Saturday, 27 August 2011

Today in History: August 26, 1917 Maria Ontaria Bertolo was Born

I'm sure I'm not the only genealogist who didn't always understand who was on her family tree and where.  When I was in elementary school, one day our substitute teacher was Mrs. Plexman.

I remember that Mrs. Plexman had presence in our classroom.  She spoke with precision, calm and dignity.  And she was lovely:  dark, dark hair and a creamy complexion.  What I didn't fully realize is that Mrs. Plexman was my great-aunt, my mom's paternal aunt.  Eventually, Mrs. Plexman became Aunty Rose as I got to know her in my teenage years.

After she died in 1985 1986, Aunty Rose took on yet another identity when her birth certificate came to light.  It turns out, that Rose was her nickname.  She was named Maria Ontaria Bertolo by her parents.  She was the third of Giuseppe Bertolo and Maria Iop's ten children to be born in Ontario.  I guess they liked the place!  Here's her baptismal record, in which Father Belcastro had Latinized her name as Mariam Ontariam:

The family story is that when Nona Maria held the new baby, Maria Ontaria, older sister Helen looked at the baby and declared that she was so beautiful they must call her Rose.

One day when I was about 18, my mom and I ran into Aunty Helen on the street.  My mom mentioned that she always thought I resembled Aunty Rose.  Aunty Helen said, "No, Kathy's much prettier!"  I wish it were true.

Rose Bertolo, at her brother Luigi's wedding, October 1929

But I do see the resemblance.  And I take that as a great compliment.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Today in Family History: August 3, 1971 Maria (Iop) Bertolo Died

Forty years ago today, my great-grandmother, Maria (Iop) Bertolo, passed away in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.  In a March 2011 post, Surname Saturday -- Iop, I told you a bit about Maria's life in Fiume Veneto, in the Friuli region of Italy and her emigration to Canada.

Hers is the first funeral I remember attending as a little girl.

Riposa in pace, Nona Maria.