In 1921, Saverio Piemontese and his brother-in-law, Libero Impagnatiello immigrated to America from Italy in search of a new beginning. Eighteen months later, Libero returned to Italy and his wife, Josephine, and their family later immigrated to Australia.
Libero and Josephine had four children: Paolo, Francesco, Maria and Matteo. Saverio and his wife, Chiarina, had eight: Pasquale, Patrick, Tony, John, Frank, Josephine, Matthew and Margret.
Continents apart, the siblings’ families lost touch until almost a century later.
In 2010, Matteo Impagnatiello, who lived in Australia, became sick. One of his wishes was to develop his family tree and learn about his relatives in America.
His daughter, Josephine Chapman, used the internet to research the Piemontese name and came across the obituary for Anthony Piemontese, who was being laid to rest that week. Josephine was able to call the funeral home and get in touch with Margret Krappa via email.
At first, many of the relatives in the Scranton area thought the email was a scam because they did not know of the family they had in Australia. Josephine recalls from her childhood that her mother would read letters from Chiarina, Marget’s mother, to her grandmother, Josephine Piemontese.
The two sides of the family kept in contact over the past 10 years, and finally decided it was time to meet up.
Josephine and her daughter, Mickayla, made their first trip to America the last week of January to meet their family. It took the two about 30 hours to arrive in New York, where they spent a couple of days exploring the city. They arrived at Lucca Restaurant in Taylor on Jan. 31 to meet their American family members.
Each section of the family was asked to bring their part of the family tree, so it could be assembled across three long tables. Josephine was able to provide the information she obtained from her Ancestry DNA search, and it filled in some blanks for part of the family.
Len Krappa learned that his grandfather, Saverio Piemontese served in the military.
The powers of the internet allowed these two parts of one family reunite. The smiles seen across the many faces during the reunion were remarkable.
In the days surrounding the reunion, Josephine and Mickayla were able to adjust to the cold weather and build a snowman and have a snowball fight for the first time. The trip to America involved many firsts for the Australians, including fulfilling a wish of Josephine’s father.
The family plans to keep in touch in the future and continue to visit each other in their respective countries creating the bond of a lifetime.