Friday, October 9, 2009

October 6, 2009 - St. Paul's Cemetery, Hingham, Massachusetts

It's amazing how we really can have no clue as to where we come from. We may claim that we know, but we really don't.

I've lost several - in fact all - of my grandparents. My maternal grandmother went first (I never met my maternal grandfather, as he ran off, leaving my grandmother to raise her children alone), and then my paternal grandfather and then grandmother, years later. I even got the chance to get to know one of my great-grandmothers. She died at 92 in 1987, which meant she was born in 1895. Wow.

But here's where it gets muddy. I was 16 when my great-grandmother died. I spent a little time with her, but no one at that age truly has an appreciation for what one can learn from such a family member. What did she remember of her parents? of her grandparents? of her great-grandparents? As far as I know, that knowledge went to the grave with her.

I can walk the cemetery in Hingham where many of my ancestors are now buried, and I can put them in their context. I can put Carmella, my great-grandmother, with Rocco, her husband, who died three years before I was born. I can put Mary, my grandmother, with her family, and Dominic, her husband, with his parents Vittoria and Giuseppe. But were Gabriela and Vincenzo Giuseppe's parents, or a completely different family?

And do I even know one, single, simple personality trait of Giuseppe? No. And chances are, I never will. Genealogists can connect the dots, but it's the coloring in of the picture that is of real interest to me. Am I the spitting image of Vincenzo? Who were all these people?

Who the hell am I?

Time: 42 minutes.

New species: None.

Stranger hellos: None.

What else is going on: did some studio filming at the Marshfield Cable station.


  1. Our lineage is fascinating stuff. I have been lucky to have known my grandparents and old enough to appreciate their history and retrace it. I think if you can get back to the 1600's, then you've done well. It's gets difficult with different languages and trying to connect overseas.
    I just commented on Sue Schieble's blog about videotaping my 98 yr. old grandmother.

  2. I get blocked in the late 1800s, but have never worked hard at tracing much farther back. I know that my great-grandmother landed here in 1900 from Italy, but beyond that I'm lost. It's a project I hope to pick up on some day.