Sunday, June 1, 2008

Italian Names not ending in "O"

Well, it's official, I am obsessed with Genealogy. I can't even walk into a grocery store without thinking about family history. Last week, I stopped in a "Shur Fine" grocery store at Glen Rock, PA, to get a salad from the salad bar before starting out on the Heritage Rail-Trail. As I sat down in the corner, I was met by Joe Paterno, the famous football coach for The Penn State Nittany Lions. Was it really Joe or a poster of Joe? I'll let you decide. In any case, there was Joe holding a loaf of MelanO bread and saying, "My Mama always told us that the greatest Italian names end in "O".

So, of course that started me to thinking about the ancestors and cousins of my family who were ethnic Italians. Realize that most of my ancestors were relatively recent immigrants from Europe and they wound up in ethnic marriages. My Dad's German father married an English woman whose father was born in Scotland. My parents were both born in America, but my grandmother was born in Switzerland of parents born in Bohemia and Alsace. My father's family immigrated to Clearfield County, PA, and my mother's to Braddock, PA. Scratch a Pennsylvanian and there is probably an immigrant not too far beneath the skin.

The Italians who immediately came to mind were the SCORD family- though their surname does not end in "O", and I don't know if they ever ate m-m-m-m-m Milano Bread. Michael Scord married my father's biological sister, Ruth STREICH (she spelled it STRYKE just before marrying). Mike is pictured below in the center of a bunch of Strike cousins at a gathering in 1989. Unfortunately, I was not in attendance, because I never knew they were gathering. Actually, these are my biological first cousins, and my father was adopted by his aunt who married a Kramp and our families sort of lost touch until recently. I was glad that there was another gathering in 1999- unfortunately, it was a few months after Mike Scord died in his 95th year.

Michael Scord and Ruth, nee. Streich, had three daughters, two of whom are labeled in the "gathering" picture. It was thought that when Mike Scord died in May 1999, he was the last of his generation. However, my late father who was the last-born of that generation of Strike children and their spouses, has a widow who is still living at age 88 (my mother).

Actually, Mike Scord was born in Cambria County, PA, in America, and it was his mother, Tilli Ida, and his father, Fredrick SCORD, who was born in Italy about 1878. Below is a picture of Fredrick Scord and my late father, Robert KRAMP, born STRIKE, about 1954, in Spangler, Cambria Co., PA.

Incidentally, some members of my Russell Line (Otto Strike married Emily RUSSELL) still live in Pennsylvania. Years ago, I visited one long-lost cousin named James E. Russell. He lives in Johnstown just "over the hill" from Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions. As I drove up his long driveway, I looked to my left and I swear there was a full-sized sculpture of a Nittany Lion (mountain lion) on a large flat rock in his garden. Don't believe me? I got a picture of it in my family album. Y'see, he was an avid fan of the Penn State football team.

Note to myself for further research: What is a Nittany? Does it feed on genealogists?

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