Oddenino Family History

Photo: Chest

The treasure chest of history is always waiting to be opened. This website explores the lives and events, as best we can, of the Oddenino ancestors and the many other surnames which necessarily makeup a family genealogy. My memories of fourth-grade history class (U.S. and Virginia History) are the earliest remembered sparks of my interest in history. This site reflects the treasures I have uncovered in this look back at what came before us.

A natural corollary of studying history is the study of one's family history, or genealogy. As the great Roman Cicero said:

History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illuminates reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life, and brings us tidings of antiquity.

Cicero also said that:

Not to know what happened before you were born is to remain forever a child.

As a child growing up in northern Virginia, there used to be an older gentleman who would walk by our house periodically and my parents explained that he was famous and he was visiting relatives who lived up the street. His name was Carl Sandburg, the great American poet and biographer of Abraham Lincoln. Here is one of my favorite quotes from Carl Sandburg:

When a society or a civilization perishes, one condition can always be found. They forgot where they came from.

Personally, I simply find it fascinating to find family members, though long-deceased, who participated in many of the seminal events of history. Learning the geographic origins of ancestors is another aspect that always intrigues.

So join me in exploring what discoveries I have made, often with the help of researchers much more skilled than myself.

Photo: Pineapple

The pineapple is a symbol of welcome and hospitality. Click here for a history of the significance of the pineapple in colonial Virginia. Many of our ancestors are found in colonial Virginia so it seemed appropriate to welcome visitors with a pineapple.

Some years ago with my first halting steps into genealogy it immediately seemed a great adventure to explore the past and see what it meant to my personal history.

Some interesting things were in store for me, with an Italian surname, and parents from Madison County, Virginia, there were the family anecdotes. Joseph (Giuseppe) Oddenino came from Italy in 1862 and after serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, settled in the piedmont region of Virginia because it reminded him of his home area of Chieri in the piedmont region of northern Italy.

The first family stories I heard were that Joseph was an artist and his work was still visible at Mitchell's Presbyterian Church, the Culpeper Courthouse and the Hebron Lutheran Church. Pretty cool, a real artist in the family. Other stories recounted that Joseph was also a musician and used to give music lessons in Madison County. (That music gene got lost in succeeding generations!) Another family legend is that some in Madison resented Joseph's receipt of a Union pension for obvious reasons.

The next chapter was Joseph's son Luigi (Louis) who came to Virginia to be with his father after working in the Panama Canal zone as an interpreter since he spoke seven languages. Enter Germanna. Louis married Mary Delph a Germanna descendant. John F. Oddenino, son of Louis and Mary, then married in Madison County to Alia Bazzle another Germanna descendant from other lines adding multiple Germanna lines to the Italian surname.

Digging into the past through genealogy opened the Germanna door which previously I didn't know existed. At first it was just fun to find new names to put on the pedigree chart. Then I wanted more names. Sorta like the farmer who didn't want all the land, just the land that bordered on his land. With each new find it only whetted my appetite for more. Then I wanted to learn more about who these people were and what they did, where they lived, who they loved, and anything else to paint a more vivid picture of the past. With every morsel found, hints of personalities started to gradually attach to the names.

It became apparent that my hunger for information far exceeded my grasp. But the more I did find the more interesting the story became. Learning of Germanna, the first colony, the second colony, Alexander Spotswood, the Little Fork group, the other immigrants, pretty soon this became a major adventure story. This triggered reflection on the fact that each one of these ancestors was indispensable to the whole story. It is mind-boggling to consider that your presence here today would not have happened but for each individual on your family pedigree.

Finding tidbits about what these ancestors did, whether it was the purchase or sale of land, being in a lawsuit with Spotswood, or traveling across the Atlantic in small uncomfortable ships, all added to the rich fabric of the history. Thinking about how interesting it was to find these tidbits on my ancestors, I was left to ponder what my descendants might think of the trail of my life left for them to discover.

Others have commented on the value of studying the past including Winston Churchill who said:

The farther backward you look, the farther ahead you can see.

There are many reasons to study history:

We shape our lives not by what we carry with us, but what we leave behind.

Explore the site and feel free to contact me at host@oddenino.com

The words throughout the site that are underlined in red contain links to other websites that might be of interest to some.