German Sources on WW I and WW II

The following material is translated from Unterlagen der Abteilung Personenbezogene Auskünfte zum Ersten und Zweiten Weltkrieg.

Documents from the Department of Personal Information (Abteilung PA) on the First and Second World War (formerly Wehrmachtauskunftstelle [WASt])

The German Office (WASt) was transferred to the Federal Archives (Abteilung PA) on January 1, 2019. Here we give an overview of the history, stocks and tasks of the department.

December 18, 2019

Takeover and evaluation


Archive holdings of the Abteilung PA

Personnel documents of the Wehrmacht

Source: Federal Archives / Kirchhoff, Peter

The holdings taken over by the Deutsche Dienststelle (German Agency) into the Federal Archives have a volume of approx. 75,000 running meters. These are almost exclusively personal documents, especially reports that contain lists or have been recorded in extensive files.

Central register of persons.

The core of the information provided by the Abteilung PA is the approx. 150 million loss reports collected in the WASt or the Deutsche Dienststelle, including reports of missing military units and medical formations, as well as the approx. 100 million change reports by name in the dog tags lists from 1939 to 1945. During the war, an index card was created for each individual to be stored by the Central Register of Persons (Z-Kartei). The Central Register today contains information on more than 18.5 million members of the former German Wehrmacht and other military-like associations.

Grave register

After the WASt's burial register was considered lost after the end of the war, the Deutsche Dienststelle created a so-called replacement burial register based on available information, which has now grown to around 4.5 million cards. However, in the course of the unification process in 1990, the original burial register was found in the Dornburg branch of the Central State Archives of the GDR and handed over to the Deutsche Dienststelle.

Documents on prisoners of war.

After the end of the war, documents which the WASt had kept about prisoners of war in German custody were confiscated and handed over to the respective countries of origin of the prisoners of war.

From 1950 onwards the Deutsche Dienststelle received from the western victorious powers (i.e. from Great Britain, France, Belgium and the USA), documents about German prisoners of war and internees. Most of these were personnel sheets, files and dossiers with a total of approximately 15 million reports. Documents on German prisoners of war and internees in Soviet custody were not handed over to the German Agency. However, around 945,000 index cards of the returnees' camps Waldschänke, Hof-Moschendorf, Tuttlingen, Frankfurt / Oder-Gronenfelde and Pirna / Saxony have survived.

Documents on members of the Navy

In 1949 and 1950, the Deutsche Dienststelle received marine personnel files, which begin in the second half of the 19th century. They are supplemented by the naval master role register and the duty merchant seafarers identification tag and other personnel documents.

Growth since 2005.

When the central archive of the Federal Archives in Aachen-Kornelimünster was dissolved, part of the holdings was handed over to the Deutsche Dienststelle. This was primarily a collection of approximately 4,000,000 personnel documents, namely military records of non-commissioned officers and regular recruits.

Between 2009 and 2017, the Deutsche Dienststelle successively received more than 10 million individual personal reports (including medical records and health books) as well as the sick and hospital books, in particular. of the First and Second World War from the Berlin Hospital Book Storage, which in turn took over the inventory of the Hospital Book Storage in Kassel and Munich in 1964.


A German Prisoner of War and his memories of the experience

I found the following narrative on a German genealogy website, GenWiki. The text here is a translation of that narrative, and I added links to articles in Wikipedia that might help the reader in full understanding of the experience by H.A.

Experience report

As a prisoner of war in the USA (April 8, 1943 to November 30, 1945). [Original at GenWiki.]

By H.A., prisoner of war in America from April 8, 1943 to November 30, 1945

German invasion of Russia, World War II
I am a German prisoner of war who has returned home from imprisonment in the United States. Before the war, I represented a scientific publisher abroad, which perhaps enabled me to keep a more open eye than was possible for those who lived in Germany at the time. I had been a soldier since the beginning of 1940, participated in the invasion of Russia and the winter battle before Moscow, followed the fighting in the Crimea the following year and came to Africa at the beginning of 1943, where I was captured by the British 8th Army, which handed me over to the Americans two months later. I am one of 360,000, and during a nearly three-year stay in the United States, I saw the change that some Third Reich soldiers went through when they were transplanted into the American climate.

Afrikakorps in the Sahara
The ship had taken four weeks to cross [the Atlantic Ocean]. Although we were in a hatch, conversations with the crew had been possible, a newspaper had come here and there, so that every day that brought us closer to the American continent added a few tiles to the mosaic picture that everyone saw of the fabulous country. Opinions clashed violently, passionate prejudices dominated every conversation, and gradually an official view emerged. No one could say where it came from, but it was there; you suddenly knew what you had to think about America. Everyone had to comply with it. You could only be more open in occasional private conversations. So already on the crossing a small group came together, which moved as a silent and face-saving community within the majority. And this state should characterize life in the years to come.

