Wordless Wednesday

August 19, 2009 at 10:19 | Posted in ancestry, Carnival of Genealogy, Fun Reminders of Italy, genealogy, Italy, Itri, Italy, Wordless Wednesday | Leave a comment
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Woman Carrying Water

Woman Carrying Water

 

Valentino with Prickly Fig Cactus on Farm

Valentino with Prickly Fig Cactus on Farm

Treasure Chest Thursday

August 14, 2009 at 09:04 | Posted in Amore di Italia, ancestry, Carnival of Genealogy, family history, family research, genealogy, Italy, Itri, Italy, Treasure Chest Thursday | Comments Off
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This is the childhood home most of the family remembers best in Itri, Italy. Thiswas not the home until after WWII as it was a replacement for the one destroyed during the war. But it is the one that holds a special place in their hearts because it represents safety, security, love, and family.

Childhood Home

Childhood Home

Wordless Wednesday

August 12, 2009 at 07:38 | Posted in Amore di Italia, ancestry, Carnival of Genealogy, family history, genealogy, Italy, Itri, Italy, Wordless Wednesday | Leave a comment
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La Famiglia

La Famiglia

Family after the War

 

View of Itri 2009

View of Itri 2009

Surname Saturday

August 8, 2009 at 07:47 | Posted in ancestry, Campodimele, Italy, Itri, Italy, Pannozzo, Surname Saturday | 4 Comments
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– Pannozzo Family of Campodimele

Our trip to Italy helped us to break a few bricks out of the wall that was preventing our research progress. As a result of information gathered in Campodimele with the help of some fantastic city employees, we were able to now further our research here at the local FHL. I was able to find a copy of the original marriage certificate for Nonno Valentino Pannozzo’s parents!

Valentino Pannozzo (grandfather to bonnieshusband) was the son of Onofrio Pannozzo and Maria Concetta DiBratto. On the marriage certificate date June 18th, 1849, we learned Onofrio’s father was Antonio Anselmo Pannozzzo and Onofrio’s mother was Paola Picano. We had learned Onofrio was born Fen 6th, 1826. Maria Concetta was born about 1825 based on her age at marriage. This also let us know that my mother-in-law Concetta was probably named in honor of her grandmother Maria Concetta. The certificate told us Maria Concetta was from the town of Fondi, located to the other side of Itri. Interestingly many of this maternal line still live in Fondi.

Using these newly discovered names, we were now able to push backwards one more generation. Antonio Pannozzo’s parents were Pietro Pannozzo and Maria Grazia Pannozzo. One fascinating fact about Campodimele is that the cemetery boast the names of Pannozzo, Pannozza, Pannozzi, and Pannozze frequently! Obviously many were probably cousins or cousins of cousins, etc. Paola Picano’s parents were Paolino Picano and Domenica Fajola. This takes those family lines back to probably mid 1700s.

Back on Onofrio and Maria Concetta’s marriage certificate we also learned the names of Maria Concetta’s parents. Her father was Rocco Di Bratto and her mother was Angela Antonelli. Moving into collateral lines we discovered several siblings of Onofrio and some of their offspring also. Although I had not been previously delving into too many collateral lines, this has begun to push in that direction. Itri was not that large of a town nor was Campodimele in this era. Therefore we are finding many names repeating and we are finding second marriages after the death of one or the other spouses. Many siblings will also name children after parents and grandparents so it is challenging to sort them out to the proper lines. As I progress I will probably move into extracting as many families from the records as I can. We were surprised how many times others would tell us they would love any information that we can offer on their families in Itri so this will be a labor of love and friendship as we go along!

Surnames:

Pannozzo, Di Bratto, Picano, Antonelli, Fajola

Furry Friends Friday

August 7, 2009 at 01:52 | Posted in ancestry, Bits and Pieces, Fun Reminders of Italy, Furry Friends Friday | Leave a comment
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For some if not many of us, our furry friends are beloved companions and members of the family. So in honor of the too often forgotten members who I think should deserve honorable mention on our family trees, I have started a Furry Friend Friday posting here too!

cats of Tollo

cats of Tollo

While visiting my sister-in-law in Tollo, Italy I was struck how her cats loved to bask in the warm sun near her brick ovens. When we returned home, I snapped this photo of our cat Java enjoying a similar sunny day!

