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Village in Sicily hopes to lure Jill Biden back to her Italian roots

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A hill-top village in Sicily is hoping that it can lure America’s next First Lady back to her roots.

Jill Biden’s ancestors hail from Gesso, a tiny town at the eastern end of the Mediterranean island. Her grandfather emigrated from Sicily in 1900, with the family settling in New Jersey.

He Anglicised his surname, changing it from Giacoppo to Jacobs, and the First Lady-designate was born Jill Jacobs.

A banner hanging on the balcony of a house in the village of Gesso that was the birthplace of the grandfather of the wife of the newly elected US president Joe Biden, the first lady Jill Jacobs, Sicily island, southern Italy. EPA-EFE/CARMELO IMBESI

Her long-lost cousins are hoping that once Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, he and his wife will find time to visit them in Italy.

“She should know that we are waiting for her. The pasta al forno (baked pasta) is ready, and so are the meatballs in tomato sauce,” said one cousin, Caterina Giacoppo, 64.

Mrs. Caterina Giacoppo, the eighth degree cousin of the wife of the newly elected US president Joe Biden, the first lady Jill Jacobs, in front of the entrance to her home in Gesso, near Messina, Sicily island, southern Italy. EPA-EFE/CARMELO IMBESI

Home to around 500 people, in the local dialect the village is known as Ibbisu. It has commanding views of the sea, as well as the volcanic islands of Vulcano and Stromboli, part of the Aeolian archipelago.

Mrs Biden’s grandfather, Domenico, was just two years old when his family boarded the boat that took them across the Atlantic to the US. Domenico eventually had a family of his own and named his son Donald – in turn he had children, among them a daughter, Jill.

The documents that would prove the kinship of Mrs. Caterina Giacoppo and the origins of the wife of the newly elected US president Joe Biden, the first lady Jill Jacobs, at the ethno-anthropological museum in Gesso, near Messina, Sicily island, southern Italy. EPA-EFE/CARMELO IMBESI

“They kept their surname for a month and then changed it to Jacobs,” Antonio Federico, a local genealogist who has traced the family tree, told Italy’s Ansa news agency.

Documents relating to the family’s history are kept in the local museum.

The documents that would prove the kinship of Mrs. Caterina Giacoppo and the origins of the wife of the newly elected US president Joe Biden, the first lady Jill Jacobs, at the ethno-anthropological museum in Gesso, near Messina, Sicily island, southern Italy. EPA-EFE/CARMELO IMBESI

Read more via The Telegraph

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