Norfolk, Virginia on the eastern seaboard
We landed in Norfolk, Virginia. The harbor was swarming with warships of all kinds, dirigible airships (so-called blimps) and aircraft patrolling above them. In a very short time we went through delousing, showers, registration and soon stood in an overarching terminal, through which a heavy Pullman car slowly pushed. We rode through Virginia, the oldest in the United States (originally thirteen). It was a warm summer day outside, the landscape gently rolled, fields and meadows broken up by groups of trees and parks. The small stations through which the train flew bore Old English names. People sat reading or chatting on the open porche of their bright wooden houses, glittering cars rolled over the asphalt streets, the occupants waved to us by slightly raising their hands as if they said "Hello". Before each of the unguarded railroad crossings, the locomotive bumped its mighty horn.

Skat winning trick
Pullman sleeping car
The African Corps fighters were used to winning. Some looked out of the window with a still face, others made derogatory comments, many played skat all day. Across from me was an officer disguised as a sergeant with a face of a district chief, whose skin seemed to have swum away from him. He was sitting upright and looking offended. One noticed that he deliberately avoided looking at America. He spoke only once. When the train passed a factory site, in front of which hundreds of sparkling automobiles were parked, he said: "They put extra of them out because of us." When we woke up on the third morning and the train was still racing across the country, he was heard again. This time he said: "They're deliberately driving us around in circles." - I never saw him again, but I met his spirit daily afterwards.

Oklahoma in the center of the USA
On the evening of the third day of travel, we reached our camp in Oklahoma State, which was to become our home for the next year and a half. The "POW camps" in America were really "set up especially for us". Divided into 12 companies, about 3000 men lived in each camp. We had every conceivable convenience, from catering to German standards to the possibility of taking a shower at any time of the day or night. There were sports fields, theaters, a library, an entertainment room and a canteen where you could buy things that had long ceased to exist in Europe. American doctors and German medical personnel took care of the sick in three exemplary areas; whoever had a fever was immediately taken to the hospital. 

Hitler and subordinates
give the "Heil" salute at Nürnberg
The Americans ran the camp, but left the internal administration to our own devices. As if by secret sign, all the positions in charge were suddenly filled with men of the same kind. Little Germany emerged, an outpost of the Third Reich in the middle of the enemy country. The Christian, the cultivated man - they went into hiding. The "fighter" prevailed. Whoever found anything acceptable in America was a "traitor".

Camp newspaper at Camp Gruber

Camp newspaper in Camp Gruber
The American officers and men were friendly, human, and concerned about our welfare [at Camp Gruber]. Their lack of "attitude" was promptly misunderstood and interpreted as a weakness. A camp newspaper appeared, edited by men who had become "tough" in the iron school of their country's central press. Their age was around twenty and they had played a role in youth education in their homeland in better days. They were particularly good at interpreting America's free press. In order to make their comments more effective, the American newspapers that came into the camp were bought up and burned by the German camp administration, and only the German newspaper produced in the camp was allowed to be read. It reported such considerable losses inflicted on the enemy that even the stupidest had to clearly expect the impending collapse of America. 

Germany's national holidays were celebrated "in the spirit of home". Lectures and training courses served to mentally “align” the camp. I particularly remember a lecture on “Heinrich v. Kleist as a fighter ”. This poet had foreseen the magnitude of our time and, in his Prussian dramas, presented the struggle against the plutocratic-Jewish world conspiracy with poetic symbolism: Armin was Hitler, Varus was Roosevelt and so on. Two years later - I studied German literary history at the University of Chicago through the "Home Study Department" - I received the topic to work on: "The Prussian conception of duty in the Prussian dramas Heinrich v. Kleists ”, and it was concluded that Heinrich von Kleist was more of a man than a man of duty and far more a successor to Lessing and Herder than a predecessor to Dietrich Eckart.

Referenced People

Bernd Heinrich Wilhelm von Kleist
Armin, Hermann
(18 BC – AD 21)
Adolf Hitler
(1889 – 1945
Varus receiving German leaders
(46 BC - AD 9)
Franklin D. Rossevelt
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Johann Gottfried Herder
Johann Dietrich Eckart

Camp Gruber library - author of book lending

But it was a long way before one could openly pursue such a degree. The camp was only gradually freed from its influence by transferring the wildest zealots to a special camp. Their successors were more willing to raise the teaching program to an objective level. They took into account the fact that we were in America: both sides were shown and the judgment left to the individual as far as possible. The intellectual barbed wire was gradually cleared away and the view cleared to see the rest of the world.
Fort Getty, Rhode Island

Now everyone could get hold of newspapers and magazines, films brought a welcome addition to the new image that was beginning to form. The camp library (eight thousand volumes) was redesigned, its special storage unit, which had an archive of 600 records, provided German music and literature, but also promoted an understanding of America. Twenty-three prisoners studied through the "Home Study Department" at an American university of their choice and were able to do the "Final Examination". There were still a considerable number of stubborn and indifferent people, but the air was clearer and lighter, and countless conversations gave us confirmation that the path we had chosen was the right one. That was the situation when I left the camp in the summer of 1945 with a group of like-minded people to start the second trip across America, which took us via the Mississippi to the east coast and from there via Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston to Fort Getty in Rhode Island.

