The Best DNA ancestry test


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The best DNA ancestry test

I have some experiences in this case for a couple of years now and I agree with this article.  I have positive experiences with Ancestry DNA.  I hope to take next step – doing an autosomal and mitochondrial test with Family Tree DNA when my budget permits.  Please feel free to ask here or contact me if you have any questions or want more information.


Banada Graveyard – Banada, County Sligo, Ireland


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One of my projects has been completed recently – uploading photos of headstones and transcribing them via the Find A Grave website – Banada Graveyard (now 300+ memorials).  When I first learned that my great grandfather was buried there, I created a memorial page on him and requested for a photo of his headstone a couple of years ago.  When I visited my cousins in Ireland, they told me that there may be no headstone existed for him.  I decided that I want to visit the Banada Graveyard one day.

This past April 2017, I made it to Banada Graveyard on foot – within walking distance from the Banada Stables (and the family runs amazing Bed and Breakfast – highly recommended!).  After walking around the cemetery and reading the plaques, I now can understand why – the graveyard is not in best shape as it is semi-abandoned for some centuries.  The graveyard was used as Banada Priory which was founded in 1423 CE and the priory was abandoned in mid 16th century.  Until 1858, Irish Sisters of Charity decided to possess the Banada Graveyard.   The abbey still stood but somehow crumbled and overtook by its weeds, vines and trees.  Amazing!  One of the homepages has detailed information on Banada Monastery surprisingly in German!!!!  Please note: the link will translate German into English for you via Google Translation or you can choose any language you want it translated in.  Well, I should *NOT* be surprised as Germans love history and traveling!!!  😉  Special thank to one of bloggers who wrote about Banada Graveyard – that was how I learned more about Banada Priory and its history.

Anyhow, I decided to scan and took most photos of headstones throughout the graveyard when I saw how medium-sized it was.  I wanted to pay it forward by helping genealogists and people finding these individual’s final resting place.  I want to mention that the cemetery is not a safe place to stroll or walk around.  You just have to watch where you are going especially stepping on.  Please be mindful of some unsettled ground in some areas or fallen gravestones.  The reason I said that the cemetery is being semi-abandoned (probably maintained in some certain areas by locals as there is no one in charge of doing overall upkeep of the cemetery) is that there are some recent erected gravestones, so the cemetery is still in used.

Interesting about the plaques on the wall when you enter into the cemetery and on your right – the names on the plaques at the Banada cemetery, not all of these names on the plaques came from gravestones in the cemetery.  It may be that some of gravestones are missing, lost, not existed or weathered down, so the names are added to the plaques instead.  Or the family simply wants their loved ones to be eternally remembered.

I am going to leave you some pictures from the Banada Graveyard for you to check out.


I am contented with what I can do for the Banada Graveyard except that I am now pursuing an option adding my great grandfather and his first wife’s names to plaque.  Hope it can be done.



Giovinazzo – Here I come at last!


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Today is the day I fly out to Bari, Italy from Berlin, Germany.  It is 16 years later that I get to visit the right town where my ancestors came from at last – just to think of this….my nieces and nephews are now in their teenage years.  Oh….my….  😉

I get to stay for three days – walk and experience where my ancestors walked and lived – take some photos/videos – research at the Cathedral/Archive and several locations – buy map to see where my ancestors’ homes were – visit the cemetery and of course, enjoy the town with its food, culture, way of life, beach and view of sea.  I checked the weather and here is forecast for next 5 days:

Nice and sunny weather with balmy temp - for US folks, that's in mid- to high-70's degrees F. YAY!!!!!

Nice and sunny weather with balmy temp – for US folks, that’s in mid- to high-70’s degrees F. YAY!!!!!

Thanks to all of my family, friends and folks for all of their support, help and encouragement to break down a brick wall on my paternal grandfather’s family (Lepore/Lasorsa).  The brick wall just crumbled down a few days with help of wonderful genealogist/translator which I am truly blessed with connecting with and getting to know her.

