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My last on-site research trip was in November 2017 and included these adventures:


5 November 2017 Flew from SLC to PHL to LHR

6 November 2017
Flew from GTW to MXP
Found a lovely little family run hotel/restaurant in Caselle Torinese on Booking.com.

7 November 2017
Worked in the City Archives of Torino in the family registers. The records I needed were on microfilm and there was only one machine, so I waited my turn. Nice staff and lovely bright study room.

8 November 2017
Worked at the Stato Civile office in Piverone seeking a living cousin. The odds were against me, but I found one! I was so excited, the ladies helping me were also, it was a great day!

Drove to Ravenna to spend the night in a B&B chain hotel. They're appearing more in Italy now and a nice, dependable place to stay.

9 November 2017
Drove to CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) Ravenna in hopes of documenting the 33 Jewish Brigade guys buried there. Found them in a group! The caretaker was helpful and friendly (as was his dog) and I found not only those guys, but a monument for them outside the gate. They've also moved WWI burials from smaller cemeteries nearby to this location and they're down the center aisle. Nicely done! The section for Indian Regiments is set apart, but with the same style and care. The other nations of the Commonwealth are grouped somewhat, but pretty well mixed throughout the cemetery.
Drove to a hotel on the edge of Bari with easy freeway access.

10 November 2017
Worked in the Archivio di Stato in Bari. It's in the old community butchering warehouse, but bright and light with helpful and friendly staff.

Drove to the Free French Military Cemetery at Venafro, chasing a rumor of Jewish Brigade burials. I found the Jewish section, but they'd served in a number of different units and appeared to be born in France. There was a stone for unknown burials with no notation as to units, much less the number of men. It was in the Jewish section and marked with a Star of David, so may have included some of the Jewish Brigade guys since there was apparently little information available on them.

Drove to the Polish Military Cemetery at Monte Cassino, chasing another rumor of Jewish Brigade burials. I found the Jewish section, but they'd served in a number of units and were born across the Pale from Poland into Russia (Belarus and Ukraine). They might have gotten to Palestine before enlisting, but you'd think they'd be in only a unit or two if that was the case.

Spent the night in Battipaglia to get closer to Cosenza for the next day's work.

11 November 2017
Arrived at the Archivio di Stato in Cosenza to learn that while it was open, I could only research if I'd ordered the materials ahead of time (one day in person, 3 days by email). I wish they'd posted that information on their website along with the hours and address. The signs on their bulletin board aren't sufficient.

Drove to the coast for a hotel for the weekend. I'd been in that neighborhood before (Falerna) and was able to walk on the beach. Wonderful!

12 November 2017
Drove to Scolacium (near Catanzaro) to tour the Archaeological Park and Museum. Delightful place and wonderful to have it to myself! Apparently only the local guides take tour groups there and most folks haven't discovered it yet. Good signage outdoors and a lovely little museum. Also learned that Beniculturali.it (which oversees museums and the Archivio di Stato respositories) now has a nice app with self-guided museum tours (replaces older ineffective one). There were QR images around the museum in addition to the usual descriptive plaques and notes on where you should be in your tour. Well done!

13 November 2017
Worked in the Archivio di Stato in Cosenza and found the elusive man I've been seeking! He had moved, and wasn't showing in the matricolare that they check when you email, but he was listed in the lista di leva so we found him!

I'd been ahead of the rain moving South but it caught up with me on this day. Still far enough South that it wasn't really cold and no flooding, so it was all good. I got some shopping done and talked to Rabbi Barbara. She recommended I stop by Tarsia on my way to meet her that evening.

Drove to Tarsia, the location of the Ferramonti di Tarsia Concentration Camp. That camp was wonderful with schools and medical and other things to make life easier in confinement. In fact, some of the families didn't want to relocate at the end of the war. But they did, many going to Palestine (the future Israel), but many returned for a large reunion just a few years ago. Unfortunately, it wasn't open and neither Rabbi Barbara nor I could reach anyone to open it, so I'll need to take that tour next time.

Drove down to Serrastretta to spend some time with Rabbi Barbara and Enrico. We hadn't seen each other in several years, so it was nice to catch up. She gave me a wonderful tour of the town including the interior of the Catholic Church and the Synagogue (now the only congregation in Italy recognized by the Reconstructionist movement, see https://www.jewishrecon.org/directory). Wonderful afternoon!

