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38.2.4 Florence Palumbo.JPG

Florence (Palumbo) Mancini

November 15, 1915 - June 11, 1933

Florence Palumbo was born on November 15, 1915 in Paterson, NJ to Gennaro Palumbo and his wife, Teresa (Iannacchione). For those on the Pellegrini side of the family, Teresa was Grandma Pellegrini's older sister who died in 1920 at the age of 30 from influenza and pneumonia. Unfortunately, longevity was not in the cards for Florence, her daughter, as she had a very short life as well.

When Florence was 17 years old (yes, 17 -- almost 18), she married William Alfred Mancini, who was a resident of nearby Clifton. Florence and William were married on June 4, 1933 (which happens to by my wedding anniversary) at Saint Anthony's Church in Paterson. For many years, I've heard from my grandmother (Bette Scozzari) that Florence died on the night of her wedding from cancer. I had never done much with that story until recently when my grandmother uncovered Florence and Willie's wedding photo, which was labeled, and gave it to me. For some reason, seeing her face just got to me and I decided that I needed to start to put some effort into solving this family legend that says she died on her wedding night.

With that said, earlier today, I was on my way to my dad's salon to get a haircut. I had to go a different way because of construction, so I ended up right by Calvary Cemetery in Paterson and with some extra time on my hands, I had a sudden urge to stop in the cemetery office and see if Florence happened to be buried there. It was a long shot, but I figured it was worth a shot. I also felt like something was guiding me there because I unexpectedly ended up by Calvary and suddenly, Florence popped into my mind. Who knows. Anyway...

I entered the office looking for Florence ManGini (Notice the 'G' and not a 'C'), since that's what her marriage certificate said. The woman in the cemetery office was intrigued by the story of her supposedly dying on her wedding night, so she was extra helpful in searching the burial records. Since she died on her wedidng night, I wasn't even sure if she would have been buried under her married name or maiden name, so I asked the woman to search both Palumbo and Mangini, but neither produced any results. The woman then checked similar spellings and noticed a Florence ManCini and offered to check that plot. She approached the counter and as soon as I saw a burial date in June of 1933 and the plot owner being William Mancini, I knew I had found her. The woman went out of her way to make copies of the plot card (something most cemeteries do not do) and asked if I'd like to see the stone, to which I thought to myself, "Is there sand at the beach? Of course I'd like to see it!" I nodded my head and said that I would very much like to see it, so she handed me a highlighted map and explained that it was, "right over there," as she pointed near where my car was parked. 

What's interesting is that just prior to entering the office, I had stopped at the grave of my great grandparents (Anthony & Susan Pellegrini -- Florence's aunt and uncle) and had parked in front of their grave. After analyzing the map and taking note of where the woman pointed, I realized that Florence was buried within 100 feet of their grave. I quickly arrived in Section 8 and within a few minutes, I had found the very large MANCINI stone that bears Florence's name and dates (1915-1933) as well as those of her husband's parents. It's a beautiful stone with a small angle statue on top -- something that's quite hard to miss. Seeing her grave made me sad, but happy that I had finally found her. 

My next steps are to find out what happened to her husband, William (known by the family as "Willie"), as well as obtain a copy of Florence's death certificate. To my first goal (finding out what became of Willie), I have strong suspicions that he would have remarried, since he was so young (26) when she died and also because he is not buried in that plot, which also is the final resting place of his parents. The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) shows a man named William Mancini, whose last residence was Clifton, NJ, that was born on October 28, 1907 and died in November 1977, so it's possible for that to be him, but I'll need more evidence like an obituary or death record. 

As for Florence, my grandmother believes that she had gone to Niagara Falls for her honeymoon, so I've narrowed in on that area as a possible place of death. One of the genealogy sites I use has Ontario death records online and there's nothing for a Florence Mancini, Mangini or Palumbo in 1933, which leads me to believe that she died on the New York side of the falls, if she died there at all. This will take some time and some old fashioned "fill out a form and send a check" genealogy work, but I hope to close the loop on her story soon. I'm not sure I believe that she died from cancer, as my grandmother has stated, since she really doesn't look sick in her wedding photo (I'm curious what others think), but who knows. If the story is true and she died on her wedding night, then the attached picture is one of the last photos of her that was ever taken.

UPDATE: I learned today that Florence died in Syracuse, New York on June 11, 1933, 7 days after her wedding. Her cause of death, though previously believed to have been cancer, was actually "Acute Hemorrhage Pancreatitis". She became ill on June 8th (Four days after her wedding), and died 3 days after falling ill.

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