Geneva Conventions of 1864,
1909, and 1924
Already during the war, American academics had suggested that German prisoners of war in the USA, through suitable teachers, should help them understand more closely American thinking and life. The proposals were rejected on the basis of the Geneva Agreement. It was only after the war ended that the war department in Washington put the idea into action and established the Fort Getty Prisoner of War School. During the previous months, commissions had traveled through all the camps to select suitable prisoners. The selection was made on the basis of written documents that had been collected about everyone from day one. Personal conduct and general character image were decisive. As far as possible, people were selected who could be expected to work in a spirit of reconciliation and understanding at home. Giving you a clearer idea of the America way of life before you head back home - that was the basic idea behind the school at Fort Getty.

University of Göttingen
Fort Getty is an island on the north coast of the Atlantic, nestled in the mansion-lined shores of the Narragansett Bay. This is New England, the spiritual and cultural cradle of America. Nearby are Boston and Harvard University, which, older than Göttingen, is the most prestigious educational institution in the country. A cheerful park landscape of controlled, severe loveliness extends over hundreds of miles, designed by people who have imprinted their spirit on it. It was the spirit of New England that carried our school, the democratic spirit of America: it was called trust instead of distrust, understanding instead of malice, voluntary discipline instead of coercion. Fort Getty was a school of goodwill. The polite decency of educated people prevailed here. We students had put aside our ranks, and it was only by chance that we learned that one had been a colonel or another had been an enlisted man. We had come together voluntarily in order to produce from the mouth of the professor a rounding of our world view, which everyone had preserved through years of distress.

T.V. Smith
Daily life was very different from that in a normal prisoner of war camp. Study had taken the place of eight hours of work, and soldier's respect for superiors had been replaced by human respect for their personality, which was expressed in civil manners. A depressed mood, which had already drawn hard lines on their faces, had given way to a new attitude to life and a new confidence. The atmosphere of trust connected teachers and students. Most of the teachers - even those wearing uniforms - were civilian scholars from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and other well-known universities in the country, and some were politicians, such as T. V. Smith, professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago and congressman of the State of Illinois. They were all Democrats who were ready to die for their ideal, but who, from the bottom of their hearts, detested war as a means of resolving political differences. The "enemy", who came up to us in this form, wanted to work with us to find out which paths to take to avoid in the future those mistakes of the past.

For this purpose, a study program was set up for the eight-week course, the framework of which were four main subjects: English, German history, "Military Government" and American history. The mornings were entirely devoted to English. The lectures in the other subjects alternately filled the afternoons. In the evening there were lectures by invited guests, some of whom were well-known personalities, who had previously been regarded as “intolerable” in Germany and have since enriched America with their knowledge and skills. Each class lesson or lecture was followed by a working and a discussion hour, which consolidated what was heard. The highlight of our course was Prof. T. V. Smith’s lectures on American history. He assumed knowledge of the fact and used history to explain the development of the American view of how people live together, of society.

It is difficult to tell whom of these men we owe the most. Certainly some had greater influence than others and left a lasting impression. The spirit of kindness and good will to meet the other half way, as well as the absence of prejudice made the guard at the gate and the sergeant who introduced us to the game of baseball appear to be the same well-rounded personality as the head of the school, Colonel Alpheus Smith, who, when one of us accidentally addressed him as "Major" and apologized afterwards, answered him with a laugh: "You may say Bill to me; that's what everyone calls me here.” Our hosts all showed that special mixture of reason and cheerful optimism. Their self-criticism on the one hand and their belief in the inviolability of the individual on the other helped us to rediscover values that had long been buried in us. The state regained the place of a necessary but not overly significant facility. As Germans, we no longer felt separate from the rest of western civilization and recognized the common duties that bind people all over the world.

We also learned at Fort Getty what differentiates American education from German education. For the English class, the students were divided into four classes based on their level of proficiency. The test lasted twenty minutes and was as follows: an American read short English sentences, everyone had to write down whether the sentence was incorrect or correct. In German, such a sentence would read something like: "The Americans have an innate aversion to baseball, ice cream and central government." Afterwards, two short stories were read in English, the content of which was to be reproduced in English.

System of phonetics
With a few exceptions, everyone was placed in the right class. The two lower classes learned according to a new, effective method America developed based on immigrant experience: a method of spoken word instead of written and grammar. The successes were remarkable; the students did not speak school English, but American sounds and idioms. In the third class they read, spoke, filed. The fourth class was doing linguistics. Two American anthropologists introduced us to their novel view of human language. They, too, only proceeded from hearing, from the sound, and have developed a phonetic system which, as yet unknown in Germany, makes any written language superfluous for the initiate and allows him to read and speak foreign languages as well. The starting point of their system is that written language does not reflect the sounds that it claims to represent. Good German and good English is what people speak. - These hours were particularly good to show us how young and impartial the Americans are. A practical goal leads them to practical solutions. They easily override the conventional and achieve results that are then often adopted by the world.

The “discussion” is nothing new, but in America it is an essential element in educating people to think independently and to respect the opinions of others. The discussion should be free, open, dispassionate and impersonal. It is essential that you are willing to compromise with your neighbors in order to achieve common goals. We first had to learn to discuss. It was the subject where we failed the most.

