When I decided to take a vacation to Sicily (birthplace of my maternal grandparents) I knew I wanted to thoroughly cover the island – not just a 4/5 day tour. So I selected a 16 day tour through Road Scholar – The Treasures of Sicily.
Once I’d booked the tour, I decided that even though I had been unsuccessful many years before trying to find my grandparents immigration information that I would try again before going to Sicily. This time the research was successful and did not take long to find Ellis Island immigration documents for Vincenzo Palmeri and Francesca Giaramida from Santa Ninfa, Sicily. Finding them in the 1930 U.S. Census assured me that I the right people because the address where they were living was the same one I would visit them at as a child in Akron, Ohio. Having found Grandma and Grandpa Palmeri, I decided to see if there was anyone related to me still living in Santa Ninfa or nearby. There had been a devastating earthquake in 1968 and all contact with the family there had been lost. I reached a bit of stumbling block when I was unsuccessful in contacting the local “clerk” for the town via email or telephone.
One last Google search brought me to someone who recommended a couple of researchers in Palermo, Ciro Grillo and Giovanni Montanti. I emailed them the Ellis Island information I’d found about my grandparents immigration (departure date, arrival date, ship’s name) and their approximate dates of birth. Within a few weeks Giovanni was able to send me copies of my grandparent’s birth certificates. From there he found that my grandfather’s brother stayed in Santa Ninfa and from that discovered that I have at least 50 relatives in a town of 5,400!! Oh how I wish my mother could have been around for this news.
And so my journey to find my Sicilian family roots begins. I have decided I will leave the Road Scholar tour near the end and go to spend three days in Santa Ninfa meeting MY FAMILY!!