I feel so fortunate to have found Stefano Ammirati of Southern Italy Travel! Stefano researched my father’s mother and father, who immigrated from the Naples area in the early 1900s.
His detective skills are amazing – I didn’t know the town where my grandmother came from. He was able to figure it out from the ship manifests, the marriage record of my grandparents, and the town in New Jersey, United States, where she had settled with some of her siblings.
My grandfather’s surname is very common in the Naples area. There were several possible fathers, and, again, Stefano figured it out using the records and notations in the margins. The research he sent me included copies of municipal records (births, deaths, and marriages), pictures, charts, and a very helpful summary.
This past September, Stefano arranged visits to Somma Vesuviano and Baronissi, so my sister and I could see the churches and walk where our grandparents walked so many years ago. He arranged for ambassadors from the branches of Pro Loco (local promotional groups) in both towns to show us around.
In Baronissi, we were escorted by a group of knowledgeable and very personable young people. Even the Vice Mayor of Baronissi met with us! She presented us with a beautiful book of Baronissi.
A representative of Santissimo Salvatore, my grandmother’s church, also met with us, and the bells were rung in our honor. Wow, I cannot tell you how thrilling the whole experience was. None of this would have been possible if we had tried to visit these towns on our own.
I have been to Italy several times, but this trip was the best one. Italians are so friendly and open to meeting new people. They seemed genuinely excited that our ancestors had come from these towns.
When I returned home, I made a trip to New Jersey, so I could share pictures, videos, as well as Stefano’s research, with some of my siblings and cousins. No one had known that my grandmother came from Baronissi before Stefano did the research. Joe, the oldest grandchild at 86, had thought she had come from Salerno or Sorrento. My older sister Phyllis had us over to her house for brunch, and I was able to see some cousins that I had not seen in many decades. So, this wonderful trip brought me closer to my live relatives, as well as my ancestors.
In summary, Stefano Ammirati worked doggedly for two years on researching my ancestors. He is a remarkable young man, and I highly recommend him as a genealogist and ancestry tour guide!