The Wonders Of The Internet and Family Bonds

Posted: April 8, 2009 in My Family

About three years ago, I received an email from a woman in Italy claiming to be a relative on my grandfather’s side.

My grandfather was born in 1892 and came to America twice. The last time, he boarded at my great-grandmother’s house.. met my grandmother and the rest of the family tree is history.

I knew I still had relatives in the Abruzzi region (Teramo, Pescara) but my aunt had lost contact with them in the 70’s after someone over there went through a bitter divorce over an illegal adoption.

You think I’m the only one with drama???

Anyway .. so I get this email from this 70 year old woman who said that SHE has been trying to find ME for 5 or 6 years.


Back in the late 90’s, I couldn’t afford a computer but had a WebTV.

Ahh.. come on. Don’t laugh!! I’m being honest here!

Anyway.. back then I got real into geneology and posted messages on tons of Italian-American message boards. Nothing ever became of it and time went on.. interest dwindled and I went on to other things.

Fast foward a few years later and my godson was preparting for his second tour of Iraq as a Marine. They would be traveling by ship and making their way around the Meditarrainian.. Italy being one of their stops.

So I jumped on the message boards again in the hopes that my relatives :: some of who would be my age with computer savvy kids of their own :: would surf across it and maybe… maybe.. my godson would be able to meet them when he was in Italy.

That plan didn’t work but then came the day when I recieved the email with my grandfather’s last name in the subject line.

Apparently, this woman, my whatever cousin how many times removed, was the neice of my grandfather’s mother. A fact proven when she emailed me a picture of her that was a duplicate of the one that my grandmother has had on display forever.

She told me that she had been trying to find me since she saw a post bearing my old WebTV email address and never gave up hope that she would eventually contact me when her first emails were returned as undeliverible.

We’ve been communicating regularly now for the past few years and it is more then I ever thought it would be.

Yesterday there was an earthquake in the Abruzzi region of Italy .. 150+ dead; multitudes injured.. building destroyed.

My relatives live in that region.. in Atri, Teramo, Pescara, Monte Silvana, Rome.. and my family on this side of the ocean is worried about the family on that side of the ocean.

People we have never met .. people, who even though there is shared DNA are probably so removed that it would be legal to marry them in the states .. and yet, because of family bonds, we care about what happens to them .. that they are safe and unharmed.

Say a prayer and keep your fingers crossed for them .. and everyone in Italy affected by this tragedy.

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