I plan to give an update here once I am ready to share my discoveries/experiences after my trip to Giovinazzo.  Hope all is well with y’all.  Italy, here I come again to the right town after all!!!!!  😉

My Journey to Ireland – Co. Galway, Dublin, Wicklow and Sligo


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Hello all – just a quick check-in with y’all.  Last month, I made a journey to County Galway – Galway city and Rahoon….and County Sligo/Mayo – Charlestown, Curry, Cully, Cully Crossings, Broher, Aclare, Tourlestrane/Toorlestraun, Kilmactigue, Swinford, Boycloonagh, Tubberycurry/Tobercurry, Achonry, Banada and much more…I took some photos/videos, visited cemeteries, checked out some homes and etc.  The best of my journey was that I went on a horse riding in Irish countryside from Banada Stables in Banada, Co. Sligo, Ireland.  It was amazing experience to explore the countryside/bog and watch moving clouds along the Ox Mountains range.  A nice change of scenery!

Another favourite part was to spend time with my family – cousins and great aunt – in Boycloonagh and Dublin.  I treasure it every time.  My cousin, David W., took me out for a walk along River Moy and shared some stories and information about my family especially my Grandmother Nora.  It brought me closer to her and her family.  😉  My great aunt, Brigid W. and I, loved spending time together – sharing laughs, exchanging some stories and enjoying our drinks.  I am blessed to spend time with her as much as I can.

I met up with my cousin in Dublin to chat with her and enjoy our drinks together among with my friends.  I appreciated an interpreter giving his time to interpret our conversation at this time.  It made a huge difference!  I am so excited about her sister (lives in Australia) coming out to visit her in Ireland/UK after 27 years of not seeing each other.

I went to Co. Wicklow to meet up with my father’s cousins for first time since our connection via Ancestry DNA test results this past Fall 2016.  It was a wonderful meeting along with having a lunch at Powerscourt Estate, visiting to a town called Enniskerry and exploring a cemetery (that were my cousins’ first visit to their family!!!!).  They enjoyed doing a cemetery hunting which we found their family.  My cousins and my parents met through Skype.  With all of that, it was amazing and unforgettable experiences!

I am working on putting my journey together to share with y’all.  Keep eyes out for updates.

Giovinazzo, Bari, Puglia, Italy – Origin of The Lepore/Lasorsa Family


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I am working and doing ok here in the Europe for a long while.  I found a great deal on airfare to Bari, Italy and decided to make a run for it.  I will be in Giovinazzo from 15-May thru 17-May on journey of genealogy on the Lepore/Lasorsa Family – taking some photos/videos, doing some researches, requesting for some certificates/extracts/records, talking to locals, exploring at cemetery (that’s one of my favourite parts!) and etc…of course, I will have some fun/relax side such as swimming, checking out beach/port and etc.
I am working on collect information on our family as much as I can….so far, on paternal side – I have up to my great-great-great (ggg) grandfathers Angelo Lepore and Andrea Milillo.   On maternal side, I have up to great-great grandparents – Vito Lepore & Grazia Cortese.  I am getting some helps from some genealogist, locals and officers/experts.  They are wonderful folks.  😉
Keep an eye out for updates after my journey to Giovinazzo, Bari, Puglia, Italy.  😉

Breakthrough on The Lepore Family


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Hello Folks!  It has been a long while since I last updated here.  There are some breakthroughs since then.  It has to do with some families that I am working on:

The O’Neills

The Bensons

The Walshes

The Lepores

The Krumms

For now, I am going to talk about The Lepores.  I tried in vain to do on my own searching through records for my paternal grandfather and his family for a very long time – since mid 1980’s and the recent search was last straw for me.  The reasons for this are:

1) there was no birth certificate on my grandfather other than few paperwork including his US Naturalization (no idea how my family managed to get their children in the USA without their birth certificates in early 1900’s and there was a letter from my great uncle verifying my grandfather’s birth date as part of US Naturalization process),

