Collect all info you have about your ancestors: documents, photographs, stories told by relatives… every detail can be important!
Send me the data and I will analyze them and plan the research: I will call the necessary offices, archives and parishes, and schedule the visit on site.
GOING BACK TO 1866… it’s a start!
1866 is the date when recording births, marriages and deaths became compulsory for all Italian municipalities. If your family tree stops in the last century, searching back to 1866 could be the easiest way to start adding some names: data from this period are generally easily traceable and well organized.
I will go to the town hall of the place where your ancestors had lived, research as first thing the data you need, then all other info I may find on the way.
This kind of research usually totals back 2 to 4 generations, but finding siblings may also be important to trace living cousins. I will try to find out as many names as I can within the opening time of the office (usually 3 to 4 hours).
After that, I will tour around town in search of other traces of your ancestors.
Finally, I will elaborate all data, so that within that same day or the next I will be able to provide you the data I found.
With some luck, I should be able to send you:
- The “sprout” of your family tree including all names found during the research, dates of birth, marriage, death, address, job, parents, siblings etc. I will include title of record book and record number, for any future reference. All this can be provided as an Excel or Word file, or any other form you prefer (to agree beforehand) I will also add and explain every detail about your ancestor’s life.
- High resolution JPG images of all records related to your ancestors, cut and enhanced for better reading
- Info and pictures of everything I could find in town: I might be able to locate the house where your ancestors had lived, or the grave of someone related to the family, the church where they were baptized and so on. Even in case I do not find anything of this sort, I will include some pictures that will give you an idea of the place where your family originated.
THE PICTURE IS CLEAR… you may want it clearer
Once you will get the first answers to your questions, soon other questions will rise!
Now that you know more about your family, it’s possible to dig into other archives and find out even more data. Do not limit yourself to names and dates: there’s more to find out!
Basing on the collected info and according to your wishes I could be able to investigate further into the town hall, or the State Archive, or the parish etc. and try to find out, for example:
- the descendants of your ancestors – your Italian “cousins”
- the estates owned by your family
- the heirs of these estates
- other info related about your ancestors jobs or military life etc.
I will plan the research beforehand, making a list of the results that you wish and that are likely to be found, then I will travel on site and spend a whole morning on the search (or more, if agreed).
I will not stick to the scheduled job, though: serendipity is important, I have learnt!
Again, I will elaborate all info and I will provide you:
- photos or scans of whichever info I was able to find
- update of the family tree with the new findings and/or new explanatory diagrams
- written explanation of the data, including religious, historical or geographical notions to help you understand the context
- if the data achieved relate to a place, I will provide coordinates, Google Maps shots and Street View shots
- if I managed to find living relatives, I will send you all contact details to get in touch, or if you wish, I will contact them in Italian to introduce you.
MANY STEPS BACK IN TIME… A chapter is written, now it’s time to go back further
Before the municipalities were committed to take trace of the census, this task was demanded to the Catholic Church: parishes started to take records of baptisms, marriages and funerals centuries ago and although sometimes these precious books were lost, or burnt in a fire, or damaged, the greatest majority is still there, in one of the parish rooms, stored in an old furniture.
It’s time to ask the priest to open it.
I will contact the priest, ask for his authorization to search and go to the church.
The quantity of data that I might find depends from many factors: first of all the time allowed for the search, then the quantity and quality of the books. At this stage, the number of ancestors to research is increasing exponentially and, if they all came from the same town, it’s easy to reach a point where the names to discover are several dozens. I may not be able to fill all the gaps in the jigsaw puzzle of Your family, but I will try my best. According to your wish, I could concentrate my efforts searching all ancestors of all “family branches” in a short period, or follow a single line – usually the father’s line – in the long period, i.e. as far back as the record books are showing.
However, be it only for one morning or for a whole week, at the end of this search I will provide you, as ever:
- an updated family tree… with a much richer foliage.
- a file including all names found during the research and all info I could get about your ancestors: date of birth, baptism, marriage, death, godfathers and godmothers, parents, siblings etc. I will include title of record book and record number, for any future reference.
- The JPG images of all records and info related to your ancestors.
CAN YOU FEEL YOUR ITALIAN ROOTS NOW?… You surely do!
Now you have it! It’s a grown up, well developed and rich family tree.
If I did my job well, you also know a lot more about the place and the time when your ancestors have lived, and I hope you can feel your Italian origins in your veins.
Do you wish to come to Italy and walk on the same streets your ancestors stepped? Or look at the same landscape, pray in the same church where they did it? I can help you organize your ancestry tour.
I will leave to you or your travel agency the organization of flights and accommodation but I will be available for suggestions and hints.
It will be a pleasure to meet you! I will drive you around the place (or places) of origin of your family, showing you everything I discovered – house, gravestone, church etc. – and, if you wish, the actual record books stored in the municipality offices and in the parish.