Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Housekeeping: Gone to Oz!

You may not see any more posts this year (2006) because I will be on vacation until Jan. 7, 2007. I will be in Australia (aka Oz) with my family, hunting down those elusive ancestors ~ maybe the ones I can't find moved there? Just kidding. I have no known family there, but I will be taking a much-needed break.

However, I am looking forward to a picture of the latest of the Parisi clan who is due to make his/her appearance around Dec 22nd! I will definitely post those when I get them, even if I am on vacation! Best wishes to my cousin Andrea (the baby will come when the phone calls inquirying if you've had it yet are 5 minutes apart).

Have a great Holiday Season and a Happy New Years! I will continue to post after I get back (give me a few days to recover from jet lag!)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Amelia Godskesen's School Yearbook

. .
This picture is from The Spectrum, Jefferson High School's yearbook, of June 1916 (p. 128). The name under the picture reads Amelia Godskesen. It was accompanied by the following :
Nickname: Millie
Ambition: Butcher's wife
Favorite Amusement: Outside reading
I was so thrilled when I found this! It is one of those things that really bring an ancestor to life, especially one you haven't met or don't remember -- which is unfortunately the case with Amelia, my grandmother. When I visit Oregon, hopefully in February, I will see if I can find the yearbook in a library and see if there are more pictures or information (clubs she belonged to, etc.)
The picture is courtesy of Genealogy Today (, a subscription site which has scans of yearbooks and other databases. Source information: Family Tree Connection, Jefferson High School (OR) [on-line database], New Providence, NJ, 2005 -- Transcribed from: The Spectrum June 1916 Yearbook, 1916, pg. 128.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Death Certificate for Joseph Marco Parisi

. .
Joseph Marco's death was the final and saddest part of his involvement with the Portland Water Works. I'll transcribe his death certificate above first, then discuss how it relates to the Water Works.
Oregon State Board of Health
Division of Vital Statistics
State of Oregon
State File No. #107
Local Registrar's No. #110
Other Misc. Numbers at top of certificate [purpose not stated]:
99-16200-C [handwritten in top left corner]
183 [handwritten under local registrar's no.]
Left Hand Column:
1. Place of Death:
(a) County: Multnomah
(b) City: Portland
(c) Name of hospital or institution: Foot of Caruthers St
[mix of type and handwriting; Wilamette River is typed above]
(d) Length of stay: In hospital or institution [left blank]
In this community: 54 yrs.
In state: 54 yrs.
3. (a) Full Name: JOSEPH PARISI
[originally typed Jopseh Parisi, but then the first name was lined through
and written Joseph above]
(b) if veteran, name war: None
(c) Social Security No.: None
4. Sex: Male
5. Color: White
6. (a) Single, widowed, married or divorced: Married
(b) name of husband or wife: Marnian Parisi
(c) age of husband or wife if alive: 78
7. Birth date of deceased: April 25, 1854
8. Age: 86 years, 8 mos, 6 days
9. Birthplace: Austria
10. Usual occupation: Foreman, Water Works
11. Industry or business: City of Portland
12. Father's Name: Peter Parisi
13. Father's Birthplace: Austria
14. Mother's Maiden Name: Olive ?
15. Mother's Birthplace: Austria
16. (a) Informant's own signature: G. J. Parisi [son of Joseph Parisi]
(b) Address: 2435 S.W. 5th Ave.
17. (a) Burial, cremation or removal: Burial
(b) Date: Jan. 11, 1941
(c) Place: Mt. Calvary Cemetery
18. (a) Signature of Funeral Director: Hennessey, Goetsch & McGee
(b) Address: 210 N.W. 17th Ave
19. (a) Date form received by registrar: Stamped Jan. 9 1941
(b) Registrar's signature: Adolph Weinzirl, M.D. [Stamped]
Handwritten underneath: AFF for Correction given name 1-6-49
Right Hand Column:
2. Usual Residence of Deceased:
(a) State: Oregon
(b) County: Multnomah
(c) City: Portland
(d) Street No: 2435 S.W. 5th Ave.
(e) how long in USA? 55 yrs
[the number 102 is handwritten under this line with no explanation]
[the word "Found" is typed right next to this heading]
20. Date of Death:
Month: January day: 8 year: 1941 hour: ? minute: [blank]
21. I hereby certify that I attended the deceased from [blank],
to EXAM and that death occurred on the date.
Immediate cause of death: Strangulation due to drowning
[the number 183 is written and cirlced here with no explanation]
Due to: (fell into Willamette River)
Other Conditions: [blank]
Major findings of operations: [blank]
of autopsy: No
22. If death is due to external causes, fill in the following:
(a) Accident, suicide or homicide: Accident
(b) Date of occurence: About 12-31-40
(c) Where did injury occur: Portland, Oregon
(d) Did injury occur in or about home, on farm, in industrial place, in public place?
Willamette River at foot Carruthers St.
While at work? [blank]
(e) means of injury: Drown
23. Signature: F. Floyd South, MD Coroner [stamped]
Signed G.W. Snook, Deputy
According to family lore, a water main broke on Christmas and Joseph went to investigate and help. He slipped, fell into the Wilamette River and was lost until New Year's Day. While the dates of the story do not exactly line up with death certificate, this must have been a devastating event. My heart goes out to the family and I can feel their loss, even 60 years later, everytime I see this certificate.