The lectures on German history were the only ones held in German. We saw each other in an American mirror and often hardly recognized each other. Here we were made to see how important it is for peoples to keep in touch with one another and for those who lock themselves up not only lose sight of the rest of the world, but also of themselves.
Prof. T.V. Smith taught in a completely unorthodox way. He started almost every lecture with a joke or a little story, which contained the main point of the lecture, and usually closed it with another "story", which once again clearly illustrated what was heard. His philosophical statements were never abstract, but always real-life and tangible. His humorous way of teaching initially seemed so strange that a fellow student, who is a professor at a German university in civilian life, described T. V. Smith as a "conferencier", a judgment that he willingly withdrew later in the course. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The eight weeks were over too quickly. We went home from Boston. The conversations that were held on board this time differed significantly from those on the outward journey. The development that we had all been through came to our minds more clearly than the thoughts that rushed our ship home. In the country that had been a “fortress” for twelve years and now suddenly faces a world that it no longer knows and with which it has to get along. I want to quote Emerson
to express our experiences and hopes: “Whenever a person has come to the conclusion that there is no longer a church for him, only his faithful prayer, no constitution, but only the good and just manner with which he treated his neighbor; no freedom, only the insurmountable will to do right - then he will soon find help and allies; because the constitution of the universe will be on his side. "


A New Direction: Ragusa and Messina provinces of Sicily

In preparation for a trip to Sicily with my husband Chuck, I'm resuming research on his Italian family. Both his maternal grandparents were born in Sicily.

  • His grandmother Angela Russo Femminella (simplified later to "Russo") was born in Militello Rosmarino, in the western third of Messina Province. The nearest larger town is Sant'Agata, on the northern coast, about 8 km (5 mi) north of Militello Rosmarino.
  • His grandfather John Iacono (Americanized to the spelling of "Iacano" sometime after his 1914 marriage) was born in or near Ragusa, the administrative seat of Ragusa Province. 

Militello Rosmarino

Italy, Sicily, Messina Province (modern map)
Militello Rosmarino is an Italian community in Sicily. Locally it is called Militeddu in Sicilian, and its antique name was Militello Valdemone. The town has 1334 inhabitants and is in the province of Messina. The town had its greatest number of inhabitants, 2600, in the mid-1930s. Nearby is the Parco dei Nebrodi (click on this link for more information from the Italian Wikipedia) and the larger coastal town Sant'Agata (di Militello), (also in Italian), of about 12,000 inhabitants. For more information, click the title of this section to go to another blog page.


Italy, Sicily, Ragusa Province (modern map)
Ragusa is an Italian community in Sicily. The accent in Italian is on the first syllable. Locally it is called Raùsa in Sicilian. The origin of the town name comes from the Byzantine era and Greek-derived language, Ρογος, Ragous, Rogos (meaning "barn") due to the agricultural wealth of the area. During Arab rule, the name became Ragus or Rakkusa  (meaning "place famous for an amazing event"). Later, under the rule of Norman and Aragon invaders, the name was Latinized to Ragusia and later simplified in the 18th Century to Ragusa.

The city has 72,967 inhabitants, and it is the seat of the province of Ragusa. From 1861 through 1921, the population grew from 29,000 to 56,000. However, for three decades afterward, the population remained around 51,000 and then resumed its growth in the 1950s to it present size. The town is nicknamed "the city of bridges," "the island in an island," and "the high Sicily." For more information, click the title of this section to go to another blog page.

The Russo Femminella Families

That the original family name is two-part makes research much easier for Russo Femminella. (The name Russo is as prevalent in Italy as the Johnson family is in the United States.) This image from Gens.info locates the presence of Russo Femminellas in 2020 Italy. A small number is in the city of Rome, as well as the provincial capital Messina. The largest concentrations are in Sant'Agata de Militello and Militello Rosmarino. So few inhabitants with the name are in the rest of Italy that they do not register on this site.

Both handed down family information and records research in the civil registries establish our family origin to be Militello Rosmarino.The family name was changed in America from Russo Femminella to Russo sometime after John Iacano married Angelina Russo Femminella in 1914.

The Family of Biagio Russo Femminella and Marie Pisa, Mary Coppolino, and Frances Arcidiacono

A brother to Grandmother Angelina Iacano was Biagio, who married (sequentially) Marie Pisa, Mary Coppolino, and Frances Arcidiacono. Their children were Biagio Russo, Salvatore Russo, Dee Dee Harris-Russo, William Russo, and Leon Russo. For more information, click the title of this section to go to another blog page.

The Family of Joseph Russo and Sarah Ferone

Another brother to Grandmother Angelina Iacano was Joseph, who married his first cousin Sara Ferone. Our family information says that the couple had no known children. However, only one Joe and Sara Russo family appears in the 1940 census of Cleveland. That couple's children were Frank, Joseph, Jeanne, Carl, and Ettore Russo. Further research in other censuses is clearly needed. For more information, click the title of this section to go to another blog page.

