Pietro never knew he had a daughter – named Franca. Franca started looking for her father, or at least his identity, after her mother passed away in 2012. Pietro would probably be aged over 100 by now, if he was still alive.
Pietro was in Naples in 1942/43, where he met and had a relationship with Franca’s mother.
War and other events intervened, Franca’s mother never told Pietro she was going to have his child, and she never revealed his real surname to her daughter.
It is not known whether Pietro survived the war, or if he did, which country he might have ended up in or what might have happened to him.
Pietro gave this photo to Franca’s mother at the time:
Pietro was of Sicilian origin, possibly from the Siracusa region:
Back in 2014, Franca contacted me to say we shared a small segment of DNA with each other on GEDmatch. Franca was a very distant DNA match to me through her father’s side – possibly 7 or more generations back to our common ancestor, but unfortunately beyond the reaches of my current genealogical paper trail.
At that stage my biogeographical estimates at two different testing companies predicted that I had a small percentage (6%) of Italian/Sardinian ancestry, so the distant connection seemed feasible back then (I’ve since lost that part of my ethnicity estimates as the algorithms and reference populations have been updated several times).
In the months that followed, I tested both of my parents, but unfortunately neither of them shared any DNA with Franca. Upon examining the DNA segments in a chromosome browser at GEDmatch, it became apparent that the small 7cM segment I shared was actually a false segment, combined from a little bit from my mother and a little bit from my father that overlapped to make it look like a continous segment.
Franca is still searching.
Perhaps Pietro was one of the many thousands of casualties of war. Whether he survived or not, if anyone should recognise Pietro from his photograph, Franca would dearly love to know – even just so she can place some flowers on his grave.
Please share this photo amongst your friends and family members, and do contact me if you or anyone you know recognises Pietro or thinks he looks like someone they might have known (I enhanced and colourised the black and white photo of Pietro using MyHeritage In Color and MyHeritage Photo Enhancer).
Franca’s DNA is in the AncestryDNA, MyHeritage DNA, Family Tree DNA, 23andMe and GEDmatch databases. Franca would love to get a DNA match to a cousin that helps her identify her father’s family or other descendants.
If you have Sicilian or Italian ancestry and haven’t already done a genealogy DNA test and you would like to learn more about your own family origins, please consider doing a DNA test at one of the aforementioned companies. If you have tested with Living DNA but none of the other companies, you can upload your DNA data to some of the other companies and to the free GEDmatch database to see if you are related to Franca.
Note: This post was originally published on 10 July 2014; it was updated and republished on 15 November 2019, and the MyHeritage In Color and Enhanced photos were added on 15 August 2020.