easier to see the interesting tailoring details on his suit and hat, and the embroidered embellishment on his shirt.

My grandfather Antonio W. Laurence at about age 2 (circa 1904). Scan by Molly Charboneau

Along comes a younger brother

In the circa 1904 studio photos, my grandfather — the first born son of Peter and Mary “Mamie” (Curcio) Laurence/di Lorenzo — posed alone.

But soon enough, he was joined by a younger brother — Joseph Bernard Laurence. And around 1909, dressed as little sailors, they traveled together to the photographer for the set of portraits shown below.

From left, Antonio and Joseph Laurence (circa 1909). My grandfather Tony would have been about age 7 and his brother Uncle Joe about age 6 when this photo was taken. Scan by Molly Charboneau

Tony and Joe appear close in age in these photos. I knew my grandfather was born on 10 May 1902. But what about Uncle Joe? So off I went to do an online search for his date of birth.

Finding Uncle Joe’s birth date

Census indexes often list Joe as born “about 1904,” based on his age when the census was enumerated. But he did not appear in the online New York State birth index for that year.

However, a WWII draft registration card gave his date of birth as 21 Oct. 1903 — information presumably provided by Joe himself.[1]Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [database on-line accessed 1 Nov 2021]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011, image 1620.

From left, Uncle Joe and my grandfather Tony (circa 1909). Joe was about 6 and Tony about 7 when this was taken. Scan by Molly Charboneau

With this new information, I searched the 1903 index of New York State births and turned up a different day of birth for Uncle Joe — 22 Oct. 1903, one day later than what he told the draft board!

However, since there are no other Josephs listed in the 1903 birth index with a Laurence or Lawrence or Lorenzo or di Lorenzo surname who were born in Gloversville on or near that date, this is probably him.

Which means that Uncle Joe was born just 17 months after my grandfather Tony. No wonder they appear so close in age! And how handsome they look in their sailor suits and hats — the perfect picture of well-behaved sons to send to the relatives back in Italy.

Up next, the sad tale of the other two Laurence brothers. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

References

References
1 Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [database on-line accessed 1 Nov 2021]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011, image 1620.