My sister and I will be traveling to Italy in 7 days. Why Italy? Well our last name is Lombardi!
Our mother has been very interested in genealogy for the last several years and she had kept in touch with some of my dad’s cousins who traveled to Italy, the same area we are going to. They sent our mom a DVD slide show of their trip and some family genealogy. My sister was fascinated by it.
While googling the area, Calabria, Italy, my sister found a Web site of a travel agent who specializes in helping people find their ancestors from that part of Italy. I guess a lot of people emigrated from there.
Our dad was Don Lombardi. I never knew my grandmother but I have heard she was a wonderful woman. Her name was Thelma. She had my dad when she was just 16. My grandfather was Frank P. Lombardi. They felt way too young to raise my dad so my dad was raised by Frank’s mother – Rosaria (Rosina, Rose) Lombardi. She also raised some of his cousins. I never knew her either but have heard only great things about her.
Rosina- the woman who raised my dad was born on January 29, 1877 in Mendicino, Cosenza, Calabria Italy. She came over on the S.S. Calabria sailing from Naples, arriving at Ellis Island on May 11, 1903. (I visited Ellis Island years back and got a copy of the ship’s records of her entry into the US.) Rosina’s sister Carolina had married a man named Domenico Caputo a year earlier. Domenico had a friend, Francisco Lombardi, who wanted a bride. (Can you even imagine?)
Rosaria, agreed to come to the U.S.A. to marry Francisco. (Alright then. But seriously had she not agreed, there would be no me.) Rosaria arrived in the U.S on May 1, 1903, and they were married on May 19, 1903. (I have no idea how she got from Ellis Island to Portland, Oregon, that fast.) Rosaria was 26 and Francisco was 35 or 36.
According to a family history video done by the Caputo descendants who knew Rosaria, she was a gentle soul. But life in America was not easy for her. Her husband died in 1938. They had six children, one who preceded her in death. She did not remarry and lived alone near the Caputos in Portland, Oregon. We used to call this area they lived the Italian Hill. Several of the families lived near each other.
Rosaria came to America with to be near her sister Carolina. So it’s the sisters (Laura and me) off to see the homeland of the sisters (Carolina and Rosaria) !