Research Done to Expand the Family Tree

Mass mailing of Australia 2000


            When I left Vasto back in 1998 I recall I talked to an Alfonzo Pietrocola, my father’s first cousin, but never met, and he told me an odd story about his life. I told me he was originally from Vasto and moved to Australia. In Australia he worked, got married, had children, saw his grandchildren, and then for some odd reason he moved back to Vasto. I believe his wife had past away and I guess he wanted a change in his life. Anyway, I met Alfonzo Pietrocola at his home one day. He was in bad shape, physically, but he still was a nice person. I recall we were talking and I mention to him where did he live in Australia? He told me that he lived in Perth, Australia and that is where most of his family was living at the time.


            In 1999 I started to work in the family tree using a program called Quark. I recall how there was a huge section of the family tree where Alfonzo Pietrocola’s family should be located on the tree, but was not there. So, I used the internet and found an Australian telephone book. I typed in the name Pietrocola and there were a few Pietrocola addresses in the Perth area.  I then copied and pasted the addresses out and made mailing labels. Then I typed up a letter explaining who I was and my work in expanding the family tree. I sent the letters out and in a few weeks the email responses started to arrive in my computer. I recall one of my first emails was from a James Pietrocola and before you know it more and more email started to come from other people from Australia. But, what was the real prize was Australian part of the family to contribution of names, dates, and other family information for the family tree. By the end of the summer I was able to add more names of the family tree and mailed the Australian part of the family a copy. To this day I still exchange email and pictures from Australia and I have met two of then in their travels in the United States.


Mass mailing of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and the United States. 2001


            Having a great success in discovering family members in Australia I thought I try the same technique in locating distant relatives in other parts of the world. On the internet there are numerous phone books of different countries around the world. I knew that many Italians immigrated out of Italy and did not necessarily go to the United States or Australia. I knew that there were large populations of Italians in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and other parts of the United States. So, I used the phone books on the internet to locate other family members who had the name Pietrocola. But, the hard part was translating a letter into Portuguese and Spanish for the countries in South America. Luckily, at school that I teach, there were some other teachers who spoke Portuguese and Spanish to help me translate the letters I sent to South America. Also, I used the online internet translation websites to help me translate the email that started to come back from the different countries and different parts of the United States.


            Overall, there was not much success in on finding distant relatives in different countries and other parts of the United States. First, many letters came back with a message saying that the people who I sent the letter to did not live at that address. Or, there were many people who properly received the letter, but were not interested in responding to some lunatic in the United States asking about their family. But, some people did respond. I even received a phone call from a man in New York State. He had the name Pietrocola, but came from a different town in Italy. Nice man, he even invited me to his house in the country. There were a few responses from Argentina and Brazil. These people were very nice and considerate to help me find if we were related. The few people that did respond did give me the names and dates of past relatives that had the name Pietrocola. I found it amazing that some of these people even sent me photos of their past relatives. But, what was puzzling was that a lot of these people with the name Pietrocola came from different parts of Italy. Many of these Pietrocolas came from towns like Casalbordino, Collidimezzo, and other small towns around Vasto. Once I had the names, date of birth, and the town name I then went back to the Mormon Church that had the “The New York Family History Center.” I was hoping that I would be able to see if these questionable descendants came from Vasto, moved to other parts of Italy, and then moved to other parts of the world. Unfortunately, the archives at the Mormon Church only cover certain dates and certain towns in Italy, and therefore I could not make a family connection. On the other hand, there was on person that had a relative that came from Vasto. There was an Andres Pietrocola from Argentina that had past relatives that came from Vasto, but the archives at the Mormon Church did not have the data to make the connection to his family. The only way I will find that connection will be in Vasto. There were a lot of dead ends. I recall after this fiasco getting a Christmas card from Brazil. Funny, how I could not make the connection to this person’s family and he had the kindness to send me a holiday greeting.