I am working on finding the article about this event, Joseph's obituary, and any Water Committee notes regarding the event.

Other small notes about this death certificate:
1) The name of Joseph's wife (Marina) is misspelled
2) The signer, G.J. Parisi is Joseph's son, George.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Death Certificate for Marina Parisi

Marina Parisi was Anthony Parisi's mother. I don't have any photographs of my great-grandmother, but I do have her death certificate, posted here. My translation:
Oregon State Board of Health
Division of Vital Statistics
State of Oregon
State File No. #3956
Local Registrar's No. #3957
Other Misc. Numbers at top of certificate [purpose not stated]:
84-7506 [handwritten in top left corner]
12062 [stamped at top of certificate]
102 [handwritten under local registrar's no.]
Left Hand Column:
1. Place of Death:
[Date of Dec. 9 1947 stamped at top of this section]
(a) County: Multnomah
(b) City: Portland
(c) Name of hospital or institution: 2435 S.W. 5th Ave.
[printed in small letters underneath: if not in hospital or institution write street number or location]
(d) Length of stay: In hospital or institution [left blank]
In this community: 56 yrs.
In state: 56 yrs.
3. (a) Full Name: MARINA PARISI
(b) if veteran, name war [dashes to indicate n/a]
(c) Social Security No. [dashes to indicate n/a]
4. Sex: F
5. Color: W [for white]
6. (a) Single, widowed, married or divorced: Widow
(b) name of husband or wife: Joseph
(c) age of husband or wife if alive [left blank]
7. Birth date of deceased: July 21, 1862
8. Age: 85 years, 3 mos, 26 days
9. Birthplace: Austria
10. Usual occupation: Housewife
11. Industry or business: [left blank]
12. Father's Name: Anthony Morelli
13. Father's Birthplace: Austria
14. Mother's Maiden Name: No Record
15. Mother's Birthplace: Austria
16. (a) Informant's own signature: Mrs. Mary Balerica [signature underneath]
(b) Address: 2435 S.W. 5th Ave.
17. (a) Burial, cremation or removal: Burial
(b) Date: 11/20/47
(c) Place: Mt. Calvary Cemetery
18. (a) Signature of Funeral Director: Hennessey, Goetsch & McGee
(b) Address: Portland, Oregon [signature]
19. (a) Date form received by registrar: Stamped Nov. 18 1947 [possibly 19th]
(b) Registrar's signature: [Stamped, unreadable]
Right Hand Column:
2. Usual Residence of Deceased:
(a) State: Oregon
(b) County: Mult. [Multnomah]
(c) City: Portland
(d) Street No: 2435 S.W. 5th Ave.
(e) how long in USA? 56 yrs
[the number 102 is handwritten under this line with no explanation]
20. Date of Death:
Month: November day: 17 year: 1947 hour: 8 minute: 40
21. I hereby certify that I attended the deceased from Nov. 17th [unclear, possibly other date], 1947
to Nov. 17, 1947 and that death occurred on the date.
[the number 16-1947 is handwritten here with no explanation]
Immediate cause of death: Heart. A few days only.
Due to: Hypertension
Due to: Senile
Other Conditions: Advanced Age
Major findings of operations: None
of autopsy: None
22. If death is due to external causes, fill in the following: [the following was left blank and is omitted here]
23. Signature: Alan Welch Smith, MD [typed]
Address: Medical Dental Bldg
[Signature below address]
A death certificate contains a number of genealogical clues. Most obviously is the name listed of the parents, although Marina's mother is listed as "No Record" so we do not have this important piece of information. However, we do have her father's name (and thus Marina's maiden name) so we can start looking there. We also have information about Marina's residence and know how long she'd been in Portland and at this address. The certificate also tells us where she is buried.
The informant is also important. Usually this is a family member or close friend of either the deceased or the family. In this case it is Marina's daughter, who lives with her at the time of her death. I will have to look up whether Marina's son-in-law or grandchildren are also living with her at this time.
The informant is important because that tells you the accuracy of the information. Because a death certificate is at the end of a person's life (hopefully long), many of the birth details may not have been passed down. This is the case with Marina's mother's name and information. Also, birth dates may not be accurate, either because the date wasn't known (before birth certificates were required, an illiterate family, or other errors) or on purpose (women lying about their age, men changing theirs to enlist or get jobs, or simply to receive a pension or social security).
There are also transcription issues, such as Mary Baldrica's name being misspelled as Balerica by the person who filled out the certificate. Since a death certificate is usually completed at the worst time -- someone close to the deceased has just lost them -- many things may not be corrected or overlooked.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Who's Who -- The family of Joseph Marco Parisi and Marina Morelli

