Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cervinara Roots Around the World

When I started writing this blog, my only goal was to share an interesting lifestyle change with a few friends and relatives.  It's a pretty unusual situation, being able to spend extended time abroad, particularly in a non-touristy town where we would become absorbed into the community and become recognized as permanent residents rather than temporary visitors.
As time has gone on however, it has become apparent that this blog has begun to reach folks from all over the world and when you Google "Cervinara", a link to my essays pops up fairly high on the Google list.  Who could have imagined?  As a result of this phenomenon, I have been in touch with people whose roots reach back to Cervinara, usually a couple of generations back. 
Life was hard in many areas of Italy, and Cervinara was no different.  Many Cervinaresi emigrated to the US, Canada, England, Australia and South America in an attempt to find more opportunities for a good life.  Now,  2nd and 3rd generation Italians are searching for their roots, using the internet to try to reconnect with their ancestors.  A need to know and understand one's origins seems to run deep in the children and grandchildren of immigrants, and now I am trying to help folks whose ancestors were from this area to find their way back to Cervinara.

On Facebook, I have formed a group entitled "Cervinara Roots Around the World".  My idea is to provide information about what Cervinara has to offer the genealogical tourists who might want to spend a bit of time retracing the steps of their ancestors.  It's not always easy to find your way here; it is not on anyone's radar for tourism, there are no hotels in town, no TripAdvisor forums to offer advice.  Even the town and the Chamber of Commerce (Pro Loco) websites are only in Italian.  If you are looking for help in getting to this hill town, you will not find it easy to access, particularly if you don't understand Italian.
Before I left Cervinara this fall, I met with the mayor as well as with a young man, Francesco Viola, who serves as a link between the administration and the Pro Loco.  Francesco  is as ardent in his support of Cervinara as anyone I have ever met and he publishes a well-written blog about day to day life there as well.  My thought was to provide direct links on the town website, in English, where someone trying to research a trip would get some needed guidance.  But as is so often the case, it's difficult to deal with bureaucracies and the response wasn't as enthusiastic as I had hoped. Therefore, rather than attempt to put things directly on links offered on the municipal website, I have decided to try to get the information out to people doing their research by offering the group on Facebook.
So, if you are interested in talking to someone about Cervinara, or are interested in getting nuts and bolts information about how to get to Cervinara, where to stay, what to do, etc., drop me a line or post a question and you will get a quick and speedy response.  My goal is to bring Cervinara to the world, and to bring Cervinara's descendants back there.  I hope to hear from you soon!