Monthly Archives: July 2008

Texas oh Texas…

Not to disappoint you, but this is not the start of me boldly singing the Texas state song… no. Definitely not. Texas has potentially misplaced (indefinitely) the marriage record for those good hearted Sicilians who went on to create what I know as my family (on my mother’s side).

I hope this is all a rouse and someone’s going to pop out from a curtain to say: “Ha! We fooled you! We had the document all along. Just wanted to see you squirm. And boy was that good fun!” Alas, that’s not currently the case. I’ve received an email saying, we still have yet to find any record… anywhere. Buuuut we’ll look two more places. We doubt it will be there, but we’re still hopeful. What?

Doubtfully Hopeful?? Hopefully doubting? Does that even make sense? I’m not sure. To illustrate this point, I’ll give you what google image search gave me when I searched for “hopefully doubting”:

If you can’t read that, it says that the United Nations station there in Northern Iraq would only be there for 100 days… that started July 14, 2002. That’s more than five years past the deadline they gave. I’m going to hope that’s not the way my quest for Italian citizenship goes.

But strong I shall stand. And courageous I shall continue on this journey…determined that I will find that record somewhere (Along with those few others I’m still hunting down).

Quest’é la mia vita per ora (This is my life for now). A hopeful doubter… I’m not sure I want to take on that role though. I think I’ll stick with the relentless wanderer for now.

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Useful Phrases of the Week

Currently, I can get by okay with my conversational Italian. Though I do plan on becoming fluent. When I visited Italy last fall, I had the amazing experience of quasi-full immersion. So much that I started dreaming in Italian. Now that can get weird when you didn’t realize you could say the things you said in your dreams.

Well, here is my effort at expanding my knowledge of Italian. Some useful phrases to help you/me along the way. There must be an occasion to say these. Especially the first one.

Il mio aeroscivolante è pieno di anguille.

  • My hovercraft is full of eels.

Chi più sa, meno crede.

  • The more one knows, the less one believes.

Finchè c’è vita, c’è speranza.

  • Where there’s life, there’s hope.

Meglio un giorno da leone che cento da pecora.

  • Better one day as a lion than a hundred as a sheep.

Gradisco voi di più e più.
  • I like you more and more

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Solo due giorni!

Today, to my utmost surprise, I received a FedEx package from the Louisiana Secretary of State. That’s right. Barely 48 hours ago, I sent my package to them and it has already returned. For a state that usually takes a while in getting paperwork done and has had many errors on those documents once received, they got this done crazy quick.

These innocent, important little papers have now traveled 3600 miles round trip only to sit with me until I get everything else together. It’s slightly bittersweet. I have a huge chunk off my checklist, but I know the documents that I’m waiting on will be a while.

Apart from the two death certificates that I’m going to have to amend, I’m only waiting on three other documents. Seems like nothing, right?

But the early 1900s have kind of entered the black hole of data storage. I’ve mentioned before my search for naturalization records, that’s a whole long mess with Homeland Security and the Citizenship and Immigration office trying to locate files from 1910. Luckily the researcher there has told me that I’m on the simple track which is less than a 10 month wait list. So that’s good.

The other document I’m looking for is a Texas marriage license. According to the family historian, my great-grandparents Anna and Liborio, were married in 1900 in Houston. I’ve checked with three of the counties in and around Houston and no one can find record of the marriage. I’ve since sanctioned the help of the Archdiocese of Houston & Galveston to search their archives. Hopefully God is on my side with this one, cause if I can’t prove they were married, I’m not exactly sure how the Italian government will feel about an illegitimate third generation Italian American trying to claim citizenship. I wonder if they accept wedding photos as proof?

I’m leaps ahead of where I thought I’d be today. So there.

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One step further… and what’s happened since

Today I’m sending off another big step on my road to being certified Italian! All kinds of fun certificates are going to the Louisiana Secretary of State to get an apostille (certification). I’m quite excited as this takes a huge chunk off my check list. Though I still have a ways, and a lot of wait time to go…

Let me catch you up on what I’ve gone through thus far:

  • April 2008 – Discover that I might qualify for Dual Citizenship in Italy.

So, I’m third generation Italian-American. Many moons ago, my great-grandparents, independently of each other, decided to journey to this great nation in the late 1890s. They met somewhere stateside and were married in Texas about 1900. They then moved to the wonderful state of Louisiana and had five beautiful kids (I know this because I’m a descendant of these people, and we’ve got good genes). My grandfather was born in 1909, so as long as my great-grandpappy was naturalized after my grandfather was born, I’m would be in the clear on the dual citizenship thing.

Except that isn’t the only factor for me here, my mother, being a woman and obviously inferior to man, would not be able to pass down this citizenship that she unknowingly was born with, unless she was born after 1948. Apparently 1948 is the magical year when Italian women were deemed equals and thus granted the “right” to pass down this highly coveted blood right to Italian citizenship. So that being sad, my mother was born in 1950, so yes I’m in the clear as long as the naturalization situation worked in my favor.

  • May 2008 – Began gathering documents from everywhere & found that great-grandfather was naturalized 3 years after my grandfather was born. Woo hoo!

Documents needed: Birth, Death, Marriage, Naturalization for every person between yourself and the ascendant that was born in Italy. All US documents must be apostilled by the Secretary of State. And then of course all US documents must then be translated into Italian, presented to the Italian Consulate, and then we just wait… but I’m not nearly to that step yet, so we’ll let that just sit there for now.

  • June 2008 – My amazing uncle found a dusty old box at the back of an untouched closet that, low and behold, held a copy of the original naturalization certificate for my great grandfather! And where I had previously thought him to be naturalized in 1912 (per the 1920 census I had referenced), he had actually been naturalized in 1910… 13 months after grandpa was born. Phew!

This brings us to, well, today, where I’ve received the majority of my long form certified birth, death, and marriage certificates. Now, I’ll warn anyone who dares to venture on this long road toward dual citizenship, depending on where you live you may have issues finding documents. See, I come from the great state of Louisiana who has been plagued with fires and floods and many more terrible things that I dare not mention. Many documents have been “misplaced” and take extra time to locate and/or replace. Not to mention, the errors on death certificates… I’m sure my great-grandmother would have loved to claim she was four years younger than she was and perhaps my great-grandfather preferred being a Virgo instead of a Leo. However, for some unknown reason, the Italian government likes such trivial information as birth dates and such to be consistent. Go figure.

Anyways, I’ve been learning all kinds of cool things about our family history. I think it’s pretty important to keep all the stories going with each generation. It’s sad to think that one day someone might not know, or even care what we’ve done and how we’ve gotten here.

By the way, that photo up there is Palermo. And one day (hopefully soon) all my documents I’ve been gathering will sit in the Province of Palermo. Sigh.

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The curious life…

The curious life. I’d like to say that kind of defines the way I live. Or at least hope that it does.

For the past couple of years, my Italian heritage has kind of spurred my passion and curiosity for life, personally and professionally. About two months ago, I made an amazing discovery. I qualify for Italian dual citizenship. That’s right, I can hold not only the highly coveted American citizenship, but can also hold that of my family’s mother country – Italy. Viva Italia!

So I’ve started my journey back to my roots. And I plan on keeping the world abreast of my “trip”. The process will be long. Injuries may be had. But in the end I plan on proudly waving both my flags and journeying home. And then back again. And then of course, maybe back the other way.

Let the journey begin… que sera, sera…

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