A couple months ago I signed up with Ancestry.com to search out relatives and build a family tree. Its amazing how much info the Mormon church has in it‘s archives(they own Ancestry.com). They have the largest repository of genealogical records in the world. When I first started the tree I knew the names of maybe 20 or 30 relatives, now I’m up to over 500 and 8 generations out with no end in sight (Italians sure seem to have a lot of children and spouses.)

So anyway, in my on again, off again pursuit of adding to the family tree, one of my dreams has always been to locate some of my Italian relatives still living in Italy. I know they still live there because my great grandmother went back there to visit them in the 1970’s. Unfortunately, she never kept any letter or address books, so we were never able to find out who they were.

Well, thanks to a few old photos and some brilliant detective work by another cousin, whom I just met a few weeks ago on Ancestry.com, the mystery has been solved. We were able to identify and make contact with an Italian relative still living in Sicily who has a daughter that lives in Chicago. This is big deal around the breathinstephen household.

One of the reasons I was never successful in tracking down relatives still living in Italy, was because the family name was misspelled. We always thought that the Italian family name was Maita, but it turns out that before my great great grandfather came to America, the name was actually Maida ( with a D instead of a T). No one really knows why the spelling of the name was changed, but I’m sure things like this happened all the time during the mass immigration era of the early 1900’s. Could be that the name was misspelled on a legal document when they entered the country and no one thought of correcting it. Who knows, but whatever the reason, it was that simple spelling error that through us off the path.

And what am I going to do with this new found knowledge? Go to Italy and meet them of course. They’re probably just as surprised by all this as we are. We’re certainly going to have a lot of stories to share…..about 100 years worth.

If you’re looking for help in building your Family tree, I can highly recommend the kind folks at “LEST WE FORGET”

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4 thoughts on “Exploring my roots

  1. Tammy says:

    I love family history too. I live in Salt Lake and have access to the best library in the world, yet rarely have time to go! I probably should do something about that! Anyway, I'm not Mormon, but am still fascinated with it and have researched my Swedish relatives back to the 1600s. I'd love to visit Sweden someday.

    Anyway, best of luck in your searching – looks like you've found a lot already! Have fun visiting Italy and hobnobbing with your distant relations. Hope the Italian is going well so you'll be able to converse :).

    1. Hi Tammy. Long time no see.

      Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised at how many resources Ancestry.com has. I was a little Leary about forking over $30.00 a month for the service, but it has been totally worth it. Technology has made searching ones roots so much easier.

      1. PS.. I was supposed to start my 3rd year of Italian classes next month, but I decided to learn on my own from now on.

  2. kerri says:

    Heyy, that's WAY cool!

    I'd def like to hear more about the genealogy hunt if/when you've got more to share. Awesome.

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