Tags: ancestors, Carnival of Genealogy, famiglia, family, family history, family research, genealogy, Italy
When we were married I wasn’t terribly young but I was naive. I foolishly believed life would be happily forever after, the stuff of fairy tales. We were in love, what could go wrong? I had no idea my life would take to so many twists and turns, it would rival soap operas and reality TV. In his early 40′s Valentino was on his way to work one morning when he was rear ended in an auto accident. Although he walked away appearing unscathed, he ended in many surgeries and permanently disabled. We were grateful he was alive and not paralyzed. More importantly our sons still had their dad! Then one early morning a few years later my world crumbled still further. My cousin was her way home from work the evening before. Stopped to make a left turn to her street, she was broadsided by an individual on house arrest (and wearing an ankle bracelet) who passed a line of cars on the wrong side of the road at over 100 miles an hour. She was rushed to the trauma center, into surgery, and into ICU. That morning I planned on visiting her only to be summoning the ambulance for Valentino! It seemed he had what we at first thought was a blood clot but later learned was a calcified piece of a heart valve that broke loose. We then were totally decimated to learn he needed immediate further surgery to repair and replace the heart valves but that the doctors gave him only a 10% chance of surviving! So now family went from ICU to CICU, back and forth in total shock as we watched, waited, and prayed for these two young and vital people to respond and pull through!
Once the immediate crisis passed and we knew both would survive, we helped them begin the long road to recovery. It was during this time I realied not only how blessed we were but also how horribly fragile life is. And then I realized it was long distance calls to family overseas in Italy that sustained me much of the time. Yet our sons did not know most of this extended family even though Valentino and I did. So began a new chapter of my life. I bought software to start work on a family tree for the boys. I wanted to put names and faces to the extended family of aunts and uncles and cousins by the dozens literally for them. Then almost without realizing it, I was moving sideways into collateral lines and adding more people to the tree. We often referred to people as cousins but I knew they weren’t really the children of an aunt or uncle. Instead I would soon discover they were in reality second or third cousins! For me this was like working on a giant jigsaw puzzle. I wanted to fit all of the names and faces together into a bigger picture so to speak. Except now this puzzle had a lot more than a mere 1000 pieces and the borders weren’t straight edges of a rectangle – these were irregular and growing wider in some places while not in others! Here and there I would have two or three pieces that fit together nicely but I was (and still am) missing connecting pieces in many places. When you try to pick up a puzzle it usually falls apart unless you use some puzzle fixative or glue. The neat part about this family puzzle is that it doesn’t fall apart! The glue that holds it together is love, unending, unwavering love!
Tags: ancestors, famiglia, family, family history, family research, Italy, Itri, love of family, Peace, WWII
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.
Tags: ancestors, Campodimele, famiglia, family, family history, family research, Italy, Itri
– 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!
Pannozzo, Di Bratto, Picano, Antonelli, Fajola
Tags: ancestors, famiglia, family, family history, family research, genealogy, Italy, love of family, ramblings, Treasure Chest Thursday
Don Camillo Series by Giovanni Guareschi
(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!
Tags: ancestors, famiglia, family research, genealogy, photographs, WWII
In honor of Tombstone Tuesday here in Genealogy Blog-ville, and in honor of A. Coffin’s blog (great reading I might add!) at We Tree I am posting just a few photos of graveyards in Italy. It is interesting how the Italians have compensated for lack of available ground to bury their dead. Aside from the wall crypts, they also have chapels in each cemetery where after so many years, they remove the bones from graves and transfer them to bone rooms under the chapels. This too is consecrated area and where families place flowers and say prayers. Sadly the result is that not enough of the old graves exist for families to use then to track their ancestors. Records of those graveyards tend to also not be complete.
Tags: famiglia, family history, family research, genealogy, Hints and Tips, ramblings
So here I am “wasting a day” reading all my favorite blogs and I get introduced to another one (thanks to Generations Gone By - again I might add!) who set me to Genealogue which is one of the funniest sites with still offering great tips and information alike. Admittedly they also offer political commentary as befitting the subject but even if you do not agree, you will enjoy the humor! The information is great though and we should all want to be informed even if we end up disagreeing!
Tags: famiglia, family, family research, immigration, Italy, Itri, Peace, ramblings
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.
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 …
I 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 dreamed for so many years of living in Italy that I wonder if I would find what I dream about or not.
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 people 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.
It 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.
