Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Birthday, Great Grandpa John

Today is the 127th anniversary of the birth of my great-grandfather John Sarantos SIMONDS. He was born 31 October 1884 in the Community of Evandros, Tripoli, Province of Arcadia, Greece.

On 22 March 1902, he departed Havre aboard the SS Le Bretagne under the name of Jean ANGELOTANASOPULOS. According to the original ship's manifest found on the Ellis Island website, John was age 18, single, could read and write, a farmer by occupation, and of Greek nationality. His last residence was Piree, the seaport for landing in the United States was New York, his final destination was Chicago, he had a ticket to reach his final destination, he bought his own passage, and was in possession of $10.00. John had not previously been to the United States, was going to join a cousin at S. Grand Str. 85, had not been in prison, was not a polygamist, was not under contract for labor, was in good physical and mental health, and was not deformed or crippled. He landed at the Port of New York on 1 April 1902.

On 24 January 1912, John married my great-grandmother Christina "Sophie" RAFAEL (also RAPHAEL) in Oakland, Alameda County, California. The marriage certificate lists his name as "John STAVROPULOS". His parents are listed as Samuel STAVROPULOS and Mary ANGELUS. John and Sophie had four children: Olga, Stanford (my grandfather), LaVerne and Ethel.

On 15 September 1936, John filed the Petition for Naturalization, No. 16182. On the Petition, he states that his name was Jean AGELOTANASOPULOS, he is a laborer residing at 548 E. 17th Street, Oakland, California, was born in Tripoli, Greece on 31 October 1884, and his race is Greek. He states that he has been continuously in the United States since 1 April 1902, and in the county of Alameda continuously since March 1905, and that he had not previously made a petition for naturalization.

John's petition for naturalization also requests that his name be changed to John Sarantos SIMONDS and was filed with the Superior Court of the State of California at Oakland. On 18 December 1936, John becomes a citizen of the United States receiving a Certificate of Citizenship No. 4189124. On his Certificate, John is described as being a white male, medium complexion, brown eyes, gray hair, 5'10" tall and 160 lbs.

On 5 May 1937, John filed an application for a social security number. He lists his parents as Sarantos AGELOTANASOPULOS and Nicoleta ANGELOPULOS.

On 26 April 1942, John filled out a Registration Card for the U.S. World War II Draft. He is still residing in Oakland, Alameda County, California and is employed at the Richmond Shipyard #1.

On 11 January 1969, John passed away at 11:57 AM from pulmonary edema due to heart disease. He had lung disease also.  His father is listed as John STAVROPOULOS; his mother is not known. John's last occupation was as a watchman at Standard Register for 10 years, but was retired. He died at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland, Alameda County, California. John was buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland, Alameda County, California on 14 January 1969.

I never knew my great-grandfather; I was just about to turn a year old when he died. There are no pictures of him holding me as a baby because we were living in Germany where my dad was stationed. But as I continue to research his life I get to know him a little better, one document at a time. This is one of the reasons why I do genealogy... to get to know those ancestors that I wouldn't have known otherwise and to record their lives, our history, to pass on to our children. I want to preserve their stories before they are lost forever.

Happy Birthday, Great Grandpa John ~ May you be remembered for many more years to come.

~ Niecey

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