Intended to get to Sicilia, but stopped for the night in Vibo Valentia. Long day...

14 November 2017
Drove down to the Strait of Messina for the ferry crossing to Sicilia. I love that trip! Then drove across the North side of the island to Santo Stefano di Camastra to be close to work the next day. Nice little place with a kitchen. I'll remember it for later...

15 November 2017
Worked in Motta d'Affermo with two wonderful women who were willing to climb a ladder to get to old books stacked on a high shelf. Found what I was seeking and had a great time!

Drove through Caccamo to get to Lercara Friddi. Haven't gone on that road in that direction in several years and was able to take a nice photo of the Castle.

Went early for Mass and met a woman who seemed to be the priest's assistant. She was very helpful and friendly and let me access the old books all through Mass and invited me to return the next night, wonderful!

Spent the night in Cammastra. I wouldn't have chosen this place in the center of town, but getting in and out wasn't as awful as expected so I will return to Halykos Hotel!

16 November 2017
Worked in Gela in the morning. My map led me astray in my search for the Municipio, but I just parked near downtown and asked a nice lady crossing the street. She gave me directions and I followed them for a few blocks. But I must have looked lost because she passed by and offered to accompany me. Wonderful! She turned out to be like a sister to me and gave me the hometown tour as we walked through town. She even called some history professors she knew to help with my search. The clerk was adamant in her (wait a week) declaration, but with the help of Rosaria and her friends, I think I had all the possible advantages. The clerk wrote me the next week to say she couldn't find the 1857 and 1882 births, so I gave her the certificate # for the 1857 and reminded her that I'd requested her marriage, not her birth. That was a week ago, so I'm losing hope for a response.

Returned to Lercara Friddi at 5:30 as scheduled to work again in those wonderful old records. Found lots of great stuff!

17 November 2017
Drove back to the East Coast of Sicilia and the little hill town of Ali. The bar across from the church told me the church would open in the afternoon, so I walked to the Municipio, which also housed the town library. The library was closed due to lack of staff due to budget cuts, but the nice man found another woman to help and we discussed the possibility of finding a history of this family (none) and records before 1820 (only in the church). When the church opened, I learned that the priest is only there on Tuesday, but was in St. Rocco in Ali Terme (Ali on the coast down the mountain). So I drove there and arrived in time to meet the priest opening the doors. He handles both parishes, but only goes up the mountain on Tuesday. He agreed to search for the family I had on a chart and will email me. Very nice man.

Spent the night in Roccalumera in a nice little B and B close to a market and the sea.

18 November 2017
An unexpected free day, so went up Mt. Etna and then down to the beach across from my airport hotel. The bonus was the next morning when I opened the curtains to a view of Mt. Etna with no clouds on her upper slopes, not the case on any of the previous days or even later that day.

19 November 2017
Flew CTA to CDG and checked into B&B Roissy CDG, my favorite Paris airport hotel because it's on the edge of the little town of Roissy en France that hasn't changed since about 1910. The airport was built in the 1960's and the town was smart enough to keep the hotels on the perimeter, keeping the town looking as always. Very nice!

20 November 2017
Flew CDG to SEA to SLC. Long way around, but it got me home so I'm not complaining. I will say that there was a jam at customs at SEA and I'm grateful for the man directing traffic who mentioned the Mobile Passport App that enabled me to take shortcuts (good signage) through so I could get out in about 10 minutes, no lines (helped that I had no checked luggage). Flew CDG-SLC and was glad to be home.


For more about travel and research in Italy and other topics, please see my newsletter.

My next research trip to Italy is scheduled for Oct/Nov 2018.



My book on CD titled
Sicily, Part 1 and Part 2 and is now available on 2 CDs. With a file for each town (plus many other files), it relates the history of Sicily as reflected in the photos, records and festivals of its towns. It contains over 2500 text and photo files and can be ordered at CD order.



My latest book is titled
Prisoner of War Camps Across America and is available in paperback and Kindle formats on Amazon and in Nook format on Barnes and Noble.



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© Kathy Kirkpatrick 1997-2018