DNA – massive progress! #DNADU #DNADOWNUNDER

posted in: Events, Family history | 1

Last time I wrote about DNA it was about the unexpected side-effects.  They’re still happening but with progress in leaps and bounds!

I was going to tell you about my fantastic Italian progress then even more exciting things happened in the last week so I think I’ll have to tell you about both.

Yes – I’m a DNA Ambassador AND I’m going to Melbourne, Canberra AND Sydney, and even spending a bit of time with family!  Do I feel lucky and spoilt??? You bet I do!

My personal most recent breakthrough that DNA provided was with my paternal g-grandfather with the magnificent name of Salvatore Pasquale Phillipe GIARDINA – I’ve been practicing that with my best Italian accent!  I have his Italian Birth Certificate – born 5 December 1877 in Cefalu, Palermo, Sicilia, Italy.  Sadly it did not show the maiden name of his mother Concetta.  I have his Naturalisation file for Australia, his marriage in New South Wales and his death in New South Wales.  The latter two annoyed me because they gave his parents as Rosario and Concetta GIARDINA.

With DNA Down Under getting closer and closer I decided to try my luck with pinning down Salvatore’s parents using one of my favourite tools – AutoClusters.  I was using my Ancestry (Genetic Genealogy) AutoClusters AND my MyHeritage AutoClusters.  I had a 28.6 cM and 39.11 cM match respectively.  As well as the Notes / Comments I love looking at the trees and how many people in them.  Some are private or zero and ones with 20-30 people or less generally aren’t going to help with what was potentially a number of generations back with that size match.  And of course ones with about 14,500 people or more I don’t even contemplate – name harvesters!

On Ancestry this match had an enticing 909 people – not too small and not too large – just right as they say!

This match was based in America and had a couple of branches choc-a-bloc full of Italian names but not GIARDINA.  Then I spotted a common factor with most of the names I checked – CEFALU!

I decided that with that number of names this person was into Family History – had also been online in the previous 24 hours.  I couldn’t get a message off quick enough.

In LESS THAN 24 HOURS I had a reply.  He hadn’t yet linked the GIARDINA family into his tree but he had a Marriage Certificate that was for Rosario GIARDINA and Concetta GIARDINA for the same address as Salvatore’s birth certificate – and of course the right timeframe.  To top it off there was an allegati – a nine page document explaining why they were allowed to marry – not just the same surnames but it was Rosario’s second marriage – his first wife died very young and left a couple of very young children – so what does every widowed father do – married his first wife’s sister.

I won’t go into all the details – suffice to say I’m working through a lot of original certificates but I believe I have my CEFALU ancestors back to my 6 x great grandparents!!!!!!  Now that’s definitely progress.

I mentioned the “even more exciting” DNA escapade in the last week.

I’ll make this one short.  My sister-in-law did not know the name of her mother.  She had her father’s line but her family didn’t know the name of her mother.  A couple of months ago I encouraged my sister-in-law to contact the orphanage and chase up her birth certificate.

About three months ago she had the name, age and place of birth of her mother.

Two months ago she agreed to do a DNA test for me to manage.

A cousin (on her paternal side) found my sister-in-law’s mother’s name in a couple of Ancestry trees but of course there were no two the same so I started building out trees all over the place.

Two weeks her DNA results came through and I found that magical DNA match that proved I had one of the trees spot on and I kept researching and building that tree.

It was my sister-in-law’s birthday last weekend so purchasing a couple of certificates to prove a couple of gaps seemed a suitable birthday present – and more importantly a family tree for her maternal family.

So in the space of 3 months she has found out the name of her mother and now has a properly researched tree including 5 x great grandparents – three sets of them in fact!  Plus of course DNA matches that are now permanently attached to some of her branches.  Was she happy with her birthday present?  What do you think?

Excitement is growing – Friday week is Melbourne’s turn for DNA Downunder – and pre-bookings close for Melbourne this WEDNESDAY 14th August.  That’s the last chance you get to book for the current price!

There will be tickets at the door but they will be at a higher price after this Wednesday.

Bookings are great for Melbourne so lots of other DNA-ers to chat with over morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea.


  1. Judy Brown

    Love your work Susie. I don’t have an ancestoral history to Sicily, but a cultural one having lived very close to a family and sharing their lives, as our family looked after their child as the parents worked in the 1960’s. We have just returned from an 8 day holiday of Siracusa and Palermo. It was lovely to see there homeland quite different from the mainland of Italy.

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