23 December 2014

I Must Be More Patient in 2015

Of course it happens.  An answer to my second letter was post marked by my newly found second cousin the day I mailed him my hand written note.  He must think my light is not on in the attic!

His hand written letter is encouraging.  “Thank you for the information.  Took me a while to get through it.”  A sigh of relief on my part having feared that the three family group sheets could have been overwhelming.  “…it was all very interesting, especially the people in Sicily who I never knew a lot about.  I also didn't know about our St. Louis connection at all.   Very interesting.”  His grandfather Vincenzo’s stated destination on the ship manifest was to visit my potential grandfather in St. Louis in 1913.

“If your ever in------- give me a call and maybe we can have a cup of coffee.  I would bring some pictures.”  [Coffee is great if I can get a swab of his cheeks first!!!]  I found this encouraging as it is a first step to making my second cousin comfortable with the DNA I mentioned in my second letter.

“Hope you have a great holiday season.”  I am going to wait until after Christmas (say 12:01 a.m. on the 26th) to write back.  Besides the holiday letter sent will clearly give him a bigger family.  “Years ago I had friends in Sausalito and Marin County area…..Beautiful country, your very lucky.”

So my holiday season is great with this wonderful stocking stuffer of a letter!

18 December 2014

Impatient Me!

Patience is not a virtue I neither inherited nor cultivated!  

There has not been a response to the second letter sent.  I suspect that the amount of material could have been overwhelming.  The first response was a hand written letter to which I had responded with a typed letter. 

Soooooooo I figured that it was time to write and this time a personal hand written note along with a family picture showing my paternal grandmother and her three children.  I included the annual holiday letter as it contained pictures of our current family along with its narrative. 

AND so I wait----ugh!!

08 December 2014

An Answer Arrives

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.

[i] I sent Family Group Sheets for the potential Great Grandfather and his Grandparents and my Grandparents along with the Legacy Family Tree Relationship Chart illustrating our second cousiness.

05 December 2014

Finding a Cousin Hopefully!

After trying to tie the Veneziano pieces together I thought it was time to take the plunge and send a letter to the person I thought could be my second cousin. Here is what I sent and then I waited!

November 18, 2014

Dear Mr. Veneziano

I am writing you as I believe we are cousins.  I have been trying to identify my grandfather for the last 15 years.  I think we are related.  What follows is a lot of family research the details of which I am glad to share with you.

 Giuseppe Veneziano and Francesca Meglore of Caltanissetta, Sicily, Italy had several children.

Josephine was born about 10 January 1882 and married Sam Panichi in about 1903 in Italy.  She died in Chicago, IL on the 5th of February 1931.

Agostino was born about 9 June 1884 and immigrated to the US on 11 April 1904.  On 27 April 1907 he married Mary Branca in St. Louis, MO.  I am descended from this marriage.  He died in Chicago, IL on 24 September 1930 and the informant on his death certificate was his brother Vincenzo. 

Vincenzo was born about 14 November 1892/94 and immigrated on 22 October 1913.  In the ship’s manifest (Verona) he is going to see his brother Agostino at 901 Franklin in St. Louis.  I believe you are descended from this line.  Vincenzo took the name James and married Angelina Giliberto.  He was naturalized in 1918 while in military service and resided in Chicago at 823 Leavitt for many years.  My guess is that he went to California in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s after being a businessman with his own grocery store.  Vincenzo died in Burbank on 5 June 1955.  His wife Angelina died 16 September 1992.
Vincenzo “James” and Angelina had three children.

Giuseppe (Joseph Michael) was born 24 March 1923 in Chicago, IL and died 10 March 1995 in Glendale, CA.  I believe this person to be your father as you were the informant on his death certificate.  At the time you were living at 1032 Linden Avenue in Glendale.  So I have sent a letter to that address.

Francesca was born 20 March 1924 in Chicago, IL and married Harry Rulo in Chicago on 6 November 1949.  Harry dies in 1971 and she may have remarried to John Noce.

Carmelo was born 20 December 1925 in Chicago, IL and died about 28 August 2000 in Chicago, IL.  He married Anne Ranieri on 20 September 1958 in Chicago, IL.  She died in 2007.

I know this is a lot of information and if you want to discuss it, my home phone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX and I have enclosed a self-addressed stamped envelope if you prefer to use it. My email address is jeffreyvaillant@hotmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you very much for reading this and responding.