Thursday, April 5, 2012

Some roads closed in family research

Wednesday, April 04
A week ago, I developed some exciting leads in my family tree project, but since then, I have only run into disappointing road blocks.

The records from the 1800s in Pescia said that two of great grandfather Pietro’s brothers had moved from Pescia to Montecarlo, which is also where Pietro moved. This opened up possibilities that their descendants were living near us here and that I could find their records here. But the comune in Montecarlo has no information on brothers Francesco and Angelo. They have Pietro’s records, but this information I already have. I can only assume that these brothers moved instead to a commune near Montecarlo, so I will try looking at Altopascio and maybe Chiesina Uzzanese.

Another disappointment occurs when I see Silvano Celli, the retired bike repairman, at the fruit stand this morning in San Salvatore. I found last week that Pietro’s sister Gioconda married a Cesare Celli, and I think that perhaps Gioconda Spadoni and Cesare may be Silvano’s great grandparents. However, Silvano doesn’t want to talk about it. I start stumbling through my explanation about doing family research, but when I start asking about his family, he says, “Non mi interessa affatto in queste cose.” It is clear that he doesn’t want me asking any more questions, so what can I say? OK, va bene, buon giorno, and that’s the end of that road, at least for now.

I really don’t have the slightest idea why he shut down so quickly. Did I ask incorrectly? Is this too personal a matter to broach at a public market? Is he suspicious of my motives? Is it too much trouble trying to talk to someone who can’t speak Italian well? Or does he just really not like talking about his ancestors?

This plaque in Pescia credits Francesco
Marchi, perhaps a distant relative, with
an efficient and scientific system for
Oh, well, I am off to Pescia for some research in a different direction. Since I found so much information in the state archives last week on the family of Pellegrino, maybe I can find the stato di famiglia for the father of Maria Marchi, my great grandmother. Giuseppe Marchi was born in 1799, and stato di famiglia records exist only from 1866 onward, so the chances are slim that I will find anything.

An added problem is that the Marchi family was and is extensive in Pescia. I find three streets, one bridge and a plaque bearing the Marchi name. The current mayor is Roberta Marchi, and there are 26 Marchi families listed in the phone book. The archives have well over 200 index cards with the Marchi name, including about 10 for various Giuseppes. I have left the name of Giuseppe’s wife back in the apartment, so there is no use asking the clerk to show me the books for every Giuseppe, because by 1866 daughter Maria was already married and moved away, and without the name of his spouse, I have no way to recognize the correct Giuseppe even if I found him.

Had I not already recovered such abundant information in other outings, I might be more discouraged now. I really didn’t expect to find as much as I already have, so anything else is really a bonus. And when I do find more, the little frustrations of today will make the rewards of tomorrow seem more satisfying.

Update: Two years later, I wrote "I finally have a talk with cousin Leino"

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