In the last five years we were frequently asked to research in the town hall archives, or between the Churches' documents, traces of the Italian ancestors of people coming from America and Canada. The desire of knowing something more about the Italian roots of our family is so strong, that the Ancestry travel tours are always very interesting and emotional. That's why I decided to specialize myself in this area, attending couses and taking part to many researches.
I had a lot of experiences with customers looking for some traces of their family in Italy, but probably the most emotional one was with an American family, who asked me to help finding traces of their great-granfather born in Sant'Elia Fiumerapido and then moved to America.
When I received their mail, I called Don Remo and asked him to open his old archives for me. I was looking for the traces of Antionio Soave born in 13th April 1863 in this little village in the area of Cassino.
After 3 days of researches, with the help of Don Remo, being everything written in Latin, I answered to the mail telling the family what we found something....
When they arrived at Cassino, I picked them up and we joined Sant'Elia. After a very pleasant promenade in the historical centre, walking in the same street where Antonio walked 150 years ago, we stopped at the Santa Maria La Nova church where don Remo was waiting for us. The emotion was very big, even if they didn't know what we had discovered. Then in front of a mountain of old volums, don Remo opened a very old book and we started to read and translate... Antonio Soave born (on the American birth certificate) on the 13th April 1863 was born the day before!
Let's explain what happened on that day, fully described on the old book we were able to find.
Antonio Soave was born very late in the evening on 12th April. The conditions on the little baby were disperate, so the parents decided to ask to the priest to baptize him as soon as possible. In the past people believed that if a baby died before being baptized the doors of paradise could not be opened for him, so the only consolation fot the death of a baby was to be sure he could join God. The father of Antonio woke up the priest in the middle of the night and he baptised the baby, but the condition of the baby started to go better and so Antonio and his family started to consider the date of baptism as the true birthdate.
Helped by this document, explaing what even the priest believed to be a miracle, we were able to find the traces of Antonio's parents and relatives,also we find the dates of birth, marriage and death.
At the and Don Remo prepared a sweet souvenir for the family, a little bottle with some Holy Water, the same that saved Antonio's life.
If the family was already happy, you can immagine what an emotion when we went to the town hall and they received the Italian birth centificate of Antonio with the true Italian date of birth.
We had a lot of photos with Don Remo, in front of the register, in the church Antonio attended, in the archives, in front of the town hall.
Emotion that will last for all our lives!
Genealogy and heritage reserches in Sant'Elia Fiumerapido
- pick up from the Railway station or from your hotel in Cassino with a Minivan
- promenade in the village of Sant'Elia
- visit to the religious archives of the village
- visit to the townhall (if open, if not, i will do it for you in advance)
- visit of the cemetery of Sant'Elia
- back to ypur hotel in Cassino or to thr Railway station
Dr. Anna Maria Priora Ph.D
WW2 Monte Cassino Battlefield expert, researcher and tour guide