Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rediscovering the Past

This weekend my mother gifted me with a piece of the past--my paternal grandfather's passport.

Fascinating stuff.

No pictures back in 1901, so the Italian passaport listed a physical description. I never met my grandfather so this was way beyond kewl.

He had red hair (although he was southern Italian--Calabrian, in fact.) He had BLUE eyes. So I guess those Germanic tribes really did make it all the way down to the "toe" of Italy after the fall of the Roman Empire. He was short and had a moustache.

When his passport was issued, Italy was still a monarchy. So everything official was by the decree of His Majesty Vittorio Emanuelle III.

And because it WAS a monarchy, class systems still existed. So here's the kicker, under the heading of status, my grandfather's passport reads contadino: peasant.

As Dean Martin sang, Ain't that a Kick in the Head?

Loved it,

Talia

3 comments:

  1. Wow, what a keepsake! I know I treasure the things I have from my grandfather.

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  2. Yep it was very, very cool to be holding something my grandfather held in Italy at the turn of the century.

    History comes alive.

    Talia

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  3. Wow, that's an awesome thing to have. I didn't realize earlier passports had descriptions. I guess it makes sense when I think about it. I've done a little genealogy and have birth, marriage and death certificates. The details are fascinating. (when you can read them!)

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