In 1913 at the age of 28 years old George Pantazides left his wife Neranzo (Nora) and their two daughters Alexandria and Anna. He set sail for the United States of America in search of a better life for his family. He traveled with Nick Margaretopoulos who was his wife's 23 year old cousin. They arrived at Ellis Island on October 15, 1913. George spent several years in the United States with out his family in order to establish a home and employment in Fremont, Ohio. In 1916 George finally sent for his family. His wife Neranzo (Nora) and their two daughters Alexandria and Anna all traveled with several other family members. These family members included Chrissi Andrcon and her three sons Gregorion (Gregory) Pantazides, Antonio (Tony) Andrcon, Nikola (Nick) Andrcon and Anthipi Pantazides who was married to Gregory Pantazides. They set sail on a ship by the name of the Caserta. Their port of departure was Naples, Campania & Italy per Ellis Island records. As of today's date I can not find any record of Nora or her two children coming into the United States via Ellis Island. I was told by my mother that Nora and her children traveled with her husband's family. I'm hoping my future research will help me find some type of record of Nora Pantazides (my great grandmother).
Through the years they added to their family with a total of 10 children. Keep in mind the Pantazides family had to change their last name to Bills (See Previous Post). These names include all 10 children. Alexandria Bills (1908-1972), Anna Bills (1912-2000), Clara Bills-My Grams (1917-2006), William Bills-died at birth (1920-1920), William Bills (1920-1996), Marius Bills (1922- ), Christine Bills (1925-1926), Sergius Bills (1927-2002), James Bills (1928-1981) and Andrew Bills (1928-1928). James and Andrew Bills were twin brothers. Andrew and Christine Bills passed away as children. These were all my amazing uncles and aunts. They were all beautiful and loving people. I couldn't of asked for a better family. I miss them dearly everyday. I miss my grams the most. There will always be a huge hole in my heart and soul. I think about her everyday and sometimes I even talk to her in the hopes that she hears me from the place that she now calls home. I love you grams! Marius Bills is the last surviving sibling and he is 86 years old. He is the last of his generation. It saddens me to think that this soon will be the end of an marvelous era.
The following story was told to me by my grandmother. These are her words.
Our family owned a little restaurant called Red Hots located near 12th Street and Grand River in down town Detroit. It was close enough for my dad to walk to work. No car needed. This was during the time of the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The police station was near by so many of the officers were regulars that George Pantazides became friends with.
During the great depression many of the people were out of work and looking for food. Since my dad (George) owned the restaurant my brothers and sisters always had plenty of food to eat. Many times our family would meet to eat dinner together at Red Hots. We were never allowed to speak Greek in public. Only English. One time I came up to the restaurant to speak to my dad. He was busy talking to a Greek customer. I spoke in English to my father and this offended the customer. The customer wanted to know why I wasn't talking in Greek? My dad (George) explained to the customer that his family was American now. He stated that we should be proud to be American and for all the opportunities that America had to offer. The rule was that the children could only speak Greek at home in private. The Greek language was not allowed out of the house. Thanks grams for this precious story.
On the other hand Nora (Neranzo) refused to learn English and spoke very little. I was told by my mother that Nora did eventually become an American citizen I have yet to verify this. I was told she was a very sweet woman and very quiet. I wished that I could of met her. She passed away in 1962. Seven years before my birth. My mother loved her very much as I’m sure all her grandchildren did.
My grandmother always expressed how lucky she was to be an American. She had told me once that she had wished she had thanked her father George for coming here to the United States and making a good life for the family. She never did get that chance. George Pantazides passed away in 1940 due to a heart attack.
I'm going to continue my quest for information on my ancestors. So stay tuned for future post.
I have included a picture of my Greek family. This photo was given to me by my mother. The approximate date of this photo is 1925.
From Left to Right: Clara (my grams), Alexandria, George (father), Christine(Baby), Anna, Marius (little boy), Nora (mother) and William
This post is in memory of my sweet, stubborn, strong and courageous Greek grandmother who was loved by all. ( January 24th, 2007-August 30, 2006)