Sometimes I became frustrated by this process of trying to confirm my grandfather's identity. Recently, I had to take a step back and remind myself why I got involved in researching my grandfather's history. While part of my motivation has been to seek Italian citizenship, I also feel strongly that this research process is far more important than any passport. Sure, it would be wonderful to have a European passport, and I will be disappointed if I don't qualify, but getting to know my grandfather after his passing has been a very special experience for me. It was as if Carmelo didn't exist for most of my life, until my mom passed. And then, after her passing, I felt compelled to dig deeper into the family history.
It's sad to think that for many years Carmelo was forgotten. He died young, my mom was only 9 years old at the time, so she had little to tell me about him. Whenever I ask relatives, they don't seem to know much about him either. Could there be any living relative who thinks about Carmelo as much as I do? Probably not.
I am going to tell you something that might offend some who don't believe in psychics and channeling. I had never visited a person who could channel to the other side, but I was presented with this opportunity on the spur of the moment a few months ago. I was missing my mother so much that particular day, that I let go of all those voices telling me not to do such a thing and I went ahead with the session. When the pyschic connected with my mom, she knew nothing of my grandfather's name. She told me, "Your mother is with Carmela. Carmelo. Some name like that." Yes, I was dumbfounded. Afterall, at the time, Carmelo's name was frequently passing through my consciousness since I had picked up my research after one year of leaving it aside.
Today my grandfather is more real to me. It's so darn hard not having a picture. I have been told that my cousin had a picture of him, but that picture has yet to be found. So, I imagine him as I do my Uncle Bruno, and that has to suffice.
Anyway, today I received an email from My Italian Family. I have not used their services because they are quite expensive. Nontheless, the email blast they sent was quite informative and it gave me hope about my chances to become an Italian citizen. The last few weeks I have been feeling pretty despondent about the whole situation.
Below is just an excerpt of the email:
"Under Italian law, if your ancestors took the oath of American Citizenship, they automatically surrendered their Italian citizenship. However, children born in the US to Italian immigrants who had not yet taken the American oath of citizenship may have claim to Italian citizenship. Since birth on American soil automatically ensured these children American citizenship, they had no need to be naturalized (which would have terminated the Italian citizenship they garnered by being born to parents who were still Italian citizens). In this way, first and future generations produced by original immigrants, through either paternal or maternal lines, qualify for dual citizenship.
NOTE: "Italian citizen at the time of birth" means that he/she did not acquire any other citizenship through naturalization, before the descendant's birth."
As far as I know, my grandfather never naturalized. I still have yet to confirm it, but there was no social security number on his death certificate. If he was naturalized, my chances of becoming Italian are shot. So, that's where I am in this research process. Trying to figure out if grandpa was ever naturalized.
According to a ship record that I have for my grandmother in 1931, she was not a citizen in 1931. She married my grandfather in 1921. The ship record shows her listed with her three children when she took a trip with her kids to Sicily without her husband in that year. The three children are listed as US citizens, but she is not. Had my grandfather naturalized before marrying her in 1921, she would have become a US citizen. Additionally, had he naturalized after they got married, wouldn't she have gotten naturalized with him?
I know I am creating my history here without documents to confirm my conjectures, but this must be what historians do when they lack evidence or proof, right? You start to put the pieces together yourself, until further documentation can be found.