2) my grandfather along with his siblings were born in Greece as his family migrated/moved there from Italy for a few years,

3) Greece’s system wasn’t in place until after my grandfather’s birth – out of luck trying to find his record there!,

4) I didn’t realized that my grandfather said that his family was from Bari thinking that it was the name of city.  My dear best friend Gwit and I made a journey to Bari in early 2000’s.  Upon my arrival, I gulped when I read the board in Italian welcoming us to the city of Bari in the province of Bari.  What!?!?  Uh oh…..could it be that what my grandfather meant from the province instead of the city?  I just kept my cool until we got to the city hall.  The man who worked in the Vital Statistics was kind and patient.  He looked through the books – no computers back in early 2000’s! – and couldn’t find my family.  He asked me if I knew the name of town where my family came from and I replied no.  A few years later, I took a-week-long genealogical workshop in Salt Lake City.  There was a workshop on Italy records.  Naturally, I attended to this workshop and learned so much.  I now know that Italians proudly identify which province they come/came from since early 1800’s.  Gee!  And at that time, I couldn’t find when my family came to the USA.  The mentors there helped me to find a ship manifest on my family and it recorded their last hometown – Giovinazzo – merely only few miles west of the city of Bari!  I hope to return to Italy and visit this town one day!,

5) I found out about online records from Bari Province being available in late 2000’s.  I tried to read the records, but I couldn’t get a grasp of handwritten Italian and their format/system of records.  I gave up, but it lasts for a few years, fortunately.

6) I obtained death certificates on my great grandparents (through my father) and grandfather.  The names of my grand grandparents’ parents were on these certificates.  It helped!

7) I am pet-peeved with my grandfather’s death certificate showing his ethnic origins as Greek.  That’s understandable that he was born in Greece, but he was born to Italian parents as other records/paperwork indicated.  I must locate his birth record to have his death certificate corrected.

8) Recently, I learned that there is such thing as “delayed birth certificates“.  I read in several forums learning that it is possible for my family to register their children in their hometown.

I decided to give this another try.  Last month, I decided to use professional genealogy services in Italy.  I explained my situation and provided them information on my family.  I am to pay a deposit for them to start searching for my grandfather and his siblings as well as my great grandparents’ marriage record.  If they were not able to locate records on my family, then my deposit has paid for their time and service.  A few days later, I received a wonderful news that the records are found and I am to pay the remaining balance to obtain original records (JPG format and in Italian) and a couple of reports in English.

After making a payment, I received original records on my grandfather’s, great uncle’s and great aunt’s birth records along with my great grandparents’ marriage record.  I am overjoyed finding my grandfather and some of his family members at last!  To my surprise, my grandfather’s and his siblings’ birth dates came out different!  I asked the researcher why did it happened and she said that sometimes, it happened and she had seen that many times.  Gee!

I am going to share one of original records I received to give you a general idea what it looks like.

Vito Lepore's Birth Registry in Italian - early 1900's

Vito Lepore’s Birth Registry in Italian – early 1900’s


Can you read the record easily?  Nah…..LOL!  So, my next step is to find someone to translate these original records for me.  I have been doing some translations and I only get perhaps 50% of these handwritten Italian.  With this records in my possession, I recalled my Italy workshop in Salt Lake City might have some information on how to decipher the records from Italy.  I looked up and found some information and guides that are helpful for me to figure out some Italian words/phrases and their format.

As I mentioned the one of reasons (#5) above, I re-visit the online records and managed to find some more records on my own.  I am so proud of myself!  Italian now becomes one of languages I am using.  I am translating them to my best ability, but still it becomes harder to read and more challenge to translate as I read some older records due to “fancy” handwritten and some ancient Italian words/phrases.

What I know so far is:

L.J. Lepore Sr -> Angelo Lepore & Angelica Lasorsa -> Giuseppe Lepore & Carmela Milillo and Vito Lasorsa & Grazia Cortese -> Angelo Lepore & ? and Andrea Milillo? & ?

