I would have to say out of all the travels we have done, one of the most special moments for me was traveling to Pofi Italy where my Great Grandfather Giuseppe Fabrizi was born. It took a lot of research to find ancestors on Ancestry.com and find exactly what town he was from, but it was worth it! Here is how my experience of tracking down ancestors in Italy began…
In 1998 we went on our 2nd trip to Italy. Kevin and I went on a day excursion down to Naples. As we were driving down the autostrada I remember looking to the left and seeing a town that for some reason I was drawn to. We were about half way to Naples and I remember pointing it out to Kevin and saying I would love to just go to some of the small villages to explore one day.
Research Starts on my Ancestors
Fast foward a few years from that trip, I discovered Ancestry.com. Spent hours and hours on it, still do! Finally, I found the connection I needed to my Great Grandfather, he was born in Pofi. Next of course I mapped it out and thanks to technology I could see a satellite view. Strange things happen, and you might not believe this- but it was the town I saw from our trip! I knew it was for I recognized houses that were closer to the road. I immediately told Kevin next trip we have to go!!
Well it didn’t end up happening on our next trip, but in 2012 we finally made it happen. First thing we did when we arrived at Hotel Columbus near the Vatican was ask them for a private driver to take us to Pofi. They looked at us like we were a little crazy (they know us from experience- but that will be in another blog post) they never heard of Pofi. But being the best hotel staff in Rome, they hired a driver for us. The next day we had a nice young man pick us up. He asked where we wanted to go, told him Pofi, he never heard of it. So map quest was pulled up. Needless to say, we arrived with no real issues.
Pofi, a cute and quite town. We find out as soon as we arrive that we need to go to the very top to the municipality building next to the church to obtain the birth certificate of Giuseppe. So hiking up we went. Now this is where it gets interesting. We enter the municipality building and there is about 4-5 people that work inside. Two older gentleman are behind the main desk. Houston, we have a problem. No one speaks any English, not a lick. After a few minutes of writing and lots of hand gestures (thank God I’m Italian, this helped) we at least conveyed my Grandfathers name.
Now remember this is back in 2012, I have an iPhone 4 I believe, with something on it that came in really handy. A Translator! As I proceed to talk into my translator, switch to repeat in Italian, play it for the men. You would think they just met the Jetsons. We convinced them to speak into my phone, switched it to English and presto we have communication! Next came the research. Big, tall books with lots of dust on them I kid you not, were taken off a shelf. Just a few more hand gestures and a few minutes later, I had my Great Grandfathers birth certificate, which gave me names of my Great Great Grandparents and siblings! All worth the trip for tracking down my ancestors!