On Growing up in East Harlem: Italian (Barese) and Puerto Rican Heritage

I was thrilled to chat with podcaster, and fellow author and family historian Bob Sorrentino earlier this month. During our conversation, I shared my experience growing up in Harlem, when it was still partly Italian Harlem. We spoke about my decades-long experience researching my family tree on both sides, from New York to Bari, in Southern Italy and from Ponce, Puerto Rico, and the island’s indigenous people, the Taino, enslaved Africans, and back to Europe through the colonizers who claimed the land.

Discovering Cultural Roots in East Harlem, Bari and Ponce @ItalianRootsandGenealogy

One of the key themes of our conversation that I wanted to share was that of my experience in finding out about my father through the painstaking and generous help of Cece Moore’s Facebook Group, DNA Detectives and the generosity of a Search Angel, volunteer genetic genealogist who specializes in Italian Genealogy. I also had the opportunity to speak about the passion projects that have resulted from my research:

Italian at Glance on Instagram

ItalianatAGlance is an Instagram account inspired by the work of historical curator and researcher Kimberly Annece Henderson, whose work centers genealogy and Black American lineages through photography, historical preservation, and archives for the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. I discovered her an Instagram-based archival image repository, emalineandthem, and wanted to do something similar as I researched my unknown and lost lineage.

The Bari, Italy Genealogy & DNA Facebook Group
As the result of my plight in finding information on my ties to a small village outside of Bari, Sannicandro Di Bari that time seems to have forgot, I created and manage a group on Facebook, Bari, Italy Genealogy & DNA, which has amazed over a thousand followers. These group members are incredible. One has has created his own archive of digitized and indexed records that is available for free online at BariAncestors.com.

I talk about this and more – take a listen.


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