Going global: a family reunion here, there

The Crisanti family reunion.

When is a family reunion not a family reunion? The answer to that question may be what took place on Sunday, July 15 in Silver Creek. Through the wonders of the internet, Ancestry.com and the LDS records along with a whole lot of detective work, a large group of family got to meet for the very first time.

Back in Sicily in the 1800s, Antonino Bifarella and his wife Gandolfa Rinaldi married and together raised 11 children. Two of the younger children were Salvatore and Francesca Maria. Francesca married Salvatore Crisanti and they too had several children, three of which emigrated to America in the first part of the 20th century. One of the immigrants, Salvatore, went to Jamestown and became known as “Sam” Cresanti (a spelling given the name at Ellis Island). He married Carrie Privateera and they together had five children.

Giussepe Giovanni settled in Angola and in 1915 then sent for his wife and three children from Sicily. He became known as Joe Crisanti and four more children were born in Angola. The rest of the Crisanti brothers and sisters stayed in Sicily. About the same time, Salvatore Bifarella and his wife Maria Santa Badamo emigrated to America where they had several children, many of them in Springville. In the early 1960s, two Crisanti brothers who descended from Antonino Crisanti, who had remained in Sicily, emigrated to America and settled in Connecticut.

Last month, a few more generations of descendants got to meet and of course eat — after all they are Italian, or should I say Sicilian, as there is a big difference in Italy. Cresanti relatives came from Jamestown and the Buffalo area, while Crisanti relatives came from western New York and Connecticut. Bifarella cousins arrived from Batavia, Springville and Chicago. The unofficial family genealogist brought his tablet and computer with his extensive research and family tree on it, as well as a large volume he printed from Ancestry.com. The book contained family trees, pictures and copies of official documents like Baptismal certificates and marriage records.

Cousins enjoyed looking through the book, meeting new family, sharing stories and memories, and of course, eating. Everyone went home from the “reunion” with a deeper understanding of their Sicilian roots, and a very full tummy.

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