52 Ancestors, Week 1: Arnaldo Morianti

Arnaldo was born December 3rd, 1882 in the comune of Castelfranco Veneto, Treviso, Italy, not far from Venice. He had at least one brother, who was named Vittorio “Vito”. Arnaldo and Vittorio are said to have been foundling orphans. This means basically their parents abandoned them – likely either their economic situation was poor and did not allow the parents to care for them properly or they were illegitimate. This was definitely not uncommon in Italy at the time, and usually churches would govern over the care of these children, in orphanages. If the children arrived anonymously at the orphanage, occasionally the orphanage authorities would give them names – “Esposito” is a common one for example, it means “exposed”. I have an inkling that “Morianti” is also a made-up surname, as the only holders of this surname I have found so far either descend from Arnaldo or Vittorio. In any case, Arnaldo grew up and worked as a laborer in Castelfranco Veneto and at age 28 he married Maddalena DeGrandis on February 7th, 1911 in Castelfranco Veneto. Their first son, named Augusto Luigi was born almost exactly 9 months later on October 4, 1911. A strong custom in Italy is to name your first born son after the paternal grandfather. This could hint at Arnaldo’s parentage, if he had known of his parents at all. Unfortunately, I will probably never know if this is the case for sure, given Arnaldo’s foundling history.

On February 25, 1912 Arnaldo set off from the port of Genoa on the SS Ancona, a steamer operated by the Society di Navigazione a Vaporetti Italia, bound for the port of New York. He was leaving his wife and new baby son behind in Italy, as many other young Italian men did at this time in history. The Veneto region of Italy was extremely poor, and many of them were lured to Canada by higher paying jobs working on the railroad, in the mining and forestry industry, or in some of the new factories sprouting up after the industrial era. They would work hard for a few years and then return home, bringing the money home to their families. The ship passed through the port of New York, USA and he signed his name at Ellis Island on March 13th, 1912.

He didn’t stay in Canada long, and returned to Italy in 1914. This is the year World War One broke out, and trans-Atlantic immigration screeched to a halt. Italy joined the side of the United Kingdom and France, effectively ending it’s former alliances with the German and Austrian-Hungarian Empires. Interestingly, the SS Ancona was torpedoed and sunk in 1915 by an Austrian u-boat, causing the loss of 200 lives. Veneto, being in the northern part of Italy, close to the Austrian border was a major battlefront for the duration of the war, and Venetians would have felt the effects of the war quite deeply. Arnaldo and Maddalena had 2 more sons in Castelfranco Veneto at this time, one in 1916 and one in 1919.

At the end of the great war, Maddalena was pregnant with their fourth and final son and Arnaldo left for Canada again, this time aboard the SS Grampian. He landed in Quebec, Canada on November 2nd, 1920 and like his last voyage to Canada, was bound to meet his brother Vittorio in Montreal. Shortly after his arrival, he moved to Windsor, Ontario to work at Chrysler’s assembly plant. Vittorio is said to have gone to Argentina. On June 3rd, 1923 Maddalena and his four sons boarded the SS Conte Rosso and joined him in Canada with the intent to stay. The family became naturalized Canadian citizens exactly 90 years ago today on July 22, 1924. Arnaldo worked as a laborer in Windsor for the remainder of his life, and passed away on his 71st birthday – December 3, 1953. He rests in St. Alphonsus Cemetery in Windsor, Ontario. His headstone can be seen HERE.


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

In an effort to learn more of the finer details of my ancestor’s lives, I’ve decided to challenge myself to the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge that many other genealogy bloggers are participating in. I maintain two separate genealogy blogs – one for my paternal side, which is ethnically Ukrainian, Italian and French Canadian, and one for my maternal Latvian side. Why? Simply volume of posts and depth of research. So I will be posting from both of these blogs, depending on where said ancestor is from.

Living in Canada – an incredibly multicultural country where mostly everyone comes from somewhere else – I’ve decided to start with the stories of my Canadian immigrant ancestors. My most recent immigrant ancestors were my Latvian grandparents who came here after WWII, and my most distant are some of Canada’s first pioneers who came here in the 1600’s, so we have about 300 years’ worth of Canadian immigration to cover!

Possible Relation: Jakiw Koszlak?

From his SS Cassandra Passenger Manifest, I know Danylo Koszlak stated that he was going to visit his brother Jakiw at 419 1/2 Aldrich Ave in Minneapolis, Minnesota when he sailed Glasgow-Quebec on the SS Cassandra on June 12, 1910. So, what about this Jakiw?

Jakob Koszlak’s Passenger Manifest for border crossing in February, 1909

The first record I’ve found of “Jakob” Koszlak, is a border crossing from Canada to the USA in February 1909. He is a 32 year old married Ruthenian labourer, living in Beausejour, (very close to Brokenhead) Manitoba. He was planning to go to Deer River, Minnesota to visit his brother-in-law Oleks Szkowik. He was 5’7, brown hair, blue eyes, and born in Novosilka, Galicia. He first landed in Canada at the port of Quebec in May 1907.

Jakob Koszlak’s 1912 passenger manifest crossing from Canada to the USA at Sault Ste. Marie aboard the CPR Railway

Next, a passenger manifest from July 1912, going from Canada to the USA via the Canadian Pacific Railway at Sault Ste. Marie. Jakob was then a 36 year old married labourer who could read and write, from Austria, race recorded as Polish. His last permanent residence was in Montreal, Quebec. His nearest relative in the country he came from is his wife Mary in Novosilka. His final destination this time? Minneapolis, Minnesota, so visit a brother Henry at 222 7th Ave N. He paid for his passage himself and he had $21.00 on him at the time. He had been to the USA before – he was in Minneapolis from February 1909 to April 1911. On June 25, 1912 he had landed in Quebec aboard the SS Pisa.

So, chronologically… Jakob could have been the first Koszlak brother to come to Canada from Novosilka, in 1907. It sounds like he first lived in Beausejour for two years until 1909, then Minneapolis for two years until 1911. Then perhaps he returned home to Novosilka? And came back June 1912 aboard the SS Pisa, landing in Montreal with the intention of settling in Minneapolis permanently. I do have one more passenger manifest for Jakob, from when he landed in Canada on the SS Pisa, but no new information is presented there.

With this information, he should be on the 1910 census of the USA, in Minneapolis. Possibly even the 1920 and 1930 US censuses.There should also be a passenger manifest from May 1907 when he landed in Canada for the first time. The problem probably is, with a name like “Jakiw Koszlak”, spelling and translation errors likely occurred at some point when he was telling foreign officials his information. Jakiw/Jakow/Jacko/Yakov/Jakob Koszlak/Kochlak/Koszelak/Kozlak/Koslack… catch my drift? So to find these other records should be a challenge!

Record: The Baptism of Moise Meloche


Moise Meloche was my great great grandfather. This is an excerpt from the St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic church in Riviere-aux-Canards (Windsor), Ontario, detailing his baptism.

Moise Joseph Thomas Meloche
Le 8 juillet 1900 a de baptise Moise Joseph Thomas ne le 5 du legitime mariage de Henri Meloche et de Cecile Meloche. Parrain et marraine Remi Meloche et Charlotte Beneteau Elie Bondy et son epouse.

J. Marseille, ptre.