A few weeks ago I came across this show about a big discovery in South Africa of a humanoid previously unknown and I was completely immersed in it, finding their unearthing absolutely fascinating. One of the researchers then stated that the reason why he was interested in this finding is the same reason why anyone is interested in their ancestry. Somewhere, we realize that there is a little bit of them in us and we want to learn more.
As someone that is absolutely gaga over genealogy, I found complete truth in that. It’s not just who I look like, it’s about who my ancestors were. The first thing I want to know is what they did for a living, for example. The fact that my great-grandfather was a cheesemaker tickles me to no end.
Case in point, there are two branches of my mom’s family tree that are an absolute mystery to me. My dad’s ancestry is pure enough, it’s 100% middle european (north Italy & Germanic/French), and I even found Corradin’s near Trento (extremely close by to where my dad was born) in the 1500s. The biggest mystery on my dad’s tree is the last name, where it came from, why does it end in a consonant, and if there are any relations to similar last names without the final N or that have an I after the N or the Conrads of Germany. My mom though… hmmm.
My mom’s last name sounds Spanish. She always felt there had to be some Spaniards in her family tree, which was confirmed by the DNA. It had to be before the 1800s though, as I was able to trace her family tree to the mid-1800s and they all stated to have been born in Italy. That’s her dad’s side. Her mom’s side also has an intriguing mystery. Aside the fact that she inherited darker skin (darker than a normal Italian person), there was a story of her mom’s mom side of the family that they had moved to Italy from Montenegro, which is a small country north of Greece. DNA confirmed an Eastern Europe trace which also had to be from before the 1800s since as far as I can go, everyone was born in Italy.
It always fascinates me when I hear of anyone moving from one country to another in times where transportation was not readily available and methods of communication were rudimental at best. On my husband’s family tree, for example, my main goal on each branch was (and is, since I am still working on it) to find out *who* was the brave soul to come to America, and I found so many from every era and from so many countries, my head spins just thinking about it, from the Mayflower to just prior to WW1. My ancestors, however, if they are anything, they are very loyal to their “place”, especially on my dad’s side. My dad was born in the same tiny village in Italy where I can trace his ancestors back for 300 years… possibly more since I wasn’t able to finish looking at all the records. So this mystery from my mom’s family tree fascinates me. Who were these brave souls to take a horse and carriage and move from Spain & Montenegro to Italy and leave their family behind? I am eager to find out. On my next trip to Italy I plan to do a little research at the Church Archives in Turin. I found out which church my great-grandfather was baptised at and I am looking forward to dig up some information.
The great thing about church records is that they give you so much information. For a baptism, for example, it tells you the full name of the infant, the name of the father and where he was born and his father and where he was born, and the mother and where she was born and her father and where he was born. Just one baptism record enables you to go back 2 generations and reveals locations to go for further research. The only “snag”, so to speak is to be able to decipher the priest’s handwriting and the peculiar custom of writing everything in latin prior to 1820. It’s Ok though, I can still figure it out. I love languages and I will bring a Latin-> Italian dictionary 😉
I am excited to find out my stories… who wants to come to Italy with me?
Love & Light,