Tags: car rentals, famiglia, family history, family research, Internet, Italy, trip to Italy
4/11/2009 We have not been able to connect to the internet so I might have to save my blog posts and publish when I return to a connection. We have always rented cars through AutoEurope in the past without issue. This trip we again rented from them. However, this time the little Fiat we have rented is the most extremely uncomfortable car we have ever rented! Granted it is an economy car and small but the back seat is like a rock! Now to boot we find the cigarette lighter is not functioning properly. That means no charging cell phones or laptop! The transformer sparked when I plugged it in the electric plug in the house which made me considerably nervous about attempting to charge the laptop so I will wait a bit. Having a working cigarette lighter would have meant the laptop could be charged more easily. And that does not include the frustrations of the cell phones!
Today we went to TIM to see about my SIM card for the cell phone. Found out that AT&T will not let me use another SIM card for some odd reason – never had that issue before so not sure if it is an Italian thing or AT&T – but it was easier to ignore the remaining few Euros on the card and buy new card along with new little phone – it will be good for two years – a great bargain to have the convenience of a local phone to use!
So far everyone is very enthusiastic about the family history book I made – they are fascinated with the family history and want more! They are also excited about my intended project so will aid in all photography efforts and research with me! That was the best news because I was not sure if they would support the efforts or not! Tomorrow we will be in Tarquinia for Easter – Pasqua!
Tags: famiglia, family, family research, Italy, Itri, love of family, trip 2009
We arrived in Milano mid-morning. SwissAir was a very smooth flight but they have the tightest seats I have ever had the displeasure of occupying! Their service and their food made up for the seats – the staff were delightful. They served everyone with smiles!
After a quick cappuccino at the airport to refresh ourselves, we drove to our sister\’s apartment in Milano. After hugs and kisses all around, Maria served us an incredible meal. There were all of our favorites in one sitting! The artichokes and grilled vegetables were wonderful! Along with pasta we were treated to a family recipe of a mixed meat pie, cheeses, fruits, salad, fresh tomato pizza, and spinach pie. Enough food for an army! Naturally our plans to stay only a short while before leaving for Carpi were forgotten as we talked and talked. They enjoyed reading through the genealogy book we had brought and more family stories were shared. One interesting fact we learned explained some of the confusion about dates of marriages and births – seems we had a few minor errors that we knew had to be wrong but were never able to find correct information. Now we have it! The only problem we have encountered so far is not having enough time!
Tags: famiglia, family, family research, Italy, Itri, ramblings
We are suddenly and joyfully planning a trip to Itri. There have been many excited phone calls back and forth across the ocean making plans with family. This trip will not be as long as one as we have made in the past due to my work schedule here but what wonderful days we are planning on. It is the first trip back home in four years and that was much too long for us! Unlike previous trips we will not be doing touristy things this time. This trip is strictly to be with family and to recharge ourselves physically and emotionally at a place we consider home. We want to concentrate on family both present and past. We have lost loved ones since our last trip and we will be missing them as well as concentration on those left here to mourn. And then we will be working on the family of our past.
Valentino will take me on a “tour” once more of Itri – the Itri of his childhood. My goal in all of this is to photograph him along with others at all his old haunts. I want to gift our sons with a slideshow of their dad at all his favorite places (and maybe some not so favorite ones, too). Although the sons have all visited Itri, I wanted to put this together as something of a keepsake to accompany the family history work.
One of our other hoped for excursions will be to city hall to beg for some assistance. We need to find a record of at least one person on the maternal line so we can finally get some research done. So far that brick wall has not lost even a hint of the mortar holding it together! Needless to say I have double checked as many sources and citations as possible so I do not chase someone else’s family instead of our own! I do not want to waste any of our time as it will be a precious commodity this trip!
Packed and Ready….
The suitcases have been pulled out of their closet and dusted off. Two hard suitcases and two duffle bags are ready to make this trip. Clothes are washed, dried, folded (no ironing, thank you very much!) and ready to go. All the convertor plugs and transformers are packed. The Euro-plug blow dryer and curling iron are also packed. Those will remain in Itri so that our friends can also make use of them on their trip. Two cameras are packed along with the laptop accessories such as blank CD’s and of course extra family group sheets. Maps of the autostrade are packed just in case. Little granddaughters wanted to help me pack – and then were not so happy with the packing. It looked as if we planned to be away too long to satisfy them. “But grandma – if you don’t cook pasta zouli I will get hungry!” A few extra hugs were reassurance enough that grandma and grandpa would be home again soon enough.
I will be updating and posting as time allows – and as long as internet connections are available! Ciao!
We leave in less than 54 hours now! Not that I am counting – but I am! Ha!