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EDINBURGH'S ITALIAN CULTURAL INSTITUTE.

The Italian Cultural Institute, founded in 1979, is an office of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Department for Cultural Promotion and Cooperation.

The Institute promotes Italian language and culture in Scotland and Northern Ireland and cooperates with local Institutions and Universities and serves as well as a gathering point for the Italian community.

The Institute promotes academic exchanges, organises arts exhibitions, sponsors the translation of Italian books, supports various events on literature, music, sciences, dance, film, design, fashion, theatre, cuisine, architecture, photography, etc

 

 

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This page comes as a recommendation by Rosalind, one of our readers  - if you're hoping to trace a friend, relative or your family tree then why not post a message on our board below who knows who may see it !!

Looking for long lost relatives? Try this site  

UK based and with excellent resources for researching your family tree is the Anglo-Italian Family History Society, with many links to free sites.

Another one to try is Family Tree On Line - though like many it's Americanised it is nevertheless free and a good starting off point. Otherwise check out our  Links page.

In addition if you had family like me who emigrated to the USA during the late 1880's, then try the Ellis Island  website and discover how your relative entered New York, right down to the name of the ship they arrived on.

 

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Here's my story..... The search for Angelo Corrieri my long lost great grandfather begins ..... January 2001

This tale began one winter's night in Albiano, near Barga in Italy, sitting with my grandmother Lalita. The topic of discussion turned to our family tree. Staying up until the early hours we had managed to fill out a large A2 sheet of paper with 187 names and their various relation to us detailed on it. Incidentally my grandmother recounted 185 names off the top of her head, and the next morning after a good nights sleep filled in the other two names! 

However it was the details of one of the main characters, her father Angelo Corrieri that were most vague.

My grandmothers' father Angelo emigrated from Albiano (near Barga, Tuscany) to Boston, USA in the early 1920's to search for a better life for him and his family. Many from the Barga area did the same, some like the Pieroni family achieving astounding success in the hotel and catering business.

Sadly, Angelo Corrieri died abruptly at 31 years of age in 1925  -  just weeks before his family was due to go out and join him. At the time my great grandmother Marriuccia was looking after their only child Lalita (my grandmother, nonna as we called her). As you can imagine they were devastated by the news. Contact and communication at that time was very difficult and in the years following Angelo's death news from the US petered out completely. It was said that he may even have had property out there but alas we'll never know. 

Time they say is a healer and eventually my great grandmother remarried Buonamore and had another three children, Ivano, Argentina and Gian Luigi. Marriuccia had the incomprehensible misfortune of being widowed for a second time at the tail end of WWII. Much of the area they lived in was in and around the contested Gothic Line. Out for a walk one day, Buonamore and Mariuccia had unwittingly stepped on a live landmine hidden in the undergrowth. It exploded, leaving Buonamore fatally wound and Mariuccia critically ill. She eventually lost an eye and a leg to the ravages of gangrene. 

Determined not to give up with what life had thrown at her, this remarkable woman managed to run a a household and looked after four children, all from her simple wooden chair (she insisted on never having a wheelchair and always cared for herself).

My grandmother Lalita took the reins in the now busy household, she married Tofano and their  own children came on the scene, Lauretta (my mother) and Enio.

At the back of Lalita's mind though was that she always wanted to know a little bit more of her own father. She was very young when he died, some might say you don't miss what you never had. Still she wondered, what had he worked as, how he had died or indeed what he looked like. Not only did she never recall the man but had no photograph of him either. 

These questions remained unanswered over distance and time.

That was until I came across Jim Brunini, but I'll come to that later.

I myself spent many enjoyable summers in Italy in the company of my grandparents and indeed of my great grandmother Marriuccia, (who died at the ripe old age of 90). 

I thought I'd owe it to my Nonna Lalita at least to try and see if I could figure out what exactly had happened to her dad.

Using the internet I accessed many genealogical sites (some of which I've detailed in the USEFUL LINKS section of this site), but alas on this occasion to no avail.

 

Pictures from Boston (click to enlarge)However it was only after a posting to the Barganews guestbook that things began to take shape. 

This was in the most part down to the afore mentioned Jim Brunini an American Italian from whom I'd gotten a response. 

Jim's family was also originally from Albiano and he lived not too far from Boston. Luckily for me Jim was also a bit of a hot shot genealogist and knew where to start looking for Angelo, accessing local parish and council records.

In the space of three short weeks Jim had obtained Angelo Corrieri's death certificate. In this was  detailed that my great grandfather had died aged 31 at Boston City Hospital, had been a cook during his working life, lived in 138 Main Street, and was buried at Mt. Benedict Cemetery in West Roxbury, Boston. Jim kindly took the time to take photographs of where Angelo had resided (which are now law offices incidentally) and of the burial plot and sent these along with a copy of the death certificate to me in Scotland.

As you can imagine, it then gave me great pleasure to go back the following year to my grandmother Lalita and fill in the blanks. 

Update December 2005

So I made it to Boston eventually, visiting this beautiful city with my girlfriend Dorothea and we did go to the site of Angelo's grave. Unfortunately deep snow cover prevented me from finding the exact spot as there is no longer a marker there. It was quite emotional nonetheless. 

Jim had given me a note (not unlike a treasure map) detailing which section, row and plot Angelo was buried in, with x marking the spot of course.This trip was also an opportunity to meet Jim and his family, Mark and Cheryl for the first time rather than across a keyboard and a most enjoyable evening was had by all.

Here are some photographs of my visit (click to enlarge):

American Italian Parade, North End Bsoton (click to enlarge)Mt. Benedict Cemetery (click to enlarge)Cemetery, unmarked grave

 

 

 

Cemetery, unmarked grave (click to enlarge)Jim, Mark, Cheryl and myself (click to enlarge)

 

 

 

My grandmother Lalita passed away a year or so after discovering where her father was buried. It took nearly 80 years but my grandmother did eventually find out what had happened to her father in no small part thanks to Jim and to Barganews.

As is often the case in this situation, the house Lalita had lived in was sold off shortly after her death. The curious twist is that the house had not only been the same one my grandmother had been living in since the age of 7, but was also the same house that Angelo had built all those years ago.