Find Your Italian Heritage
Sebastiano “Benny” Cuccia
The Family Heritage Legacy
Many people are lucky to go through Life with partial or (if they’re really lucky) full knowledge of their family’s heritage and cultural background … sometimes they’re blessed to have known their nonno or nonna from the old country ~ plus the rich tapestry of stories they could weave around the dinner table! Then again there are many like myself, who had to comb through sparse pieces of family folklore and unverified information, trying to piece together someone’s past life and my own cultural heritage. I quickly found I needed a road map to guide me on my quest.
La mia cara famiglia Cuccia
I consulted with the local historical societies, churches and city information bureaus, but could not find the trail of breadcrumbs ardently searched for … then someone suggested I contact the Family History Centers through the Mormon Church. This was before the internet craze and family search engines like Ancestry.com. Through the Family History Centers I found I could order microfilm tapes for any region in Italy or Sicily and even pinpoint cities
and towns where my grandfather may have been born. With a lot of hard work and many hours of searching, plus a stubborn sense of determination and perseverance, I finally found nonno’s town of birth and the port he sailed from on his voyage to America. Once I established this information with the Ellis Island records, I ordered a copy of my grandfather’s passenger ship manifest, which listed him among the other travelers making the same voyage … I cannot tell you the joy I experienced seeing the name Sebastiano Cuccia for the first time on line 30, with a description of his appearance, how much money was in his pocket, and the town name Belmonte Mezzagno. I had opened my first door to the past and was ready to step through to search for more generations of the Cuccia family!
To be continued …
Part 2 / Your Cultural Heritage ~ Taking the First Steps