Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thinking Beyond the Obvious - the Death of Saverio Arturi

Beginning researchers are often satisfied with the gathering of names and dates and sometimes don't take the time to look beyond the obvious in an Italian record. Yet sometimes it is those other details that really put a record into it's historical and/or social context. This practice will often result in more interesting details for that family history we all want to write someday.

Take for example the death record of Saverio Arturi.

Death Record of Saverio Arturi

Saverio was a 26-year old soldier from Pietro Guadano in the Calabria province who died in a small mountain town in Sicily in 1862. His parents are indicated to be Luiggi and Maria Cozza. Saverio died "of violent means" in a piazza in the town of Isnello.

But what was going on in Sicily during this time period? A basic knowledge of Sicilian history will reveal that there was much civil unrest due to the changes being implemented by Unification. Italian troops were sent to squelch these rebellions and to put an end to the bandits who were attempting to "redistribute the wealth" to the less fortunate. So now you have a probable reason for his presence and subsequent death in a town so far from home.

Additionally, take a look at his indicated town of birth, Pietro Guardano in the Cosenza province. If you'll do a search for this town, you won't find a town by this name in any new or old gazeteers of Italy. However, there is a San Pietro in Guarano in the Cosenza province. Logically, this would be a good starting point for continued research on this man.

So, look beyond the obvious! You'll be surprised what information you'll find.

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