Search of the Week – James Raymond’s Italian surname?

James Raymond appeared in several US census records and even registered as an alien for WW1 with an almost legible town of birth. (For reasons of privacy I won’t name the town).  He gave his date of birth as 24 January 1890 and his parents’ first names.  No ship manifest or naturalization record had ever been found.

The challenge was to locate him in Italian civil records and discover his Italian surname.

Fortunately the town had a 10 year index of births for the period we needed and I began in R since most times when a surname is anglicized it retains the initial letter.  I was looking for Vincenzo whose father was Giovanni, born around 1890.  James is a common anglicized version of Vincenzo.  Although James translates to Giacomo, Giacomo easily becomes Jack and rarely James.    Vincenzo is often pronounced in dialect as (vin)CHAINZZ which, with a bit of imagination becomes CHAINES or James.

Vincenzo wasn’t a common names in the ‘R’ section but there was one Vincenzo Ramunno whose father was Giovanni and the mother’s name matched. Ramunno becoming Raymond doesn’t take too much imagination.

The birth year was out by 1 year.  This is not uncommon.  Italians when asked their age give the year they have entered where we would give the year we have completed. Making them one year older by our standards if they have already had their birthday.

Close enough.  Another mystery solved.


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