Unusual question re: Italian connection and how to best make contact

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mjclayton1
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Unusual question re: Italian connection and how to best make contact

Post by mjclayton1 » 04 Jul 2015, 06:24

Hello, Good People-

My long-time girlfriend and I are traveling to Italy in September (my 1st time - yay!). Her surname (Saisi) is prominent in il comune di Gallicano di Lucca. In fact, her surname is il corrente Sindaco. How does one go about making inquiry as to a possible genealogical connection? I don't want to waste anyone's time here (or there, for that matter... or perhaps even offend someone in Italy), but it seems like there has to be a "cugina" connection somehow, distant as it may be...

Any suggestions?

My historical research goes back to the 1800's, but is inconclusive in many respects (yet quite conclusive in others). That fact aside, we have had a long time to plan this trip and now that it is almost upon us I'm sort of at a loss as to my genealogical "plan." We will spend several days in the Lucca area, but as much as I've tried to study Italian (for both me and her) I will only be able to communicate in Italian in a very modest (simple) way. Yet I continue to tell myself that this may be a "once in a lifetime" experience for me that I don't want to leave certain matters unresolved...

Inoltre, so che c'e un negozio con la tua cognome in Lucca, ma non so che cosa fare (I also know there is a store with her surname in Lucca, but I don't what to do). Forse siamo semplicemente presentarsi (maybe we simply show up)?

I realize this question is both genealogical and location-relted (not to mention a bit "complicated"), but I've submitted it here nonetheless. Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.

Molte grazie,
Mark

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Re: Unusual question re: Italian connection and how to best make contact

Post by PippoM » 04 Jul 2015, 15:44

Well, first of all, have you done a genealogical study for HER family?
Giuseppe "Pippo" Moccaldi

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Re: Unusual question re: Italian connection and how to best make contact

Post by mjclayton1 » 04 Jul 2015, 17:59

Hi, Pippo. Yes, I have a somewhat detailed ancestry dot com tree that I have spent many months building (over 200 people; not a ton, but not too shabby for a novice like me, either). For example, I have certain Italian birth and marriage records from the late 1800's (Carol's paternal great-grandparents), plus references in other records of other lineal descendants that identify other known names (but I don't have "specific" records as to them). The gap of availability of online records between 1807-1812 (generally speaking, a goodly portion of Napoleonic rule)... and the early to mid 1860's (unification) has been frustrating to me. I realize there are "centers" that one can go to to obtain film for this era, but I just have not had the time to commit to doing that.

Beyond that, although I've had some success (here and there) in sifting through the online data, often I get frustrated because I simply can't commit the time needed to do exhaustive searches (plus I usually get side-tracked with "life" matters). I don't expect miracles here. I just wonder if there's an appropriate way to send a letter/inquiry to the Gallicano administrative types to see if they could perhaps provide further details (and/or provide access/information) as to a particular surname. I know these are busy folks who need to do far more important jobs... It just seems like I'd be missing an opportunity to somehow further my research while there, if only briefly, if I don't try advance contact on some level.

For example, would it make sense to retain a local historian that could perhaps meet me for a half day when I'm there? Would the officials grant us access to any local records? Unless these officials speak some english, seems like I could really use the translator liaison...

I know I'm just rambling now and am perhaps not being very realistic in terms of what amounts to a fairly brief visit. I'm sure there are far more organized types that invest far more time and effort, yet achieve far less, but I nonetheless am interested in hearing some diverse Board thoughts on the subject. Thanks again...

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Re: Unusual question re: Italian connection and how to best make contact

Post by PippoM » 06 Jul 2015, 08:16

If her latest ancestors born in Gallicano were of the late XIX century, it is likely that someone there can find a connection.
Giuseppe "Pippo" Moccaldi

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Re: Unusual question re: Italian connection and how to best make contact

Post by parkergambino » 12 Oct 2017, 20:48

This is patently late for Mark's visit, and I'm not always clear on how active old threads remain. Nonetheless, perhaps useful for someone in some way. This year my family visited Sicily for the first time. I wanted my first impression to not be too shabby, and since I couldn't be clear about how casually or formally (or offensively??) the message would be received, my default was to start with brevity and formality. This was my process:

1. I obtained addresses for the relevant cognomes from the on-line white pages site https://profilo.paginebianche.it/social ... anding.jsp.

