Michelle Ann Kratts

Archive for February, 2013|Monthly archive page

Niagara County Research

In Niagara County Resources on February 27, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Of course, we all know that one of the best resources for genealogical research is FamilySearch (and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).
Here is a helpful wiki concerning genealogy research (and what is available) in Niagara County. Serious researchers should check with FamilySearch
as often as possible. They update quite often. So many records are now available online and free of charge.


St. Joseph’s Cemetery–Burials from May 1922-March 1931, Single Graves

In St. Joseph's Cemetery Records, St. Joseph's Church, The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York on February 26, 2013 at 7:34 pm

St Joseph's Angel

Below are links to PDF files of our first book of St. Joseph’s Cemetery Records, Niagara Falls.  Some pages did not come out so well and I will be returning to the archives to re-do those pages.  Apologies!

As you will notice, these pages contain mostly the deaths of children.  There are many names that we all recognize.  There are Bossos, Gallos, Sauros, Scarcellis, Ventry’s, Salvatores, Cardones, Rotellas, Valenti’s.  There are also a handful of Spanish deaths and an Armenian or two.

Most of these early graves did not have markers.  And you will see the notation “unblessed ground”–these babies had not been baptized.   For adults,  this could mean the individual was not Catholic, had committed suicide or had been accused of “unholy acts.”

And take a look at Burials 5, August 10, 1927…”parts of a body in no. 77…worked in grave with the bodie…”  A little mystery to solve with that notation.    Of course, August is one of those warm months during which so many bodies (and parts) are found in the river.  Bodies that had gone over Niagara Falls.

This book contains people of all ages.  As for the little children, though, it might be said that these records are the only proof that they ever existed.  In fact it’s very sad holding these books and knowing the heartache that lives inside the lines.

Below are pages from St. Joseph’s Cemetery Records, Niagara Falls, New York.   Check back soon for an index and transcriptions.

Burials 1 Aug 1922-Feb 21 1924

–Transcription (by Beverly Bidak)  Burials 1

Burials 2 Feb 24, 1924 to Jan 6, 1925

–Transcription (by Peggy Taylor Hulligan)  Burials 2

Burials 3 Feb 14, 1925 to Jan 15, 1926

–Transcription (by Marcia Buzzelli) Burials 3

Burials 4 Feb 1, 1926 to Nov 27, 1926

–Transcription (by Peggy Taylor Hulligan) Burials 4

Burials 5 Feb 28, 1927 to Dec 14, 1927

–Transcription (by Marcia Buzzelli) Burials 5

Burials 6 Dec 16, 1927 to Jan 5, 1929

–Transcription (by Peggy Taylor Hulligan) Burials 6

Burials 7 Feb 25, 1929 to Feb 19, 1930

–Transcription ( By Beverly Bidak) Burials 7

Burials 8 February 22, 1930 to August 22, 1930

–Transcription (by Jeffrey Manning) Burials 8

Burials 9 September 2, 1930 to March 16, 1931

–Transcription (by Jeffrey Manning) Burials 9

One of Oakwood’s Most Remarkable African American Families

In The African Americans of Niagara Falls, The Underground Railroad on February 26, 2013 at 6:09 pm
Photo: Please mister take her tintype / George Barker,Niagara Falls,N.Y.

Photo: Please mister take her tintype / George Barker,Niagara Falls,N.Y.


Celebrate Black History Month with some African American family histories from Niagara Falls. This is from my column on Oakwood Cemetery’s website.
Hopefully I can share another one of Oakwood’s remarkable African American family stories before the month is over.

This story was particularly exciting for Pete and I as our trail uncovering this family story led us to Thomas Jefferson, Monticello and the White House!
Read the link below and learn how some very brave individuals worked secretly to bring about an end to slavery.


