On-Site Italian Research
Jewish Italian Research
Planning for Spring Trip 2013 !!
As always, my trip (see www.gentracer.com/lastrip.html) to Italy in November was wonderful! I'm looking forward to returning in April 2013(see www.gentracer.com/nextrip.html).
Wednesday, 31 October
Started at the Biblioteca Statale in Lucca since it opens at 8:20, over an hour earlier than the Diocese Archives. Found the book and the item I needed, got a photocopy, and went to the Diocese Archives. The town map shows so many streets, but they're so close together, it really is only about 15 minutes across the city walking.
I had lunch, went shopping, and toured the Cathedral (San Martino) before 3 when it was time to continue the research in the old books.
Thursday, 1 November
Drove up to Ombreglio and took photos of family names in that little cemetery and outside the church. Drove down to the crossroad and got a photo of that unnamed church with no cemetery and took the branch to Pieve. I think this is called the mother church because it's the oldest, not because it's the center. Shot that cemetery and church. You can see some shots where a cloud moved in and then moved on. The road to Gignano was blocked, probably because I like wider roads and they park on the sides, but it was time to find refreshment so I went back down the hill.
Friday, 2 November
Drove down to Roma, lovely countryside!
Saturday, 3 November
With the holiday weekend (All Saints on the 1st and War Rememberance on the 4th) lots of folks left Roma, including those I'd hoped to have meetings with. Oh well, guess I'll have to find other ways to spend my time in this city. Started at the Museo Termi di Dioclezione, then the War Monument, the great National Museum at Palazzo Massimo, followed by Santa Maria Maggiore, Four Fountains, Presbyterian Church, Methodist Church, and Ministry of Defense. Passed by the Episcopalian earlier without photos, next time. Ended with one of my favorites, Santa Maria degli Angeli. Didn't cover much ground this time in distance, but got in plenty of walking with the museums and churches. Still, Roma is a large city and as much as I enjoy the architecture and museums and churches, the masses of people really wear me out. Heading into little hill towns next.
Sunday, 4 November
Drove down to Caserta after an email morning.
Monday, 5 November
Drove up the mountain and into the clouds at San Gregorio Matese. Found some but not all I needed, so I drove down to the next town (Castello d'Alife) and checked at their Stato Civile office, but still didn't find that marriage. Fortunately, we have microfilmed records for all these towns in the Family History Library, so we don't need to visit each one to find this marriage. Found it later in the microfilm, in a town I'd never have guessed!
Tuesday, 6 November
Drove to Francolise before the offices opened to avoid rush hour in Caserta after getting stuck in it yesterday. Lovely little town between Caserta and the coast! The clerk was very friendly and provided photocopies of the birth and marriage as well as an extract of the birth for a dual citizenship application.
Wednesday, 7 November
Drove down to Palma Campania. Arrived before the offices opened, so took some photos around town. When the offices opened and I asked for a marriage about 1878 and the children that followed, they laughed and told me those records were in the archives. They made a copy of the pedigree chart I'd arrived with and gave me a receipt and a phone # to call in a week. I left my card and circled my address in the US for them to send the documents when they were found. Keeping fingers crossed. They never did get back to me, returning in April.
Spent the night in a lovely B&B at San Costantino Calabro (B&B Masseria Caporelli). The olive harvest was keeping them busy, but they offered me a tour of the processing of olive oil and I was delighted. I was able to take some home, wonderful!
Thursday, 8 November
Took photo of San Costantino Calabro before leaving for the drive down to Sicily. Visited the cemetery at Calatabiano. Lovely monuments, but the family I was seeking had left too long ago a leave a trace. Drove on to Troina and the lovely hotel Cittadella. Internet was worse than I remembered, disappointing.
Friday, 9 November
Microfilm project before departure yielded enough information to get a good start here.
Went to the Municipio in Agira to find that the Stato Civile offices were located in the Post Office building down the road. The clerk there was very nice and helpful.
The two marriages we found in the index for 1874 were located in the archives, back in the Municipio building. So I returned there and was told that I could pick them up on Monday. Took great photos around town, especially love the warrior angel on the war monument and the fountain of Hercules with the story of his labors around the basin.
Drove down to Agrigento and found a new favorite hotel, Tre Torri.
Saturday, 10 November
Caught up on email and took advantage of the rest of the day to visit the Archaeological Museum in the Valle dei Templi in Agrigento. Wonderful!
Sunday, 11 November
Attended church in Casteltermini. The older priest has answered my previous letters and spoke some English. He told me I could research after Mass (9:30) on weekdays. Wonderful, I'll return there on Wednesday.
Monday, 12 November
Drove to Agira to collect those two marriages. They didn't allow photocopies, but did allow digital copies and read them along with me. Wonderful!
The birth indexes in the town don't include the first name of the father and those before 1900 are housed in the archives, so we'll write for this birth record around 1840 once we return home.
