Saturday, September 6, 2014

Brotherhood in the Cemetery

Carmine Colacci, a great-grandfather of mine, was born in the small mountain town of Bojano located in the Molise region of Italy. When he was 19, he sailed to America leaving behind his father and siblings. He never returned to Italy.

Recently, I connected with a gentleman who also has family from Bojano and planned to travel back there this summer. He offered to walk the town cemetery and take photos of any Colacci graves. Neither of us realized the enormity of the task and that the cemetery was filled with Colaccis. It shouldn't have been a surprise considering that the family has roots in the village that are centuries old.

This week, I received a CD with dozens of photos of tombstones engraved with the family surname. It was a genealogical treasure trove. However, what really catapulted this collection into the stratosphere is the Italian penchant for including photographs of the deceased on their headstones. 

As a result, I was able to see - for the first time ever - photographs of Carmine's brothers Angelo and Michele, and even a half-brother Giuseppe.

Angelo Colacci*
Michele Colacci*
Giuseppe Colacci*
Unfortunately, Italy disinters burials after a few decades to conserve space and make way for the newly deceased. It's a somewhat common practice in Europe where land is limited. This means that there were no graves or accompanying photographs for Carmine's parents Nunzio Colacci and Lucia Serafina Rico. I'm sure, though, that somewhere in Bojano there's a Colacci descendant with an old photo album that includes pictures of Nunzio and Serafina. Someday they'll turn up.

*Photos are used by permission of photographer

No comments:

Post a Comment