I'm going to go up a generation and talk about Anthony's parents and their children in the next several blogs. As I am still working on documenting many events in this line of my family, and am in the process of blending others' research into my own. To keep things straight, items marked with an asterisk (*) have not been documented by me (but I'm working on it).
Joseph Marco Parisi married Marina Morelli in a small village (Premione) near Trento (now Italy), around 1885. They then immigrated to the United States and settled in Portland, OR. Like many immigrants, the family did not all move at once, but moved in stages. Joseph came first, secured a job and housing, then moved his family over. I will be discussing this and the area they came from in future posts.

They had the following children:

Anthony Peter Parisi -- "Tony" (10 Jan 1886 - 8 Nov 981); born in Premione
-- married Amelia Godskesen (see previous blog)

*Armida Maria Parisi -- (6 Nov 1888 - 13 Nov 1888); born in Premione

Mary Parisi -- (22 Feb 1892 - 13 Jan 1982); born Portland, OR
-- married Joseph A. Baldrica

Cecilia Parisi -- (16 Nov 1893 -- 2 Jul 1974); born Portland, OR

Rosa Parisi -- (Jul 1897 -- ???); born Portland, OR
-- *married John Cook

Alice Parisi -- (abt. 1901 - ???); born Portland, OR
-- *married William Raymond Jefferis

Henry William Parisi (15 Mar 1903 - 13 Mar 1987); born Portland, OR

George Parisi (17 Mar 1907 - 19 Jul 1981); born Portland, OR
-- * married Ellen Mallon

Just by looking at the place of birth for the children, you can narrow down the immigration date for the family, and see who would have come over. This is helpful in looking at ships' passenger lists, etc.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Who's Who -- The Family of Anthony and Amelia

I will be posting a Who's Who listing all members of a single family unit -- as far as I know them. There will also be a separate label to these listings. Hopefully this will help everyone (including me!) keep people and their relations to everyone straight! I'm starting with the household of Anthony and Amelia Parisi.

Anthony Peter Parisi -- "Tony" (10 Jan 1886 - 8 Nov 1981)
-- married* --
Amelia Cecilia Godskesen (5 Mar 1897 - 16 Jul 1960)

They raised the following three children:

Eleanor Cecilia Parisi (4 Aug 1919 - 21 Feb 1965)
-- married name: Bjore
Frank Edward Parisi (25 Feb 1924 - 13 Feb 1999)
Joseph Peter Parisi (b. 1934)

*I haven't found their marriage certificate yet, but I'm working on it!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Anthony Parisi's WWI Draft Registration Card

. . has now digitized and made available the WWI draft registration cards. I was able to find several members of my family. From the Parisi family, I was able to locate the one for Anthony Parisi.

Because these uploads come out so small, and this particular card isn't that clear to begin with, I'll transcribe it below. The front of the card is on the left and back on the right.

