Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Family Tree Just Grew Again!

Who would have ever thought I could tell you the name, profession, and year of birth for my great, great maternal grandfather? I certainly did not. When I started this journey back in 2006, I set out to identify my maternal grandfather and that was pretty much the extent of my hopes and wishes. It’s taken me two years to uncover Carmelo’s identity and origin, but persistence has paid off. My genealogy research continues to reward me beyond what I ever expected.

Patience has never been a virtue of mine. Typically I want my requests fulfilled yesterday. That’s right, yesterday. With such a small threshold for waiting, I have done pretty well on this ancestral journey.

Yes, I admit, recently there are days when I come racing home after work to see if there is mail from USCIS. Afterall, it has been three months since I requested information about my grandfather. Somehow though, I have been taking the wait time in stride. I figure that in due time, the information about Carmelo citizenship status will be revealed. I have begun to see this waiting game as a great exercise that will bring me to a new understanding about myself and my family history.

In the interim, just when I think I am going to explode from waiting for news from Italy or some government office in this country, I receive treasures that I never asked for. These treasures enrich the Orlando tapestry and given it more dimension.

One of these treasures is the Orlando family I contacted to help me research my grandfather’s identity. They could have easily hung up the phone that day I mustered up the courage to call all the Orlando numbers from the phone book in the town of Curinga. They didn’t hang up the phone though. E. did the research for me, updating me along the way, and always reassuring me not to worry. I look forward to meeting her in October. I feel such gratitude towards her. It will be a special moment when I finally come face to face with Eleonora.

Another treasure is something Eleonora sent me yesterday. She was able to find out more information about my grandfather’s family. She said I was extremely fortunate that they found the documents they did because many of the civil records for Curinga had been lost or burnt during a widespread uprising that took place around 1948. In fact, she said she found less information about her own family than she did about my grandfather’s lineage.

So, I introduce you to yet another Orlando family member: Santo Orlando, my great great grandfather born circa 1802. The document found in the town hall of Curinga also included some priceless information about my great great grandfather’s profession. I leave you with this little You Tube video to celebrate Santo’s craft. Enjoy…

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