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May 20, 2009

GENEALOGY: A Shot In The Dark

When you research a family tree in genealogy there will usually come a time when you will have to try to contact a distant or not so distant relative of the client. Of course you must only do this with previous permission from the client. Privacy must be protected.
I have come to that point in a current project. I had the names of some second cousins, their parents names and their occupations. They live in a city called Bellinzona. This is the capitol city of the canton Ticino in Switzerland. The thing about Bellinzona is that they were under Italian rule at one point and they are still basically an Italian speaking canton. The family has long ties to the city and at an earlier time were living in one of the castles that was built for them. Of course a vineyard is involved somewhere.
Here is where I take a shot in the dark. I managed to track down two addressess for the cousins. I don't know how old the information is. They may or may not even be alive anymore. I composed a letter on the computer introducing myself stating what information I already had. I asked for any help they could give me in furthering the family tree for my client. Then I had it translated into Italian online. Now the fun part. I then hand wrote the letter, twice, on some lovely stationary, popped them into the envelopes and mailed them to Switzerland. This was on Saturday. And now I wait.
Will they get to the persons in question? Will they respond? Will I open my mailbox soon and see the returned envelopes undeliverable. Will they let the letter sit and gather dust while I stew and pace back in Canada? Or hopefully will they invite me to come visit the castle and the winery and the beautiful countryside? Talk about your Shot In The Dark.

Here is the Wikepedia information on the family castle:

Montebello castle located on a rocky hilltop east of town is connected to Castelgrande by the city walls Montebello Castle (known as the Small, New or Middle Castle in the 15th Century, as Schwyz Castle from 1506 and St. Martin's Castle after 1818) is located to the east of the town center. It was built before 1313 for the pro-Imperial Rusca family, who occupied the castle following the Visconti victory and occupation of the Castelgrande. By the end of the 14th Century it was in the hands of the Visconti[10]. The castle was renovated and expanded between 1462 and 1490 to its current state. In the 19th Century the castle fell into disrepair and was renovated starting in 1903. A little chapel, dedicated to Saint Michael, leans against the wall of the more recent south-facing section; built around 1600, it is one of the few buildings erected in the castles of Bellinzona under the rule of the three Swiss cantons. Montebello Castle houses the Archaeological and Civic Museum. The museum was opened in 1974 and is located in the tower and the former residential quarters of Montebello Castle. It is divided into two sections-history and archaeology. In the history section there are several capitals from the 15th Century and a rare 13th Century Baptismal font as well as drawings and sketchs from several artists. This section also houses a collection of ceremonial and military arms. The archaeology section includes many items from 1400-1500 B.C. as well as ceramics, glassware, funeral urns, ornamental objects and jewellery in iron and bronze from around the canton. The museum is open from March to November[11].


6 comments:

Lola said...

Wow great post Lori! It's fascinating to find out the back stories of your interesting occupation, please more facts!

Ciao

Florida Sue said...

Assuredly they will answer with an invitation because they are still living in a castle with a family wine making business. They will be so grateful for your inquiries that result in a massive family reunion; a wine will be named la bella lori in your honour. Not only that, the old bello nonno will name you in his will.

lindalee said...

Can I come with you????

Lori E said...

Lola: the facts go on for pages and pages.

Sue: You are hilarious. I honestly was laughing out loud.

Lindalee: Yes you can come too. Afterward you, Sue and I will head over to Lola's in Italy and she will cook for us and we will pour the Bella Lori wine that we will bring with us. Truly la dolce vita.

Sandi said...

How exciting! I recently found (or he found us) a cousin in southern France who's family migrated there from Italy in the late 1800's. After arriving there, my grandfather was born. So we're on a hunt to find out more info and plan a trip to the south of France next year to meet the cousin.

Jane said...

I used to work with a girl last named Montebello.

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