The Family of Tony Russo and Bertha Costanza

Another brother to Grandmother Angelina Iacano was Tony, who married Bertha Costanza. Two known children Rose Mary Russo-Eagle and Gaetana Russo-Parker. For more information, click the title of this section to go to another blog page.

The Family of Caroline Russo and Frank Palatrone

A sister to Grandmother Angelina Iacano was Caroline, who married Frank Palatrone. Their children Frank Palatrone II and Beverly Palatrone-Blaha. For more information, click the title of this section to go to another blog page.

The Iacano (Iacono) Families

Prevalence of the family name Iacono in Italy
That Ragusa is only one of many, many cities and towns that the Iacono family might have come from. This image from Gens.info locates the presence of Iaconos in 2020 Italy. A small concentration is in the city of Rome, and several enclaves are in northern Italy in the areas of Milano and Genoa. Larger concentrations are in Napoli and the Ischian islands off the Neapolitan coast. The largest concentrations are in Sicily, near the cities of Agrigento and Ragusa. However, almost all regions of Italy contain inhabitants with the Iacono family name.

Both handed down family information and records research in the civil registries establish our family origin to be Ragusa. The family name was changed in America from Iacono to "Iacano" sometime after John Iacano married Angelina Russo Femminella in 1914.

The Family of John Iacano and Angelina Russo Femminella

Chuck's parents are Rose Mary Iacano (1916-1976) and Charles Derry (1908-1974). Rose was the second oldest child in her family of seven brothers and sisters: Frannie Iacano-Ventura, Frank Iacano, Jimmy Iacano, Jennie Iacano-Flauto, John Iacano, Joe Sam Iacano, and Tannie Iacano-Cosiano. For more information, click the title of this section to go to another blog page.

The Family of Emanuel Iacano and Angelina Tumino

The eldest known brother to Grandfather John Iacano is Emanuel Iacano (1882-1952), who was married to Angelina Tumino (est 1883-1963). For more information, click the title of this section to go to another blog page.

Up to at least 1940, Cleveland Ohio was the home of two Emanuel Iacano families. The other couple was made up of the father Emanuel and mother Catherine LaTore. Continuing research in the United States censuses will clarify the names and births of children in each family. At this point, several children have the same given name, and they might be attributed to the wrong parents.

The Brother Sam Gacomo (Iacono)

The family information developed in the U.S. gives the spelling of "Gacomo" for this part of the family. Grandfather John's brother Sam was said to have immigrated to Argentina. His information is not certain, but his birth is estimated 1875 and death calculated to be 1940. 

I have begun contacting members of Facebook named Iacono who live in Argentina.

For more information, click the title of this section to go to another blog page.

The Brother George Gacomo (Iacono)

Another brother to Grandfather John Iacano was reported to be George Gacomo, estimated dates of 1875-1935. The family information developed in the U.S. gives the spelling of "Gacomo" for this part of the family. 

For more information, click the title of this section to go to another blog page.

The Sister Georgia Gacomo (Iacono)

A sister Georgia is also reported without certain information. Her dates are estimated to be 1875-1940. The family information developed in the U.S. gives the spelling of "Gacomo" for this part of the family. 

For more information, click the title of this section to go to another blog page.


The continuing story of Biagio Russo (1897-1962 ?)

When Chuck showed me his family tree around 1998, it seemed pretty extensive to me. That was before I more fully understood genealogy research. Here is his work from 1971. (Click on the image to view it better.)

Since then, I quizzed him and members of his family, adding vital statistics to the tree. I also developed the hope to include at least the parents and siblings of those who married into the family.

The Family of John Iacano and Angela Russo

Most importantly, Chuck documented his grandparents John Iacano (born Giovanni Iacono) and Angela Russo (born Angela Russo Femminella). Recently, I've placed the family in the 1940 U.S. Federal Census of Cleveland and at the address of 3473 East 114th Street. This census is key to documenting the family, since it was the last opportunity to find them together. The oldest daughter, Frances, had already married in 1935, Grandmother Angela would die in July 1940 after removal of a liver cyst and subsequent internal hemorrhage, Grandfather John would die on 20 October 1944 in the East Ohio Gas explosion, and youngest son Joe Sam would die heroically on 9 February 1945 in the last offensive against the Nazi Wehrmacht at the border between Luxembourg and Germany.

