01 February 2010

A "Mystery" Photo; the Past Meets the Future, By Jeff DeSantis

The DeSantis Family 18 April 1948

One day a few years ago, I received not one, not two, but three emails from three different people.
Each included a photo and asked if I knew anything about it.

There I was sitting in front of my computer gazing at the image on the screen. Staring at the very same photo hanging on my dining room wall!

Hmmm, did I know anything about this photo?

It was a snapshot of my father, his parents and two brothers, taken my parents' wedding reception on April 18, 1948. Carmen DeSantis and Adalgisa DeMinico were married at Saint Stephen's Church in the North End of Boston. The reception followed at the Oak Manor in nearby Melrose, Massachusetts, where the photograph was taken. Left to right are Phil, Palmino, Elvira, Carmen, and Benny.

That much I knew about the picture ... what I didn't know was how and why it came to be emailed to me so many years later.

The Italian handwriting along the bottom was my first clue. Someone in Italy must have been the source for the image. My grandfather is referred to as "il moglie" or "spouse", suggesting  the photo did not originate with a member of his family. Calling my grandmother "Zia Elvira" meant it probably came from someone in her family, the Ardolinos. I knew Grandma had about a half dozen nieces and nephews in Italy, but that was all I knew.

Well, it was not like I was driving somewhere and had to stop and ask for directions!  I just emailed the gang of three back and asked them where they got the picture from.

It turned out the image was submitted to the www.torrelenocelle.com web site by Simona. Simona's mother Elvira is my grandmother's niece. The photograph was actually provided by Alfonsina, Elvira's sister. Florindo Cirignano, the webmaster for www.torrelenocelle.com, sent me Simona's contact information and soon through the magic of email and Facebook I was in instant contact with newfound Italian cousins.

And the very best part?

In July 2009, I went to Torre le Nocelle and  met Simon, Elvira, Alfonsina and some of the other cousins too! In the second to last picture, there I am at the far right in the front row. Flo is next to me, wearing the striped shirt and huge grin!

All because a few people wanted to know if I knew anything about a particular photo...

Pedigree Chart of Carmine DeSantis 
Pedigree Chart of Adalgisa Carmela DeMinico

Marriage of Carmine DeSantis to Adalgisa Carmela DeMinico
18 April 1948 in Boston, MA

The Valentine, Ardolino and Del Grosso Families taken July 2009 in Torre.  Jeff's on the far right with Florindo to his left ... and they both look like they're up to no good!

The Petrillo, DeSantis and Ardolino Families
Photo taken July 2009 at the Piazza della Repubblica, Firenze

Search Massachusetts Naturalization Records At Footnote


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