This is the gravestone of my grandparents, Pietro and Carlotta Carraro. They immigrated to the United States in 1907 aboard a ship called the S.S. Hamburg, departing Genoa, Italy, and arriving at Ellis Island on Christmas day. I never met them, for they died long before I was born. They are buried in the cemetery at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church outside of Little Rock, Arkansas.
I began a project last winter to get dual Italian-American citizenship. I am eligible for Italian citizenship and an Italian passport by jure sanguinus, by blood. This means that my grandfather’s Italian citizenship passed down to my dad, who then passed it down to me, by blood. But only if my grandfather, Pietro, did not become a naturalized American citizen before my father was born. I didn’t know, and I didn’t have anyone to ask.
To acquire an Italian passport, I had to gather all the necessary documentation:
- Birth records for Pietro and Carlotta
- Death records for Pietro and Carlotta
- Marriage certificate for Pietro and Carlotta
- The same for my parents, Angelo and Hazel
- Proof that Pietro did not become a naturalized US citizen before my dad was born in Michigan
What an amazing journey it has been!! I hired an Italian genealogist to help me, Giovanni Montanti. He was able to find my grandmother’s birth record, but Pietro was born before births were registered by the local commune, Treviso. Montanti sent around an associate to the Catholic churches in the area to see if one of them had a record of Pietro’s christening, bearing in mind that my grandfather was born in 1868. Lo and behold, Pietro was christened at Santa Maria Catholic Church in Mogliano, Italy.
I had similar difficulties with my father who was born in Caspian, Michigan, in 1914. I contacted the state of Michigan, but no birth certificate for my father was found!! So with the help and suggestions of a friend (L) who is both Catholic and a whiz at genealogy, I discovered that there were two parishes near Caspian, Michigan, and one of them provided me with an official copy of my father’s christening.
By hook or crook, I had all the documents I needed to apply for Italian citizenship, except I didn’t know for sure if or when Pietro had become a naturalized US citizen. I saw that Pietro’s older brother had signed an “intent to naturalize” when he landed at Ellis Island in 1907.
Some dealings with USCIS, and long months of anguished waiting, and then I got…
…my grandfather’s alien registration from 1940. Dear old grandpa — even in the lead up to World War II, he had maintained his allegiance to his homeland. From nonno (grandpa in Italian) to papà to me!!
We’ve all heard of the Flying Nun (starring Sally Field), but some months back, I’d learned of the singing nun. L reminded me of Suor Cristina today, and I got chills…
From June 2014….
Suor Cristina recited ‘Our Father’ prayer after winning television singing contest with Alicia Keys’s “No One” and earning Universal Music contract
My worlds collide. Things come together and they come apart.
someday soon a rising wind is
gonna carry me away
to a purpose I can dream of
it will happen
the promise painted
on the inside of my eyes
it will show me my direction,
cut the whole world down to size.
yes, the promise will come true
someday soon there’ll be a harbor
and a haven for my soul,
no more weight upon my shoulders.
i’ll sail on home
i’ll be releasing
all the things I’ve held inside,
heaven knows I have been patient
but the time is nearly right.
i’ll be stretching for the moon
tomorrow’s coming nearer,
it’s been tugging at my sleep.
there’s a pattern in the jigsaw
if I only just believe.
i will see the whole thing clear
someday soon I won’t be empty
and my waiting will be through,
there’ll be something to believe in,
there will be love
i’ll have the answer,
feel it breathing in my hand
and it can’t be too much longer
i must try to understand.
there’ll be love to see me through
Terms and Conditions of Use
All content provided on this DogDharma blog is for informational and entertainment purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.