The work in the 1940 Census revealed the families that held the spouses of Chuck's uncles and aunts. Surrounding his mothers' family of 1940, I found...
  • The newly married John Ventura and Frances Iacano couple living with his sister Josephine and brother-in-law Joseph Cancilla. Their address is 3368 East 126th Street in Cleveland.
  • The future first husband of Rose Iacano, Tony Calire, living at home with his parents Joseph and Rosalind Carlire and four siblings (Jack, Josephine, Charles and Santina). The address is 4669 East 146th Street in Cleveland.
  • Rose's second husband Charles Derry living with his parents Charles Hercule and Jennie M Derry and sibling Dorothy and her new husband Max Gast. The address is 13507 St. Clair Avenue in Cleveland. His estranged wife Leona Reese-Derry claimed his residence as 9601 Lockyear Avenue, with her and their three children (Dorothy, Lois, and Shirley).
    Separately, I found Charles Derry's other sister Ethel married to George Morton in Elyria OH and housing her father-in-law Oliver Morton.
  • Uncle Frank's future wife Frances Nanak at home with her parents Pavel (Paul) and Eva Nanak and her three siblings (Paul, Anna, and John). The family name is spelled "Manak" in the enumeration. Their address is 2372 East 28th Street in Cleveland.
  • Uncle Jimmie's future wife Frances LoPiccolo living with her widowed father Christopher and her eight siblings (John, Sue, Jennie, Mary, Grace, Rose, Jack, and Maryanne). The enumeration spans two pages, shown here in one image. Their address is 2521 East 23rd Street in Cleveland.
  • Uncle John's future wife Florence Pounds at home in Lamesa, Dawson County TX with her parents Robert and Nannie Pounds and her brother Olan.
  • Aunt Tanny's future husband Ralph Coschignano (later Cosiano) at home with his parents Pasquale (giving the nickname Patsy) and Martha and his brothers Frank and Patrick. They resided at 2390 East 38th Street in Cleveland.

Over the 80 years since the 1940 census, Cleveland has changed a lot. Most of those residences have been razed and replaced by subsidized housing or light industry. This map shows the Cleveland residences plotted over a 1994 aerial photograph of the city.

Other Iacano Families

Chuck's information about the family extended back to his Sicilian great-grandparents. His grandfather's parents were Francesco Iacono (which his sources said was spelled "Gacomo") and Francesca Rovetto.

His sources named two great uncles and a great aunt who migrated to South America. Another great uncle, Emmanuele, settled in Cleveland. His family may still have members living in Cleveland, but Chuck's family is no longer in touch with them. My research in Cleveland reveals several other potential relatives with similar family names. However, no information links them to this Iacano family.

  • One of these families is the Louis Iacano family. In 1940, Louis was 57 (born in Italy before April 1883). His wife, Jenny, was 46 and also born in Italy. One 20-year-old daughter was living with them, Carrie, who was born in New York. Two sons, Joe and Angelo aged 13 and 12 respectively and both born in Ohio, were also part of this family. Carrie's birth in New York makes it relatively unlikely that they are related. This couple might have married as early as 1910 and as late as 1919.
  • The census includes the Michael "Iacfnofno" family. In 1940, Michael was 45 (born in Italy before April 1895). His wife Clara Iacfnofno, age 42, was also born in Italy. The family included a son and a daughter: Lawerence, 16, and Mary, 15, both born in Ohio. This couple's marriage might have been between 1914 and 1923.
  • I've searched for a marriage of Louis Iacano, with no result. I had presumed that Louis and Jenny married before emigrating from Italy, but I felt it worthwhile to explore this as a chance. 
    • I've also searched for a marriage of their eldest daughter Carrie. No results show the name "Carrie," and results for variants of "Carol" do not include Louis Iacano or Jenny (with any surname) as parents.
    • I searched also for a marriage of Joe Iacano with parents Louis and Jenny, without result.
    • I searched for a marriage of Angelo Iacano with parents Louis and Jenny. Also without result.
  • Searches for any with the family name "Iacfnofno" produce no results. I presume the name was mis-written by the census enumerator. Perhaps it should have been simply "Iacano" or a variant, perhaps as varied as "LoIacano," which is a family in Cleveland. However, neither searches for "Lawrence Iac*" nor "Lawrence LoIac*" produce results.
The Emmanuele Iacano family was indeed present in the 1940 Census.

Other Russo Families

Angelina Russo-Iacano's siblings included Biagio, Joseph, Tony, and Caroline. The information for Joseph, Tony, and Caroline are straightforward.

Other Blogna Families

Angelina Russo-Iacano's parents, Vincent Russo and Rosa Blogna-Russo also immigrated to Cleveland, as did at least one Aunt (Anna Blogna).
...to be continued in a later edit.


Online registers of 19th-C in south-western Baden

I've found that registers of 19th-Century births, marriages, and deaths are online for the southern parts of Baden. These are from Standesämter that are in the Freiburg adminstrative district. The Freiburg distict includes the purple Kriese in the map provided.

Use these steps to find online records for your ancestors:
  1. Use one of these links:
  1. Select an Amtsgericht from the list in the left column, A listing of its first 20 books of registry then appears in the right column.
  2. Select ALLE (above the slide bar on the right) to list the books that are online from the Amtsgericht.
  3. Find your town of interest. Several different register books may be available.
Great-grandmother Leopoldina Salinger (1839-1919)
My great-grandmother Leopoldina Salinger was born in Breisach am Rhein in 1839. Her birth on 29 May 1839 is documented in the civil registers of the city. The record is available through this online source,as well as those of her siblings Carl Julius (1833-1833), Anton Herrmann (1836-), Maria Anna Josepha (1838-), and Maria Anna (1843-).

