Sunday, August 19, 2007

Enlarging Pictures on the Blog

Ok, time out from genealogy for a little housekeeping. I've stated before that I have been working on getting the pictures on the blog to show up bigger and easier to read. Unfortunately, nothing I've tried has worked, so this has been really frustrating for me.

Imagine my surprise when my hubby was reading my latest post and had a HUGE image of the census on his screen! When I asked how he got that, he looked mildly confused and said "I just clicked on the image." D'oh! Ok, I hadn't tried that.

So for all those of you (if any) who, like me, hadn't figured this out: Click on the image to get a larger view of it. It makes things like the census much easier to read. To get back to the blog, just hit your browsers "Back" button.

And thank you to my hubby for the tip (and not pointing out that I was being a ditz).

Christian Godskesen and Annie Jensen's marriage

I am going to switch gears and move over to the Godskesen line. Above is the marriage certificate of Christian Godskesen and Annie Jensen. My transcription with handwritten portions in italic:
State of Oregon
County of Multnomah, ss
This is to certify that the undersigned, a Minister of the Gospel by authority of a License bearing date the 29th of May, A.D. 1894, and issued by the Clerk of the County Court of the County of Multnomah, did on the 30th of May, A.D. 1894, at the house of C Godskesen, in the county and state aforesaid, join in lawful wedlock C Godskesen, of the County of Multnomah, and State of Oregon, and Annie Jensen, of the County of Multnomah and the State of Oregon, with their mutual assent, in the presence of Bender Petersen and Mary Madsen, witnesses.
Filed June 5th, 1894
By N.C. Smith, deputy
Witness my hand:
W.L. MacEvan
Rector, St. Mark's Church
This document is from the Multnomah County Marriage Records or Affidavits
Volume 10, Page 213
I received it from the Geneaological Forum of Oregon, Inc., who have a lot of great stuff on their website:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Update on the Portland Waterworks

I'll continue with the trip from Premione to Portland, but wanted to interrupt the thread briefly to update/correct my previous post on the Portland Waterworks on the 17th of March. Brian, the Wonder-Archivist at the Portland City Archives, sent me the following note:

Hi Dina,

I was looking at the image on the blog page you sent me of Joseph and his family. You have it labeled as being in front of a reservoir. It is not one of the reservoirs, but appears to be at the headworks where water first enters the pipelines to get to Portland. The railing and the background appear to be more consistent with the headworks, which are up in the Bull Run Reserve. Back then it would have been a nice day trip for a family outing. It's not so easy to do so these days.

Thanks Brian!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Coming to America... The Route

