Kerry Sachetta tells about his remarkable genealogy research Tuesday at the Webb City Area Genealogical Society’s monthly meeting at the Webb City Public Library.

Bob Foos

Kerry Sachetta's persistence was key to finding his close relatives in Italy

Kerry Sachetta shared the methods he used to find his family in Italy on Tuesday during the monthly meeting of the Webb City Area Genealogical Society.

The advances made in DNA and ancestry research have made finding connections easier, but above all, he said it takes persistence.

Sachetta, the superintendent of Joplin R-8 School District, was left in an orphanage in Rome, Italy, shortly after he was born in 1961. He was adopted by a family in Scammon, Kan., through the Catholic Diocese in Wichita, Kan., and naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1965.

In 1989, he became curious about his birth mother and in 1999 honeymooned with his wife, Amber, in Rome, with his ancestry in mind. “My goal was to meet the lady who arranged my adoption and thank her for running the orphanage.”

Sachetta continued his ancestry research with the help of John Campitelli, who operates an Italian genealogical blog, Born in Italy, Adopted in America.

He obtained the complete record of his adoption, and the results of a DNA test helped him get started on a speculative family tree by locating a third cousin in Michigan.

There were disappointments, such as when he thought he had connected with a halfbrother, but their DNA results proved they were just first cousins.

Sachetta gave a hint that DNA cintemorgans determine how close relative matches are on your family tree.

In addition to DNA and ancestry resources, he said he found Facebook messaging and “phoning people you don’t know” invaluable.

Eventually, Sachetta determined his birth mother was Olimpia Rea. If she had still been alive, he said, “I just wanted to say ‘thank you’ – not bond with my mother. Hey, I’ve had a good life. I was lucky,” being adopted by Mary Louise and Louis Sachetta.

Eventually, Kerry Sachetta found two halfbrothers, Santino and Roberto. They celebrated with a reunion in Italy. In 2019, Santino Rea came here to visit and pay his respects to Sachetta’s adoptive family. His mother had passed, but his father is 99.

Sachetta went on to find the identity of his biological father and has met that side of his family, too.

His genealogical searching hasn’t come to an end yet. “We’re still looking for Santonio’s father.”

Kerry Sachetta’s essential ancestry tools are:



FamilyTree DNA


DNA Painter

Facebook DNA Detectives

DNA centimorgan chart