52 Ancestors, Week 6: Social Media

This week’s theme in the challenge to post about my ancestor’s each week this year is Social Media. I could have come up with something about what counted as social media in my ancestors’ times. But I’m going to talk about a modern social media site that has proven invaluable in my research.

I have some lines of my paternal grandmother’s ancestry traced back to the 1500s and 1600s. I would like to say that is the result of hard work and multiple trips to Italy to comb through church and commune records. Yes, I have done a lot of research (the kind that, unfortunately, does not involved multiple trips to Italy). But I can’t take full credit, especially for anything past the level of my great-great grandparents. I chanced upon a remarkable resource online, a family tree website created by a distant relative in Italy. His name is Roberto, he is a doctor, and his website is the secret to my success!

Italian records are hard. So much is not available online, and I don’t read Italian. When I started, I didn’t even know which villages I should be looking at. And then I found Roberto’s page. I don’t know Roberto. I haven’t even worked out exactly how he is related to me. But he visited churches and communes in Marche, Italy, and looked up birth, marriage, and death records. And then he documented it all on his family tree website.

The site has not been updated in several years. I don’t know if he is still actively researching. But I do know that because of Roberto, I have been introduced to many more generations of my father’s maternal line than I’d have ever found on my own from the U.S., including several 11th great-grandparents. I wish I had a Roberto in each of my ancestral lines!

Thank you, Roberto! He is my hero.

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