2. Then I composed a message in English, and used Google Translate to put it into Italian. I printed out both versions of the message, Italian first, on the same sheet. I did not want people to receive some xerox copy of anything, so for each person I found in white pages, there was a distinctive salutation to begin the message. I've put my example at the end of this post.

3. I got some nice greeting cards with an appealing design and blank insides, where I wrote out by hand (in Italian) the expected dates we would be around, and that perhaps we would see each other soon. I enclosed the more extensive individualized printed message.

4. I sent out introductions/requests via snail mail.

5. We got back 4 hits from my grandmother's ancestral village, Castelbuono - 3 emails and one phone call. When I replied to the emails, I included an attachment of a pedigree diagram. Whenever I sent followup emails, I always first composed a message in English (using MS Word), then used Google Translate to put it into Italian. I included both versions, the Italian first followed by the English. That way in case there was something awkward in the Italian version, the reader could refer to the English to obtain an otherwise better translation.

6. We were blessed to actually connect with cousins who were gracious and generous, one of the profound experiences of my past decade (at least!).

7. Three of the respondent "hits" were from people whom I was unable to identify as blood relatives. I also met (or conversed on phone) with these people as well - that's just courtesy - and for two of them I was able to offer genealogical insight about their lineages, which they appreciated. And it may be that with a little more digging (into the pre-1862 records, haven't done those yet), some blood linkage may yet be discovered.

-----------------------------
Here's my philosophy and advice about using Google Translate:

Try to do the heavy lifting yourself in advance, to make it as easy as possible for the recipient to understand and to be guided towards a favorable response.

Make the English sentences as simple and brief as possible; probably better to break complex thoughts into several brief sentences than to join them in a complex fashion with conjunctions, conditionals, etc. Totally avoid using English idioms, don't expect these to be handled well by the machine. For example, in English I might say to a friend "Catch you later", but for purposes here I would start with "I will visit with you later". And keep an eye out for terms that might have several different context-based or nuanced meanings; discard these in favor of unambiguous terminology. Even the use of the term "later" in the above example could be the slightest bit tricky.

Rather than have GT translate an entire paragraph, I build my message by composing and translating a series of short sentences. And with each sentence, I would scrutinize the Italian to evaluate whether it "seemed" (yes, kind of subjective) accurate. A few times, when it didn't seem quite right, I played the translate-go-round game - taking the translated Italian text and retranslating it to English, and made a few changes accordingly.

Only after I had a complete Italian message followed by the original English message in MS Word format did I paste it into an email as the final step.

This is a tedious procedure, eating up a bit of computer time. Call me OCD or just particular, but I didn't want the presentation to look like a patched together piece of crap with an assortment of fonts, sizes, and crazy formatting. The younger generations were telling me to be more "efficient", to just send a message in English and let Gmail's translation service take care of business. But I'm old-school stubborn and (unlike them) more wary of trusting any automated services. And just to make the point, I did get a message back from "Bertola Christmas", which took some spinning around (and then amusement) in my mind to mentally convert to the sender's name: "Natale Bertola".

-----------------------------

Here is the initial message that I sent out using the above method. It wouldn't surprise me if some in the forum can make even better (and welcome) translations.

Ciao Angelo Botta,

Il prossimo mese sarà in visita la Sicilia per la prima volta. Sono interessato a conoscere gli altri membri della mia famiglia, entrambi i miei antenati morti e parenti che vivono. Mia nonna, Anna Bertola, è venuto da Castelbuono; alcuni altri antenati hanno i cognomi Barreca, Botta e Ortolano.

