Occasionally, I whine to myself about the presence of the internet in our daily lives. How Facebook and Instagram have become a form of communication, how text messages are the new phone call, and that birthday cards and thank you notes can now be sent via email. However, it has recently been impressed upon me how very cool the existence of the internet is.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my my personal pilgrimage to Edinburg to investigate my family. In truth, I merely wanted to share the pictures I’d taken without having to go through the arduous process of uploading attachments and sending them personally to specific individuals. I didn’t think anything would come of it. I had no idea that, a few days after posting, some of my long-lost relatives, who nobody on my side of the Atlantic knew existed, would find my blog.
I’d begun to notice that my blog was being viewed by a lot of people from Ireland. I thought this was odd, as I have never been to Ireland and don’t have any friends there, to my knowledge. I then noticed that my blog was turning up in the results of searches for “Pacelli,” or “Rizza and Pacelli Scotland,” and so on. My questions were finally answered when an Irish cousin, David, commented, noting that he is married to a Pacelli, the grandaughter of Francesco Pacelli, my great-great-grandmother’s brother. Two more cousins have since contacted me, and an email arrived the other day that included a picture. This cousin, Paul, didn’t know who the picture was of, or when it was taken, though it came to his family from one of his cousins. Until I received the picture, a small part of me had wondered if maybe these cousins simply shared my name, that we were all linked by coincidence rather than blood, but I recognized the subjects immediately, as my great-great grandmother, Maria Antonina, my great-grandmother’s twin sister, Phyllis, and her son, John, who had the exact same smile his entire life.
The stories are unfolding faster than I’d anticipated, and I’m beginning to realize that I may need to draft a concise family tree in order to truly understand who is related to, and descended from, who.
Although there is a story that just arrived from another cousin, Mike (and this one has all the scandal and drama that you expect from Italians), my current objective in this quest is to find out why the Pacellis left Italy to begin with, and how much of the family lore is just lore, and how much of it is fact.