Genealogical Rabbit Holes

OMG. I posted last night about how stunned I was to be able to link up with some research that other amateur genealogists had posted online, allowing me to expand one branch of my family tree back another three generations. The line I was tracing is my maternal grandmother’s family. And I was thrilled last night to see the name of one of my sixth great grandfathers!

I posted that entry about my latest discoveries, giving some details about my ancestors stretching back into eighteenth-century Italy. I thought my work for the night was done.

And then I found more. I was up way late last night because I fell into one of those genealogical rabbit holes, where one discovery leads to another, and another, and another.

And now I know the name of my NINTH great grandfather. He was Agostino Agostinelli, and he was born in 1620 or a bit before that. So I’ve reached the Renaissance! I don’t have a location within Italy for him, but most likely he was in the Marche region of Italy, like everyone else in that line down to my great grandparents, who emigrated to the U.S. from there in the early 1900s. I do know that Agostino’s kids were born in Le Marche.

Speaking of Agostino’s kids, a generation down, I have slightly more information. Now we’re talking about my eighth great grandfather, Agostino’s son, Benedetto Agostinelli. Benedetto was born in 1640 in Scapezzano, Ancona, Marche. He married Maria Gambelli on Feb. 11, 1664, and they proceeded to have three sons, Giorgio, Tomasso, and Lorenzo, all born in the same town where the couple got married. I have no death dates for Benedetto or his sons, but his wife Maria died in 1717 at the age of 76, which seems pretty darn long-lived for 1717. Her oldest son, Giorgio, became my seventh great grandfather. She died in a different village in the same region.

I’m speaking of all this as if it’s definite. But that everything I’ve found is completely unverified; I’ll have to do a lot more research to confirm a lot of the information. The reason it’s all tentative is that I’m synthesizing and applying dug up by strangers whose work I can’t yet verify, and figuring out how it connects to my own family tree. The level of detail others have coaxed from old records is impressive, and makes me think that one of them, at least, is a careful researcher. But finding my own evidence for all of this could take years. Still, for now I’m reveling in my newly found ancestors.

I wish I could post photos of all of these people, but of course cameras hadn’t been invented yet! It would be cool if some Renaissance master had painted them, so I could see what they looked like. But I’m pretty sure nobody in my family was ever rich and prominent enough to have portraits painted, so I’ll have to make do with imagining them, for now.

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