Saturday, July 9, 2016

My Italian Journey- the beginning background

This is a start to a set of blogs about the search for my Italian roots, half of my heritage. I have spent most of my 40 years in genealogy researching my father's side of the family.  I have done a couple of "Surname Saturday" posts to at least publish my mother's parents' surnames so that I might connect with relatives around the world, because that's where the Italians have gone--- everywhere!

I was able to do a little more on my Fessia line than the Antonipieri  line  (see posts of January 30, 2010 and  August 17, 2009) [OMG was it that long ago?!].
I found Fessia cousins in Chile through Facebook, and also some Antonipieri  cousins. It helps to have "rare" Italian surnames!

The only documents I had were my grandparents' death certificates (with parents listed as unknown--- really?!) and the names of their parents as remembered by my mother, who only knew one  grandparent who came to America.  It helped when the LDS church microfilmed the province records in the Piemonte region of Italy.  On my trips to Salt Lake, I had to request them from the vault, 4 at a time,twice a day, as instead of filming all one town across the years, each film (or 2) covered one year across many towns..... There are decennial indices, however, they are from the start of the Italian country, so 1876, 1886, etc.... rather than 1870, 1880 etc like I went looking for originally.... but those records only go back to 1866 and a couple of 1840s baptisms attached to later marriages.... and they haven't microfilmed those earlier church records yet, at least not in the areas of Italy I need..... and they hadn't filmed anything in the Friuli province of Italy where grandmother was from...
And of course over the years I had sent letters in Italian with International Reply Coupons, and International money orders for donations/costs--- which disappeared into a black hole somewhere, as I never heard any reply!!!

So although I've been using the records from FHL, I decided to see what else I could learn, and started to plan my "bucket list" trip to Italy,since I'm retired now.  I'm pursuing an American professional certificate [40 courses, like a degree!] at National Institute for Genealogical Studies [], and the electives are allowed from any of the country certificate courses. I took  the course on Italian Civil Records:Part I, Although I was very good at translating and transcribing the records already, I learn something new from every course. I I found out about a private Facebook group  for Northern Italian research, and of a website for the Italian Archives!!!!   And wonder of wonders, the Italian Udine province archive main page had a choice of English!!! They have a project to list something for everyone born between 1850 and 1900.
you can search on surname , or surname and first name.... I found a listing the marriage of my great grandparents,with just the year 1878, but the birthplace of Raveo, and the names of their parents!!!! For the first time in 40 years, I filled in the 4 names in that generation!!  And really started making  trip and plane reservations.

I went back to Salt Lake with Leland Meitzler's  Christmas Tour, and made arrangement through Progenealogists (now owned by ancestry,com)to hire a genealogist to make appointments at the parishes in Gaglianico (BI) Piemonte,and Raveo and Enemonzo (UD) Friuli, and perhaps to even have the genealogist to meet me at the locations.....  A real necessity because although I can translate genealogical documents, and understand about half of the conversations, I don't speak the language well at all!
The trip itinerary changed from mostly genealogy, to a tour of Italy,since my husband and daughter were also going, but I had carved out at least 2 days in each area for my research....

Then I talked to my 2nd cousin Dolores Tafuri, who has the pictures postcards and even my Grandmother's Italian passport!!!!  She made copies  of everything,  and I was astonished at what was there.... so I had lots to take with me.....   and the next posts will be about the trip, the genealogical lessons and the data ..... I'm still on cloud 9 and I've been home a month!!!
Ciao til next blog