DAY 4–Living as an expatriate in Italy–genealogy

Living in Italy will not only be a dream come true, it will also allow me the unparalleled opportunity to research my biological mother’s side of the family.

I spent time this day, after running errands and getting information regarding my move, researching my mother’s family. As most people know, but new readers don’t, this move to Italy is the culmination of a dream of over fifteen years. In 1997 my biological father and brother took me to Italy to meet my extended family–my uncle and aunt and their two sons (my cousins) as well as my beloved grandfather, Antonio. They had known about me, and that I had been given up for adoption by my biological mother, for years.

Because I never met my biological mother, the bonds were not as strong. I met my mother’s sister, my biological aunt, who has the pseudonym “Maria” in my book. She was a wonderful woman with a heart of gold and I adored her. I also know her daughter, named “Gretchen” in my book. We are estranged for absurd reasons that are too preposterous to defile this blog.

Anyway, although I was close to my aunt and her husband as well as “Gretchen”, I never had the opportunity to know my maternal background as much. “Maria” told me all about her life, I saw the tombstones of my maternal grandparents as well as an aunt and uncle. But the bonds with that side of the family didn’t go back as far. My father’s family was still alive. My mother’s family emigrated to Canada during World War I. Most relatives left behind in Europe were very distant or dead.

My biological mother was Polish/Ukrainian. Her father was Ukrainian and her mother Polish. They were born in 1878 and 1889, respectively. My grandfather was born in what was then Austria-Hungary but is now Ukraine. My grandmother was born in Poland, although it was also Austria-Hungaray at the time of her birth. According to Maria, they had to run from dropping bombs during World War I to get to the ship that took them to North America.

With this move to Italy, I will be better able to research my mother’s side of the family. My brother is interested in this information, too. Today, during my search, I was able to find my maternal grandmother’s maiden name as well as the names of my great-grandfather and great-grandmother. I was also able to find the birthplace of my great-grandfather. Information for my grandfather’s family was not available.

Yet I’m encouraged. I’m starting out with much more information than most people have and it’s exciting and exhilarating. Although this blog is about my experiences pursuing my expatriate status as well as living as an expatriate, I cannot ignore the the impetus it is giving me to find information about my mother’s family.

I’m fascinated to learn of the cities where my ancestors lived. I want to know about their lives and what it was like living in an “empire”. Could there possibly be distant relatives living there? Wouldn’t that be fascinating?

Living in Italy will give me opportunities to travel to these cities during vacations or long weekends. My plan is to start a second book on my mother’s side of the family and have it complement the first one. This book would follow my efforts to find my heritage on the other side of the family. Something my brother desires, too. It can be used for future generations–although there is only one person who will be responsible for that:  my nephew Anton.

This ties in with yesterday’s posting about finding identity. With my mother’s side of the family it will be fascinating, yet less meaningful. Because I never had the opportunity to know her and only met a handful of relatives from her side, the ties are not strong. However, the are fascinating. I don’t feel that the impact will be substantial. For me, it will mostly be interesting to know what my ancestors were like and how they lived.

Another tidbit of information, another thread to complete the mosaic of my life.


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