Mi piacerebbe trovare e incontrare i miei parenti in Sicilia, ma non so per certo che io e te siamo relazionato. Sto contattando per vedere se si desidera incontrare, di condividere le informazioni e forse fotografie. Le sei persone nella mia famiglia più vicina saranno nella zona di Castelbuono dal 13-20 aprile. Per favore avvisami se siete interessati a incontrare. Il modo migliore è quello di utilizzare il mio indirizzo e-mail qui sotto.

Grazie mille,

Parker Gambino
parkergambino@gmailcom
USA telephone #########
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hello Angelo Botta,

Next month I will be visiting Sicily for the first time. I am interested to learn about other members of my family, both my dead ancestors and living relatives. My grandmother, Anna Bertola, came from Castelbuono; some other ancestors have the surnames Barreca, Botta and Ortolano.

I would enjoy finding and meeting my relatives in Sicily, but I do not know for certain that you and I are related. I am contacting you to see if you would like to meet to share information and perhaps photographs. The six people in my closest family will be in the Castelbuono area from April 13-20. Please let me know if you are interested to meet. The best way is to use my email address below.

Thank you,
Parker Gambino
parkergambino@gmailcom
USA telephone #########

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Re: Unusual question re: Italian connection and how to best make contact

Post by Rossonero3 » 13 Oct 2017, 16:02

parkergambino wrote:
12 Oct 2017, 20:48
This is patently late for Mark's visit, and I'm not always clear on how active old threads remain. Nonetheless, perhaps useful for someone in some way. This year my family visited Sicily for the first time. I wanted my first impression to not be too shabby, and since I couldn't be clear about how casually or formally (or offensively??) the message would be received, my default was to start with brevity and formality. This was my process:

1. I obtained addresses for the relevant cognomes from the on-line white pages site https://profilo.paginebianche.it/social ... anding.jsp.

2. Then I composed a message in English, and used Google Translate to put it into Italian. I printed out both versions of the message, Italian first, on the same sheet. I did not want people to receive some xerox copy of anything, so for each person I found in white pages, there was a distinctive salutation to begin the message. I've put my example at the end of this post.

3. I got some nice greeting cards with an appealing design and blank insides, where I wrote out by hand (in Italian) the expected dates we would be around, and that perhaps we would see each other soon. I enclosed the more extensive individualized printed message.

4. I sent out introductions/requests via snail mail.

5. We got back 4 hits from my grandmother's ancestral village, Castelbuono - 3 emails and one phone call. When I replied to the emails, I included an attachment of a pedigree diagram. Whenever I sent followup emails, I always first composed a message in English (using MS Word), then used Google Translate to put it into Italian. I included both versions, the Italian first followed by the English. That way in case there was something awkward in the Italian version, the reader could refer to the English to obtain an otherwise better translation.

6. We were blessed to actually connect with cousins who were gracious and generous, one of the profound experiences of my past decade (at least!).

7. Three of the respondent "hits" were from people whom I was unable to identify as blood relatives. I also met (or conversed on phone) with these people as well - that's just courtesy - and for two of them I was able to offer genealogical insight about their lineages, which they appreciated. And it may be that with a little more digging (into the pre-1862 records, haven't done those yet), some blood linkage may yet be discovered.

-----------------------------
Here's my philosophy and advice about using Google Translate:

Try to do the heavy lifting yourself in advance, to make it as easy as possible for the recipient to understand and to be guided towards a favorable response.

Make the English sentences as simple and brief as possible; probably better to break complex thoughts into several brief sentences than to join them in a complex fashion with conjunctions, conditionals, etc. Totally avoid using English idioms, don't expect these to be handled well by the machine. For example, in English I might say to a friend "Catch you later", but for purposes here I would start with "I will visit with you later". And keep an eye out for terms that might have several different context-based or nuanced meanings; discard these in favor of unambiguous terminology. Even the use of the term "later" in the above example could be the slightest bit tricky.

