Good Bye to 2017


Soon we will say good bye to 2017. I am in the process of organizing and wrapping up some loose ends before welcoming 2018. This has been an exciting year for me as I dug my feet deeper into the rich Italian soil of my ancestors. 2017 saw the beginning of this blog after getting my feet wet with another blog on my maternal side in 2016. I was hooked!

At times it was hard to know what direction I wanted to go in, how deep to dig, how expansive on a family should I get. But in the end, I just let the spirit of those before us lead me forward. I fell in love with the Marvulli family, the family of my great grandmother Nicoletta. We solved a mystery of a picture shared with me by my cousin Ann Elmendorf grand daughter of Julia Civitano – Forese, sister of my grandfather Frank Civitano. We had so much fun this year going back and forth with photo’s trying to identify them. It could not have been done without the help of our cousin Peter Marino and his absolutely fantastic grandmother, another Julia Civitano – Bianca (my 2 cousin 1x removed) who id’d quite a few photo’s for us. Below is one of the wonderful photo’s shared with me, that mystery photo of Nicolette Marvulli – Civitano. Her picture had once graced an oval frame. My imagination of course pictured one of those beautiful ornate bubble glass frame. I had the photo enlarged to 11×14 and then went on the hunt for the perfect frame. I hit up my favorite antique store with picture in hand. The owner and I tried to find another bubble glass frame just the right size but there didn’t seem to be one that would fit properly. From there she, also a Sharon, let me into her back storage room and allowed me to look through all the frames she had collected over the years. I think I found the perfect one. (It’s nice to have a favorite place you frequent often) She let me have it for $7. Frame and picture in hand, I took it to one of the quality framing shops in town. “This is a great frame, very well done and very old” the framer commented “really”   “about how old?” “oh I’d say about 100 to 110 years old, you can tell by the workmanship and the way it was put together” What can I say other than ~ perfezionare!


We almost cracked the mystery of who murdered my great grandfather Vincenzo, Nicoletta’s husband, in Oct of 1909. We came this close, close enough to think we would finally have the assailants name.  A big thank you goes out to Peter for his leg work at the archives in NYC. Peter, I know we will solve this mystery eventually. One thing I know for sure, we will have fun trying.

I learned quite a lot about Italian history, the hard life and poverty that prevailed in so many areas of our ancestors lives. At times while researching I felt as if I was there walking along side them. I especially was moved by the story of Francesco, my 2x great grandfather, the stage coach robber and his imprisonment and death in “the criminal bath” of Civitavecchia. Once I understood the times and history, I understood the what and why he robbed that stage and some how that softened my thoughts towards him however it deepened my sadness regarding his death and the impact and imprint on his family. But that is what this blog, blogging our ancestors journey is all about, the impact and imprint it has on our lives.

We explored the many sons and daughters of Vito Luigi, brother of my great grandfather and the patriarch of so many of Civitano families here today.

I made wonderful cousin connections with so many branches in our tree. I am especially thankful to my Uncle Joe, for all the time he spent with me on the phone sharing memories, sharing his life. To all of you who have followed this blog this past year, I say thank you for each and every comment on and off the blog and privately. It has been so much fun and such a blessing to connect with each one of you. I am looking forward to the direction the spirits of the past will lead me in 2018 but if you have any ideas or family you would like me to look into, please let me know too. To each and every one of you, a happy, healthy coming new year.