February 15, 2008
There’s not much to report at the moment, I’m afraid, but our quest to find Mario Contasino, the man who nearly shaped the course of modern history, continues.
We’ve received one or two requests for interviews from newspapers and websites based inthe US, which might help to spread the word that we’re looking for Mario or his descendants. And today we received another email that may help that search, from Bob Miller. Here’s the email that Bob sent us:
You’ve given us an interesting puzzle, and the answer to it might be more a question of “WHO was Mario Contasino, REALLY?” rather than “WHERE is Mario Contasino.”
Using Ancestry.com, I asked their search engine to look through all census, birth, marriage, and death records they have for anyone with the last name Contasino. There were none in the period 1790-1930.
I then asked it to search through their Immigration records for a Contasino. There were none.
I then went to http://www.ellisislandrecords.org/ and searched their immigration records for anyone with the last name Contasino. There was just one: Giuseppe Contasino, who arrived in 1913 from Castiglione, Sicily. Age 8 months, and traveling with Concetta DiMarco, 28. I have to say that looking at Giuseppe’s last name on the on-screen version of the original ship’s manifest, it looks more like Contarino than Contasino to me. Based on the information about Mario’s age we have so far, this doesn’t appear to be him.
I then went to http://www.castlegarden.org and searched the Castle Garden immigration records for the period 1830 to 1912 for anyone named Contasino. There were no results.
So I went back to Ancestry.com and did a Soundex search on Mario Contasino. Soundex looks for names that “sound like” the name you’ve entered, and this is always a good thing to do with a name that might be spelled more than one way. None of the results seemed promising.
Then I went to the 1930 Census records of Yonkers, N.Y., and looked to see who was living at 300 Yonkers Ave. I spent a couple of hours paging through the Census schedules, and could not find the address. Perhaps someone else would have better success.
At this point I started to examine this from a paranoid/conspiratorial point of view. Could this have been a concocted story to explain why Churchill, who was “actually” on a secret mission to [fill in the blank] had dropped out of public sight for a week or 10 days while he traveled to [fill in the blank] to meet with [fill in the blank]? But checking the kind of details about the incident that you find in his biographies (His wife, Clementine, wrote several weeks later to their son, Randolph, that Winston was still suffering from “this terrible injury”) it would be hard to make a serious case. Besides, anyone who has done serious genealogical research for any period of time could attest that people disappear with annoying frequency, so why shouldn’t Mario?
Then I noticed that Mario’s last name in William Manchester’s biography, The Last Lion, Vol. 1, is spelled C-o-n-s-t-a-s-i-n-o (note the extra “s”).
Going back to Ancestry.com, I did a Soundex search on “Mario Constasino.” This produced 6 “hits” in the 1930 Census, only one of which (because of birth dates) could have been our man: Mario Constantino, born in about 1895, who lived in Brooklyn. This Mario was widowed, and had a son, Michael (8), and a daughter, Anita (2 yrs. 10 mths). No sisters. Not our guy.
I think if we’re going to get to the bottom of this, we’re going to need somebody to go through the original documents, particularly police reports filed at the time. Was Mario Contasino an alias? Is there other identifying information in the police report (date of birth, a different address, or, very desirably, a different spelling of the name)?Bob Miller
Excellent stuff – this is exactly the sort of thing that we’d hoped to see when we started the blog, so if anybody else can help the search for Mario or his family, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.