Maybe I remember a long drive from New York to Ohio to visit my great grandparents when I was five. Maybe I have a single image in my mind of great grandma's kitchen. But that's it.
Before I began researching my family tree, I knew next to nothing about my great grandfather Pasquale Iamarino—or Patsy Marino, as he was known. He lived in Ohio and worked for the railroad. Nothing more.
Genealogists enjoy piecing together our ancestors' paper trails and mapping out their locations. If we're lucky, we can wind up with enough facts to bring our ancestors back to life in a way.
Italian church records from the 1880s told me that Patsy and my other paternal great grandfather were second cousins. A ship manifest told me that Patsy came to America at age 20, heading first to his uncle in New York City.
Four years later, in 1906, he was working for the Erie Railroad in Steuben County, New York. In the rail yard he must have met the Caruso brothers who came from a neighboring town in Italy.
By late 1906 he married the only sister in the Caruso family, in Hornellsville, New York. Hornellsville was a boom town at that time, achieving city status that year, thanks to the railroad.
|The Erie Shops and Roundhouse, Hornellsville, New York|
Between 1910 and 1914 Patsy moved to Albany and continued working as a railroad laborer.
Then, suddenly, in 1918 Patsy registered for the draft in Youngstown, Ohio. Perhaps he had to move to keep his job.
He was a boilermaker for the Erie Railroad, working in the railroad roundhouse in the 1920 and 1930 census.
City directories show him on Dearborn Street in Girard, Ohio in the early 1930s. This is the same house I feel as if I remember.
By 1940, at the age of 58, Patsy retired. I'm closing in on 58 and wish I could retire! But my dad recently told me that Patsy had to retire because of lung issues. Did all those years as a boilermaker give him something like black lung disease?
|Patsy on Dearborn Street|
With today's worker safety rules, a boilermaker probably isn't at any risk of lung disease. But something incapacitated Patsy in his fifties. He lived to be 87 years old.
During his long retirement, Patsy enjoyed tending to his garden and his roses at the house on Dearborn Street. I wish I could remember him.