The above maps show the probable route the Parisi and Albertini families took to come to America. The top one shows (in red) the entire journey from Premione to Portland, while the bottom one is a close up of a segment of the trip: from Trento to Le Havre.
From Premione to Trento
Premione is very close to Trento, the travel distance 37.1km as per Google maps. They would first have traveled down to Stenico, the main, or at least biggest, village/town in their valley. My cousins Ed and Pam said it is about a 30 minute walk from Premione to Stenico. I assume from Stenico that they took a carriage or some kind of public transportation (horse-drawn). It would have been possible to walk from Stenico to Trento given a couple of days, but with two pregnant women, a small boy and luggage, this would have been impractical.
Trento to Le Havre, France by train
In the 1880's, Trento became a major railroad center, with new or improved tracks. I'm not sure which, but it was a significant improvement to cause Trento's rail business to boom. Not only did Northern Italians use Trento as a "jumping off" spot for their immigration, but nearby Austrians, Yugoslavians, Romanians and others did too.
I've shown my guess as to the probable route above, using the current EuroRail system. I am assuming that they haven't changed the lines very much. I also am assuming they went through Switzerland as that is a more direct route than to cross through the top of Italy to France and then go up to Le Havre (a longer, more convoluted route, but also possible).
Le Havre, known as "Le Porte Ocean", was the French port for Transatlantic liners. It is about 1300 km from Trento -- about 12 hours driving, and probably 2 days by train back then. All told, if there wasn't a problem or delay, it took them about 3 days to get to Le Havre, plus a few days to wait before the ship sailed.
Le Havre to New York City by liner (Le Bretagne)
The liner took 5-7 days to sail from Le Havre to New York. In the previous post, I talked a little about the conditions and their accommodations on shipboard. So far, we have say 5 days to Le Havre, and 7 on the ocean for a total of 12 days.
By the way, they arrived the year before Ellis Island was opened, so they did not pass through that famous immigration station.
New York to Portland by train
The Parisi and Albertini families immigrated during the Golden Age of Railroad, when there were trains going and coming all over the United States and it was the premier way to travel. Even so, the travelling was not easy, nor short.
Using today's Amtrak, you would travel from New York City to Pittsburgh to Chicago and finally on to Portland, OR. The entire trip would take you 64 hrs and 10 minutes! I am sure our group did go through Chicago as that was a major railway hub at the time, but their stops in between NYC, Chicago and Portland are less exact.
They probably did not buy first class tickets, with its sleeper beds and Pullman cars. They probably bought had class tickets, both in the US and to Le Havre, which means that they sat in their seats the whole time. There was a dining car they could have bought meals, and walking up and down the aisles was the only moving about one did. If they were lucky, there were empty seats and they could lay down to sleep. Otherwise, they just sat in their seats as the miles ticked by and their destination grew closer. I cannot imagine this was easy on the pregnant women or on Tony, as even the best 6-year-old finds it difficult to sit still.
I calculate that they were on trains for over 100 hours of their journey! I estimate that the total journey, with no delays, difficulties and getting right off one form of transportation and right on another, was 15 days.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Coming to America... Ship's Passenger List

Top: Header for La Bretange Passenger List, 26 Jan 1891
Bottom: Detail showing Albertini and Parisi passengers
Using some of the stories Diane Baldrica told me, and the Albertini name, I was able to locate the Passenger list showing Marina and Antonio Parisi immigration to the United States. I'll detail the passenger list on this blog entry, with the discussion and stoires on the entry after that. I'll also be showing the possible route, the reasons for immigrating and some of the pictures of the ship and of Premione, the village they came from.
The header states that the manifest, and the entire sailing across the Atlantic, complies with the US Passenger Act of 1882. This Act set conditions for housing passengers, including the height of the deck they could be housed in, the minimum amount of space they must be given, the amount of light and air that had to be on each deck, etc. It greatly helped the immigrants' treatment and accommodations about ship, although it would be still considered crude by our standards today. You can read the Act, transcribed by Borge Solem, on the Norwegian Heritage website: What is most startling about reading the Act is realizing that many, many ships had had far worse conditions for immigrants that made this Act necessary.
The Header also states the date of 26 Jan 1891 and that the ship sailed from Havre, France.
On page 6 of the seven page passenger list are the five people we are most interested in:
Lines 336 to 340 (respectively)
Constante Albertini, 45, m, journeyman
Annetta Albertini, 24, f, (no occupation listed)
Davide Parisi, 31, m, miner
Mariana Parisi, 34, f, (no occupation listed)
Antonio Parisi, 6y 2m, m, (no occupation listed)
All are listed as being from Italy with New York as their destination, and for all of them, one additional entry: "Midship Between decks family compartment". This means that they all crammed into a family cabin located between decks in the middle part of the ship. It could also mean literally the middle of the ship, an interior cabin with no port hole. Even now, cruise ship rooms are not spacious unless more monies are paid, and this one held two pregnant women, two men and a small child!
One other small note: Marina's name is misspelled, an extra "A" being added. Having been Dina all my life, and having most people add an extra "a" when spelling or reading my name and making it into Diana, I can easily see where this happened!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Italians & The Portland Water Works

. .
This photo was one of the many wonderful one shared with me by the Baldrica family. It shows Joseph Marco Parisi standing in front of one of the Portland reservoirs with some of his family in 1925. From left to right: Pietro Parisi (Uncle Pete), Henry (Hank), Joe Baldrica (Mary's husband), Mary Parisi Baldrica (Joseph's daughter), Marina (his wife) and Joseph Parisi. Notice how jaunty Mary looks in her jodphurs and boots (quite daring and modern in 1925).

