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,



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

  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.


  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!)