Digitizing St. Joseph’s Cemetery Records

In Cemetery Plots, Niagara Deaths, St. Joseph's Cemetery Records, St. Joseph's Church, The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York on February 22, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Today we began the sacred task of finishing the digitization of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic cemetery records. A few years ago, our dear friend Connie Rodhy scanned the burial cards and those records may be viewed on the Monroe Fordham Regional History Center website at:

The Cemetery books that we will be working on include the following:

Single Graves, May 1922-March 1931

Lots A,B,C

May 1922-March 1942, Sec A, B, C, D, Six and Twelve Grave Lots

Death Register, May 1922-March 1942, Single Graves, including children

Single Graves, March 1931-March 1942

Death Register, 1942-1963, Single Graves

Cemetery Register, September 20, 1957-January 23, 1969

Cemetery Register, January 26, 1969-May 22, 1978

St. Mary’s Section (babies)

St. Joseph’s Cemetery Candle and Stands Register

Some of the earlier records are fading

Some of the earlier records are fading

Beverly, Marcia and I met with Mr. Pastwick in the archives and began the process this morning. We came armed with cameras and ipads–for these records were too fragile for the scanner bed.  We are hoping to have them uploaded and transcribed for you soon!

Most of these records contain the babies and stillborns of our early Italian community.  Many of these children had no gravestones, or perhaps their names have long faded from their markers.  It’s quite touching to see the little babies’ names.

Some pages from an early register of deaths

Some pages from an early register of deaths

I was also very moved to find my own great great grandfather’s death record.  He was my first ancestor to arrive in Niagara Falls.  His name was Angelo Ventresca and it was said he had been here (on and off) since 1895.

Angelo Ventresca death

You can see for yourself the fragile condition of these records.  We are hopeful that our digitization and transcriptions will save these people from obscurity.  Every single name in these books is sacred and should not be forgotten.  Especially the babies.

Check back often.  Hopefully we can get our first book (images) up this week with transcriptions to follow.  If you are interested in helping out with the transcriptions, send me an email at mkratts@nioga.org.

Genealogia Italiana… per i curiosi with Ellie Novara

In Library Programs, The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York on February 22, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Genealogia Italiana… per i curiosi  (Italian Genealogy… for the curious)

Join Ellie Novara, Saturday, March 2, at 1:00 pm at the Lewiston Public Library  for a working meeting where you can learn about Italian records available at the Ufficio di Stato Civile (Civil Vital Records). You will need to bring information on Italian ancestors you are researching such as surnames, dates, town, province, and region.  Everyone welcome…beginners too!

And if you think of it–bring photos or other interesting pieces from your Italian family history to be scanned and added to our blog.

Polish-American Research

In Digital Newspapers, The Polish of Niagara Falls on February 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm
Polish news

Polish Weekly Review


If you are doing Polish-American research here is a terrific guide that will help you with translating death notices, church records and more.

This also includes a guide to Polish first names.

Thanks to the Polish Genealogical Society of New York State for posting this on their website.

Polish Genealogical Society of NYS

Also be sure to check out the The Polish Weekly Review (1929-1930) on www.fultonhistory.org.  This was the most widely read Polish newspaper in Niagara Falls.  The above guide may help you to read the Polish.

Ladies of Niagara

In If This House Could Talk, Pictures at Niagara Falls on February 12, 2013 at 8:57 pm

laura and niagara falls

Canadian born Laura Clint (top right) married Charles Gillett Campbell and lived at 8804 Lindbergh Avenue in LaSalle (Niagara Falls).

The other women in the photograph are unknown at this time.



Buzzelli Family

In Pictures at Niagara Falls, The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York on February 6, 2013 at 12:01 am

Buzzelli Family

Florangela Buzzelli and her children: Salvatore and Anna. Circa 1890.

Courtesy Marcia Buzzelli

Mary and Frances Scrivano

In The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York on February 5, 2013 at 11:58 pm

Mary and Frances Scrivano

Frances Scrivano (on pony) and her sister Mary

Courtesy Marcia Buzzelli