How a unique link between Bethlehem and an Italian village was unearthed

Nov 13, 2017 638

BY: Sara K. Satullo

Growing up in Bethlehem, Roseann Clavelli didn't think much about the vowel-heavy, Italian last names of many of her classmates and neighbors. Years later, tracing her own family history back to the Italian village of Foiano di Val Fortore, she was struck that many of her old friends shared the same surnames of Foianese villagers.She wasn't alone in this realization. 

A great number of the Italian Americans who settled in Bethlehem can trace their roots back to the village of 1,500 in the Campania region, just northeast of Naples. Social media paired with a rising interest in using DNA testing to trace genealogy, has connected these Foianese descendants with current residents of the village. Facebook groups have formed, virtually connecting those with Foianese roots all around the world.

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