HELP - I've hit a brick wall with mY paternal great grandparents

+1 vote
I've hit a brick wall with my paternal great grandparents - Umberto Conti (Conti-275) and Eleanora Kottman (Kottman-21).  No information prior to their arrival in London, England where they were married and where my grandfather,  Amedeo Leodegar Conti AKA: Arthur Leonard Conway, was born.

Umberto Conti fathered a child in New York, USA in the 1920's, but the information is private beyond that.  Prior to abandoning his family in England and emigrating to the U.S.A. he fought in a mountain regiment in the WWI, possibly the battle of Vittoria Veneto for Italy.  Have tried to get his military record without success.  

Eleanora Kottman may be related to the Steinbuch's.  They were a wealthy, diplomatic family and had a winery in Switzerland.  She was German Swiss.  

How can I find out who their parents were and get past the brick wall.?
WikiTree profile: Umberto Conti
in Genealogy Help by Anna Strutt G2G5 (5.6k points)

Not answer, but more info for him


First name(s) Umberto

Last name Conti

Relationship Roomer

Sex Male

Race White

Age 49

Birth year 1881

Birth place Italy

Marital status Single

Immigration year 1920

Father's birth place Italy

Mother's birth place Italy

City/township Peoria

County Peoria

State Illinois

NARA series T626

NARA roll 548

Record set Us Census 1930

Category Census, land & surveys

Subcategory Census

Collections from Americas, United States

2 Answers

+1 vote
Have you tried DNA testing? That worked for me for my paternal great grandfather, Edwin/Edward H. Packard. It's a lot of work and research, but very rewarding when you meet with success.
+1 vote

Did you buy the UK marriage cert?  It should name both bride's and groom's fathers' names and their fathers' occupations.

Surname  First name(s)  District  Vol  Page 

Marriages Jun 1907   (>99%)
CONTI  Umberto  Pancras  1b 211

BTW - if you have a copy of the church's marriage record, there is no need to buy the cert - the register's information was pulled from the church's records.

by S Brooks G2G6 (6.1k points)
edited by S Brooks

Also - you could also buy his death cert (in Peoria) - it might have his parents' names on it - but only if that info was known to the informant.  The cert is indexed on ancestry ( - the fact that it doesn't have parents' names on the transcription makes me think it won't be on the original.

Also - have you tried to find an obit in the Peoria newspaper?  Smaller towns loved lengthy obits, and could be full of info.  But, since he was living alone in the 1930, not sure he would have someone who would have put the obit in the paper.

Also - you're sure that the Umberto who died in Peoria is the correct Umberto Conti?  I'm not saying it's not, just saying that it may not be a unique name.

Also - familysearch has civil registrations in the time period in question, but your man does not show up:

Not sure how faithfully peopled registered their BMD events, nor do I know if the records are truly intact; and, finally, sometimes immigrants stated the place near where they were born/lived, because that's the place that people in the new home understood and could place.  Dunno if that might be true for Umberto?

FamilySearch's wiki on searching for records in Florence:,_Tuscany,_Italy_Genealogy

Note that church records may exist in Florence.  Also, presumably he married in a Catholic church in London - might be interesting to contact that church and ask if there are surviving records.

Hi s. Brooks, Re: Umberto Conti

Thanks for this response. I got his birth date and place of birth from the death certificate and cross referenced it with some other records I had of him and my father's memory and my own memory based on what my grandfather told me.  He worked as a steward on passenger ships, which is how Eleanora and Umberto met,  and  found a number of manifesto's with his name on them going back and forth from England to N.Y. , USA.  At the time of his death he was working at the Creve Cour club and Peoria Hotel, in Illinois.  A close surprise cousin showed up (I've had my DNA test done) and we figured out that her mother (90 something still alive) is his child.  Regardless, I've put the pieces of the puzzle together after their arrival in London, England but nothing before that.  Regards, Anna
So, as stated above -

The UK marriage certificate, available from the GRO, would have the names of both parties' fathers, as well as the fathers' occupations (as stated to the registrar).  Also, it will state who the witnesses were, and where they married.  Possibly, if their place of marriage still exists, you would be able to contact that place and ask if any other records exist (e.g., membership transfer records).  Of course, if they married in a registry hall, there would be no additional info

GRO records are available online, pretty inexpensive, and pretty quick to return.

Italy is a tough research place - most records are not online.  Plus you can't be sure exactly where in (around?) Florence that he hailed from.  And I don't think very many Italians are testing, so the people you match are often in the same situation.

As Peggy Deras stated above - Y-DNA testing might help.  It looks like Umberto could have living direct-male-line descendants.  But to be really helpful, someone also from the direct male line needs to have tested.

Good luck!

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