Rather than have GT translate an entire paragraph, I build my message by composing and translating a series of short sentences. And with each sentence, I would scrutinize the Italian to evaluate whether it "seemed" (yes, kind of subjective) accurate. A few times, when it didn't seem quite right, I played the translate-go-round game - taking the translated Italian text and retranslating it to English, and made a few changes accordingly.

Only after I had a complete Italian message followed by the original English message in MS Word format did I paste it into an email as the final step.

This is a tedious procedure, eating up a bit of computer time. Call me OCD or just particular, but I didn't want the presentation to look like a patched together piece of crap with an assortment of fonts, sizes, and crazy formatting. The younger generations were telling me to be more "efficient", to just send a message in English and let Gmail's translation service take care of business. But I'm old-school stubborn and (unlike them) more wary of trusting any automated services. And just to make the point, I did get a message back from "Bertola Christmas", which took some spinning around (and then amusement) in my mind to mentally convert to the sender's name: "Natale Bertola".

-----------------------------

Here is the initial message that I sent out using the above method. It wouldn't surprise me if some in the forum can make even better (and welcome) translations.

Ciao Angelo Botta,

Il prossimo mese sarà in visita la Sicilia per la prima volta. Sono interessato a conoscere gli altri membri della mia famiglia, entrambi i miei antenati morti e parenti che vivono. Mia nonna, Anna Bertola, è venuto da Castelbuono; alcuni altri antenati hanno i cognomi Barreca, Botta e Ortolano.

Mi piacerebbe trovare e incontrare i miei parenti in Sicilia, ma non so per certo che io e te siamo relazionato. Sto contattando per vedere se si desidera incontrare, di condividere le informazioni e forse fotografie. Le sei persone nella mia famiglia più vicina saranno nella zona di Castelbuono dal 13-20 aprile. Per favore avvisami se siete interessati a incontrare. Il modo migliore è quello di utilizzare il mio indirizzo e-mail qui sotto.

Grazie mille,

Parker Gambino
parkergambino@gmailcom
USA telephone #########
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hello Angelo Botta,

Next month I will be visiting Sicily for the first time. I am interested to learn about other members of my family, both my dead ancestors and living relatives. My grandmother, Anna Bertola, came from Castelbuono; some other ancestors have the surnames Barreca, Botta and Ortolano.

I would enjoy finding and meeting my relatives in Sicily, but I do not know for certain that you and I are related. I am contacting you to see if you would like to meet to share information and perhaps photographs. The six people in my closest family will be in the Castelbuono area from April 13-20. Please let me know if you are interested to meet. The best way is to use my email address below.

Thank you,
Parker Gambino
parkergambino@gmailcom
USA telephone #########

Hi Parker, this is great information and I think some people here may find it useful. Actually I wish I had done something similar when I visited my ancestral commune last April. I was only there for a couple of days and it was more about 'seeing' where my ancestors came from but also to go the Anagrafe to obtain a couple of documents. As I walked around the few frazioni where my ancestors lived within the commune, (actually there's even a frazione of my surname) I did come across surnames that were of my family, however there really was no one around, it seemed everyone was either at work in a city somewhere or inside their own homes. These frazioni of mine are very small, literally a couple hundred people each, the entire commune i believe is maybe two thousand. Anyways, what you did is something I'd like to pursue in the future and hat's off to you for taking the initiative for doing so. It's really great that you received responses and met people.
As for your letter, I think it would be very helpful for other members here if a native speaker(s) improved upon your 'google translation' with proper verbiage etc. I can get by with what I know but i'm far from fluent, however i can see a few words/phrases that could be changed, for instance i believe the word you used for 'related' (relazionato) is more used to inform or relate information and probably should have been the verb 'imparentare' instead. So it would read 'siamo imparentati' (we are related). Also when speaking with someone and you say a phrase like, 'please let me know if....' I've always used the phrase "fammi sapere" or "fatemi sapere", perhaps less formal but more common.
Either way, great work and great idea.

