Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Photo Preservation

I'm sure we all have those photos of our Italian ancestors that are starting to show signs of age. Take the photo at the left which neatly slices Giuseppa Catanese's face in half. What I wouldn't give to erase that crack as it is the youngest known photograph of this ancestor.

Maureen Taylor has written a great book on this subject titled Preserving You Family Photographs: How to Organize, Present, and Restore Your Precious Family Images. You can also follow her blog at Photo Detective.

Civil Records of Selected Italian Comunes

This website provides links or email addresses for transcribed or abstracted Italian civil records. Take the time to see if your comune of interest is listed.

But remember, the use of transcriptions/abstractions should never take the place of research in original records. There is usually more information in the documents than has been transcribed.

Happy hunting!

This is a great place to find information on your ancestor's town of origin. You'll find links to town websites, addresses of civil record offices, street maps as well as satellite images of most towns amongst a host of other useful links.

This website is an extremely useful tool for the Italian researcher!

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.

New Location for the Archivio di Stato dell'Aquila

Many of us watched in horror at the pictures of what remained of the provincial archives in l'Aquila after the earthquake last April. A new location for the archives was announced on 30 July 2009. Here's the link to the press release.

Press Release

Digitization Project at the Archivio di Stato (Provincial Archives) di Cosenza

Not long ago the Cosenza provincial archives began a digitization project consisting of civil vital records as well as military conscription. It is an ongoing project, so watch for more records to be added in the coming months!

Portale della Storia degli Italiani Homepage

You will need to sign in initially. I have received no spam or otherwise intrusive computer issues from using this resource.

Happy researching!

Italian Genealogy

Italian-Americans have a unique and rich heritage. Now several generations past their immigrating ancestors, more and more of their history and culture is being lost. Many realize that they know little of where their ancestors came from, their hopes, their fears and the reasons for their departure.

As a researcher in Italian genealogy, I've found great satisfaction in reuniting Italian descendants with their ancestral heritage and culture. Italians and their descendants have played an integral role in all aspects of life here in the United States.

This blog will be a mix of genealogy, history and culture. But above will be about all things Italian!