A few years ago I started researching my family using the usual suspects Ancestry.Com, trips to Ellis Island and the Heraldry and Genealogy section of the NY public library. I found very little and nothing new, only dealing with when my grandfather arrived. With but a few hints, anything before that reminded shrouded in fog and mystery. My Uncle said that we were "Brigands" and "horse thieves" and until I studied the Crusades, I thought that was a bad thing --it's not. My father's side of the family hails from the Calabria region of southern Italy. My Grandfather had a ring with the family crest and would tell me that we had an amazing ancestry; my dad's reaction was "The old man is nuts" (we lived not well in the Bronx, so tales of wealthy, powerful ancestors were comical and painful) and for many years I let it go at that. Then in March, my son went to Italy. He rented a room in an apartment in Bologna, his roommates were all Tuscans. When he introduced himself, he roommate remarked that he had a fine Tuscan last name. This was news to me. We have an uncommon name, there's less than 200 of us in the world, and my understanding was that we had lived in southern Italy since before the 15th century, perhaps as far back as the 12th century. I never heard of any connection whatsoever with Tuscany. My son posted our crest on an Italian Medieval Ancestry board (it helps that my son is fluent in Italian) and I was stunned to discover that the family originated in Florence and rose to prominence there, then some siblings migrated to Calabria. So what's the point of this? The point is unless you're a Medici or Capponi or came over on the Mayflower there is simply no substitute for going back to your roots, to your home country and digging there directly. It won't be on Google and it won't be on Ancestry.com. Now since I know where to look and who I'm looking for, I have used Google and I have found some interesting things about my Florentine ancestor including his multiple appearances in "Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence (Studies in the History of Sexuality)"