Mark
Researching areas - Marzano Appio, Caserta and Carinola, Caserta

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Re: Unusual question re: Italian connection and how to best make contact

Post by Italysearcher » 13 Oct 2017, 16:41

As someone who does this sort of 'connection' regularly for visitors to the town of origin I prefer to do the research first, looking for siblings of the ancestor who left Italy. Then coming down the tree (always within the laws of privacy) to someone born within a living persons memory. Since first names are repeated every other generation it is so easy to get confused about THEIR ancestors. They often say the 'remember' someone who died before they were born. If I can say ' these are your American cousins - their Grandfather was YOUR Grandfathers brother, it falls into place for them. See my website for success stories of this nature.
Ann Tatangelo
Tours, certificates and research in Lazio
http://angelresearch.wordpress.com
ANNOYING THE SAINTS - Stories of my Life in Italy. http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-b ... ly/7731505

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Re: Unusual question re: Italian connection and how to best make contact

Post by datxcali » 14 Oct 2017, 14:09

parkergambino wrote:
12 Oct 2017, 20:48
This is patently late for Mark's visit, and I'm not always clear on how active old threads remain. Nonetheless, perhaps useful for someone in some way. This year my family visited Sicily for the first time. I wanted my first impression to not be too shabby, and since I couldn't be clear about how casually or formally (or offensively??) the message would be received, my default was to start with brevity and formality. This was my process:

1. I obtained addresses for the relevant cognomes from the on-line white pages site https://profilo.paginebianche.it/social ... anding.jsp.

2. Then I composed a message in English, and used Google Translate to put it into Italian. I printed out both versions of the message, Italian first, on the same sheet. I did not want people to receive some xerox copy of anything, so for each person I found in white pages, there was a distinctive salutation to begin the message. I've put my example at the end of this post.

3. I got some nice greeting cards with an appealing design and blank insides, where I wrote out by hand (in Italian) the expected dates we would be around, and that perhaps we would see each other soon. I enclosed the more extensive individualized printed message.

4. I sent out introductions/requests via snail mail.

5. We got back 4 hits from my grandmother's ancestral village, Castelbuono - 3 emails and one phone call. When I replied to the emails, I included an attachment of a pedigree diagram. Whenever I sent followup emails, I always first composed a message in English (using MS Word), then used Google Translate to put it into Italian. I included both versions, the Italian first followed by the English. That way in case there was something awkward in the Italian version, the reader could refer to the English to obtain an otherwise better translation.

6. We were blessed to actually connect with cousins who were gracious and generous, one of the profound experiences of my past decade (at least!).

7. Three of the respondent "hits" were from people whom I was unable to identify as blood relatives. I also met (or conversed on phone) with these people as well - that's just courtesy - and for two of them I was able to offer genealogical insight about their lineages, which they appreciated. And it may be that with a little more digging (into the pre-1862 records, haven't done those yet), some blood linkage may yet be discovered.

-----------------------------
Here's my philosophy and advice about using Google Translate:

Try to do the heavy lifting yourself in advance, to make it as easy as possible for the recipient to understand and to be guided towards a favorable response.

Make the English sentences as simple and brief as possible; probably better to break complex thoughts into several brief sentences than to join them in a complex fashion with conjunctions, conditionals, etc. Totally avoid using English idioms, don't expect these to be handled well by the machine. For example, in English I might say to a friend "Catch you later", but for purposes here I would start with "I will visit with you later". And keep an eye out for terms that might have several different context-based or nuanced meanings; discard these in favor of unambiguous terminology. Even the use of the term "later" in the above example could be the slightest bit tricky.

Rather than have GT translate an entire paragraph, I build my message by composing and translating a series of short sentences. And with each sentence, I would scrutinize the Italian to evaluate whether it "seemed" (yes, kind of subjective) accurate. A few times, when it didn't seem quite right, I played the translate-go-round game - taking the translated Italian text and retranslating it to English, and made a few changes accordingly.

