I have been doing genealogy research on my own for many years, using Ancestry.com for almost all of it. Recently I discovered the vast network of people who share my love of family histories and I began connecting with many of them. They have been my inspiration to start writing a blog to share information I've been finding with anyone who might be interested. There's also a hope of connecting with even more people who are searching for the same things and people.
I find it so exciting when I connect with relatives I haven't seen in a long time or when I find a link to a new relative from the past. And now with the program, Who Do You Think You Are on NBC, I think many more people will become interested in searching out their family history.
Family means a lot to me and I have been so blessed with the greatest family. Genealogy is such a great way to keep family stories alive. I want my grandchildren and even my nieces, nephews and cousins to get to know some of these wonderful people who already passed from this life. I have a huge family of cousins in Italy who my dear grandmother introduced me to 45 years ago. It was on that first trip to Italy that I was inspired to draw my first family tree. Just who were all these people I was meeting and how were they related to me? It was actually fun and, despite the fact that everything I was learning was being told to me in Italian, it gave me a great sense of connection to FAMILY. In fact I have more cousins in Italy than I have in the US.
One of the best parts of that first trip in 1964 was visiting my 83-year-old grandmother's house in Barbasieria which was just a crumbling ruin by then, but it had wild strawberries growing around it. It gave me such an appreciation of where I came from, my humble roots. What a gift it was to all her progeny for Nona to brave a long journey to a strange land -- alone-- with 2 small sons in tow! (My grandfather had come to San Francisco two years before.)
That connection has lasted to this day. Nona and her sister in Italy both died within six months after our trip. I am forever grateful to my loving Nona Angela who made it all possible. Since then I have made six return trips to Italy and correspond in letters and now email and Facebook. Plus, my mother, father, son, aunt and uncle and cousins in this country have all made trips to the "old country" and correspond with Italian cousins as well. It has been such a blessing and it encourages me in my search for the Irish side of my family roots as well.
My plan is to introduce all the wonderful people from our past on this blog.