I was dinking around on the internet one day, looking for something to do. I searched the calendar sections of the local papers, hoping to find some activity that would pique my interest. Or at least be far enough away that I could enjoy the drive in my car. Nothing. But I did subscribe to the weekend addition of the LA Times. Ca-ching.
From there I searched out Italian organizations, hoping for a festival or two happening in the surrounding area. Nope. But I did join the Order Sons of Italy in America. Interesting that there isn’t a Daughters of Italy organization. If there were, we would probably make sure that the word “Order” was in its proper place. Anyhow, ca-ching.
Remembering a discussion I had with a friend about her ability to apply for dual citizenship with Ireland, I delved once again into the internet, searching on “dual citizenship italy”.
The Google search engine is an amazing piece of technology. It knew EXACTLY what I was searching for. Italian American Cultural Organization – Honoring Families that emigrated to America from Southern Italy and Sicily. The only way it could be “exacter” would be to say Honoring Mikki’s family that emigrated to America from Southern Italy and Sicily.
I looked around the sight to see if this American with family that emigrated from Sicily qualified. A few phone calls to my mom to retrace my grandfather’s steps to life in America, and voila! I found that I qualified. I applied to have a certified copy of my grandfather’s birth certificate sent to me. Ca-ching. I provided the facts (just the facts, ma’am); his name, birth date (January 23, 1904) and place of birth (Ragusa, Sicily). Had my grandfather still been alive, he would have been 102. I was wondering what kind of record keeping system could a place like Ragusa Sicily have had 102 years ago? What kind of records were still around 102 years later?
Interesting records, as it turns out. They were able to find a copy of my grandfather’s birth certificate.
The first question after the first attempted search was “Are you sure it was Ragusa, the town? Ragusa is also the name of a [county] in Sicily.”
“As far as I know,” I replied. “That’s the way the story has been told since I can remember.”
More searching brought the second question. “Do you have the name of my grandfather’s father and mother?” After an email flurry, my uncle provided me with my great grandparents’ names and I provided same to the record searchers.
A few days later the next email inquiry was, “Are you sure he was born in 1904?” Egad, I cried! How the heck should I know?!? I’m relying on the memories of a generation where the YOUNGEST is 72!
“Absolutely positive!” I responded.
A month after my initial contact, I received a note exclaiming “GOOD NEWS! We have located the birth certificate of your grandfather!” Attached to the email was a copy of a birth certificate with my grandfather’s name, his birth date (February 11, 1904), and a different name for his mother…
Sort of, if you don’t look too closely.