While working on my fathers side of my family genealogy I have been trying to align the verbal history with the factual history. Last week I took a “mental health” day off from work and headed to the main library’s Historical Research area. It is quite extensive with inclusions of Micro Film from local places of worship. I decided to try to stay focused on my father and his siblings Catholic records, Birth, Baptism etc. With help from the great staff I found the film with the Church records for the time frame I was looking for. Oral family history has stated that the children were named Italian names and then later changed to become more “American” and that was another fact vs fiction puzzle I wanted to solve. It was daunting to go through page after page of film that was, at best, unreadable. Eventually I gave up, replaced my little film into its box and just headed over to a computer and searched Ancestory.com for my great-uncle Alex. When I left the library for home I decided to make some phone calls to see where the actual original books for the churches were.
Two phone calls later and I was speaking to the most adorable sounding woman named Delores at Holy Apostles church which happens to be in one of the worst neighborhoods in my fair city. I explained what I needed, what dates, which church and all of the names in both Italian and English. As we ended our phone call she wished me blessed and I the same to her but mostly because I thought she was an angel with a huge task ahead of her!
Arriving home Thursday night both late and exhausted, I checked my phone for any messages. One voice mail, the caller ID said “Holy Apostles Church.” It was darling Delores telling me she had found the information for the people I was looking for. She made out new certificates and my package was mailed, but I was to call her back on Friday before noon. The excitement I felt was refreshing and I thought to myself how much easier it was to just make a phone call than sit in the library for hours going blind trying to read documents written so many years ago the ink had all but disappeared. Plus the icing was I got to hear what sweet and pure sounds like in Delores’ voice.
As per usual Friday’s at work are crazy, my morning consists of grooming and the rest of my day I am the “Beck and Call girl” running from here to there fetching, holding animals, staining slides, cleaning up after everyone and so forth. This goes on until I am told I can leave, which can be 5, 6, 7 and even later depending on what kind of emergency comes screaming in. Anyway, I found an empty phone in the Dental room and called Delores. There she was in all of her angelic sweetness on the other end telling me of her findings. Slowly speaking she relays to me that she found the records I was looking for but not in the church I had given her, they were in a different church – St. Anthony’s, not Holy Family as I’d always been told. Okay then, hmm there’s another tidbit of wrong info. So then she goes on to tell me she has my dad: Baptised as Vincenzo, my uncle as Donato and my aunt as Palmina but no Michael. Michael was their fourth child but died at the age of 6 years in 1936. She does however tell me she also has “Antonio” and proceeds to go on with his birth date etc. WAIT!! Who the hell is Antonio!? Never heard of him. “Oh yes” she says, “it’s right here Antonio, born 12th June 1924, baptised 19 July 1924” but I still couldn’t grasp for a second or two. Delores you’re killin me! Are you kidding? Wow. Hmmm, then oh boy now I have to get back to the library…….more records, more searching. Then my mind starts to try to put everything into place….so where’s Michael? Why isn’t he in the group? Maybe they had switched churches at that point but if so, why isn’t he then listed in Holy Family? So, I spent the rest of the day yesterday trying to make a logical explanation for this surprise turn of events in my fact-finding mission.
It’s Saturday, I have a part-time job grooming in the morning. I love the extra money but today would be a good day to only have 2 dogs. The library is calling to me…..come dig, come look around, come see what I can show you!