Anna Comis was born in the ancient Italian village, known as Casada. For centuries, her ancestors had inhabited the “beautiful little country” surrounded by the Dolomite Mountains. After her family relocated, her parents’ stories of their cherished native village continued to connect Anna with her birthplace. Years later, driven by a desire to preserve her heritage, Anna began collecting documents, anecdotes, articles, and old photographs. Casada: A History of an Italian Village and its People contains the fruits of her exhaustive research.
Half a world away, Isabel Comis Degenaars also grew up hearing stories of Casada shared by her father, whose parents immigrated to America in the 1920s in search of work and the chance to start a new life. A 2010 visit to her grandparent’s ancestral home inspired her to translate her cousin Anna’s book into English. She also relates her own family’s challenging journey from the green mountains of Italy into the dark coal mines of Pennsylvania including research of early mining life in the coal patch of Francis Mine.
From two cousins separated by distance and culture, comes a rich history of shared lineage set in a land that continues to inspire and haunt those drawn to its verdant hills and valleys.