My grandfather's brother, Frank Bertolo, married my grandmother's sister, Lina Mattioli. They never had children, and perhaps that is why they ended up like an extra set of grandparents for us kids.
Frank and Lena were a great pair. They were both hard-working, with a twinkle in the eye.
Tomorrow would have been Aunty Lina's 99th birthday, but she passed away in May 1997, three years after Uncle Frank, whom we called Zio (pronounced see-oh in our family, rather than the proper Italian tzee-oh).
One day, looking at some Canadian naturalization records on the Canadian Library and Archives site, I saw Uncle Frank's naturalization in February 1927 with his wife Annie. So there's her first name: Annie.
TIP: Don't believe that all the facts, even on original records, are accurate.
In a future post, I'll tell you about the book I've been reading, Genealogical Standards of Evidence: A Guide for Family Historians by Brenda Dougall Merriman. In short, you will often be faced with a collection of records offering contradictory facts. The book provides guidance on assessing each record's reliability. Some of the guidance is common sense but you know how common that is. Think about Annie's age. Would you put your faith in the provincial birth registration by her father or the age she or her groom gave the priest?
Having three possible birth years for Annie made it a little tough to find her in the 1910 Canadian census. There were three girls named Annie Davey or Davie in Ontario at the time, each roughly the same age. One lived in Toronto. There was a Cree girl in Moose Fort, living with her Hardisty grandparents. And one Annie was living with her parents and Dumbar grandparents near the Sault.
TIP: When you have people of the same name and age in the same area, see what other facts can distinguish one from the other.
You'll be hard pressed to find Annie in Plummer Township near the Sault; her surname appears to be written as Davil. I thought Zio's Annie was the Cree girl. But the grandparents in Plummer are the ones that match the mother's maiden name, Dunbar, listed in the church and civil marriage record as well as Annie's birth registration. I have no idea where the story came from that Annie was "Indian." That 1910 Census says her parents were Scottish.
TIP: Some family stories have been embroidered over the years, but there's usually a grain of truth in them somewhere. And you will want to find it.
So what happened to Annie? I understood that Zio married Aunty Lina in 1932. But they didn't marry in the Catholic Church until 1959. I found a link to Frank and Annie on an Ancestry family tree that showed their divorce date. I contacted the Ancestry member who posted the tree to ask the source of the divorce date. I had searched a number of databases but never found a divorce record. To my embarrassment, I was told that the divorce date was written at the top of the civil marriage record!