The Baroness will see you now: Family history

Just looking at this Italian birth record should convince you to hire a professional for Italian genealogy! Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Just looking at this Italian birth record should convince you to hire a professional for Italian genealogy! Image from Wikimedia Commons.

I’m getting revved up for my trip to Italy in a few months, and one of my preparations this time will be to have some genealogical research done for me before I get there. My Italian language skills aren’t adequate to do it myself, and my knowledge of the systems of records in Italy is even worse. Some relatives are pooling resources with me to hire the help, and I’ll share the results when I get home.

I was preparing for an earlier trip to Italy when Anna Maria responded to a post I made online, seeking my Italian relatives. She is one!

The last time I saw cousin Anna Maria (right) was 2009. I'm looking forward to seeing her again this summer!

The last time I saw cousin Anna Maria (right) was 2009. I’m looking forward to seeing her again this summer!

We met in person in Italy, and she came to my home a few years later, but I have not been able to document our family relationship. For now, we are just “cugini”, cousins. One of my goals is to discover the family lines that connect us. This year, I’m looking forward to spending Ferragosto, that ancient Italian holiday, with Anna Maria and other family members in our ancestral village.

We have learned a few things about our Italian roots as my sister and I have researched over the years. Some are in the category of family legends.

1.  Josephine Gualtieri was an old maid at 21 when she determined she would marry any man who asked her. The man who asked was Francesco Arcuri,

Josephine and Francesco, about 1910 in New York

Josephine and Francesco, about 1910 in New York

a man already 50 years old, and three years older than Josephine’s father. We learned that Josephine’s mother had died and her father remarried. Did she not get along with her stepmother? What other factors shaped her life?

2.  There is a Palazzo Gualtieri in Josephine’s home town, which (we were told) was gambled away by an ancestor. While “Palace” is somewhat of an overstatement in describing the derelict building, I’d be interested to learn more of that story!

My mom, Win Perman, at the door to the Palazzo Gualtieri in Scigliano.

My mom, Win Perman, at the door to the Palazzo Gualtieri in Scigliano.

3.  Raffaele of the B&B Calabria in Scigliano gave me a book about the history of Scigliano–in Italian, of course! However, I have been able to determine that at one time there was a “Baron Gualtieri” in Scigliano. I’d really love to know who he was and how he might be connected to my family line. And can I now start calling myself a Baroness? Please??

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11 thoughts on “The Baroness will see you now: Family history

  1. Hi, Sandy, I, too, was wondering when you are going to Italy. I’m off to Florence in two weeks! I’m so excited. Wish I could find some relatives there; I have no hint of any Italian blood anywhere, though. And I LOVE genealogy!

    • August wasn’t our first choice but we are coordinating with friends to meet at our first stop (Venice) and they had more date constraints. We’ve never hired a professional for research before, because isn’t that part of the fun? but in this case, I just can’t accomplish the search on my own, and certainly not before this trip! Enjoy your time in Florence.

  2. This is so cool! I would love to learn more, maybe I need to do a long weekend in Washington sometime with you. When are you going to Italy next??

    • Justine, I will be there in August, and I’d love to share some genealogy with you. In fact, you can hardly shut me up about it if you get me going! Thanks for reading my blog. Sandy

    • Thanks, Marlie–I wish you could be there too, especially when we reclaim our family palace!! But that probably won’t happen on this trip, so maybe you’ll be with me on the next one.

      • Donnie would like nothing more than to go on that trip with you. Maybe he’ll hit the “glory hole” this summer. We’d like to spend some time with you….I’m sure the Italian side has some wonderful stories to share. Have fun! Love, Aunt Nola

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