Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Snowed in Means a Lot Accomplished

Where I live snow usually doesn't stick.  When it does stick, it normally turns into sheets of ice that make it impossible to drive anywhere.  Should we actually get a blanket of snow, our area doesn't have enough plows to take care of it quickly.  All this means that just the news of possible snow leads to school closures and lines at the grocery store, which are very quickly depleted of bread and milk.  So when 5 inches or more of the white stuff coated the state on Friday, we were pretty much stuck at home for a few days.  But time confined at home means time to work on some genealogy research, and I had several tasks that hadn't been checked off my list yet.

The prior weekend, I had finally finished scanning my Italian grandfather's diary.  Vincenzo Dibennardo (1900-1982) wrote the diary during the school year 1915-1916, and it is about 100 pages long.  He was a beautiful writer at 15 already, with wonderful descriptive passages of a sometimes sad life in a religious boarding school.  His mother had died when he was a young boy, and in those days a father usually did not raise the child.  He was sent to the Salesian boarding school where his aunt was the Mother Superior, and this diary is an interesting peek into his life there.  However, it is a bit hard to read between the handwriting and the old-style Italian language -- even my mother has a hard time reading it.

Pages from my grandfather's diary written in 1915-1916

Now that the diary was scanned, I decided on snowed-in Saturday morning to start transcribing the diary word for word on my computer, and eventually to translate it into English -- after all, my descendants will probably not know Italian.  It will take me a long time to transcribe the whole diary, but I was pretty happy to have the first day finished by the time my son got out of bed.  And I only had a few words and areas I wasn't sure about underlined.  I sent the document to my mother, who later filled in those blank spots.  By Saturday afternoon, I finally had a day's accounting I could read with pleasure rather than strain, and it was fabulous.  I can't wait to transcribe the rest!  In that one day entry was the full name of my grandfather's stepmother and where she was from -- Vincenzina Tannelli from Sortino, Sicily.  I quickly went to Google and found it in the province of Syracuse, a small and pretty town with a great view of the volcano Etna in the distance.

Next on my list of things to accomplish was scanning the pictures from the albums that belonged to my Norwegian grandmother.  These were found and given to me by my uncle in Norway, and they were deteriorating enough that the sooner I scanned them in the better.  I believe I scanned over 200 photos.  Many of these were photos of my two young grandparents during the early 1930's, in love, before getting married.  I will have a separate post about these pictures soon.

The final major thing I accomplished was to finish my Web site!  It isn't up yet, but it is ready.  It is a simple Web site regarding my Norwegian family tree -- the main branches of the tree, I should say.  The point of the Web site is to have relatives find me and contact me.  I will be going to Norway in the summer, and I hope to meet as many relatives as possible to share information, pictures, stories, and treasures.  I believe having a Web site they can go to before my arrival may whet their appetite to find out more... and share more.

I do have several more tasks to check off, but I think I got a pretty good start, despite the cabin fever.

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