January 28, 2008
If you’re joining us for the first time: welcome. We’re about to start the search for the descendents of Mario Contasino, the man who, in 1931, ran over the future leader of Britain, Winston Churchill, nearly changing the course of history and inspiring the Codemasters action game, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty.
In our last update, we took a brief look at the sorts of documentary evidence that we’ll need to sift through if we’re to find more information about Mario himself. One of the problems is that many of these sources aren’t available online, or they’re only partially available online, which will make our task slightly more difficult. However, there are several websites aimed at amateur genealogists and family historians that search through those sources that are available online, and that’s where we’ll be taking our first tentative steps to locate him. For no reason other than its obvious url, our first port of call is ancestry.com. The site includes a searchable database of family and local histories drawn from various libraries (including genealogical society collections and documents from the US National Archives – you can see the full list here). However, the results aren’t too impressive: Typing just ‘Mario Contasino’ into its search function (leaving the other fields, such as birth and location, blank) returns no precisely matching results.The most promising result is an entry for a Mario Contizioni, drawn from the 1930 US Federal Census, but his birth date, of about 1923, would make him around eight-years-old when he ran over Winston Churchill on that fateful day in 1931, which probably rules him out as a candidate. The search also produces a plethora of Mario Cendeses, and a few Contessos, but nothing that looks like an actual lead worth following.
Other websites are even less useful. None of the following (thrown up by Google searches) provide either complete or partial matches for Mario Contasino: Family Search; Genesreunited; GenCircles; GeneaNet; Genealogy.com; and Yourfamily.com.
Obviously this is a far from exhaustive search (this site lists plenty of other sites to start looking, for example). But maybe it’s time to enlist the help of some experts. More on that later. In the meantime, f you have any advice to help the search for the descendents of Mario Contasino, please email it to email@example.com.