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:
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
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.