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Lightning strikes twice

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  • Lightning strikes twice

    Some of you may remember a topic I started in this forum last April about the 42/43 match I had in the database, where I had entered my FTDNA results. To sum that up, this match, Fred Vallongo, retested at FTDNA and we turned out to be a 63/67 (and 72/76) match. Using FTDNA's TMRCA calculator and the McGee utility, it seemed that our TMRCA was 300 years or perhaps a bit more. Plus, Fred's grandfather was born in Fabrizia, Calabria, about 200 miles away from Mezzojuso, the town in Sicily where my brick wall, my great-grandfather Nunzio Maddi, lived. It's hard to imagine or establish a connection that would connect two paternal lines in two small towns 200 miles apart 200 or more years ago, when most poor southern Italians/Sicilians probably never made it more than 10 or 20 miles away from where they lived.

    You can read all the twists and turns in that story in this thread -;hl=Vallongo

    Every once in a while I log in to my account just for the hell of it. Tuesday night when I logged in I found a new match, this time 43/43, with the surname Salerno. Obviously, this is a significant match, being perfect and with an Italian surname. So I wrote to him through the message service.

    I received a reply from his mother who had him test to help in her family tree research on her late husband's side. She reported that her late husband was born in NYC and gave me the name of his father. It's thought that the ancestors of this paternal line came from Palermo. I wrote her back proposing that she upgrade her son's markers to 76, either at or FTDNA.

    This seems to be a real find! Palermo is only about 25 miles from Mezzojuso where my great-grandfather, who was abandoned as an infant, lived. It's possible that Palermo is not the ancestral town of this Salerno line, but only refers to the provincial capital or the port from which the Salerno ancestor left for the U.S. After looking in the 1910 census records at, I'm coming up with a possible name for her late husband's grandfather of Giuseppe Salerno, born about 1885. Checking the Ellis Island website, there are about 20 Giuseppe Salernos who came to the U.S. before 1910 and were born around 1885. There are 7 or 8 Sicilian Giuseppe Salernos who fit that profile, including one from Marineo, less than 10 miles from Mezzojuso, and another from Cefala Diana, also less than 10 miles from Mezzojuso.

  • #2

    This is fascinating indeed and also lends to the credibility of genealogical DNA testing. I think that your story is a rather unique experience in terms of finding an exact match.

    I had a dream last night that I found a relative on my mother's African side (she was abandoned as an infant-we do not know anyone on her maternal/paternal side)-so perhaps lightning wil strike thrice! deserve it!!


    • #3
      Nice to read your story and successful outcome.