The Mystery of Jerome Cady–Can you help?

I’m helping a friend work on her family tree. She has had an accident recently and is going through a long rehabilitation.  I would love to be able to present her information on her line to help cheer her up.

She is a descendant of the screenwriter, Jerome “Jerry” Cady (pronounced Kay-Tee).  While her mother’s line wielded a tremendous amount of information, her father’s side has revealed next to nothing.  I thought I’d throw his story out to the genealogy community to see if someone might be able to provide clues or ideas on how to research this line.

Let’s start with what is known about Jerome Cady.  His birth information is sketchy.  He is said to have been born in Aug 1903 in West Virginia.  His trail takes him to Chicago and New York where he starts writing.  There are biographical sketches about his career, yet there really isn’t any information on his early beginnings.  You can see from his Wikipedia entry that the pickings are slim.

He was record in the 1940 as Jerry Cady (see 1940 Census, Los Angeles, CA, ED 16, sheet 1A and 1B).  Jerome is listed as 37 years old, born in West Virginia, and having 8 years of schooling.  He lived in the same place (Los Angeles) in 1935.  His occupation is motion picture screen writer.

(there is a second page, but WordPress is giving me fits on uploading it)

In the same census is his first wife, Dorothy, who was 33 and born in Pennsylvania.  They had two children:  Patricia Ann (6 years old) and Dorothy (5 years old).  Both were born in California.

He married his second wife in 1941 in Maricopa Co., AZ (have not found proof of marriage yet).  Her name was Elna Eugenia “Jean” Peterson.  She was born 16 Apr 1905 in Albert Lea, Freeborn Co., MI to Christian “Chris” Peterson and Maria “Mary” Johnson.  This family is well documented including numerous newspaper articles about their ability to make butter (they won several competitions!)

It is Jerome’s side that I am having so much trouble with.  No documents so far reveal the names of his parents or if he had siblings.  His mother’s name might have been Lydia.  I don’t think his death records would reveal much since his second wife was the source and she didn’t seem to know much about his early history.  She was not upfront about it with her daughter.

Jerome Cady died aboard his yacht in November of 1948.  A newspaper articles about his death reveal a few details of his life.  Mostly they show that those closest to him knew little about him, too.  Friends said he was anywhere from 40 to 48 years old when he died.  One article states that he was left an orphan at the age of 13.  He started his career as a newspaper copy boy, then a reporter.  He went on to be a screenwriter for 20th Century Fox.

And, that seems to be all we know of Jerome Cady.  The information that he was an orphan makes me wonder if in the early census records he is living with relatives or another family.   There is a Jerome Cady in the 1930 census for Los Angeles who is a reporter.  However, that Jerome Cady lists his birth place as Kansas.  In 1930, Jerome was supposed to be in either Chicago or New York.  I’m not really sure how common the surname is.  There could have been hundreds of Jerome Cadys for all I know.  My friend does not feel this is the right person, but we’ve all seen people in places they should not have been.  I have done some searches in the 1910 and 1920 census, but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack with so few details.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to find out more information on Jerome?  How would you go about researching him? Are West Virginia birth records or Arizona marriage records online?

My friend never knew much about Jerome Cady and would really be pleased to finally know his parent’s names and where he was from.  If anyone has some suggestions, please let me know.

(I have purposely left off my friend’s name for privacy reasons.  She has given me permission to include these details about Jerome Cady.)


I’m Related to a Nobel Laureate

I have a confession to make.  For the longest time I have been jealous of Randy Seaver because he seems to always find connections to Presidents.  He wrote about his connections to Barack Obama with this article “Yep, Barack Obama is My Cousin.”  My immigrant ancestors didn’t seem to marry into any famous lines, certainly none of our Presidents or their wives.

Oh sure!  I have a few links to royalty via my Azorean ancestors.  But let’s face it.  If you get far enough back in Europe, sooner or later you will hit nobility.  The odds are in your favor.

You can image my glee when fellow researcher, George Pacheco, told me that my de Mello line from Maia, Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel Island, Azores connects to a Nobel Laurete (No, not that Nobel Laurete–though he was born in Hawaii)!  I was thrilled to find that even a distant cousin had reach such great heights.  Although George sent me information on the connection, I found myself delving into the trail as well.

