I believe that the government here is now trying to change the old law that required property to be divided equally among the heirs. This old law meant that even a small property was divided into ‘particelli’ and even by the early 1900’s families were fighting over this division. Too many sons in the family meant that the younger ones could only marry if they moved in with their in-laws since the land on which they lived was too small to support additional wives and children. Even the sons and daughters who had moved in with their in-laws were part owners of the family home when their parents died. If the current resident couldn’t afford to buy them out problems within the family arose all too frequently.
Often sons were sent to America to earn money to buy more land to support their numerous siblings. Even though they made the sacrifice of going overseas they must divide their earnings and the land it bought with all their family members. Sometimes the son in America married there and although he may have continued to send money back to Italy this would stop if he died suddenly and his wife didn’t know of the arrangement or didn’t speak Italian.
Take a look at the list of ‘owners’ of this property. How many are there? When were they born? Calculate that if each had 4 children and each of those four had four of their own down to today, how many ‘heirs’ are there today? You would have to track them all down, they would all have to agree to sell their share to you.
If your father or Grandfather signed over, even informally, his share of the family property do you really want to go agaisnst his wishes to leave it for whatever family he left there?