Java in Oven

Java in Oven

This beauty is 19 years old and still as frisky as a kitten! My sons have grown up with him and he has been boss over all of our dogs as well as us — and most cats of the neighborhood too!

Treasure Chest Thursday

August 6, 2009 at 00:02 | Posted in ancestry, Bits and Pieces, family history, Fun Reminders of Italy, genealogy, Italy, Treasure Chest Thursday | 5 Comments
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Don Camillo Series by Giovanni Guareschi 

Original by Giovanni Guareschi for Don Camillo
Original by Giovanni Guareschi for Don Camillo

(copyrighted to Giovanni Guareschi)

I grew up in the small village of Easton, Connecticut.  Once a week, Samuel Staples Elementary School would walk a class over to the Town Hall basement to the town library. I would check out the maximum number of books allowed because I so loved to read. Soon I was through all of the books in my own division and the librarian made the decision to permit me more mature books. I discovered Don Camillo! Written by the Italian author Giovanni Guareschi, they were wonderfully written simple vignettes of Italian life in a Po River Valley town. The communist mayor was constantly battling the local parish priest. Aside from the flavorful way Guareschi presented an ageless moral and political struggle, this series seeped deep into my soul. I so loved these books, I hated to return them and would renew them over and over. Recently I was able to purchase old fragile copies of a few of them online and fell in love all over again. As a child they burned a dream into my heart of living in Italy but in time I got caught up in life and the dream was buried until I met Valentino. The visits to Itri awakened those dreams again. It was as if I had always known these familiar little villages and towns.

So this series of wonderful books is my offering to this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday. Make an effort to read these books and discover as I did the lure they have. They’re my treasure because they led me to a desire to know Italy. When I met and fell in love with my husband, it was the icing on my cake to fall in love with a native Italian! He is my real tresure and the reason my heart bursts and sings!

Open Doors…Closed Windows

May 26, 2009 at 09:08 | Posted in Amore di Italia, ancestry, Bits and Pieces, Itri, Italy | 2 Comments
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Most of us have heard the expression “God never closes a door that He doesn’t open a window…”. I personally believe that myself …but… doors and windows seem to evoke other feelings and thoughts for me.

052609_1307_OpenDoorsCl1.jpg

When I look at a door, a closed door, I want it opened. I want to see in that door. I walk past a closed door or window shuttered and I want to throw them all wide open – to peer into every corner. Not that I want to be the local peeping Tomasina or anything like that. Well, maybe I do??? Hmmm. Guess I might need to think about that…. Nah. I don’t. But I do want to see in all those closed doors and shuttered windows. I want to know who is behind Door # 1 and 2 and 3 and …


 052609_1307_OpenDoorsCl2.jpgI think about the people who live there, what their lives are like, what they wanted it to be like. Were they disappointed, happy, weary? I try to imagine myself inside those doors.. would I be happy there? Was life there what I wanted life to be or would I be disappointed, looking for something more? This is never more true than when I gaze on doors and windows in Italy. I have 052609_1307_OpenDoorsCl3.jpgdreamed for so many years of living in Italy that I wonder if I would find what I dream about or not.

052609_1307_OpenDoorsCl4.jpg

 But what about those doors and windows that are opened and can never be closed again? Those doors fascinate me even more, if that is possible. I wonder so about the people who lived behind them at one time. Were they there when tragedy struck? Were they a happy group or were they simply getting by emotionally and physically? Did they have the same dreams and prayers that I do or were they too busy to think about a future? Or were they dreaming of emigrating to somewhere else…were they looking for a new life? Why is it I see those 052609_1307_OpenDoorsCl5.jpgpeople as someone with feelings and emotions and dreams and hopes for the future? I can almost hear their laughter around the table as fathers and mothers sit with their families. The sounds seem to still drift from those windows. 052609_1307_OpenDoorsCl7.jpg
 052609_1307_OpenDoorsCl6.jpgIt bothers me more that in today’s crazy world, others can look at the ruins and see joy that an enemy is destroyed. Do they not hear the cries of the children? Do they not think of the pain of the mothers who weep for their children? Do they not see the people as people? For me I wonder if those families heard the bombs, knew the last seconds of terror that they would die? When I see the bombed ruins of Italy I wonder so about those precious souls. My own mother in law heard the planes coming. She ran out from her house to see the plane aiming low and she sought refuge in the arched door of a church. She survived but hundreds died that day and 65% of the town was destroyed. These people who were farmers for the most part – and certainly no one the soldiers needed to fear. But the enemies were hiding in barns and alleys and other buildings and needed to be routed out. Those buildings sit still as silent reminders to the horrors of war but I listen instead for the laughter of the children, the joy of the parents. I chose to remember the families who lived there and see them like myself dreaming of a better future for the children. Throw open those closed doors and windows… maybe sunlight will allow others to see and hear them too. 052609_1307_OpenDoorsCl8.jpg