What is even more interesting is that my father told me that his family told him that his grandmother had 11 children and only 5 of them made it to adult.  I searched the online records and found two more birth records of Giuseppe Lepores.  I knew right away that they must have died because I remembered from Italy workshop, parents would name their baby one of their parents’ first name in honor and if the baby didn’t survived or was dead before next birth of baby, the parents will name it with same name.  Tragedy has struck my family with first two babies died with name of Giuseppe until my grand uncle lived.  Wow…..I found 9 names of children in total leaving me around 2 names to locate.  Not too bad.  I plan not to leave any stones unturned once I find all records on The Lepores/Lasorsas.

I am still working on trying to locate records as much as I can because these records can go back to early 1800’s.  More works ahead for me!  I cannot wait to learn more about my descendents on my grandfather’s side and see what I can to find all of them to my best ability.  I share each discoveries and news with my father and it offers him more insights of where his family comes from.  🙂

I plan to talk about my breakthrough with other families that I work on.  It is amazing learning process on top of researching/investigating.  My only wish is that the online genealogical webinars and in-person classes/workshops could be more Deaf-friendly since nearly all of them are in audio-based.  ARGH!  I do my best what I can get by.

Keep tuned for my next posting.

Angelina Lasorsa and Angelo Lepore

Hello folks!  My mother, father and I met my father’s first cousin, Grace “Mickey” W., today.  I think my father and Mickey haven’t seen each other for over 50 years and it was a hearty reunion for them.  We showed some pictures and exchange some stories about our family members.  I found another picture of Angelina Lasorsa….I love this one!!!!  You will see why!

Angelina Lasorsa - Reading comics - before 1930

Angelina Lasorsa – Reading comics – before 1930

My father was going through his tool box this morning and came across a tiny pin button that he thought it was his paternal grandfather, but wasn’t entirely positive.  His grandfather died before he was born.  So, we bought the pin to show it to Mickey and she confirmed that it was indeed Angelo Lepore, my father’s and Mickey’s grandfather!!!!!  Mickey vividly recalled him twisting his mustache every morning and how her mother, Mary L., loved to sneak up behind him to mimic his twisting as making fun of him.  LOL  Angelo did caught Mickey’s mother doing that once in while.  😉  Mickey also said that when she was a child and she didn’t like having him to kiss her cuz of his mustache!!!!  🙂  Here is a picture of Angelo Lepore – husband of Angelina Lasorsa:

Angelo Lepore - 1930's?

Angelo Lepore – 1930’s?

Wow….so thrilled to have picture of both of my paternal great-grandparents!!!!!  Thanks goodness that we have Mickey to confirm these pictures.  Mickey has a locket with a picture of her grandmother – Angelina Lasorsa.  Now, there are three pictures in total of Angelina Lasorsa.  I will figure out how to scan Mickey’s locket since it is challenge to do so cuz of tiny size and its “dome-shaped” display.  Enjoy the pictures!

Angelina Lasorsa

I found this picture while sifting and sorting thousands of pictures.  I asked my father if he recognized her and he said YES!  He vividly remembered her picture on top of his father’s chest while he was growing up.  Oh my gosh…..that’s Angelina Lasorsa, my paternal great-grandmother!  I asked my father if there was a picture of his grandfather and he doubted.  Shoot.  I am sharing this picture as part of wonderful discovery and importance of documenting pictures.

Angelina Lasorsa

Angelina Lasorsa – my paternal great-grandmother

My mother commented that she looked like she came from the mafia family.  LOL!  My grand-uncle, Andrew Lepore, have his mother’s eyes.  Wow…..

