Sentimental JourneyJanuary 7, 2009 at 14:51 | Posted in family history, family research | Leave a comment
Tags: ancestors, immigration
This month is always a letdown from the holiday hustle and bustle. But it also is a welcome relief – December is not only Christmas but also an anniversary month but additionally a birthday month for more than five people in our family! Sigh…. but we love them all and would not ever want to ignore!
Unfortunately, this month has also seen the passing of a brother-in-law in Italy and a cousin here stateside. Both were people we loved and enjoyed being with. This bittersweet time has taken me on a very sentimental journey as I think about family and pick up my genealogy research again.
What courageous folks my husband’s ancestors were to make the journey here to the US shortly after the turn of the century. They had no idea for sure what they would face – only the promise of a better life by those they knew who had sent back word. And how did that word get back to them? Most were unable to read and write – education even for the young was only affordable by the very wealthy in Italy. TV was not available, not telephones, certainly not Internet. Yet these brave folks were sure that they would find a better life for their families. We have all seen photos of the big city tenements and sweatshops. Most immigrants would settle in neighborhoods where others of the same ethnic background lived in order to be able to speak to others. Language was a huge barrier for many in addition to learning new money, new attitudes, new ways of life.
Val’s family seemed to settle for the most part in New York and in Rhode Island. Cranston, Rhode Island became a little enclave of folks from Itri, Italy. Therefore many family traditions and Italian culture remain to this day. We are blessed that our family held on to some of those special memories. It is my hope that by taking the travel back in time working on their family tree, I will pass those same traditions — and wonderful values of family — on to our future generations.