I have a new favorite place on this big blue marble called Earth and it is Peschici.
It is a small village in Italy with a present-day population of less than 4500 people. From pictures I've seen it is absolutely gorgeous and is apparently (and not surprisingly) quite the tourist destination. I've never been there (though I'd love to visit) and whenever I say it I feel like I'm ordering some obscure Italian cheese.
Why do I love Peschici, you ask? Because my great-grandmother was born there. Yes, the same great-grandmother who is my biggest brick-wall, the one without parents, a definite maiden name and until recently, a birthplace.
When I ordered her SS-5 the parents were what I was interested in - I wanted names and nothing else mattered. But, a funny thing happened when I got my copy of it in the mail. There were no names listed for her parents (her daughter, who was her legal guardian at the time filled it out and she clearly didn't know much about her mother's ancestry). I was momentarily disappointed until I noticed that her place of birth was listed (I was expecting just a blanket 'Italy' like I had seen on a lot of SS-5s for immigrants). What was listed was 'Peschi' but a quick search reveals that no such place exists. The only thing close is Peschici, which just happens to be about 12 miles from Vieste, where my great-grandmother lived before coming to the US and where her husband (and some of their children) was from.
I'm actually happier that I know her birthplace than if I just knew her parents names. With a birthplace, I have a specific spot that I can start with and build from. If I just had names it wouldn't mean much because I wouldn't have a clue where to begin looking for more information. And, as I've found in researching my ancestors MANY times, names aren't always correct. Case in point, my great-grandfather who said his mother was 'Carmela Scarlano,' then there is my great-grandfather's brother who said that their mother was 'Carmina Scarnia'... and then there are their actual birth registration records which list their mother as 'Carmella Scarano.'
Now that I know her birthplace, I can order films for Peschici (I knew her birthdate, though there is a little confusion over whether it was in 1891 or 1892). Specifically, I can order 1802409 Item 3 and 1802411 Item 1 which include birth registrations for 1891 and 1892.
The wall isn't down yet, but for the first time in a very long time the wall doesn't look so high... or so indestructible.