Only after I had a complete Italian message followed by the original English message in MS Word format did I paste it into an email as the final step.

This is a tedious procedure, eating up a bit of computer time. Call me OCD or just particular, but I didn't want the presentation to look like a patched together piece of crap with an assortment of fonts, sizes, and crazy formatting. The younger generations were telling me to be more "efficient", to just send a message in English and let Gmail's translation service take care of business. But I'm old-school stubborn and (unlike them) more wary of trusting any automated services. And just to make the point, I did get a message back from "Bertola Christmas", which took some spinning around (and then amusement) in my mind to mentally convert to the sender's name: "Natale Bertola".

-----------------------------

Here is the initial message that I sent out using the above method. It wouldn't surprise me if some in the forum can make even better (and welcome) translations.

Ciao Angelo Botta,

Il prossimo mese sarà in visita la Sicilia per la prima volta. Sono interessato a conoscere gli altri membri della mia famiglia, entrambi i miei antenati morti e parenti che vivono. Mia nonna, Anna Bertola, è venuto da Castelbuono; alcuni altri antenati hanno i cognomi Barreca, Botta e Ortolano.

Mi piacerebbe trovare e incontrare i miei parenti in Sicilia, ma non so per certo che io e te siamo relazionato. Sto contattando per vedere se si desidera incontrare, di condividere le informazioni e forse fotografie. Le sei persone nella mia famiglia più vicina saranno nella zona di Castelbuono dal 13-20 aprile. Per favore avvisami se siete interessati a incontrare. Il modo migliore è quello di utilizzare il mio indirizzo e-mail qui sotto.

Grazie mille,

Parker Gambino
parkergambino@gmailcom
USA telephone #########
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hello Angelo Botta,

Next month I will be visiting Sicily for the first time. I am interested to learn about other members of my family, both my dead ancestors and living relatives. My grandmother, Anna Bertola, came from Castelbuono; some other ancestors have the surnames Barreca, Botta and Ortolano.

I would enjoy finding and meeting my relatives in Sicily, but I do not know for certain that you and I are related. I am contacting you to see if you would like to meet to share information and perhaps photographs. The six people in my closest family will be in the Castelbuono area from April 13-20. Please let me know if you are interested to meet. The best way is to use my email address below.

Thank you,
Parker Gambino
parkergambino@gmailcom
USA telephone #########
Great info! Thanks! :D

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Re: Unusual question re: Italian connection and how to best make contact

Post by jennabet » 14 Oct 2017, 14:34

All nice in extensive preparation but not at all necessary. I walked into the office of the commune in Abruzzo, presented my American ID and obtained a copy of my grand-father's birth certificate. Next the sindaco picked up the phone and called my father's first cousin and I was at his home having dinner the very same night. He, then of course, gathered all of the other relatives to meet with me on other days while I was in Italy.

Likewise when we walked into my companion's commune in Calabria, the worker there told him exactly who his relatives remaining in the commune were and assigned an employee to take us up the street to visit the house where his grand-father was born and gave him the phone numbers of cousins to contact.

Here's the thing. In most cases, the descendants of the relatives your ancestor left when he went to America are still there. They did not move away and life continued for them pretty much as it had always been. These family names are, of course, well known to anyone in the town and most definitely to commune officials. All you have to do is ask.

On my other side of the family, I asked the first elderly man I saw in the street. He not only remembered my grand-father but he also remembered my uncle and told me about seeing him and his wife "all dressed up in American clothes" when they went back to the town for a visit after WWII. That elderly man led me to another cousin who I was shocked to find was a double of my father.

