Exploring my Ancestry — A family history of surprises in Italy
Media is inundated today with ads for finding your ancestry. For many of us in New Jersey, the roots go back to Europe pretty quickly, and that's where things can get tricky.
Like myself a lot of you can trace your immigration to the end of the great European immigration of the early 20th Century. That was long before even the most basic of modern communication technology.
The only form of communication was by mail, and as in the case of my maternal grandparents, they couldn't even write. Travel by ship was the only way back and forth and the trip was grueling. Ties were broken and family connections were lost, sometimes forever.
Today's immigrants can wire money, talk on the phone, FaceTime, use social media and be seconds away from instant communication. Back then if someone left their village, it was almost like a death in the family. The chances of seeing them again were miniscule. That's what happened in my family and in many others here in New Jersey that are second or third generation.
We know what region of what country they came from, but that's about the extent of it. I wanted to tell my story of how I reconnected with my grandfather's family back in Calabria in Southern Italy starting in 2001. Maybe you can learn how to reconnect and open a whole new world for yourself and your family.
It's one of the best things I ever did in my life and I would love to share that potential joy with as many others as possible.
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