Front of Card:

Serial Number: 85 (upper left corner)

Order Number: 1419 (upper right corner)

Name: Anthony Peter Parisi
Age: 30
Address: 635-5th Street, Portland, Oregon

Date of Birth: December 10th, 1886
Citizenship status: Citizen of the U.S.
Place of Birth: Premione, Trent, Austria
Naturalized? Naturalized; [unreadable] came to US when he was 8 years old

Present Occupation: Buyer for Wholesale House

Employer's Name: Parks Brother

Place of Employment: 231 [unreadable] St.
Nearest Relative: Father, mother, 2 brothers & 4 sisters [unreadable note]
Marital Status: Single
Race: [unreadable]
Military service: None
Do you claim exemption from draft: No

Signature affirming above answers: Anthony Peter Parisi

Back of Card:

Height: Medium (box checked)

Build: Medium (box checked)

Color of Eyes: Dark Brown
Color of Hair: Dark Brown
Bald? No

Obvious Physical Impairment: some trouble with arched instep

Signature of Registrar: Cora E. Puffer
Precinct: 91
City: Portland
State: Oregon
Date of Registration: June 5th, 1917

Besides being a document that my ancestor filled out, this registration card gives us a physical description of my grandfather at age 30, an address where he lived in Portland, and employment information. Historical background of the draft cards also helps to put all this information in context. This excerpt is from Warren Blatt's excellent web page at

On May 18, 1917, the Selective Service Act was passed, authorizing the President to temporarily increase the military establishment of the United States. The Selective Service System was responsible for the process of
selecting men for induction into the military service, from the initial registration to the actual delivery of men to military training camps.

Under the office of the Provost Marshal General, the Selective Service System was made up of 52 state offices
(one for each of the 48 states; the territories of Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico; and the District of Columbia), 155 district boards, and 4648 local boards... The average district board had jurisdiction over approximately 30 local boards, each with an average registration of 5000 men. Local boards were established for each county or similar subdivision in each state, and for each 30,000 persons (approximately) in each city or county with a population over 30,000.

During World War I there were three registrations:

The first, on June 5, 1917, was for all men between the ages of 21 and 31.

The second, on June 5, 1918, registered those who attained age 21 after June 5, 1917. (A supplemental registration was held on August 24, 1918 for those becoming 21 years old after June 5, 1918. This was included in the second registration.)

The third registration was held on September 12, 1918 for men aged 18 through 45.

Using the historical background above, I can see that Anthony registered for the draft during the first registration period.

Shameless plug for since they have provided a lot of what I'm posting: It's my favorite pay-for-access site and has proven to be worth every penny. I find a lot of stuff on there, and they are adding more all the time. My local Family History Center (another great place!) has a membership and you can access for free from them. I like my membership since I can access it from anywhere I have a computer and at any time.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Getting Some Attention!

Woo Hoo! This blog, along with my other family blogs (see side bar), merited a mention in George G. Morgan's "Along Those Lines... " (11/16 post)! Check it out at or use the link in the side bar under Favorite Websites.

George Morgan is an well-known genealogy speaker, writer and teacher. His column, "Along Those Lines..." was featured on for many years, until he recently moved it to this new blog. George and Drew Smith host "The Genealogy Guys" weekly podcast, which I listen to religiously, and which also was an inspiration for starting my blogs.

It's truly an honor to be mentioned in George's blog and I was so excited when he personally emailed me back to let me know he was posting a link to my blogs. I've been walking on air all week!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Guest Blog: Ed Bjore email

I received the following email from my Uncle Ed Bjore* in response to the previous blog (On the Front Porch).
I thought it was a perfect next blog -- elegant prose, clarifying information and a great explanation of why we are genealogists. Enjoy!

"Oh my goodness. My knees got weak and my stomach knotted when I saw your picture. I was overwhelmed with the memories.

I would guess this picture was taken Christmas of 64. In the window you can see the Christmas tree on the left, and the dirty glass, if you look close enough, is angels done with some window paste. There are also Christmas lights on the columns.

This picture was taken on the front (patio) porch at 6833 SE 112th Ave, Portland OR. It was a treat to see Georgia looking so well, and Mom making a face at the camera. Tony was Tony, with the pocket protector and all the pens. These are part of so many details that I had forgotten. Your mom was such a beautiful person, a winning smile, and a bundle of energy.

