Before I started searching for my family, I thought that finding them would be a piece of cake. After all, how many Niemi’s, Tomassini’s or Pieri’s can there be in this world? Where I grew up, they were pretty unique, especially the Niemi and the Pieri surnames. Tomassini was a bit more common because that was the family that my Great Grandmother married into – her maiden names was Pieri, not a lot of those here in Northern California.

My Grandmother, Mary Tomassini, is the one that married into the Finnish Niemi family, and from the stories that I’ve heard, my Nonna, (that is Italian for ‘grandmother’, but EVERYONE called her Nonna (in fact, I thought that was her name for the longest time)), did not like my Grandfather, Charles. Did not approve of the marriage at all. But, that is another story….

Back to family names. I did think that my Finnish and Italian names would be easy to find, but 30 years later, I still struggle to find connections, since they are both international. I have to look at Finnish and Italian records; I understand more Italian than I can read, or speak because I grew up talking with Nonna. Finnish, on the other hand, is a bit more difficult. I know ZERO Finnish. All I can say is, thank God for Bing Translate!

Anyway, the needle in the haystack. I started searching for my husbands family about 15 years ago. His last name is Cox. I actually thought, what could be easier. Cox, much like Smith, is a very common name, there should be a lot of them out there. I am here to tell you, yes there is a LOT of Cox’s out there, especially in Texas which is where most of my husbands family is from. Unfortunately, there is not one HUGE family in Texas. There are a ton of different families with the last name of Cox! I have yet to find one common ancestor for all of them & believe me, I have tried. I was lucky enough to marry into a Cox family more than once. My ex & my son, both named Paul, come from the Cox family in Arizona, which came from Texas. My husband’s family comes from Texas, which as far as I have found, ultimately came from Georgia. At last count there are 438,486 records of Cox’s in Texas and 162,483 records of Cox’s in Georgia. Definitely looking for needles in a lot of haystacks!

It may be a lot of needles, but it makes the Find a whole lot sweeter!

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