Orange is my favorite color

Identity Crisis

What’s in a name?

I received a great email on Thursday; my cousin outside of Milan sent me scans of my great-grandfather and great-grandmother’s birth, death and marriage certificates. The physical documents establish the link that enables me to obtain Italian citizenship.

The problem is that my great grandfather, known as Dante Ghidinelli to everyone including his children, was born Prospero Ghidinelli. Even his tombstone in Italy has the name Dante on it. Depending on the consulate, they may require us to update all records to show his original Italian name. It’s a judgement call… if so, it means filing a legal name change document for a deceased relative. I can smell the red tape from here.

Some links I’ve come across recently that were helpful in figuring out how to establish a “No record” certification of non-existence from the National Archives. Filing a G-639 FOIA form is not completely straightforward when you’re trying to establish documents don’t exist:


  1. Nathan Dintenfass said:

    on October 15, 2006 at 7:48 pm

    Do you actually speak Italian?

    (sure wish I could subscribe to these comments ;)

  2. Brian said:

    on October 17, 2006 at 11:54 am

    Only the basic hello, goodbye, do you speak Italian/English type stuff right now. Obviously if this happens I will spend some more time learning. :)

    And now you can subscribe to the comments… I thought that was automatic; didn’t realize it had to be added!

  3. Nathan Dintenfass said:

    on October 17, 2006 at 12:08 pm


  4. flocchini giovanmaria said:

    on October 21, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    site internet by avenone pertica bassa

  5. shaun johnson said:

    on January 2, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Nice site. I too am working towards italian citizenship…but found you off Can you send me an email, I’d like to chat with you?


  6. Brian said:

    on January 3, 2007 at 8:25 pm


    Sure thing- but you didn’t leave your email address in the comment! :)

  7. flocchini giovanmaria said:

    on January 4, 2007 at 5:39 am

    this is the site Web of Avenone di Pertica Bassa (Brescia) Italy. Who has not never seen the country of the Flocchini, Ghidinelli, Bonomi, Pialorsi, etc. hour can see it on the situated one of the Bar Brescia.
    I make excuses myself for the errors, I have used google translate.

    Avenone 4 gennaio 2007

  8. brian said:

    on January 10, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    @Flocchini: Thanks for the link to the Brescia website!

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