Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tracking Emigration Using Stato di Famiglia (State of the Family) Certificates

State of the Family Certificates can be used to track the emigration of your ancestor (or their siblings and cousins).  Sometimes you will find that different family members emigrated to very different parts of the world.

Take for example the family of Guido Colotti.  If you follow the link by clicking on the title of this post, you will see the State of the Family record for Guido Colotti, son of Bartolo.  This family had no idea where this sibling went and would never have guessed that he emigrated to Russia.  Different members of this family dispersed to Russia, Switzerland, and South Africa, three very different places.  

These records have not always survived.  Multiple civil record offices have informed me that these records were destroyed with the onset of regular censuses. However, I would suggest you ask in case they are still available, and because the censuses are often much harder to access.

Leave no stone unturned.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Look at Southern Italian Life in the 19th Century - Part III

"...Clothing differed as much from section to section among the poor in Italy from which our immigrants came as did language, housing, and culinary methods.  Its variations depended upon local traditions, the materials available, and the needs of the people as defined by occupation and climate.  Much of the peasant clothing, regardless of design, was made from sheep's wool, woven, and sewn in the home...Shepherds thus wore long hooded capes that fell below the knees and sheepskin leggings and trousers as such that adorn American cowboys.  Fisherman, on the other hand, used heavy breeches, woolen stockings, sweaters, and caps when out on the open water in cold weather; and trousers and shirts open at the neck, with feed bare, in the summer.  Peasants who worked in the fields donned trousers and coats or sweaters in summer, both coats and sweaters in the cold season.  Most of these work garments were dark colored, but the somberness was relieved at times by a bright scarf, and the cap, blouse, or shirt might be pink, green or light blue..."