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Re: Unusual question re: Italian connection and how to best make contact

Post by Italysearcher » 15 Oct 2017, 11:31

Like I said before, it's important to be able to name a person who would be remembered by those alive today.
Ann Tatangelo
Tours, certificates and research in Lazio
http://angelresearch.wordpress.com
ANNOYING THE SAINTS - Stories of my Life in Italy. http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-b ... ly/7731505

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Re: Unusual question re: Italian connection and how to best make contact

Post by datxcali » 20 Oct 2017, 05:12

jennabet wrote:
14 Oct 2017, 14:34
All nice in extensive preparation but not at all necessary. I walked into the office of the commune in Abruzzo, presented my American ID and obtained a copy of my grand-father's birth certificate. Next the sindaco picked up the phone and called my father's first cousin and I was at his home having dinner the very same night. He, then of course, gathered all of the other relatives to meet with me on other days while I was in Italy.

Likewise when we walked into my companion's commune in Calabria, the worker there told him exactly who his relatives remaining in the commune were and assigned an employee to take us up the street to visit the house where his grand-father was born and gave him the phone numbers of cousins to contact.

Here's the thing. In most cases, the descendants of the relatives your ancestor left when he went to America are still there. They did not move away and life continued for them pretty much as it had always been. These family names are, of course, well known to anyone in the town and most definitely to commune officials. All you have to do is ask.

On my other side of the family, I asked the first elderly man I saw in the street. He not only remembered my grand-father but he also remembered my uncle and told me about seeing him and his wife "all dressed up in American clothes" when they went back to the town for a visit after WWII. That elderly man led me to another cousin who I was shocked to find was a double of my father.
Italysearcher wrote:
15 Oct 2017, 11:31
Like I said before, it's important to be able to name a person who would be remembered by those alive today.
This is much easier said than done, depending on the generation gap. My great grandparents left Italy and never went back. So no one alive would remember them today.

My great aunt went back to Italy fairly often so I'm hoping that some of the living people remember her coming to visit.

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Re: Unusual question re: Italian connection and how to best make contact

Post by Italysearcher » 20 Oct 2017, 09:19

Think about how old they would have been when she visited. You would need to find someone who was at least a teenager at the time.
Ann Tatangelo
Tours, certificates and research in Lazio
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jennabet
Master
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Posts: 1232
Joined: 14 Jul 2010, 20:28
Location: Ancestral Homeland - Abruzzo Italy

Re: Unusual question re: Italian connection and how to best make contact

Post by jennabet » 21 Oct 2017, 15:26

It would depend. Many Italians have longevity. In my region, people in their 90's are still going about the town as they always did. It's quite common to find men of that age occupying town benches taking the sun so it's not impossible to find someone who knows your family and remembers when part of that family left the town to emigrate to America.

aledeniz
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Joined: 24 Oct 2017, 18:43

Re: Unusual question re: Italian connection and how to best make contact

Post by aledeniz » 24 Oct 2017, 19:38

datxcali wrote:
20 Oct 2017, 05:12
This is much easier said than done, depending on the generation gap. My great grandparents left Italy and never went back. So no one alive would remember them today.
My parents gave me my grandfathers' names as middle names.
My parental grandfather's forename is extremely rare, but I thought it may have been common in his hometown.
I once visited his hometown, and I found out that forename was extremely rare there as well.
The next time I met my paternal grandfather, I asked him where his name came from.
He told me that his mother had an older brother who left for the Americas before he was born in 1913, and no one ever heard from him anymore. As she was missing her brother, she called her son after him.
This conversation happened more or less 30 years ago.
Last year I found the birth record of this great-uncle, and I managed to match it with someone in USA. He had anglicised both his name and surname. I found a number of descendants and I managed to contact them, mostly because they had tried to search on their ancestry, but had found a brick wall due the surname change.
If they had been luckier, and would have managed to contact me first, I would have known about their ancestor, even though this great-uncle left Sicily in 1907, that's it 109 years before, because I knew there was a great-uncle with that name lost in the Americas before 1913.
By the way, it turns out he actually tried to return to Europe, he volunteered in the first world war, and ended up in the training camps in Ireland, but the war ended before his deployment, and they shipped him back to the States.

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