The records of Breisach am Rhein are available in several volumes with the following groupings of years:
I have reviewed only the first and second volumes in any great detail. It is likely that records of marriages and deaths for family members after 1842 will not be in this town. Both her father Georg Salinger and mother Katherina Vogel-Salinger were born in the first decade of the 19th C, and I expect they might have deaths reported at age 65 or younger. If the siblings survived and remained in Breisach, any of their marriages would be reported at age 40 or younger.

I am pursuing further research in similar online sources for Rastatt, Ettlingen, Karlsruhe/Durlach, and Kònigheim, cities in Baden where other ancestors came from.

The Salinger Family

Revisions on 3 April 2019 update this section with more recent research.

My great-grandmother Leopoldina Salinger-Ohnsat (1839-1919) emigrated from Baden-Württemberg in 1871. Her family lived in Breisach from about 1832 to about 1842, while her father worked as an Amtsdiener. Another family headed by Georg Selinger lived in the outlying and smaller settlement of Hochstetten at least from 1835. Leopoldine's family name was spelled "Salinger" and occasionally "Selinger" in Germany, and its spelling "Sallinger" occurred sometime during immigration, naturalization, or resettlement.

Her parents were Georg Salinger (1803-1856) and Katherina Vogel (about 1810-1862). Georg was identified as an Amtsdiener in several birth documents for his children. This occupation is an honorific today or a ceremonial duty that is given as a political award. In the 19th Century, an Amtsdiener could have performed a wide variety of clerical tasks in a registrar's office or could have been little more than a manager of visitors to the office (asking citizens to wait in the lobby and escorting them to the registrar's desk when the clerk was ready to take their information). In older German usage, there may have been distinctions in the function of an Amtsdiener, a Büttel, a Fronbote, a Gerichtsdiener, and a Saaldiener; however, modern German usage does not imply great differences, except that a Gerichtsdiener is associated with civil and criminal courts. Simple translations could be among these: an "usher," a "beadle," or a "messenger" of a municipal court. The Zedler Universal-Lexikon (1731-1754) has this definition:
Amts-Knecht, Amts-Diener, ist ein geschworner Bote, welcher das, was vor Gerichte geschen soll,  durch des Amtmanns Befehl denen Partheben überbringen und ankundigen muß. Wie er denn auch die Amts-Delinquenten einbringen, und dem Nachrichter überlieffern muß. [Band I (A-AM), p. 898, bottom of column 1817]
That is,
Official servant is a sworn messenger who must, at the bailiff's command, deliver to those taking part in the proceedings those charged persons who must be tried before a court of law. In the court proceedings, the Amtsdiener announces the availability of those charged. He must also bring in the charged parties and leave them with the reporter.

Rastatt (left), Ettlingen, and Durlach (right, top) in the
Karlsruhe region along the Rhein River
Leopoldine's father came from Rastatt, and her mother from Durlach or Ettlingen, about 80 and 90 miles north of Breisach. Both Durlach and Ettlingen are within Karlsruhe Kreis, and Rastatt is a historically important city along the middle Rhein. Georg Salinger married Katharina Vogel on 3 December 1829 in St. Peter and Paul Catholic church in Durlach, and two children were born there: Carolina Christina in 1830 and Barbara Luise in 1831.

Although movement from one town to another within a few miles was fairly common, the distance to Breisach seems unusual. I suspected that Georg Salinger had performed the work of Amtsdiener in Rastatt and was recommended for the post in Breisach. However, the marriage record for the couple states that he was "sergeant/junior officer with the Guards Cavalry Regiment at Gottsau." It's possible that he left military service and worked in a governmental bureau before the family moved to Breisach.

I have only preliminary research for the generation of these 2nd-great-grandparents. I have found documentation of their marriage in the registers of Durlach and Rastatt. The Rastatt register entry is a certified copy of the Durlach register:
Marriage registry of Georg Sallinger and Katharina Vogel,
Rastatt, Germany (two consecutive pages in the image)
Abschrift: Auszug aus dem Trauungsbuche der katholischen Stadtpfarrei Durlach, S. 38, §5

Im Jahre tausend acht hundert neun und zwanzig den dritten Dezember nachmnittags halb zwei Uhr nach vorhergegangenen zweimaligen Aufgebothen, welche am vier und zwanzigsten Sonntag nach Pfingsten und ersten Sonntag im Advent zu Durlach und Karlsruhe geschehen sind, nach erhaltener Entlassung des Bräutigams von großherzoglich katholischen Stadtpfarramte zu Karlsruhe und nicht erhobenen Einspruche; sind von Unterzeichneten getraut und eingeseegnet worden: Georg Sallinger von Rastatt /: neuangehender Bürger von Rastatt:/, Unteroffizier vom Garde Cavallerie Regiment zu Gottsau, ehelicher Sohn des verstorbenen Sallinger Leopold von Rastatt, mit der ledigen Katharina Vogel von Ettlingen, Tochter der Katharina Vogel von hier, Ehegattin des Marand Würzburger, Schutzbürger und Leistschneider [= Leistenschneider] dahier.
Zeugen waren: die beiden Unteroffiziere: Carl Oehlwang von Karlsruhe und Stephan Bischof von Kisselbronn [= Kieselbronn] bei Pforzheim.
Durlach d. 3. Decemb. 1829. V Baumann, Pfarrer.

gegeben Durlach d. 7t. Dezember 1829 In fidem extractus: V. Baumann, Pfarrer
Zur Beglaubigung der treuen Abschrift
Rastatt d. 20t Dezember 1829
Schung, Dekan und Stadtpfarrer
Copy: Extract from the marriage book of the Durlach Catholic town parish. Page 38, paragraph 5.