The reservoirs and the Portland Water Works were a huge part of the Parisi family history, and Joseph Marco, along with countless other Italians, were a huge part of the early Water Works history. I wanted to explore some of that history in this blog entry.

Portland began construction of 24 miles of pipeline from Bull Run to the city in 1893. This was a HUGE public work project, made larger because the Water Committee also began constructing reservoirs at Mt. Tabor and City (Washington) Park, as well as expanding the water distribution system in the city. Keep in mind that the brush clearing, ditch digging, road building and everything else was done largely by hand. The modern machinery we are used to seeing on our public works projects had not yet been invented. The City of Portland needed labor, and they needed it quick.

At the same time, many events were occurring in Italy that caused the people there to think about looking elsewhere for a better place to live. I'll discuss these in a future blog soon when the topic will be immigration of the Parisi family. By the time these Italians arrived in America, the vast tracts of usable land had been or were being homesteaded. Even though they were farmers in the old country, most Italians did not move to the small farming communities because discrimination was high and they didn't want to be isolated or ignored. The Italians mostly moved into cities and became urbanized, providing the labor for jobs that no one else wanted. Because there were so many of them, discrimination against them was rampant and the wages poor.

I believe Constante Albertini was one of the first from Premione to immigrate to Portland, and secured employment with the Water Works. He probably wrote home about the opportunities he found and encouraged others to follow him. Joseph Marco was one that took him up on the offer, coming to Portland around 1890. According to Anthony Parisi, Joseph Marco's son, the Albertini's were relatives, although he wasn't sure how. My current research does not extend back far enough to show the link (but I'm working on it!). As shown in the previous blog entry, both Constante and Joseph would eventually become foremen leading the Italian crews on Water works projects.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Portland Water Dept. Payroll - Jan. 1903

Page of Payroll Records for the City of Portland, and close ups:
1) Top: Lines showing all information and signature for C. Albertini and Joe Parisi
2) Middle: Close up showing signatures of C. Albertini and Joe Parisi
3) Bottom: Entire page
This is one of the great finds we had at the Portland Archives. A big thank you to Brian Johnson, Assistant Archivist, who proved to be a big help (and a great guy too!). I had never seen my Great-Grandfather's signature before -- it always is surreal experience to find something like that.
I will not be transcribing the whole page, but just the two lines pertaining to C. Albertini and Joe Parisi. In my next blog, I'll talk about the Parisi's, Albertini's, and the Water Works. And, yes, there's a family reason while C. (Constante) Albertini is included.
My best transcription:
Name: C. Albertini
Occupation: Foreman, West Portland
Time: 1 month
Rate: $80/month plus car fare
Amount Due: $81.55
Warrant No. 14
Signature Line
Name: Joe Parisi
Occupation: Sub-Foreman, West Portland
Time: 27 days
Rate: $2.50/day plus car fare
Amount Due: $67.50
Warrant No. 15
Signature line

At this time, Joe was supporting his wife (who was pregnant) and 5 children in a home he had purchased, so he probably also had a mortgage. On $2.50/day. Wow.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Parisi Family -- 1894

. .
The Parisi Family from left to right: Marina holding baby Cecilia, Joseph Marco (in back), Anthony Parisi (middle front), and Mary Parisi (seated). This is the earliest photo I have of the Parisi side of my family. Since Cecilia is still a baby, and was born 16 Nov 1893, I estimate that this picture was taken about March 1894.
The photo was given to Ed Bjore by the Albertini sisters - family friends who came over from Italy with the Parisi's (more on that later!). The Original Photo was taken by Davies Studio, N.W. Cor. Third and Morrison Sts., Portland, Oregon. I've zoomed in for more detail on the photo posted above, and cleaned it up a little in Photoshop.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Research Trip to Portland

Wow! I just spent about five days in Portland on a wonderful genealogical research trip. I've got a lot of new stuff that I'll be posting soon: pictures, stories, documents, etc. It was a pretty heady trip -- I visited every place I wanted to see, met so many wonderful people, came home with 3 CDs plus over 150 scanned or photographed images, and heard many, many stories.

