Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Primos Porteños

As you may know, Boston is quite a melting pot, and I have ancestry from several other nations in Europe in addition to Ireland. My father's mother was Mary Guidetti, daughter of Onesto and Adelcisa (Tassinari) Guidetti. Her parents immigrated to Plymouth, Massachusetts from the province of Ferrara, Italy. In fact, they were from Cento, the same town where Ferruccio Lamborghini is from. (sorry boys, I haven't found a bit of relationship, but I'll keep digging!)
When I was still living in Boston, I remembered that my grandmother's step-brother, Al Gallerani, made frequent trips back to Italy, so I asked him where our ancestors were from. It was from him I learned they were from Cento. If only I'd had the sense to ask him for addresses of relatives! (Although he wasn't related to me by blood, only by marriage.)I wrote to the Italian Consulate in Boston, asking for information about where to write for information on ancestors in Cento. They sent me a name and address for someone with the title of "Il Sindaco" which I later learned is the Mayor. He (or his office) took the time to type out several family group sheets and two family charts, and send a covering letter detailing the emigration of Onesto and Adelcisa. In the letter, I learned that they went first to Buenos Aires before they sailed for Plymouth. Why, I wondered - was that a typical immigration pattern?
As I continued my research I learned that one of Onesto's brothers lived in Buenos Aires, and that he was deceased but left five daughters: Vittorina, Rosa, Rita, Basilia & Ernestina. I spent the next two decades trying to figure out how to contact them. The only address I had in Buenos Aires was dated 1942. Because they were daughters, I would have to know their married names. When the internet became available, I searched all possible sites with no success. Ironically enough, that Little Voice suggested I write to the 1942 address, but to my detriment, I ignored it; as it turns out, the woman living there today is the daughter of the 1942 addressee! See?? It pays to listen to the Voice!

Enter This website is designed to help members of the LDS Church to link their ancestors as families, with the goal in mind of helping researchers find one another and to prevent duplication of ordinance work in temples. One Sunday night I had another Great Moment. I found her! Ernestina Guidetti, and someone named Alejandro had performed temple ordinances in the Buenos Aires Temple in 2009. Someone was out there! Fortunately for me, this entry was accompanied by an email address, as many are not. I emailed him (in Spanish, with much appreciated assistance from my wonderful and patient Spanish-speaking husband :-) and by the next day had a very excited response!
Brother Alejandro is the only member of the church in his family. His grandmother is indeed Ernestina Guidetti, the daughter of Cesar Giovanni Battista Guidetti. This makes her a first cousin to my grandmother Mary Guidetti, and Alejandro and I are 3rd cousins. (that means you have to go back 3 generations to find the common ancestor).
Since that time, news of my existence seems to have spread throughout the family, as I have 4 new facebook relatives, and have had to sharpen my (nearly non-existent) Spanish skills to keep up with the rapid exchange of messages back and forth across the equator!The above photo was sent to me by my new-found Argentine cousins and shows the missing brother, Cesar Guidetti, his wife and the five daughters who now have faces to go with the names I'd been searching for for over two decades.

There are no words to express how grateful I am to have found these cousins, to have faces to put with the names on the page, and to know I am no longer the only member of the Church in my family. What a blessing is!

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