02 November 2015

Delightful Dinner and DNA

The dinner with Arlington (VA) second cousin was delightful at the Ristorante Murali (1201 S. Joyce Street).  Several hours were passed listening to family stories from his perspective.  This second cousin was born and raised in Chicago, IL unlike my LA second cousin who was a Los Angeles product.  Further the age difference between these two cousins was 13 years with LA being older.[1]  There were family visits from time to time.

A great deal was learned about the Chicago family and in some ways the lack of contact between the two parent siblings.  What I did learn was more about the Denver (CO) second cousin and found that one of the three children I was researching was still alive (born 1923 in Chicago).

Remember that I am seeking a Y-DNA sample and Arlington was a direct male line back to a potential great grandfather so without skipping a beat in the conversation I learned that both Arlington and his sister were both adopted!!  He had some notion as to his biological parents and later I sent him information about adoption in Illinois if he was interested in finding out more about his experience.

What I did obtain was the cell and phone number for Denver second cousin whose line would go back via his Mother (an autosomal DNA test).  Arlington and I have continued to be in contact and I hope he makes another trip West to visit now two cousins he has in California.

[1] I am “protecting” the given names consciously as I only have their permission to use them publically when making presentations.  Sorry if it sounds awkward to characterize based on geography! 

28 October 2015


“Patience is a virtue.”  Someone said that and it has a kernel of truth for those of us who are impatient!  I left the story with the note send to my second cousin along with a Y-DNA sample kit.  Well I waited some weeks for a response since we had only met once.  Good thing I did not pester as the package was returned.  Seems I had used the address xx54 and the correct address was xx56.  One would think that the post office just might deliver with the street address that close.  Patience, right??!!  So I resent the package after and email exchange to clarify.  And waited again.

On the 21st of March I presented the family story “Lies, Lies and Damn Lies” to the Sonoma County Genealogy Society.  A normal Saturday general membership meeting like most.  Within 24 hours out of the email world pops a message between two other second cousins I had written postal, so to speak.  Label it serendipity or providence there was now more to pursue!  No patience, full steam ahead.  A series of emails resulted in a phone number for the newest second cousin in Virginia.  This second cousin is gregarious which is a dream for family history and tidbits.

My daughter was on a U. S. Forest Service detail in Washington, D.C. so it was time for a fatherly visit and a contact with this newest cousin.  It turned out that the cousin was in Arlington as was my daughter so it was a small matter of arranging a dinner gathering.  Off to D. C. via Southwest frequent flyer miles and the hide a bed sofa for a week.  One does have to go to the National Archives when in D.C also!!

09 February 2015

The Ask for DNA Sample

Thank you for your warm hospitality Sunday.  It was great to meet you face to face!  It was fun getting to know you some and I hope we will have many more meetings.

I really appreciate your digging into your family photo archives and pulling out so many pictures to share.  I will begin scanning them shortly.  They are a wonderful treasure to have.

Thank you for sharing your Italian family stories, too.  It must have been interesting growing up as a California guy with Midwest parents.  I left the Chicago area at age 13 and for me it was a difficult transition.

It was wonderful to learn of your real estate/property management experiences which are kind of a counter point to my corporate experience.

It was fun to hear about your television career.

You asked about how I made the connection to Veneziano.  The enclosed Death Certificate with you grandfather’s signature naming parents was the final paper clue.  As I mentioned, I would like to further confirm the paper trail via a Y-DNA test.  My results have been measured.

I took the liberty to order a sampling kit from Family Tree DNA and it is enclosed.  I would deeply appreciate your completing and sending the kit back to Family Tree DNA.  I have paid for all the costs.  A very sincere thank you for doing this.

The Meeting

Sunday morning arrived and so did I!  A warm friendly greeting from my newly found second cousin with a cup of coffee and a wonderful visit followed.  My expressed interest in seeing family pictures was exceeded as he had pulled out of his photo collect numerous items.  We proceed to spend the better part of two hours over the pictures and who was in them with me furiously making brief notes on the backs hoping that I would get it correct. Then all the pictures were offered for the taking.  I did!! 

