Discovering My Family’s Italian Ancestry by Traveling to New Orleans

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Discovering My Family's Italian Ancestry by Traveling to New Orleans

Over a hundred years ago, my great grandfather Girolamo (better known as Jerome) Gargano was born in Palermo, Sicily.

According to the story my Grandpa told us, times were tough in Sicily for Jerome’s family when he was a little boy. So, his family sent him to America when he was only eight years old to get a job and start a new life in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Jerome died in 1931 at the age of thirty five, so there are no living family members left who knew him.

But thanks to my brother Jeff’s ancestry research and my aunt and cousin who connected us to our family in Louisiana, I got to learn a lot more about Jerome a few summers ago!

We made a trip to New Orleans and reconnected with long-lost family. We got to see pictures of Jerome, visit his grave, and explore his old haunts around the city of New Orleans.

I’ve always been captivated by exploring family history. I love putting myself in the shoes of men and women of the past and wondering what their lives were like.

Amid the black and white photos, stories passed down from family members, ship manifestos, birth, marriage, and burial records, there is so much scope for the imagination.

I’ll never get to know what Jerome’s voice sounded like, or see my Grandpa Carl’s smile in person, but pictures, stories, and records give me glimpses into the lives that were lived before me.

My great-grandfather Jerome is pictured here with his pet lion that he kept at his bar in New Orleans!

Do you ever wonder if people will still be looking at your photos over a hundred years from now? ~shared by @stiffycavie

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