As you might know, Georgia died of lupus about 28 years ago, and we became the guardians of her daughter Andrea who was 7 at the time. Andrea got married this summer and we went to Tulsa OK to witness her wedding. It was a joyous time. Time just goes too fast, and we don't appreciate things at the time. That's the fun of genealogy for me--remembering all the wonderful people who have made me the person I am."
*Ok, in a previous blog I said I'd explain this. Ed is my cousin, but somehow, ever since I can remember, I called him Uncle Eddie. It probably has to do with the fact that he is approximately 14 years older than I am, but I'm really not sure. It wasn't until I was in my late 20's when I realized the real family connection. Of course, it's hard to correct when you spend all your formative years learning it one way. Kind of like all of us now trying to unlearn Pluto as a planet or getting used to 12 food pyramids...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

On the Front Porch

Today I found this photo in my mom's collection when I went over to scan some pictures of her side of the family (Villalba-Barrios). I didn't even know this photo existed - I was doing the genealogist happy dance today!

The photo dates from a trip we made to Portland, OR to visit with my father's family (he's the Parisi), probably at Christmas or a little after. I am dating this based on my little sister who is standing in the front. She was born in May 1963, so Christmas 1963 or Easter 1964 is about right for her to be standing. It might even be as late as Christmas 1964.

From left to right, is Grandpa Tony, Georgia Bjore holding yours truly, Eleanor Bjore and Christine Bjore (hiding). In front is my mother (Miriam Parisi, known as Mimi) holding my little sister, Gina Parisi. I am not sure of the location, but I believe we are on the front porch of Eleanor's house. We all look like we're having a pretty good time, and hey, it's not raining!

Okay, the family connections and approximate ages: Tony (77) is Anthony Parisi of the Baseball/Window fame from the previous blog. Georgia (20) and Christine (10) are Eleanor's daughters and Eleanor (43) is my father's sister and Tony's daughter. My sister around her first birthday, my mom is 30, and I am about 3. Whew, get all that?

I found some other pictures, but didn't have time to scan them so I'll have to do that later. I will also be bugging my father to scan his photos to post on this site. Family blogs are nice, but it also means that you have at least one maniac in your family who always wants to come over with a scanner.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Windows of St. Michael's (or The Baseball)

These are our family windows at St. Michael the Archangel, 1701 SW Fourth Ave, Portland OR (thanks to my "Uncle Eddie" - Ed Bjore - for the photo). St. Michael's is a pretty Roman Catholic church that was founded by many of the Italian immigrants in Portland in the early 1900's. When the church was rebuilt in 1902, many beautiful stained glass windows were commissioned from Povey Bros. Glass Co., and donated via subscription by parishioners*. The names of the parishioner who donated them are engraved in the windows above the first square of design.

For the windows above, the one on the left says "Joseph and Marina Parisi" and the one on right "Anton & Sisters Parisi". Joseph and Marina are my great-grandparents, and their son Anthony was my grandfather. I'm not sure why Anton was put there except it may be the Italian version.

Most of the other donors only purchased one window. It was quite expensive for these Italian immigrants just to pay for one. My great-grandfather was a laborer for the City Water Works, and a listing of the donors in the St. Michael's Centennial book* shows that most were also laborers, farmers or widows. That my great-grandfather would purchase TWO windows, and have his children's names on one seemed to be a great extravagance. Even his boss (and I believe friend from the old country), Costante Albertini only purchased one window and added "and family" rather than pay for a whole other window. I had always been curious about the second window.

Recently I re-connected with my "Uncle" Eddy (ok, he's really a cousin, but we'll get into that in another blog). We were discussing St. Michael's book and these windows, and he said "You know the story of those windows, don't you?" I guess Anthony (Grandpa Tony to me) and his sisters used to play baseball in the vacant lot/baseball field next to the church. Hmmm... baseball... next to a church... window connection...

Yup, they put a baseball through a Church window! Can you image? And for breaking the window, they got the honor of paying for a new one on subscription! Tony recounted the story to Ed and remembered weeks and weeks of going to the Church with his sisters and paying off this window with their hard earned pennies!

The windows were purchased in 1902, before the three youngest Parisi children of Joseph and Marina were born. I'll be going more into this family in the next several blogs.

*The Biography of a Parish, Saint Michael the Archangel by Fred A. Granata, J.D., printed by Dynagrahics, Inc. Copyright 1994

Blog Introduction

This blog tracks my discoveries while researching my PARISI family line. I will be posting photos, documents, stories and anything else I can find! It is a way of sharing this information with other family members as well as allowing others to contribute, correct and discover us!

While there are a lot of Parisi's, this blog mainly focuses on the ancestors and descendants of Anthony and Amelia Parisi of Portland, OR. Most postings will be on ancestors due to privacy and security issues.

Comments, corrections, inquiries and contributions are all gratefully accepted.