Some genealogy facts were discussed.  For example I could not find the vital record at the Cook County Clerk’s website:

for his parents wedding.  I had found many other family related documents but not that one.  He showed me the Catholic Church document (framed) so I could capture the date.  Nor have I been able to find his grandparents marriage date.  I would not if the Catholic ceremony was considered sufficient and a civil record was not made.

I thought we had a great candid conversation about family which will not be a part of this blog!

I think in two hours it is possible to get a read on another person.  With guests due to arrive shortly I got the sense it was time to pack it up.  Although I had mentioned in writing and verbally my desire to have a DNA test done to tie up my paper trail, my sense was it was not the correct time to “spring” the kit on him.  Rather, when I arrived home I wrote a big thank you letter and included the Family Tree Y-DNA kits.

In the meantime we have been exchanging emails with respect to the pictures and his acting career.

06 February 2015

Getting in Touch

Although the letter was unanswered by the time we left for LA I packed for most possibilities taking numerous file folders with family genealogy, a Family Tree DNA Y sample kit, an Ancestry.com autosomal sample kit, my Flip-pal scanner with extra recharged batteries and phone number to call.

I was nervous to call a complete stranger although the correspondence had softened the nerves some.  My mistake was not calling the number I had in advance.  You guessed it.  The number was no longer in service nor did the area code information have a listing.  A sign of smart phone use rather than land line use.  So I was left with the choice to drive to the address I had from our letter writing.  I did.

The adventure was the address was not where it would be expected.  However, after trespassing and knocking over some cans an occupant asked if they could help me.  I explained the address and found that the property had been split so that the address I was seeking was above the house where I was.  Thank goodness for strangers helping out. 

I drove to the house above and parked.  I screwed up my courage and headed for what appeared to be the front door.  Knock at the door brought no answer.  I was not about to leave without leaving a note or two.  I put one note in the front door frame and left another note with a Family Group Sheet (of course) in the mail box.

So it was time to find a cemetery and the graves of what would be my first cousin once removed.  It was a busy day at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery; however, a person in the business office was able to give me the locations.  After some tramping around I was able to find the grave markers and pay my respects.

FORTUNATELY my smart phone rang and it was my second cousin who had been out running errands. He agreed to meet Super Bowl Sunday morning before the party began at his home.  We chatted briefly and next would be the Sunday visit.

05 January 2015

Continuing the Dialogue

I did wait to respond to the second letter until today when I mailed the following in hopes of keeping the discussion going which could lead to that DNA sample I seek!!

Thank you very much for your last letter.  I am enjoying our correspondence and hope you are also.  Your handwriting is excellent.  Mine is atrocious so I hope typing is acceptable to you.

I hope you had a good holiday season and will have a wonderful 2015.   Happy New Year.  Our holiday was calm compared to others as one couple was in Michigan, another in Massachusetts, the third went to Oklahoma and the fourth stayed in Los Angeles.  All those due to other biological parents in play.  Since Janice and I are remarried there are other parents in consideration.

Reading your 12 hour day work schedule makes me exhausted!!  How do you do it?? I spent a 40 year career as a Corporate Facility Manager working in a wide variety of organizations from the federal government to state government (NV) to consumer electronics (Atari), financial institutions (Wells Fargo Bank) and research institutes.  My last work was at ABC KGO Channel 7 in San Francisco.  Now all my work is volunteer work.

I am enclosing more family research.   I have sent the person I believe to be our common Great Grandfather along with your Grandfather and mine.  This time I am sending the information I have found for your father and my father.  I hope my sharing this is useful.

I will be in Salt Lake City next week attending the Salt Lake Institute for Genealogy taking a one week class on writing family history.  It will be a big help.

We are driving to Los Angeles the last weekend this month and I would love to meet you personally to share a cup of coffee and have the opportunity to see some of the family pictures.  We will drive down Friday, January 30th.  I hope your work schedule will allow our meeting on Saturday, January 31st.  Please let me know if that will work.  I would enjoy meeting your grandsons also.