In my travels exploring the tree I've found many surprises. Some of the stuff I've found have been really, really cool. Some stuff has been sad. I'm in a good mood so I'll focus on the good surprises. Here are three of them.
1. I did a Leeds chart for my great-aunt a couple of months ago and I found a curious bunch in the Ferraiolo column. I organized all of her columns into the last names of her great-grandparents. She had a ton of close matches that merited checking out. I organized them all into Ferraiolo, Coppola, Tedesco and Gullo.
I checked out a tree for one of the matches and I had talked to her before. She wasn't sure of the link. I said I'd look into it for her because she was busy. Life gets in the way and all that. I go check it out and I see "John Ferriola" in her tree. Ferriola is close to my last name. I was intriqued. Usually when Italians come to America they changed their last name in order to assimilate better. My great-grandfather (My great-aunt's father) did not.
So, I checked it out and his profile had a death certificate in Philly which had him by his birth name. Giovanni Ferraiolo from San Pietro a Maida. Son of Vincenzo Ferraiolo and Caterina Campisano. San Pietro a Maida is my paternal grandfather's ancestral town. Vincenzo Ferraiolo and Caterina Campisano were the names of my 3x great-grandparents. I had gotten that info from the commune office. What was funny was that Campisano was hilariously misspelled on Ancestry's sources. I saw the handwriting and it was clearly Campisano. Not Cumpisana or whatever they called it. Either way it was clearly them and I was happy.
2. This next story is a bit of a deep cut for me. Growing up my family and I went to a marina every summer as our boat was docked in Salisbury, Mass. The marina's facing Newburyport and a number of my family members came from there including my mom. Back to the story. The owner, Jim, was a nice guy who was always cool to my brother and I and really nice to all of the kids. Hey, he let us run around as long as we had our life jackets on. Life was good. He gave us donuts from Dunkins every Sunday! It was awesome!
Years later Jim passed away and his son took over the marina. My mom eventually asked me to look up a woman by the name of Matilda Legault. I asked why. I mean right away the Legault name sent some gears turning in my head. My great-grandmother was a Legault. And she had a great-aunt Matilda Legault. I was thinking "Why would she want me to look up her great-aunt? I already looked her up!
Turns out this was a different Matilda Legault. Scott, Jim's son, was talking about her with my parents and my mom remembered a few bits about her. She lived in Newburyport and my mom had met her ages ago as she lived in the city, too.
I did my thing and looked up Matilda Legault and saw that she was a daughter of Felix Legault. Felix was the brother of my 2x great-grandfather, Antoine Legault who lived in Haverhill, Mass. I then traced the line forward through time and I came across Jim. It turns out that the man who was so nice to my brother, myself and all the kids in the marina was my third cousin once removed!
And Scott? Scott's my 4th cousin! I wish that could give us a deal at the marina. But, it probably doesn't. Scott should get DNA tested. I should ask him about it. He doesn't NEED to as I found another DNA match and DNA confirmed him, Antoine and their parents Jacques and Delphine.
That was a very cool surprise!
3. One last surprise before I go as these things come in threes. I found out I had two distant cousins long before I even did a DNA test! Both are from my dad's side. One from my grandfather's side and the other from my grandmother. The lady on my grandmother's side had been researching the Carrabs line for a long time and created a Find a Grave for my grandparents. I found out about her as she posted a Carrabs genealogy on Ancestry and even has a profile on Wikitree. She messaged me and we got to talking. She descends from my grandmother's uncle, Rocco. Sufficed it to say I was surprised. I confirmed things with my dad and here we are. Plus Rocco was at my parents' wedding so...yeah.
The other lady matches on my paternal grandfather's side and is genealogist Mary Tedesco. We haven't found the common ancestor, yet. But, we're working on it. She messaged me ages ago saying we were related. I confirmed this with my dad of course. Her grandfather was my dad's godfather and her family was at or were invited to my parents' wedding. Clearly we have a family history. We come from people who came from the same town in Italy. There are other factors as well.
When it finally came time to take a DNA test on Ancestry I saw both women there. That was awesome and expected. What I didn't count on was the sheer volume of cousins from both the Tedesco and Carrabs branches. So many people from both families.
These are just three of my many surprises. To list them all would take a LONG time! See ya next week!