Another oldie but goodie, enjoy!
When I was a child who grew up with absent grandparents. On my father's side, my grandfather had passed away when my dad was 4 and my grandmother(s) on both sides died when I was very young. This left me with my grandpa Al.
He was a man who was set in his ways and he had achieved his American Dream. He was the son of Alfredo and Anna Salvioni they traveled by ship from Italy, into Ellis Island, and then settled in the Italian sector of Chicago in 1914. They immediately started a family. They had Louis in Italy and in 1916 on March 23rd, my grandfather was born. Alfredo died a couple weeks later. Upon Alfredo's request to his best friend, Anna married Fortunato Baggio, and he would take care of her and her children. He adopted both children, their names were changed and they went on with their lives.
Because I had never known anything about my grandparents I began asking my mom questions that she could not answer. I called to my grandfather but he could not remember anything because he had been suffering from dementia for 3 years. I was at a loss other than the information or story that was given to me. As other genealogists would agree, nothing is considered substantial until you have proof, in other words...documents.
I began searching and learned about their journey to the United States. My grandfather expressed to me that he had an interest in finding out anything about his biological father, whom he had never known. I couldn't find any information. I had to dissect a whole family before I would finally reach out to my friend in Salt Lake who dug and dug and finally found me a death certificate. It indicated that he died as a result of lead poisoning and it was an occupational hazard. In researching the goings on of Pullman, I found out that in the history of employment for Chicago, that minorities were often hired for the most dangerous jobs because they were considered to be disposable. They didn't have to give them raises because the poisoning would kill them first and they had an advantage because they were always hiring, which was what the society thought was great, at the time.
It disgusted me.
I didn't want to tell my grandfather about this aspect so I continued to work to find his burial site. While I was working on this my beloved grandfather passed away. He had caught a cold that turned into a severe viral infection. He was old and had a long life. I cannot say that he died happy because I think it would be a lie. He suffered after my grandmother died.
The day after he was buried I got an email in my inbox. A friend of mine who lives in Chicago went and researched records of the cemeteries that were most common for Italians to be buried in. She had found the cemetery!!! I was so excited only to be crushed to find out that there would be no picture attached because there was no headstone.
All my life I never knew about this man. No one spoke of him, for whatever reason. It was bitter sweet news for me. I had finally found my great grandfather but I felt sad that my grandfather never got to hear about my finding and it weighed on my mind heavily, the regret I felt, and all of a sudden like a light bulb went off over my head I had an awakening.
Here's what I think....my grandfather no longer needed the information that I was trying to find because he had passed on and now gets to enjoy being present together in heaven. I feel somehow my grandfather sent the information to me so that I would know and tell his story. The story of him and the story of my forgotten great grandfather.
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