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.
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.
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:
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!!!!! 😉
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.
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.
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.
I just added a couple of pages – Ancestry.com World Archives Project and FamilySearch Indexing Project – among with other project – Find A Grave Website. These projects/website are something I can contribute to our genealogy community as thank you for doing some work to make it possible for any of us to identify and discover our long lost family member(s) in our family tree.
Check out these pages. 🙂