The best part: Cousins! First cousins, second cousins, once-removed, twice-removed, and many more connections I haven't sat down to figure out. All wonderful people, all a lot of fun to be with, and all willing to share photos and stories. I can't even begin to describe or thank all these lovely people. It was an absolute pleasure to meet or reconnect with all of them and my new New Year's resolution is not to lose touch with any of them! I'll be talking about them in future blogs as I post their pictures and stories.

I'd also like to shout out to Ed and Pam Bjore -- thanks for putting me up (and putting up with me!) for five days, driving me around, and sharing all your research and stories! There are no better hosts or great research buddies.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Godskesen Sea Voyage


The above is the passenger list of the Hellig Olav on Oct. 5, 1926. The top two people on the list are Christian and Annie Godskesen. It is not clear from the passenger list what level of cabin the page was for (first class, steerage, etc). However, this page differs greatly from the Steerage passenger lists for aliens, so I am led to believe they didn't travel at that cabin level.
The Hellig Olav was operated by the Scandinavian-American Line Company, and from the travel brochures, it sailed from Copenhagen to Christiana (today's Oslo) to New York. You can learn more about the Hellig Olav and see pictures of the interior at


SS Hellig Olav
Sailing from Copenhagen on Sept. 24, 1926
Arriving at port of New York on Oct. 5, 1926

Line 1:
Name: Godskesen, Christian
Age: 59
Sex: M
Marital Status: Married
If Native, name of place of birth: Multnomah County, Oregon
If Naturalized, give name and location of court issuing naturalization papers, and date:
Multnomah County, Oregon Aug: 26th 1891
Address in US: to Home 826 Michigan Ave: Portland, Oregon

Line 2:
Name: Godskesen, Annie
Age: 51
Sex: F
Marital Status: Married
If Native, name of place of birth: ditto marks indicating same as line above (husband)
If Naturalized, give name and location of court issuing naturalization papers, and date: ditto marks indicating same as line above (husband)
Address in US: ditto marks indicating same as line above (husband)

Some Notes on above:
1) Since this page was used for Naturalized Citizens, the "Place of Birth" Column appears to have been used to record the person's final destination.
2) This is obviously not the passage that first brought them to America. It probably was a visit back to the Old Country, to visit relatives, perhaps attend a special wedding or celebration. However, the naturalization date and location of the court that approved Christian's paperwork are a gold mine. I will obviously be writing/visiting them to get a copy!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Welcome to the Clan, Allison!

The latest member of the Parisi clan, Allison Georgia Shimer, was born on December 20. She weighed in at 6 pounds 10 ounces. She is the Great-great-daughter of Anthony and Amelia. A big welcome to Allison and a congrats to her parents. (That's mom, Andrea, holding her).
One of the best parts of genealogy is keeping track not only of our ancestors but of our descendents too!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Who's Who -- The Family of Christian & Annie Godskesen

Amelia Godskesen's parents were Christian Godskesen and Annie Jensen.

They immigrated from Denmark to the Portland area, and married in about 1894 (I'm working on finding their marriage data!) and had the following children:

= William Christian Godskesen (31 Mar 1895 - Oct 1975)
[Note: William shortened his surname to Godsen sometime after his marriage)

= Amelia Cecilia Godskesen (05 Mar 1897 - 16 Jul 1960)

= Franklin Edward Godskesen (Abt. 1902 - 13 Nov 1922)