I grew up, as I’m sure many of you did, with a lot of Italian relatives who married into your family line, but some were a little different. There might be a godmother who doesn’t quite connect to the tree or folks who we call our “uncles” and “aunts,” but were they really related? “Who was Cooma Micheline? Is she a cousin of Nonna?” Nobody seemed...

The race question is going to get complicated for many people who identify as white on the U.S. census. Since 1960, when U.S. residents were first allowed to self-report their race on the census, just answering “White” has been enough to complete the race question. But the federal government is now preparing to essentially ask non-Hispanic white pe...

Maybe you got one of those find-your-ancestry kits over the holidays. You've sent off your awkwardly-collected saliva sample, and you're awaiting your results. If your experience is anything like that of me and my mom, you may find surprises — not the dramatic "switched at birth" kind, but results that are really different from what you expected. M...

Jenny Tonks, a professional genealogist, will present a program on Italian genealogy on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 2 p.m. at the Memorial Hall LIbrary (2 North Main Street, Andover, MA). The program will focus on Italian emigration to the U.S., the relevant demographic patterns that help break through brick walls, and strategies for corresponding direct...

Grand Island is home to the impressive Hall County Courthouse, a stately structure designed by noted architect Thomas Kimball of Omaha. Now, Grand Island residents can be proud that their city’s downtown has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. “The district contains an intact collection of late-19th and early- to mid-20th-ce...

Looking around the room full of their second cousins in Valpergo, Italy, in 2014, sisters Dee Pollinger, Washington, and Jean Woll, Union, could see some family resemblances, striking resemblances in at least two cases. But they hadn’t needed to see any likenesses. The sisters already knew they had found what they were looking for — family. They ha...

We carry our own history in our name: it often tells about our relatives, after whom we may be named, or about name trends in the year we were born. It speaks of our parents’ tastes and preferences, whether they liked novelty or tradition, the new or the old. Surnames are even more important, because they hold so much information about whom we and...

Something to know about him: Cellini grew up in Springfield but currently lives and works as a documentary writer (for Cinema Verite, Ltd.) and Italian genealogical researcher in Los Angeles and Chicago. He researches Italian genealogy for a fee and holds seminars on the topic. Cellini will discuss the history of Italians and Italian immigration in...

Taking a DNA test to learn that my true ethnicity isn’t what I’ve forever believed wouldn’t cause me to turn away from my Sicilian soul. Was it all illegitimate? Was it all fraudulent? Am I not who I think I am? All that spaghetti and rigatoni and ziti and lasagna and chicken parmigiana covered with generous helpings of homemade sauce that moved my...

To people of Italian – and especially Sicilian Italian – descent who have had DNA tests and are bothered that results didn’t show them to be 100% genetically Italian – don’t sweat it. In fact, if anything, these results could just be proof of how Italian you really are! Before I explain, first of all let’s establish that when most of us say we’re I...