Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grand success and even grander hopes

Wednesday, April 04 (continued)
It is still Wednesday, but in some ways, it is like another day. I say this because as of 5 p.m., my fortunes begin to turn regarding my family tree research. I am at the parish archives of Pescia, where I am being helped by Doctor Andrea Mandroni, a local superstar when it comes to genealogy.

Nearly everything I have learned
to date about the Spadoni line has come
from Andrea Mandroni. For anyone
looking to research their roots
from this area, this is your man.
Doctor Mandroni also helped me last year, when he uncovered the name of my great great grandparents, Pellegrino Spadoni and Faustina Tognarelli-Panteri. He then discovered the name of two previous generations, plus many brothers, sisters and spouses of several generations.

He impressed me with his abilities, generosity and patience last year, but I didn’t realize how well-recognized he is for his talents. Officials in city offices in both Pescia and Altopascio recommended I contact him, and I see his name mentioned in a local genealogy book with gratitude expressed for assistance rendered.

So now I am back for more help. And when I say he helps, I mean I sit and watch while he finds and reads documents with lettering in a style so hard to decipher that it looks to be from another alphabet. As he does this, other people—Italians doing their own research—come up to him every few minutes and ask him to read part of a document and tell them what it says. He reads out hand-scribbled names, dates and events as easily as if reading from typewritten documents.

I show him what I have compiled from the research he did last year. I am not sure which direction to move, I say. Should I try to go back further, or follow my great grandmother’s side? Or I could try to follow the descendants of Pellegrino’s brother Gaspero?
This is how the church records look. 

Andrea decides we should dig more deeply into the past. Pellegrino was preceded by Francesco, who was preceded by Lorenzo—all this Andrea discovered last year. Today he finds the birth year of Lorenzo, 1723, and then Lorenzo’s father, Leonardo, and then Leonardo’s father, who was also named Lorenzo.

Then he shows me something that really excites me. He has helped some nearby Spadoni families compile a book with their family trees. We had looked at this book briefly last year, but it didn’t help. Most of the lines in the book began in the 1400s, but they only followed one track to the current era. The other branches were followed for only a few generations, up through the early 1600s, and then the researchers dropped the branch. Probably it was work enough to trace the line of the families who sponsored the research without tracing every possible branch.

Now Andrea points to a branch in the book that stops with a Lorenzo, born in 1628. He points out that this Lorenzo’s father was Leonardo, whose father was another Lorenzo. This follows a familiar Italian pattern of children being named after their grandparents.

We speculate that the oldest Lorenzo in my line may have been born around 1675. That could mean that his father would have been born around 1650, and his grandfather, who may have shared the name Lorenzo, born around 1628— and that would match him with the Lorenzo in the family tree book.

If that’s the case, then my research would take a giant step forward, because many days of study with perhaps a hundred names have already gone into this book. And not only that, but the people who sponsored this book are living around here today, and they share my interest in family history. Possibly I could meet them, I think, and my family tree be added to their work.

Alas, it is 6:30 p.m., closing time, and the potential last link remains undiscovered. The archives will not be open again until next Wednesday, and Andrea says he will expect me then. In just a few hours, my prospects and hopes have improved immensely. I hope my good fortune continues next week.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds as if you are the verge of a break through!



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