Cooking with Family… or… How I hate to Diet!

March 13, 2009 at 17:04 | Posted in ancestry, family history, Itri, Italy | 2 Comments
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We’re a typical Italian family (even if I am was not born Italian, my husband claims I am one now thanks to 32 years of marriage with him!). This means most of life takes place around the dining room table – or in the kitchen, laughing, yelling, crying… all the stuff that makes a family real and vibrant and breathing! It seems almost every family story starts or ends in the kitchen, sitting eating, or cooking! We have four young adult sons who all still enjoy returning home to family meals — and now our granddaughters are falling right into line.

We laugh till we cry when the girls start begging mommy to let them go to grandma and grandpa’s house because they are hungry. Meg visits several days a week for lunch and enjoys grandpa’s fresh baked bread. Katie and Julie insist it is “pasta zoulie” at our house that is best. That’s pasta fagioli (pasta and beans) for the rest of you!

So this Christmas I visited the MyCanvas program on ancestry.com to make a family cookbook for everyone. I realized that those times in the kitchen were pretty special about the time the sons had good friends returning on furlough from the service who came to visit, too. We are “mom and pops’ to a lot of great guys who have been friends for most of their lives with our sons. Yet these young men so mature and even married will still look forward to “coming home for dinner” at our table!

So it was that I decided to make family our own family cookbook. I filled it with photos of great meals over the years, someof us in the kitchen actually cooking, and, of course, the finished presentation! Each recipe page featured a few lines about who taught me the recipe or who was the best at making it or when we enjoyed it the most. Anything that would make the recipe relevant to each other and remind them years from now of family times together no matter where life takes them. Hopefully it will be the memories of long talks until late in the evening at the big table that will guide and sustain them no matter what curves life throws them or what the economy does or who comes into or leaves their lives. Because as every Italian knows, if the sauce is cooking and the smell is tempting them to stir the pot and dip a piece of bread, Mama and Papa’s love is still surrounding them, embracing them, holding them tight!

Try this sure to please everyone recipe:

Spaghetti Carbonara

1 lb. bacon 2-4 eggs 1/4 cup basil

2- 4 tblspns. cream (I use milk)

at least 8 ounces grated cheese – good quality 1-2 lbs. spaghetti

Brown bacon until crispy and crumbly. St aside. Drain pan but reserve 2 tblspns. bacon grease. Add cream to the bacon grease and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Set pan aside. Boil spaghetti. While it is boiling, scramble eggs in separate bowl. add basil and cheese to the raw eggs and mix. It will be a thick batter consistency. When pasta is cooked, drain and rinse. Add back to pot – add warm milk and bacon grease to pasta – then stir in egg and cheese mixture. The heat of the cooked pasta and warm milk will “cook” the raw eggs. Toss well with the crumbled bacon, reserving some as garnish – put in large bowl – top with last of crumbled bacon. Once they stop eating the only thing you will hear is “Why didn’t you make more of this?”!