We haven't received a response to our email to a cousin found on Facebook. I'd requested a meeting last Saturday, or this coming Saturday. Apparently, meeting with the researcher isn't a priority for him.
Tuesday, 13 November
AG Diocese Archivio opened at 10. I made my request and was sent to the head of that department. Seems that the records are kept in the parishes and since the Cathedral is closed for renovations, it was a big deal to access those records. But the department head has a young assistant who was most helpful and knowledgeable. She make a copy of the chart I was working from and noted the items I was most interested in obtaining. She took my contact information and said she'd get back to me, but couldn't say if it would be the next day, the day after, or when. Really nothing I could do about it, so I left thanking her for her assistance. She followed through with an email a few weeks later.
Drove to Grotte. The folks in the Stato Civile were very helpful and friendly. They made extracts of the birth, the marriage of her parents, and the birth of her father for a citizenship application. They also located the individua scheda for her father and grandfather, naming their parents, date of birth, date of death, marriage, etc. I was able to get digital copies of all of the above. I also got contact information for two families in town who are descendants of her grandfather. Tomorrow (14 November), the town offices will be closed for the feast of the town's patron saint, Santa Venera, so the timing was perfect!
Wednesday, 14 November
Returned to the Church in Casteltermini for more work. We started with the marriage the priest had sent me (1725-1745). I was able to correct the translation for the names of the parents of the bride and groom, but both were living in Casteltermini, so no help locating previous residences. The priest suggested that many folks moved to this town from Sutera, so that's the place to continue this search.
Drove to Alia and over to Caltavuturo (PA) for a new Agriturismo. Terrific views, but cold and windy here on a hilltop in the Madonie Mountains. Took photos around town.
Thurday, 15 November
Attended Mass at 7:30 in the Matrice in Alia to meet my old friend, the priest who allows me access to his records. Unfortunately, he's being replaced and barely functions. Couldn't access those records, the new priest really didn't want to talk to me.
Friday, 16 November
Drove to Salemi to pick up a document there and nearly got stuck on a narrow street on a steep hill. Need to remember to park closer to the bottom and walk.
Attended Mass at 5 pm in Montemaggiore Belsito and talked to a priest afterwards. He said there were meetings in Palermo the next day, but expected the new parish priest to be there in the afternoon.
Saturday, 17 November
Toured Montemaggiore Belsito awaiting the priest. He didn't arrive before Mass, held by the other priest I'd met Friday. He doesn't have the keys to the archives so I need to wait for the parish priest.
Sunday, 18 November
Attended 1st mass of the day and talked to the parish priest. He said he had to make some phone calls to find someone to work in the archives with me and took my number to call me that evening. He didn't.
Monday, 19 November
The sign outside the parish offices says they open at 10 on Monday, but someone finally answered the door at 10:30. Of course, the parish priest wasn't there. They told me to come back at 4:30.
Went to the museum in Himera, lovely place!
Arrived back in Montemaggiore about 3 and enjoyed a caffe' and cookie. We located lots of marriages. She agreed (with the consent of the priest) to continue the research on Tuesday. Yeah!!
Tuesday, 20 November
Returned to the archives in the parish at Montemaggiore Belsito. Found more wonderful stuff! As I was leaving, they told me I couldn't continue the work the next day since the funeral for the former priest (the one I'd worked with last November) was the next day. That's OK, I'd worked two days there as planned and will return in April.
Wednesday, 21 November
Drove over to Trapani and down to coast to the salt pans. What a piece of history, and yet still working!
Thursday, 22 November
Went to Terrasini in the morning before going to the Palermo Airport for my flight to Paris.
Friday, 23 November
Flew from CDG to SLC
I'm offering professional research services in Italy and Sicily in April 2013. The completed report includes a log of locations and records searched, an analysis of the information found, and copies or extracts of the documents located. On-site research can also include extracts from local phone books, and/or photos of the area. In some cases, I can accompany a client to view their ancestral town and meet (and translate) with Italian cousins. Please reserve your time soon, since it fills quickly. Future trips are planned for each spring and fall. More details are available at my on-site research page at www.gentracer.com/onsite.html. To see some comments from clients, please see www.gentracer.com/references.html.
In April, I'm planning to research in Carre, Caselle Torinese, Torino, Castelnuovo Don Bosco, Roma, Ginestra degli Schiavoni, Benevento, Palma Campania, and Catanzaro on the mainland, and Alia, Agrigento, Isola delle Femmine, Motta d'Affermo, Trapani, and Montemaggiore Belsito in Sicily. I'm looking forward to meeting with both American and Italian friends (old and new), as well as returning to favorite places and visiting towns I haven't seen before!
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 on CD and e-book is titled Prisoner of War Camps Across America and will be available soon at Amazon and on my website.