Last Day in Sassano
Last Chance to Dance with Don Otello Russo
This is a continuing saga of our research trip to Southern Italy in search of ancestral data. This post covers our final full day in the small village of Sassano, south of Salerno. This is the 5th post.
This morning we woke up early and excited. We made an appointment, last night, to meet with the local priest and view old records from his parish archives. This had the potential to be a very fruitful day.
|Anna in the Mother Church of Sassano|
|Gay's new Sassani friends|
|Can you see me drooling at the sight of |
those registers up on the bookshelves?
I was excited and I was hoping that Don Otello would simply leave me there with the books, but that was not to be. One of my goals was to catalog exactly what records he has, but that was not to be. I was not going to get too close to that bookshelf this day. Don Otello simply asked me what I would like him to search for.
Although I was still reeling with the disappointment that I was not going to get my hands on those books, I was ready for the question. I had an old death record alluding to the birth of my ancestor, Michele Barbella, in the early 1700s. I suggested that perhaps we might find Michele's birth record.
|After some time, the Don found the correct books|
I was disappointed, but I switched gears. I asked Don Otello if he could look through the marriage records around 1730. He got back on his stool and rummaged about the books. Finally he came down with another index, and after some time, sure enough, he found the marriage I was looking for. This register recorded the name of the father and mother of the bride which put me back another generation in my research. Eureka! We broke the 17th century barrier.
All of this took some time and I could tell that the Don had other duties to perform, so I took ample photos of the record, thanked him profusely (and monetarily) and we left the church, elated. We had new friends, a new awe for the church of my ancestors, a wonderful record (in Latin, no less) and, by this time, we were achieving a certain level of "fame" in this small village.
|A wet and slippery descent|
|Another new friend|
Later that day, we made contact with one of my facebook friends, Oreste Barbella, from the neighboring town of Montesano. We found a coffee shop (bar in Italy) between the two towns and we arranged to meet there. We had a good time and got to know each other a little better.
|Oreste Barbella and (most of) his family|
The Ufficio di Anagrafe in Sassano and
a long ride across the country to Palo del Colle