Friday, December 26, 2014

The Big Trip

Hello folks, it's Bob ... the Milani family genealogist.

Three weeks ago I realized that before years' end, I needed one more flight to retain my Delta Airlines Medallion status, and facing no further business trips, I decided to book a personal trip to New York and visit my relatives -- the dead ones of course.  I mean, you know, who want to visit the living ones?  

Determined to discover my roots -- I have invested an enormous amount of time and money into my family history.  My discoveries have fueled more curiosity and discoveries -- and I have found that genealogy is like being on a treasure hunt, but each day you get a new map with new clues -- sometimes taking you in a completely different direction. There never seems to be a definitive 'X' to  mark the spot where the treasure is buried -- but I have learned that genealogical treasure is more about  those special moments where all the hard work and frustration of research come together into a massive epiphany -- a "EUREKA' moment.  That is my 'X' -- my treasure!  These  transcendent moments -- where the past is the present and my ancestor is speaking to me -- make genealogy worth every minute and dollar of investment.  But this transcendent moment is always fleeting -- always producing more curiosity and questions.  One day I hope to actually find the portal to the past -- to have my own time travel moment like Marty McFly.  But I digress ...

I recently had a few EUREKA moments and happily, I'm about to commune with the granite headstones and marble statues -- those last resting places of several of my great grandmothers and fathers buried from the Bronx up north to Hawthorne, NY -- and then across the Hudson to North Arlington, NJ and down to Newark.

Yes ... I have the ignominious distinction of being born in New Jersey.  This doesn't make me from Jersey -- even though my parents are both from there.  I was born in Jersey on the way to Alfred, New York.   I thank the U.S. Army for moving my dad from Ft. Benning, Georgia, one week before my birth and giving me a life sentence to all the famous negative New Jersey stereotypes -- you know how New Jersey smells like a dump or that everyone with an Italian last name is connected to the Mob, etc, etc.  I tell my Georgia neighbors that I was 'conceived' in Georgia -- which always gets a good laugh.   That said, I'm proud of my Jersey roots -- but I do have hard time saying I'm from there -- especially when I lived in Georgia for the last 20 years and spent two years of my Army career (and 8.9 months of conception!) in Georgia!

So tomorrow I leave for a three day whirlwind tour -- and to say I'm excited would be an understatement.  This blog will chronicle for the curious - (okay ... I freely admit that I might be the lone member of the curiosity club) -- my adventures and misadventures discovering my ancestors.

This journey started back in 2004, when I discovered that my Italian Great Grandfather emigrated from Carrara, Italy, to Tate, Georgia (that's right I DO have roots in Georgia!!) to work as a marble cutter in the marble quarries of North Georgia.  It was hard for me to comprehend that just 35 miles up the road from my Georgia home, my great grandfather, Guiseppe Andrea Milani (the old guy pictured in the margin of this blog) started his American Dream.   Who knew??  Since then I have discovered up to 7 generations of family members of German, Irish and Italian roots.

I fly out tomorrow to La Guardia and then off to the Bronx to visit Old St. Raymond's Cemetery and Woodlawn Cemetery.  Then it's up to Hawthorne, NY and then a bed and breakfast stay at The Bricktown Inn in Haverstraw, NY.   I'll keep you posted.

No comments:

Post a Comment