Friday, January 9, 2015

Andrea "Andrew" Pampas, Sr. - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 1, "Fresh Start"

Amy Johnson Crow of has issued the 2015 Edition of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  Week 1's theme is "Fresh Start," and I have many ancestors in my tree that made sought out new beginnings.  I've decided to write about my maternal great-grandfather, Andrew Pampas, Sr.  He showed a spirit of adventure and determination,  starting a a young age, that I still find hard to imagine.  I hope you enjoy learning about his life!

Andrea "Andrew" Pampas, Sr.

According to his Declaration of Intent to become a naturalized United States citizen, Andrea "Andrew" Pampas, Sr., was born on 27 Oct 1900 in Piraeus, Greece.

Piraeus, Greece City Seal
Andrea "Andrew" Pampas' US Naturalization Declaration of Intent

His Social Security Number application, below, shows a different date of birth - 25 Oct 1899.  That same document lists his parents' names as Tony Pampas and Annie Rose.  Andrew asked that my grandmother to name aunt after his mother, Anna, so Annie's given name must have been Anna.  So far, I haven't been able to determine his original, Greek surname.

Andrew Pampas' Social Security Number Application
The back of this family photo shows yet another date of birth, 27 Oct 1901, and also indicates that he was born in Athens, Greece, rather than Piraeus.
Ola Mae Hodge Pampas and Andrew Pampas, Sr. - 1973
Back of Photo Above
For my genealogical purposes, I've chosen to use 27 Oct 1900 as his preferred date of birth and Piraeus as his preferred place of birth (perhaps in hopes that he didn't mislead the government on his naturalization paperwork!).  The documentation I've uncovered on him lists many different dates of birth, as well as alternates between his place of birth being Piraeus or Athens.

Seeking a fresh start, 15-year-old Andrea left his family in Greece, stowed away on a ship destined for America, and arrived in the Port of New Orleans, calling himself Andrew, on 15 Sep 1915.  (His date of arrival in the U.S. is documented the Declaration of Intent shown above.)

Once in America, he began working as a seaman based out of the Port of New Orleans.  Ships' passenger lists show that he worked in various roles, including as a Quartermaster and Cook, on commercial ships.  Some of the ships on which he worked were the SS Copan, SS Quimistan, SS Olancho, and SS Amapala.  He traveled between the Port of New Orleans and Puerto Cortés, Honduras, and Cristóbal, (Panama) Canal Zone, from the early 1920s through 1940.  Through working with men of many nationalities on these ships, he became multi-lingual.  According to his daughter-in-law (my maternal grandmother), Mildred Jane Litaker Pampas, he spoke seven languages including:  Greek, English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.  One ship's passenger list also documents his multi-lingual abilities.

SS Copan - courtesy of
SS Olancho
Document Showing Andrew's Employment on the SS Amapala

Andrew Pampas Serving As a Cook on One of the Ships on Which He Worked

After settling in Louisiana, my great-grandfather married three times.  His first marriage occurred on 07 Apr 1918 to a young woman named Emma Theresa Bernadina Netter (sometimes shown with the name "Emma Vitter").  She was the daughter of Samuel Netter, Jr., (b. 24 Mar 1877) and Laura Laine (b. 09 Apr 1883) .  Tragically, Emma died just over six months after their marriage on 22 Oct 1918.  I have not yet been able to determine her cause of death.

Pampas/Netter Marriage Notice from the 10 Apr 1918 New Orleans States Newspaper
Emma Netter Pampas' Final Resting Place in St. Roch Cemetery, New Orleans

Andrew's second marriage was to my great-grandmother, Margaret Eleanor Rodrigue, on 28 Mar 1923.  They had one child (my grandfather), Andrew Joseph Pampas, Jr., who was born 16 Jan 1923 in Algiers, Orleans Parish, Louisiana.

Andrew Joseph Pampas, Jr.'s Baptismal Record Listing His Parents' Names
Grandaddy with his mother, Margaret, and his step-father, Edward "Eddie" Hunn

His second marriage was also brief.  On page 29 of the 24 Apr 1926 edition of the Times-Picayune newspaper, an announcement was published indicating that Margaret had filed a divorce civil suit against Andrew just over three years after they married.

Public Announcement of Divorce Filing

About 1930, my great-grandfather married for the third and final time to Ola Mae Hodge of Florida.  From all I've heard our family say about their relationship, Ola Mae truly seemed to be the love of his life.  They had three children, two sons and a daughter, and remained married for the rest of his life.

Andrew and Ola Mae Pampas
Great-Grandaddy and Ola Mae in Cherokee, North Carolina - 1948.
They took this trip with two of their children, Bonnie and George.

One of the highlights of my great-grandfather's life in America was being naturalized as a U.S. citizen.  This special event occurred in New Orleans on 04 Jun 1942, and our living family vividly recalls how proud he was of this achievement.  An interesting note related to his citizenship is that, in order to be eligible to be naturalized, he had to spend time in jail for entering the U.S. illegally, as a stowaway, almost 27 years earlier.  I think that strongly demonstrates his level of passion about becoming a U.S. citizen.

Great-Grandaddy on the Naturalization Petitions Recommended to Be Granted - 04 Jun 1942
Andrew Pampas' United States Certificate of Naturalization - 04 Jun 1942

"Great-Grandaddy," as I call him, went on to live a full life residing in Gretna, Jefferson, Louisiana, with Ola Mae until his death at 6:00 am on 16 Nov 1973 in West Jefferson Hospital in Marrero, Jefferson, Louisiana.  His death was caused by bronchogenic carcinomas and a bleeding duodenal ulcer as shown below on his death certificate.  He was buried in Westlawn Cemetery in Gretna, on 16 Nov 1973.

Andrew Pampas' Obituary
Andrew Pampas' State of Louisiana Death Certificate
Andrew Pampas' Headstone in Westlawn Cemetery - Gretna, Louisiana
His remains are now at rest a long distance and many adventures away from where he began life in the seaside town of Piraeus, Greece.

©Amy Wood Kelly, 2015 - I am happy to share my genealogical research and writing with others, as well as to help others with their research efforts.  However, please do not reprint this post in full or in part or use excerpts from this post without giving full credit to me, Amy Wood Kelly, as the researcher and author as well as providing the permalink to this post.  Thank you, in advance, for showing respect for my request and the work I put into creating this post.

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