Postings on the Internet. 2001


            On way I did make some headway in 2001 was by postings on the internet. There is a website called the “Abruzzo 2000.” This website had a genealogy section where you can post your message under a town in Abruzzi, Italy. I did receive some messages from people that came from other parts of Italy with the name Pietrocola, but most were not related due to the fact that they did not know past ancestors and where their family originated. But, I did get an email from a Victoria Pilgrim and later her father, an email from Enrico DiMarco. It turns out that Enrico DiMarco knew my grandmother, grandfather, and other members of my family. But, how he was related was another piece of a puzzle that I wanted to solve. He gave me the names of the decedents that were had the name Pietrocola, but they were not on the family tree. I turns out that the family tree that was given to me in Vasto has a lot of people missing. Once again, I went back to the Mormon Church and finally I made a connection in the puzzle. I turns out that the relatives that were Pietrocolas and were related to Enrico DiMarco were related to my great-great grandfather. I recall going to his house in New York State and we had a great time talking about the family. I gave him a copy of the family tree and the birth records of grandmother. Another contact that came from a posting on the internet was from a Laurel Santa Maria in Buffalo, New York. It turns out that one of her descendants came from Vasto, but in a different way. Her family came from Vasto, and then moved to Ancona, Italy, and then parts of her family moved to New York. This story proved the theory that some Pietrocolas moved out of Vasto to other parts Italy and then moved to other parts of the world. We were able to add more relatives to the family tree and I sent her a copy of the family tree. I also was able to meet one of her cousins that lived in New York City. I recall I met Maria Colamarino in a restaurant in the Bronx on Arthur Avenue. We shared information on our families and we had a great time. I even gave her a copy of the family tree.


Pietrocola Website. 2003


            With the help of my good friend, John Carlson, a website designer, I was able to put together a website that has the address called I was able to change family tree from a Quark file to a huge jpeg file. In order to promote the website I contacted several websites that would help put the website in a better standing if someone used a search engine to find my website. But, to really promote the website you had to spend money, which I did not do. I order to help get the word out I even posted my website on the internet at several genealogy websites. But, by just having a website people started to visit the website and I did make some contacts. One funny incident was when my Uncle Joe’s stepson, who I have not seen in over thirty-five years, contacted me. Steve Gompertz lives in Minnesota and we were able to talk about our families over email. But, another big success was the contact of Roberto Tupone in Rome, Italy. It turns out that Roberto had distant relatives that were on my family tree and he even had a website on his family that had distant relatives that were on my family tree. I was able to add about four more members to the family tree. Roberto even sent me pictures of a book on the Rossetti’s that written in 1904.


Pietrocola email search and Pietrocola Goggle search 2004


            The next family search was made through the internet. I did not have the time to go to the Mormon Church or do a mass mailing to other relatives. So, I tried to find people with the name Pietrocola on the internet and I was able to do it at home and promote the Pietrocola website. First, I tried using email search engines to find anybody with the name Pietrocola. It turns out that a lot of these emails I found through the email search engines did not even work.  A lot of then were closed down and did not receive mail. Second, was using the website Goggle to find distant relatives. I typed in the name Pietrocola in the Goggle website and Goggle came up with over two thousand websites with the name Pietrocola. I then painstakingly went through the first seven hundred websites. To me it was better than watching television. The idea was to find a Pietrocola with an email address on the website and then email a letter about the Pietrocola website.


            It turns out I made a few contacts with some people who were interested in finding out if we were related. Most did not know much about their family and we could not make the connection. A lot of the people that responded came from different parts of Italy other than Vasto. I even was able to contact the people in Argentina and Brazil that I contacted back in 2001 mass mailing to South America. But, I did make a big connection with a teacher from Rome named Giorgio Pietrocola. It turns out that Giorgio family was from Vasto, he had records on his past relatives, and he even had a family tree website on the internet. He is a generous man and he gave me names, birthdates, and other information on his family members that I added to the family tree. Another big contact was from a person named Diane Pietrocola who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. She had a website on selling her toy dolls and I was able to get her email address. It turns out she was related to Laurel Santa Maria and Maria Colamarino and that part of the family tree. Diane Pietrocola gave me information on her family, which I added to the family tree, and in 2004, Maria Colamarino met her in Las Vegas when Maria went on vacation in Las Vegas.


            A part from making some contacts with distant relatives it was odd going through all those websites and seeing the name Pietrocola and not knowing if you are related to not. I recall seeing Pietrocolas that were doctors in the United States and Brazil, soccer player in Argentina, musicians in Italy, and there was even a guy named Pietrocola that made websites in Argentina. But, I was able to contact member of my immediate family that I never really knew. I contacted a second cousin that was selling my Uncle George’s artwork on the internet. I never met him, but we were able to send each other email on the internet. One funny incident was when I sent an email to a person in Italy. But it turns out that the person’s name, Salvatore Pietrocola, was the name of a school that was named after him. Someone at the school wrote me an email and explained my mistake, but did give me some information on Salvatore Pietrocola.