Ever since I started the Family History Project in 2012-2013, the one branch of my direct line that eluded me was that of my Great Grandmother Caterina Torregrossa, wife of Francesco Torregrossa. In the photos so generously provided by Betty Ann Torregrossa Falletta, Caterina appears as a modest woman with only the slightest smile. She is usually surrounded by her children at large family outings or dinners. Since my Dad never talked about Caterina and Francesco, except to mention that Francesco was part owner in a macaroni manufacturing business, I had no idea who Caterina was.
I also could not find any data about her life in Sicily since I never had the correct maiden name. The variations of Caterina’s maiden name that I had access to all came from the marriage license applications of her children or from her death certificate. Several variations in the spelling sent me on many fruitless searches at Ancestry. The break through came with Betty Ann’s review of all the documentation and conclusion that the closest we could come was a maiden name of Giacone. Which was not too far off, either.
Earlier this year Larry Boyd, a direct line descendant from the family of Giosue Giaconia and Domenica Fillipone Giaconia, contacted me via Ancestry. We have a DNA match! From our initial contact and going forward, Larry provided me with all the documentation I needed to support the relationship between Caterina and Enrichetta. They were sisters who were born in Petralia Sottana, Palermo, Sicily in the mid-19th century. Larry is descended from Enrichetta and her husband Luciano Di Gangi. I will share more about Enrichetta and Luciano in future editions of the gazette.
Larry and I now exchange pleasant emails on a regular basis. In September he took a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Larry took some photos which he shared with me that are featured at the end of this posting. When I saw these photos I immediately sensed that he has an innate ability to focus, frame and select the composition for the photo. Usually when someone goes on vacation I get many photos of the person in the foreground with the vacation location in the background. Both kinds of photos are a good way to share the experience with others. It’s just that I prefer the photos like the ones Larry shared with me since I get a real feeling for the place. Also, through the way the person frames and chooses what to photograph you get a sense of who they are, too.
I was reminded of my late Uncle Robert Torregrossa, who was proficient enough in photography to have gone professional but chose instead to pursue it as a hobby. He worked at Willoughby Peerless Camera during the 1950s through 1970s. Anything I learned about how to compose a photo was through the guidance he so generously showed me from when I got my first Brownie camera. I mentioned to Larry that there is a knack for photography that runs in my family. Cousin Stephen Torregrossa is another photographer who had his own studio in Arizona before taking an early retirement.
Well, it turns out Larry’s daughter Julie Boyd is also a professional photographer! At her website you can see some stunning photos of nature in all it’s raw and wild beauty. Julie’s website is at https://www.julieboydphotography.com/ Please visit and see for yourself!
So not only do I have a new Cousin Connection in the present day but also a connection to the Giaconia family in my direct line. I think I can say now that the talent in photography just may have come down to us from the Giaconia family line.
Photographs of Larry Boyd’s Late Summer 2018 Vacation to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
(all photos property Larry Boyd and used with permission)
—Larry is the son of the late Stuart Edward Boyd (1922-1998) and Henrietta Frances De Gange Boyd (1923-2005).
—–Henrietta was the daughter of Ignacio Luciano Di Gangi (1897-1970) and Vincengina Frances La Torraca Di Gangi (1898-1926).
——-Ignacio was the son of Luciano Di Gangi (1871-1936) and Enrichetta Giaconia Di Gangi (1876-1929).
———-Giosue Giaconia and Domenica Fillipone Giaconia were the parents of: Enrichetta and Caterina.
The shared common ancestors for Larry and me are Giosue Giaconia and Domenica Fillipone Giaconia of Petralia Sottana, Palermo, Sicily.