Thursday, September 22, 2011


Now that my folks (Ma , 93 and Dad, 92) are safely in the nursing home, I have the monumental task of cleaning out the family home. Sorting through papers and photographs, I'm the family archivist. My dad was worried he would forget things so he filled a notebook with his memories of growing up as a kid, incidents (his poor mother!) and people. Not many dates.

I never really knew much about my family. All four grandparents emigrated from Italy around 1910. In his notebook, Dad said he never knew his grandparents. He said he knew his parents loved the family they left behind, but they never talked about them. Maybe it was too painful to remember. Maybe it was a clean break so that they could assimilate into their new country. I think they took great pains to blend in, become part of the melting pot, become American.

I had my grandparents' names. Birth dates I got from the folks. Great grandparents' names came from marriage certificates I sent for when I cross-stitched a family tree for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. (They celebrated their 68th anniversary this year) I had hoped the marriage license had more information. Place of birth just has Italy. Record keeping wasn't that great back then.

In his notebook, Dad had the name of the town where his father was born. Nice but I wasn't sure how or where I would find information.  I had lunch with my friend, Teague, on Monday. She showed me the work she's been doing tracing her family on She pulled up my grandfather's US WWI draft registration card.  It listed the address he lived at, his birthdate, occupation (he was a tailor), and had his signature! He could read and write Italian and then learned to read and write English. That find hooked me. I went home and started the free 14 day trial.

But wait, it gets even better, but I'll save that for another time.

Have you researched your family tree?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I got hooked on too, but trying to follow the threads with the name 'smith' just got to be too much for me! LOL (My paternal name isn't any easier either!)