Monday, June 23, 2014

Open Letter to My Ancestors

My Dear Ancestors,

First of all, I want to thank you for making the very long and dangerous voyage from Italy to America. It  had to be extremely difficult to leave everything you knew to go to a completely foreign place. You had no knowledge of the language or customs here. I call that brave. Some of you came over by yourselves or with a friend who is unknown to me. Others came with family members. Either way, it had to be very scary. You left your friends and family to come here. I know you all thought you would have better lives in the United States. I hope that your lives did get better when you got here. I have no way of knowing if that happened for you because I don't know anything about some of your lives. I do know that all of your descendants are happy we live in the USA. We have lived good lives and hope to continue to do so for many years to come.

Now, with that said, I want to tell you that you haven't made things easy for us when it comes to finding information about you. There are many documents that I would love to find but can't because your names are spelled wrong or you aren't even listed on any documents. Some of  your documents have completely "disappeared". Did you really get naturalized in 1901, Frank Prinzo?  I'm beginning to wonder.  If you did, someone did an excellent job of hiding or misfiling your naturalization documents. I know it isn't all your fault. There wasn't a great desire to keep records back then. It seems like sometimes it was pure luck that a document was even filed or survived for over 100 years.

Another thing, I don't like the custom of not talking about your past or passing down stories about your lives. For most of you, I have had to make stuff up just to form an opinion about you.  I would prefer if you had talked a blue streak about yourselves, left lots of neatly written and properly stored papers and took lots of photos.  I know photography was expensive back then but you should have been thinking ahead.  We all want to know what you guys looked like. Oh, why didn't any of you keep a journal? I could have tried to translate it or even learned Italian to do just that.  I also never found that Bible you were all supposed to have. Actually, I never heard of an Italian genealogist finding a family Bible.  Okay, okay, you were all busy working, cooking, cleaning, and all that stuff.  I know everything took lots longer to do back then than it does now. But some of you could have been thinking ahead a little bit and left us some breadcrumbs to follow. I know many of us would have been appreciative. Please feel free to do whatever you can from wherever you are now to help us find out some things about you.

Thank you.

Your loving descendant...

Annie the Amateur Genealogist

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