Tick, Tick, Tick…

March 11, 2009 at 14:33 | Posted in ancestry, family history, genealogy | Leave a comment
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If today’s post seems to ramble, bear with me – my thoughts and emotions are also rambling today. I hear the ticking of a clock in my head and I would rather not be hearing it. Today I am sixty… 60…. SIXTY… how did this happen? When? Why? I am not ready to be sixty….that is more than half my life gone. I do not feel sixty (although there are admittedly days I feel 120 but that’s another post some other day).I am still trying to come to grips with forty. Yes, the photo found here online is current. I just plain am not ready to be old. Who wants to be old..OLD?? Sigh. When I was young(er), I often would comment on women who tried to be younger than their age. This observation of course, does not apply to Sophia Loren .. probably one of the most beautiful women ever — someone I want to be just like when I finish growing up! Talk about gorgeous in style, looks, attitude!

See — told you I was rambling today! I wanted to grow old gracefully – be the gracious, sophisticated, even elegant older woman.  We seem to respect only youth and beauty – hence the booming plastic surgery statistics. It’s not that I want to undergo the knife – I just am not ready to give up energy, vitality, sexy life yet. Who is proud anymore of being their age? We all seem to want to be something we are not. For me it is not just tied up in a number. I never discuss age with anyone. I hate they think of me as old and over the hill (yeah.. I know dumb point given conceivably the entire world could be in the know now thanks to the Internet). At work, I strive to be a little better, a little more efficient, a little more organized, a little more knowledgable than the others to compensate for age. At home, I struggle to be more active, to do more work, again to belie my age. But it is still more than that. What have I accomplished in my life? It is more than half over – what do I have to show for it or have I wasted too much time? Even though I went to college for five years as a teen and twenty-something, I returned to college for a BS in Business Administration to update myself. I finished with a 3.8 overall – so old dogs do learn new tricks. I changed careers in my fifties from retail and office management to the medical field. I know I have contributed to saving lives. So that probably also counts for something. My husband and I together raised four great sons to adulthood. They are all successful in their own rights. That should count too. In the past I did church volunteering to feed hungry folks, taught classes at church for women’s groups, did church counseling. We have done emergency shelter care for families and for children when a need arose.

Yet, has it been enough? I realized today I have lived longer than my father – he died four weeks before his sixtieth birthday. Last month we celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary – by today’s standards, that is an accomplishment too. As I work on all the family records from Itri, I note the women in the family who died in their twenties and thirties. There are few records to detail why or how – life in old Italy was difficult and death early was not unusual. Did they have time to think about growing old? Did they want or expect to accomplish anything worthwhile or bigger than themselves — or did they consider being the best person they knew how to be enough?  Was their focus merely surviving – or did it entail wanting to make a better life for their children than they knew? Once again I find myself caught in thinking of the past generations. I want to know, to understand, to feel what they did — I want their lessons to be ones I learn and then pass on to the next generations to come. That is the accomplishment I seek – to pass that love of family above all to the next generations to anchor them no matter what they face.

Happy Birthday me.

Unexplained Urgency Part II

February 10, 2009 at 17:41 | Posted in ancestry, family research | Leave a comment
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There is an urgency in my spirit, a deep longing so intense it burns to “flesh out” the branches of our family tree. I feel almost consumed, obsessed with the desire to find more of the elusive branches and twigs of our tree. Almost like small black olives on the trees back on the family farm, these names cluster to form a bowlful on the table or a big jug of green oil, pungent and nurturing, but the seeds dropping to sprout more trees slowly slowly growing into a tree of their own. The bible talks of the sturdy olive tree planted by the waters, strong and ageless.

So it is with our Italian family – strong and steady, nurturing yet humble. I’ve not found poets, artists, famous or infamous persons — just common everyday folks like so many others. Villagers, farmers, charcoal makers, butchers – no candlestick maker yet. But they were solid people planted firmly in the earth of their homeland, never straying far from one another — seeming to take their strength from one another, from being so connected to family.

These are the ones now calling me with a greater urgency. As I find new members, the call gets stronger and more urgent. It becomes a persistent calling as if they say, “Hurry! Hurry — I am waiting! I’ve been waiting for so long!” What is it that these souls want? What secrets do they hold for us to discover? Is it that they want so to be remembered, to be known? Or is it more that they want me to be found? So they want us to know how wanted we were/are, expected, thought of, and even loved before we were? Is that their secret? They knew we would be part of them and they were content to live their lives knowing that the future would be secure in our hands as they passed that love of family above all else down to future generations?

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