Saturday, February 26, 2011

We find our very own Seghieris!

Friday, February 25
Today starts as an ordinary day, taking the train to Lucca going to class, buying three really scrumptious chocolate fritelle that I am fast becoming addicted to and riding home on the train while munching on my fritelle. Actually, I get off one stop early, Altopascio, to see if I can obtain a birth certificate for my dad’s uncle Roger, but the Municipio is closed (it is only open 3.5 hours a day).

When I get home, Lucy suggests we take a walk, and as always, I’m glad I listened to her, because what happens during the walk fulfills one of my goals for coming to San Salvatore, making this day one of the very best since we arrived here! We walk past what we have come to call the Seghieri house, the one that kept getting added onto and once had 42 Seghieris living in it, according to Libero Seghieri. We hear the voice of Ivo Seghieri talking loudly to someone, and we greet him. He waves his hand at the man he is talking to and tells us, “Lui e anche Seghieri.” He looks to be about my age, and he introduces himself as Fausto Seghieri.

“Do you live here?” Lucy asks in Italian, pointing to the Seghieri house.

“No, but I was born there,” he says. “Now my father lives next door. He is Mario Seghieri.”

Ah, the bright yellow new-ish house next door. We have seen that it has the name Mario Seghieri on the gate, and I have been wanting to meet Mario ever since I met Francesca Seghieri at the shop where we bought our bicycles. Francesca had told me that her grandfather’s name was Bruno Seghieri, which interested me because there was a Bruno in our family tree, the nephew of my great-grandfather Torello. But she didn’t know the name of Bruno’s father or any of Bruno’s brothers and sisters, so there is no way to confirm if her Bruno is the one I am looking for. She suggested that someday I should meet her Uncle Mario, who would know more about the family history, but I have not had time to follow up on this, and I am not even sure that the Mario Spadoni who lives practically next door to us is the same one Francesca was talking about.

Now I ask Fausto if his dad is the uncle of Francesca, the one who sells bicycles. Yes, it is the same one. Francesca is Fausto’s cousin.

“Will you still be here in five minutes?” I ask, explaining that I want to get my family tree info.

Certo,” he replies.

When I return with my documents, I hit the jackpot. Fausto recognizes some of the names on my tree, and he takes me next door to meet his dad and mom. Mario confirms even more names. Yes, his father was Bruno, and his grandfather was Natale, who was the brother of my great-grandfather Torello. Siamo cugini! We are cousins! We have found the missing link.

So Bruno and my grandmother Anita were first cousins. That would make my dad and Mario second cousin, and Fausto and I are third cousins. Put another way, Fausto and I have the same great-great grandfather, Seghiero Seghieri, born in 1818.

Mario shocks us when he tells us he will be eighty-seven in two weeks. I would have guessed he was in his early or mid-seventies. He appears to be in excellent health, as does his wife Loretta, who looks five to ten years younger than Mario. I hope I inherited the same strong genes. Fausto says he will write down additional information about Bruno’s family for us, and I hope it will lead to further discoveries of how the other Seghieris we have met fit in to our family tree.

We talk for about ten minutes, and when we leave, we say we will see you again.

“Certainly,” says Mario. “We are always here.”


  1. Awww, that's awesome Dad! All that research and learning Italian paid off. Glad to know you're among family ;)

  2. Sounds like a great day Paul! The puzzle pieces are coming together.

  3. I'm so happy for you! You and Lucy are just no end amazing people!

  4. How fabulous! I think you have material for a compelling book.

  5. How fun! Your cousins do not look very smiley in that picture, but I'm sure they are nice :)

  6. How exciting to meet family in such a far away place!


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