Fortunately I did not have long to wait for a response. I had sent two letters to the last two mail address found. Both came back the same day (irony?) one of which was from my second cousin. Some snippets from the letter:
“You certainly have done your homework.” I really appreciated this opening line!
“Almost my entire family moved to Calif. In 1952….” What a great fact to have in trying to find other family members.
“Everyone has died or scattered. I am in touch with only one cousin….” Well here is hoping he wants to be in touch with another cousin!
“…the other names we married into were Pasavanti, Dandrea & and you know Gibilerto.” Another great clue to do more research is provided.
He signs the letter and then after says “I wound up with all the family pictures going back to Sicily. Many have names on the back if you ever come up with a name to look for. I have hundreds.” YES, I almost headed to the car to leave town to see the pictures.
However, before leaving town I wrote him back as my goal (beyond seeing family pictures) is to obtain his DNA sample. I wrote:
I was thrilled, excited and delighted to receive your letter today. Thank you very much for responding. We share several similar life events.
I, too, was an only child born in Chicago in 1942. Our family moved to California in 1956 when my father accepted a transfer from the Sunbeam Company.
At the risk of overwhelming you I have enclosed a great deal of the research I have been doing.[i] I do hope you might find it interesting.
I have a step daughter who lives in the Highland Park area and my wife and I drive down to visit with her periodically so we have driven past your town of Sunland! I sure would like to meet you in person if that is agreeable to you.
As part of my research I have submitted several saliva samples to determine my DNA background. One test that is great for males is called the Y-dna test. Perhaps you have heard of it? It can trace the male line back through males (only) and I expect such a test could link us to our common ancestor Giuseppe Veneziano. I have purchased a test kit and am hoping you could agree to be tested. I have lots more information if you are interested.
I look forward to hearing from you again and I am so thrilled to have found a second cousin. I have three cousins two of whom are adopted and that is the extent of my “blood” family!
Again, thank you very much.
As can be read I am trying to establish as much common ground as possible.
I await an answer to this second letter.