I don’t know how many “parts” of this there will end up being, but I do know that I’d love to have all of my genealogy research documented, so before I get too deep into the abyss of my family history, here’s how I got started on this journey in the first place:
I come from a family where our heritage was discussed often—and with much pride, might I add. Yes, I’m American first and foremost—3rd generation to be exact, but I grew up knowing that in addition to being American, that I was also half Polish (from my father’s side), and a quarter Italian and a quarter Irish (from my mother’s side). Sidenote: In the Boston area, this genetic makeup is not uncommon.
My grandparents were all born in this country, but because their parents had emigrated from the “old country”, they grew up with the native language, customs, traditions, and folklore from their respective homelands. Of all of my grandparents, I was undoubtedly closest with my Italian Grammy Helen, and because of this, I am the most knowledgeable of my Italian ancestry. Lucky for me, she had our Angelicola and D’Amarino family history very well documented, and I’m thankful that I was able to inherit that information from her before she passed away a few years ago.
Italian Side = Check.
Helen’s husband Francis O’Connell, my Irish grandfather, died before I was born, so I have very limited information about the history from that side of the family. I have been able to find out a decent amount from Ancestry.com (more on that in another post), but I’ve still got some holes to fill—and definitely a few funny family legends to find legitimate connections to, i.e. the fact that I may or may not be related to the infamous “Dalton Gang” of old west outlaws.
Irish Side = Still some work to be done.
As for my Polish side, which is the majority of my genetic makeup, my grandfather Charles Dzenawagis died when I was very young, so like with Francis, I have very limited information about his side of the family. His wife Edna, my 97-year-old nana, is still living (and as spunky as ever), but she only remembers bits and pieces of her family’s story, so there’s a lot left to be discovered there.
Polish Side = I’m coming for you.
So, this is my baseline. Where I’m starting from. As far as I’ve been told, I am of Polish, Italian, and Irish descent. A lot of people would leave it at that, but this stuff absolutely fascinates me. For whatever reason, I feel like I need to get to the bottom of it, to find out as much as I can—and I intend to do just that.
I started my official genealogy quest about a year ago, and while I’ve uncovered quite a bit, there’s still a lot of digging left to do. My plan is to use this platform as a place to record my findings so that I have everything organized neatly and in one place. And of course, a blog is a great place to store this information so that if any of my long-lost, distant relatives are doing some family Googling, that they might happen upon one of my posts :)
Next on the Genealogy Agenda: Do a little back-blogging to get caught up on here to where I’m at now in my search, and also to take Ancestry’s DNA test—mostly just for fun, but who knows what I might find, right?