Andrew Lepore


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Tonight, I hit a jackpot!  I went through my Grand Uncles/Aunts on the Lepore Family side to review.  I searched to see if there were any new records as hundreds of records being added/updated on daily basis due to ongoing indexing project (I am involved in this).  I saw there were some new records on one of my Grand Uncles – Andrew Lepore.  He was the brother of my Grand Uncle Joseph Lepore, where my Dad and I paid him a respect at cemetery across from EWR airport a week ago.  I opened up and took a glance at a record – US Application for Seaman’s Protection Certificates.  I immediately recognized a home address and date and place of birth which matched with the information I had on Andrew Lepore from other sources.  I  was so elated!!!!  I scrolled down and I gasped as I couldn’t believe in my own eyes that there was a portrait attached!!!  It was my first time ever viewing what my Grand Uncle Andrew Lepore looked like when he was 25 years old – handsome and indeed reminiscence of “Lepore eyes”.

Andrew Lepore - 25 years old in early 1930's

Andrew Lepore – 25 years old in early 1930’s

My jaw even dropped more further when I found countless “Passenger Lists” across ports in USA – New York, Boston, Seattle and much more as he worked on various ship as bellboy, wiper and oiler.  I am not done going through these records yet!!!!  I vividly recalled my Dad telling me about him traveling around the world and importing some exotic artifacts.  So far from what I can tell, I envy of him!  He traveled to pretty much almost every corners of the world – Bermuda, North, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.  He even traveled to Cuba in 1930’s!  Again, I am not done going through his records……wow, what a global trotter he was via ship…I must take over him, however via plane!  🙂  🙂

It looks like it will take a few days for me to sort out records on Andrew Lepore.  I am thrilled to learn something about him!  I may update this blog at later date if I find some more intriguing information.   Kudos to moi for finding his record with a portrait of him.  Wow!

Update on Joseph Lepore


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This past October, I wrote about locating my Grand Uncle Joseph Lepore after years of searching since mid-1980’s.  I wanted to visit his grave site, but the weather became too cold and blah for me to make a trip.  I just let it sit until this Spring as I promised to myself that I must make a time to do so.

Today, after arriving in the morning at EWR – airport code for Newark Liberty International Airport, I asked my father if we had some time to swing by the cemetery and he chuckled and said yes.  It was literally within a stone’s throw from EWR – just across the Route 1 and 9 and next to Budweiser plant as I mentioned previously.  We looked around and realized that we have been passing around this area for years and years and never knew that Joseph Lepore had been laid to rest there for entire time!!!!  LOL!

Well, we drove up to the office to make an inquiry of his exact location.  The lady at the office was a sweetheart.  She gave us a map and helpful instructions on how to locate my Grand Uncle Joseph and Grand Aunt Mary’s grave site.  We easily found his grave site.  Oh my…..what a view with Budweiser plant in front of us, Amtrak tracks on our left, The Parking Spot company and Route 1/9 on our right.  Gee…..The Budweiser plant was opened in 1951 and the EWR was established in 1928, but it was not as huge as it is now.

Here is some pictures of grave site, headstone and marker (Grand Uncle Joseph was US Veteran of World War I).

My father and I discussed and agreed that when Joseph died in 1954 and the marker was established for him.  When Lucy died in 1988, the headstone was added by then.  That’s why there is headstone and marker in same area.  Intriguing, eh?

I added pictures and information to  It leaves me with trying to locate:

  • his child(ren) – Angelica/Angelina and Joseph “Sonny”
  • his sister Mary and her family (found one of Mary’s children being alive now, her name is Angela.  We hope to meet her sometimes soon since it was probably 60 years since my Dad and Angela last saw each other!)
  • his brother Andrew’s children (found his grave site along with his wife)
  • his sister Grace and probably her family (still searching)

I am proud of myself on how much I accomplished this by being patient and steadfast with research and search.  Hopefully, I will get to meet Angela, my Dad’s cousin, soon!  Speaking of the cousin, my parents will fly out to Ireland this week to meet my Mom’s cousins for the first time!  I met her cousins this past March in Ireland and had an astounding time with them discussing about our family tree and looking through pictures for the first time.  I plan to write about my experiences when time permits.  I wish my parents and my Aunt Kathleen (my Mom’s sister)/Uncle Charles an unforgettable journey of their lifetime to Eire especially meeting their cousins and visiting our family’s farm and house for the first time!