Paul Forte is a singular character: the son of a Forte from Monforte (Mortale) of Casalattico and of a lady from Tuscany. In his fifties, he now splits his time between Brighton, Pisa,from where his mother's family originate and where he now resides and works, and Monforte of Casalattico, loyal to his paternal roots. He speaks perfect Italian, blended with a sophisticated Anglo-Saxon accent. Reserved and shrewd with tones of aristocratic English, mixed in with those typical Italian characteristics of a welcoming warmth and bonhomie.
He carries out his passion with rigorous detail: genealogical research. He started some years ago looking into his own family’s roots, then he expanded to more distant relatives, and this led to a chain reaction of investigating relatives of relatives. Since then he has been seized by research fever, because the results of his investigations have become a historical registry of Casalattico and of the areas to where former inhabitants have settled.
On the Tower of Pisa
His website is www.fortefamilyhistory.com/ Take a look at it, because you will find a mine of information. A historical record that is more efficient than the Municipal Registry Office, because it is constantly cross-referenced with records from the digitised data of the parish Archives, which, as we know, date back to the early 1600s, and thus cover an even greater timespan. Paul has all of the digitised parish census records from the church archives. He is about to digitise some of the other records too. As of now, his family tree contains about 10,000 names, and Paul makes it available to anyone who wants to trace their origins.
Paul consults with someone whose family emigrated from the area a very long time ago
Sometimes it happens that, through Paul’s research, people have discovered awkward or difficult moments in their historical origins.
A touching case is that of a gentleman with Casalattico roots who, knowing that he was adopted, had only a vague idea of his biological origin. Paul's family tree gave him precise names and details that led to his blood relatives being able to contact him. Unfortunately, the gentleman’s birth mother had passed away, but he has now been able to put flowers on her grave, embrace his biological relatives and receive from a surviving aunt a precious object once belonging to his mother. Later that gentleman learnt that, as he had been born out of wedlock, his mother had been sent away from home and forced to put her baby son up for adoption.
A story, more common than one might imagine, a result of dated cultural preconceptions, and we’re not talking about the Middle Ages but just a few decades ago. It would be a good idea to remember it in this day and age of immigration and multiculturism, when other cultures would benefit from our help to overcome their problems without any of our semi-racist blame mentality...
Whilst continuously updating his research, Paul runs into a myriad of personal and social stories, ordinary and extraordinary, which all add to a precious historical log saved on his computer. He is a mathematics teacher, having graduated from Christ Church, among the most prestigious and exclusive colleges of Oxford University, frequented by the elite of former English aristocracy, and geniuses of culture and sciences. This is a reason to congratulate Paul: his short but long journey from ice cream parlour to Oxford lecture theatre!!!!
The front quadrangle of Christ Church, Oxford and the college’s coat of arms
However, he recently left his teaching desk to devote himself to educational research with a specialised company producing educational material for teaching mathematics.
His father, Aquilino, like almost all of the Casalattico community in England, was in catering, managing an ice cream business in Brighton, on the coast south of London. While Paul chose teaching, his brother Tony remained in the catering business, and his sister Rosina chose medicine. It was only a few years ago that he rediscovered Monforte and Casalattico, but his bond with the land of his forefathers has developed from strength to strength in a short time: he calmly oversaw the restoration and improvement of his family’s house, even if it meant overcoming a plethora of bureaucratic difficulties.
In a Neapolitan pizzeria
But above all he has discovered Italy’s South. His excursions never used to go beyond Rome. Further south… NO ... Then in Monforte, he came across a strong and passionate proponent of our southern regions, who invited him and provoked him to visit Naples, Bari, Matera, etc.
Feast of St. Anthony in Mortale
Paul has listened to her and has now corrected his geoanthropological discrimination ... .The “passionate one” who did such a "good job" is of course Alba Forte ...