Marriage registry of Georg Sallinger and Katharina Vogel,
Durlach, Germany
In the year 1829 on December 3 at 1:30 in the afternoon, after the announcement of two marriage banns that occurred on the 24th Sunday after Pentecost and the 1st Sunday of Advent in Durlach and in Karlsruhe; after receiving the release of the groom from the grand ducal Catholic town parish office in Karlsruhe, with no objections raised; were married and blessed by the undersigned: Georg Sallinger from Rastatt (prospective citizen from Rastatt.), sergeant/junior officer with the Guards Cavalry Regiment at Gottsau, legitimate son of the deceased Sallinger, Leopold from Rastatt; with the unmarried Katharina Vogel from Ettlingen, daughter of Katharina Vogel from here[ [Durlach], wife of the Würzburger Marand, legal/protected citizen and last maker here.
Witnesses were: both sergeants/junior officers Carl Oehlwang from Karlsruhe and Stephan Bischof from Kisselbronn [= Kieselbronn] near Pforzheim.Durlach,
December 3, 1829. V. Baumann, Clergyman.

Written in Durlach on December 7, 1829 Faithfully extracted: V. Baumann, Clergyman
In certification of a true/accurate copy.
Rastatt, December 20, 1829
Schung, Deacon and Town Clergyman.
Typically ages of the bride and groom are given in a marriage record, especially if they are young adults. Since the ages are not given, I presume that neither is of younger age. I guess that Georg was then about 30 years old, and that Katharina was perhaps younger than 25. So I estimated their births to be 1799 and 1807 (plus or minus 5 years), respectively. These dates establish a search range for their birth or baptism records. Recently I found Georg's birth-baptism record in Rastatt: 21 February 1803.

Officers' dress uniforms of the Rastatt regimental cavalry.
Georg Salinger's home of origin in the marriage entry is of some interest. He is given a "prospective" citizenship in Durlach; he was "release" from the "grand ducal Catholic town parish office in Karlsruhe," and his father Leopold is from Rastatt. Likely, then, Georg was born in Rastatt at the end of the 18th Century, then a city of 3000 residents. Until 1771, Rastatt was the residence of the margrave of Baden-Baden, with a large palace at the center of the city. The residence of the margrave moved in the late 18th Century to another city, but a military garrison remained in Rastatt. Perhaps the young Georg began his military service in Rastatt and was moved then to Karlsruhe to serve the grand duke. (The city was the location for peace negotiations between France, Prussia, and Austria in the last years of the 18th Century, known as the Congrès de Rastatt. However, the negotiations had only one catastrophic result: the murder of two French diplomats and the serious wounding of a third.) I presume Georg was intending to live in Durlach, as evidenced by the parenthetical description of neuangehender Bürger von Rastatt, "prospective citizen from Rastatt."

Katharina Vogel's home of origin in the marriage entry is also of interest. Her mother's residence is given as Durlach, but the bride's residence is given as Ettlingen. Of additional interest for research is the identity of her mother's husband as "the Würzburger Marand, legal/protected citizen and last maker here [in Durlach]."

The Georg Salinger family returned to Durlach in time for the birth of their seventh child, Maria Anna, on 29 August 1843. Because Katharina would have reached 40 soon after then, it's unlikely that more children came to the family. Georg Salinger died on 4 January 1856 in Tauberbischofsheim. 

I continue research for the birth, reason for living in Ettlingen, and death of Katharina Vogel—and for information about her parents.

Leopoldine's paternal grandfather was named in her parents' marriage record: Leopold Sallinger from Rastatt. I have found the marriage of Leopold Salinger to Margaretha Mayer on 11 January 1802 in Rastatt and his death on 12 July 1821. I estimate his birth to be around 1767; similarly, I estimate Margaretha Mayer's birth to be about 1775 and her death to have been about 1850. Her paternal great-grandparents may be Joseph Salinger (about 1745-1800) and Franziska Idamann (about 1740-1800) and Georg Mayer (about 1740-1800) married 8 August 1768 to Maria Anna Maisch (about 1760-1800).

Leopoldine's maternal grandmother was identified as Katharina Vogel from Karlsruhe-Durlach, who was married to "the Würzburger Marand, legal/protected citizen and last maker [in Durlach]." I believe this indicates that Marand is a step-parent who came originally from Würzburg. The mother Katharina married Morand Würzburger on 30 May 1814 in Durlach. I estimate the elder Katharina married an unknown Vogel before 1807 in Durlach, and that she was born before 1780, probably in Durlach. However, it is possible that the younger Katharina Vogel was a birth outside of marriage (once called illegitimate). Leopoldine's maternal great grandparents may be Martin Vogel and Margaretha Wagner.