16 May 2011

My Bella Basilicata

In search of their ancestors

It has happened twice since we arrived here in Trivigno, we have come across Americans in town looking for their family roots. Both times it has been older couples who knew almost no Italian but wanted to make the connection with the small town in Basilicata where their families originated from.

The first time, I was in Bar Centrale when two couples came in who were obviously not locals and were dressed like Americans. They kind of stood off in the corner while their driver made some inquiries of the barista. I approached them and they were surprised to hear English. They were on a cruise ship stopping for the day in Naples and hired a driver for the 2 hour trip to visit this town where the one man’s mother had been born.

Just last week Valerie was walking through the piazza when she was flagged down by a friend who said there were some strangers here who only spoke English. Valerie found out this couple had driven over from Sorrento to see the town where from where the woman’s grandparents had emigrated over 100 years ago.

In both instances we helped them try and locate any relatives in town and to piece together who might still live here based on the limited information and available time they had. They were all thrilled to have someone who could translate for them with potential family and we enjoyed showing them some of the town their ancestors left many years ago.

If you too are interested in locating your family roots here in Basilicata…or wanting to find a place to call home or just plan a trip to this hospitable region…then you must check-out My Bella Basilicata. A new web-site focused on helping you do just that in the land the locals call Lucania.


Gil said...

We went to visit the orphanage in my grandmother's town, Visciano, in Naples one trip. on the walk back to the car a man on a bicycle invited us to his house for dinner as he claimed we were relatives. We had to pass as we were already hours late to visit my father's cousin in Scauri. I love how friendly people are in Italy.hedstion

Bryan said...

Gil - You never know when a potential relative will pop-up here! All part of the experience.

Audra said...

This is a really interesting post! Living in Sicily I had never happened upon other Americans, and then when I moved to Reggio I didn't find people searching for their roots either. The only American I knew in Reggio with roots in the region was my then boyfriend who was as American as apple pie but whos great grandfather was born in the mountains there.

I wish I could have helped some people find their ancestral towns! Che figo.

Bryan said...

There was a lot of emigration from Basilicata 100-150 years ago to the Americas. The second and third generations seem to have a stronger desire to know where their families originated.