Monday, July 27, 2009

When Grandma Piccione and Grandpa Orlando Tied the Knot

I don't know much about the circumstances surrounding the marriage of my Italian grandparents. I know that my grandmother was in the United States less than a year before she married Carmelo, but I can't tell you who arranged the marriage between the lady from Santo Stefano (Sicily) and the man from Curinga (Calabria).

What I do know is that I hold the original copy of their marriage certificate. The document is in delicate shape these days, and I usually keep it a transparent plastic sheet for protection.

Today I took it out of the plastic so I could take a picture of it for my cousins. I thought they might like to see this great artifact from our family! Thanks to Facebook, I am now connected to four of my cousins more regularly and I am able to keep them up to date on my research.

What got me back on the marriage certificate portion of my research is that I have requested a certified copy of the long form of my grandparents' marriage certificate. I need a certified copy of this document for the application of dual citizenship.

My nonni were married on December 20th, 1921. Just five days before Christmas. I wonder how they spent that holiday. They were the first of their siblings to come to this country, and in the case of my grandfather the only family member, so with whom could they have celebrated the holiday? What did they eat? Did my grandmother cook or did they get invited to someone else's house for the Christmas meals?

The long form of the marriage certificate won't answer these questions, I know. But I sit anxiously awaiting that form since it contains more information than the original certificate that I hold in my possession.

I will let you know what I find out when I receive a response from the Registry of Wills in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Response from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services about My Grandfather

After a three month wait, I finally received word from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services about my grandpa. The letter reads:

Dear Miss Rafferty:

Your index search request was received in this off on 4/18/2009 regarding Carmelo Orlando, born about July 16, 1887, in Italy. We have completed our search for records based on the information you provided, but did not locate any. While you are always free to request another search for this immigrant, for an additional fee, without new information one could not expect any different result.

If you need a certification of non existence of a naturalization record for the above immigrant, write to the following address (include a copy of this letter):

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Attn. Records Operations Branch
1200 First Street NE
Washington, D.C. 20529-2204

If you can provide new or different information about this immigrant and want to pursue another search, please submit a new search request for an additional fee of $20. The requirements for filing are available at our website,


1. How will the Italian Consulate respond to the fact that I have a certification of non existence? Does that letter pretty much indicate to them that my grandfather never became a citizen? Or do they look at that letter with more scrutiny?

Finally it seems I have some sort of answer. At least enough of an answer that I can proceed with this process. An Italian passport just seems too far away from my reality right now, but I am going to forge ahead since everything seems to indicate that I am still elligible to become an Italian citizen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Italian Blogger Strike- July 14th, 2009

In support of my fellow Italian bloggers, I am also on strike today. For an explanation of the strike, you can visit Freedom of speech for everyone!

You can also read this article in English.

Circolo Calabrese