So, who is the genius in our family?  His name is Craig Cameron Mello.  He won the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 2006 for his work on the discovery of RNA interference (your guess is as good as mine…LOL)  Craig is a biologist and a professor of Molecular Medicine.  Wikipedia has extensive information on Craig’s career under Craig Mello.

He is the son of James Mello, a paleontologist, and Sally Cameron, an artist.  Ironically, my cousin, Rita, and I had been working on the de Mello’s (aka de Mello Castanho) for years.  I have been researching Craig’s great grandfather, Eugenio de Mello, for a long time.  Eugenio’s parents took out a passport in the mid-1880s so they could do contract work on a sugar plantation in Hawaii.  Unbeknownst to me, they never left Sao Miguel Island.  I spun my wheels for years trying to find a trace of them in Hawaii, only to realize they weren’t there!

It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I found Eugenio and his brother’s Manoel and Mariano emigrating to Massachusetts–a long way from Hawaii! As genealogy goes, I was working on one end of the tree, and then another researcher presents me with the other end.  I like when it works out this way.  LOL

So, how are Craig and I related?  You have to go back to the 1700s to find the connection.  Our common ancestor is Joao de Mello, b. 7 Feb 1771, Povoacao, Sao Miguel Island; d. bef 1840, and his wife, Maria Theresa de Medeiros, b. 13 Aug 1778, Maia, Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel Island.  They were married in 1796 at Divino Esperito Santo Church, Maia, Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel Island.  Craig and I share the same fourth great grandparents. According to RootsMagic’s relationship calculator, Craig and I are fifth cousins.

Here’s a summary of how we connect:

My line

My Grandparents:
Joao “Bohne” Pacheco Smith, b. at sea outside of San Francisco and Anna (Jackson) Shellabarger, b. Oakland, Alameda Co., CA

~My Great Grandparents:
Theodoro Pacheco, b. Achada, Nordeste, Sao Miguel Island and Maria  Esperito Santo de Braga, b. Maia, Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel Island, Azores

~My Great Great Grandparents:
Jozimas de Braga and Maria da Conceicao de Mello, both b. in Maia, Ribeira Grande

~My Great Great Great Grandparents:
Felicianno Francisco de Mello and Rosa Jacintha Botelho, both of Maia Ribeira Grande

~My Great Great Great Great Grandparents:
Joao de Mello, b. Povoacao, and Maria Theresa de Medeiros, b. Maia, Ribeira Grande

Craig’s line:

~Craig’s Grandparents:
Frank “Bullet” Mello, b. Massachusetts, and Elena Primiano, b. Warren, Bristol Co, RI

~Craig’s Great Grandparents:
Eugenio de Mello (aka Eugenio de Mello Castanho) and Maria da Gloria Moniz Botelho, both born in Maia, Ribeira Grande

~Craig’s Great Great Grandparents:
Antonio de Mello and Maria da Conceicao Pascoal (aka Maria Tomasia), both b. in Maia, Ribeira Grande

~Craig’s Great Great Great Grandparents:
Manoel de Mello (aka Manoel de Mello Castanho) and Anna Joaquina Medeiros, both b. in Maia, Ribeira Grande

~Craig’s Great Great Great Great Grandparents:
Joao de Mello, b. in Povoacao, and Maria Theresa de Medeiros, b. in Maia, Ribeira Grande

Hey, it’s long way to go back to find a connection, but I’m sticking by it!  It’s not every day that you find a Nobel Laurete in your tree!  It just shows how far we’ve come from are humble laborer roots to the many achievements of the descendants of Joao and Maria.

You also know what this means, don’t you?  I will be spending the rest of the month tracking down obituaries, city directory pages, census sheets, and anything else I can find in Massachusetts and Rhode Island on the de Mello family.

Here’s some information on Craig Cameron Mello:

Wikipedia, Craig Mello

Craig C. Mello, Nobel Prize, Autobiography

Beyond the Next Ridge (Howard Hughes Medical Institute Journal) — page 2 has a nice photograph of the family

Craig C. Mello – Photo Gallery–some neat photographs of Craig at the Nobel Prize Ceremonies

I will be posting more about the research I’ve done on this line. However, you can read about the difficulties I had finding Eugenio de Mello in the 1930 until I realized that’s 1930 census index had some problems: Footnote Friday: Three Cheers for the 1930 Census Index