I am doing a series of posts at my daily blog about ancestors and relatives I am honoring throughout October, for the holiday of Samhain. It seemed a good idea to cross-post them here, since they are all genealogical in nature!
Today I was thinking about my maternal lineage - my mother's, mother's, mother's mother. Most Pagan traditions center around the feminine divine (Goddess), and thus embrace feminism and the importance of matrilineal heritage.
In DNA, intelligence is passed via the mtDNA (Mitochondrial DNA). Men do not pass mtDNA to their children; only women do. The mtDNA is used to identify deep ancestry: that is, where in the world your genetic origins lie.
This is my maternal great-great grandmother, Ernesta Maddelena Bergamasco:
Grandma Ernesta was born May 12, 1874 in Moneglia, Italy. Her parents were Giuseppe and Giabatta. Giabatta's maiden name is unknown. Ernesta had 6 siblings, but we only have information about two of them. Her brother Giovanni came to Boston, Massachusetts, but returned to and died in Italy. Her brother Peter went to Los Andes, Chile, where he had a textile business. He was there until at least 1923.
Banns for marriage between Ernesta and Bartolomeo Giovanni Michele Galfre were posted November 24, 1894. For a time they lived in San Remo, Italy, where my grandmother was a seamstress.
Ernesta's uncle was a Bishop in Italy. However, because we do not know her mother's maiden name, our research has been stalled. (I have several cousins on the Galfre side in Italy and look forward to meeting them in the future; I'm hoping they can assist me in my Bergamasco research.)
Bartolomeo came to the U.S. on the ship EMS, arriving at Ellis Island on May 12, 1897. Grandma Ernesta came to Massachusetts two years later on a "cow boat" (whatever that means).
Ernesta died at the young age of 50 on March 8, 1925 in Middleboro, Massachusetts.
She had 8 children, 6 of whom lived to adulthood. Her eldest living son, my great-great Uncle Dante, died in a housefire on January 3, 1976.
This photograph of Ernesta survived.
In 2006, I had my mtDNA tested. The result placed me in Haplogroup H1.
This was interesting, but I still have not put the puzzle of my Italian heritage completely together. When I honor my ancestors, Ernesta - my direct maternal ancestor - and her mother, Giabatta, are always first in my mind.
I honor my mother, her mother, her mother, her mother, and her mother first and foremost among my ancestors.