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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - August/September 2003
La Genealogica Italiana

"La Genealogica Italiana"
Cav. Anthony Lascio

Questions from 2003

As the current year comes to a close, it is time to review some of the questions which were posed during the past twelve months.  Some of them were asked previously but are worth repeating because of their importance genealogically speaking.

1) One reader has frantically been trying to locate the arrival of his grandmother at Ellis Island but has been unsuccsessful even when using variable spellings of grandma's surname.  Upon further exploration, it is determined that the reader is pursuing grandma under her married name which of course is not the manner in which she would have arrived.  The question is why has she been not identified?  As most genealogists know, Italian women do not acquire their husband's name after marriage, but retain their maiden name, therefore when pursuing their arrival at Ellis Island, they should be sought by their maiden name.

2) The question of adoption has been raised. How do I research the lineage of my adopted child?
Pursuing adoption cases can be very difficult.  There is no easy answer to this question. However, the best approach is to pursue the local civil records at the town archives and the church records, using the exact birth date of the child.  

3) Is it true that Italian immigrants leaving Italy departed from the Italian ports of Genoa, Naples, Palermo?
While the vast majority of Italian immigrants did depart  Italy from the aforementioned ports, there are cases where other European ports were used such as Germany, Holland, Belgium, France and England.  It is worthwhile researching these ports if not found in the Italian ports.

4) The Italian church records contain the sacramental acts of First Communion and Confirmation, are these important genealogically?
While it is true that the Italian sacramental acts are contained in the church ledgers, they have little or no value for genealogy purposes, but make for interesting information when conducting your family history.

5) How much of Italian civil records have been microfilmed at the Mormon Church?
The best estimate is about 90% of all civil records in Italy have been filmed with the remaining 10% scheduled for completion some time in the future.  Check the LDS catalogue on line to determine whether the ancestral town of your interest has already been microfilmed.

6) What single document is the most important part of Italian genealogy?
The naturalization or citizenship document is the most important because it contains all the required data concerning birth date and place, marital status, including names of wife and children and their birth dates, job status, all arrival information including port, date, ship and other data which is most beneficial.

7) How do you locate the ancestral town of your grandparents when there are no documents and no relatives can help?
This task can be very difficult.  Try to determine when the ancestors emigrated.  The passenger arrival lists at the National Archives can help.  If the particular year of arrival is unindexed, the reading through of rolls and rolls of film can be time consuming.  The U.S. census which is conducted every ten years should answer the question. Also, every ancestor left some kind of a trail, follow it, step by step to produce a document or record that will identify the town in Italy.

8) How do I know it  is the right time to travel to Italy to do research?
When and only when all work has been done locally and nationally, then and only then you will know it is the right time to cross the ocean to beautiful Italia to conduct your European research.

9) How do I locate the province and region of my ancestral birthplace?
A good map of Italy will list the provinces and regions for all of the country.  Most Italian genealogical publications will include a list of every region and province.  Many towns in Italy have the same name and are located in more than one place.  To determine which same named town is yours, you will need a vital document or certificate to verify the correct town.

10) How much information regarding Italian genealogy can I extract from the Internet?
There are countless sites on the subject available to the Italian researcher.  To highlight just a few of the more popular sites there is Cyndi's list, the Ellis Island site, LDS site, POINT.

By Tony Lascio

Return to December/January 2004 Index Page


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