Have you ever thought you knew all of your Aunts and Uncles?  What about your parents Aunts and Uncles?  Did you ever consider maybe there were others that nobody talked about?  Maybe they died young…or they didn’t immigrate to the US when the rest of the family did…or maybe the family had a falling out and nobody talked about them.  Whatever the case…they did exist!  And sometimes they show up when we least expect it.

I’ve been working on or helping with my families genealogy for many, many years.  I thought I had heard all the stories from my parents.  When they came here….when they married…the names of all the children…towns…addresses…businesses.  You all know the same stories with different names and locations to fit your own family.  But don’t believe everything you hear…or in this case, everything you DON’T hear.

I thought I knew all about my Grandfather’s family.  He and his wife (Papa and Nani, to me) are buried side by side at Calvary Cemetery…their years of birth and death clearly engraved in their headstone.  I still visit them every time I go back home.  But, my visit in December 2011 wasn’t the same kind of visit.  Instead of cleaning off their headstone and cleaning up their gravesite for the winter I climbed out of my van and immediately stood facing their graves and asked…. “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME ABOUT CONCETTA!!!!”.  I wasn’t angry….honest! I was frustrated that they couldn’t help me break thru this mystery in person…they were going to have to watch me break thru this one on my own.  AND I DID…but, not until April 2013!

Concetta Maria Giudice was my Great Aunt…the twin sister of my own Paternal Grandfather.  And none of us had ever heard of her!  My Dad had a sister named Concetta…we all had heard about her.  She was nicknamed “Cookie” and died before she was 2 years old…from Bronchial Pneumonia.  We knew where she was buried…in the same cemetery as my Great Grandparents (there’s another mystery there, too!) But we never knew she was named after her fathers own TWIN!

Mysteries don’t always get passed down from generation to generation…sometimes mysteries in genealogy are found when you’re looking for something else.  That’s where this mystery came from.

I took a trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah with my best friend, Julie…a fellow genealogist…in September 2011.  We spent a week researching…copying…translating…and comparing our genealogical finds.  My focus was on my Italian lines…the Giudice and Minelli families.  I knew that both of my Paternal Grandparents has immigrated to the US in the early 1900’s.  My dad was a first generation American.  So I knew if I was going to find out about the family I needed to start looking at microfilm.  Roll after roll, after roll of microfilm….all with documents written in Italian.  The only thing I could immediately read was the names.  That was my only hope.  The first page of each “book” that was microfilmed gave me the year, so I knew the time frame.  Other than that…I would need help translating the documents.

I knew that my Great Grandparents, Elia and Giovanna (known as Leo and Jenny once they came to the US) had many children…all born in Castrofilippo, Agrigento, Sicily.  And one by one I started finding their birth records.

Thinking back to my Grandfathers headstone, I knew it said 1893 was his birth year.  But I also knew that sometimes dates on headstones are wrong.  Not because the family was wrong…or the engravers made a mistake…but because all the local records had been wrong from the moment they immigrated here.

I progressed thru the microfilm into 1891.  Every time I found a new birth record for one of his siblings I would print it off and save a copy of the image to my flash drive for later use.  I started the 1891 document search in February and found no one with the last name of Giudice until May…BINGO!!! another one!  But I didn’t remember a sibling named Concetta.  It started on the bottom of the left side of the page and finished on the top right…and right below her birth record was Salvator Giudice….WAIT…WHAT?!?!?!  That’s my grandfather!  I sat there for a minute…maybe two…starting at these 2 pages.  I double checked them both…looking for the names “Elia” and “Giovanna”, to make sure there wasn’t another Giudice family in the town having children.  Sure enough…there was my grandfather….AND HIS TWIN SISTER!!!!  Concetta Maria Giudice and Salvatore Giudice…born May 18, 1891.

Concetta Maria Giudice Birth Record - Part 1 May 18, 1891

Concetta Maria Giudice
Birth Record – Part 1
May 18, 1891

Concetta Maria Giudice Birth May 1891 - Part 2

Concetta Maria Giudice
Birth Record – Part 2
May 18, 1891

Salvatore GIudice - Birth Record May 1891

Salvatore Giudice
Birth Record
May 18, 1891

Now the mystery of what happened to Concetta begins….