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Choosing a good genealogy site in the UK starts by asking why should you connect with your family roots? While the answer may simply be to find a sense of belonging, different people have a variety of reasons for tracing their family tree. Maybe they simply want to know more about their parents or preserve their family history in the very best of ways. Others may want to pass information about their forefathers to their children.

How to Choose A Good Genealogy Site in the UK

Why should you connect with your family roots? While the answer may simply be to find a sense of belonging, different people have a variety of reasons for tracing their family tree. Maybe they simply want to know more about their parents or preserve their family history in the very best of ways. Others may want to pass information about their forefathers to their children.

Regardless of the reasons for tracing your genealogy, it is important to choose a good genealogy site in the UK in order to confidently find all the digitized their genealogy records and finding one that is best suited for you could be a daunting task. Worry not! We got you covered. Read on to find out how to choose a genealogy site in the UK:

Do not rush

It is always important to find out all your options when it comes to choosing a good genealogy site. Although there may be sites that have a huge following, do not automatically go with them because other people do. Take your time to research on all the options that you have and the depth of records and information that comes with various sites. This is the best way to make your choice.

Go further a field

By visiting the local library or archives center, you will be able to use a majority of genealogy websites for free because the information repository has made subscriptions. This is a brilliant way to look into what you will be getting from your website of choice.

Always ‘try before you buy’

Every good genealogy site UK comes with a free trial period. It is not wise to rush into making a subscription, instead, it is always better to use the site for the free 14-day trial period that is available for all newcomers. If you are not ready to commit, you can simply cancel before the payment period kicks in.

Determine whether the site covers your region

There is no need to subscribe to a website that does not provide information from local area searches. This only lets you know that you will not be able to conduct exhaustive genealogy searches. The best site covers searches in a wide area. For example, if your family comes from London, Liverpool, then you may want to sign up to a site like Ancestry.com because it is mostly tailored to this region.

Give the site a test-drive

Trying to look for a range of genealogical information and/or ancestors is the best way to test-drive the site. One thing is for sure, this is an ideal way to determine the search mechanisms that may suit you best. Remember, every site lets you search in a different way. Therefore, go for where you feel most comfortable.

Ensure the site offers a family tree builder

There is nothing else that will connect you to your family members better that building your family tree does. Therefore, a good genealogy site in the UK should always have a reliable tree-building capacity. Can other people look at your tree? Can you access the tree on your mobile phone? It is always better to stick with a site that will build your family tree in the way you want.

Do not limit yourself

Granted, you may have your tree saved in one place but you do not have to stick with a single subscription site just because of this reason alone. Even though you may be offered generous discounts, it really pays to try out other sites and see what they have to offer. For instance, you may choose to subscribe to one website for a year and change during the next year.

Determine the ease of use

What is the use of subscribing to a genealogy site in the UK that is difficult to use? You will not be able to get the information that you require or above all, conduct searches. The ideal site is all-round and easy to use even for beginners. You will not be frustrated or find it challenging everytime you want to find or enter a new source of information. While it may come with a bit of a learning curve, the site should simply be easy to use after the first try.

Browse through the available records

The best genealogy site in the UK should always have exhaustive records. The only way to determine whether your site of choice will be able to cater to all of your genealogical needs is by using the records. With increased access to a variety of records, you can be sure that you will find the names and other details pertaining to your once stars without any real challenges. It should also be easy to review matches and get relevant information about your family lineage by making a simple search.

Find out if the site is up to date

A genealogy site that is not be up to date will not be able to serve your informational needs. Thousands of records should always be added to the site’s existing collection to ensure that it remains up to date even as you will need to expand your search from one time to another.

Got Scottish or British ancestors?

The genealogy site should have a difference in collections. For instance, it should not only provide collections that are general in nature without being able to narrow down your search. If you are looking for Scottish and British ancestors specifically, yours should be able to find information pertaining to them without as much of a hassle.

Free help and advice

It is normal to get stuck from time to time and you may require help and assistance from the site of your choice. A good genealogy site in the UK will provide guidelines on how to get started as well as how to manuever searches. It should have a friendly customer support team that is on hand anytime you need clarification. It should also have online help, webinars, FAQs and manuals to help you get by.

A wealth of experience

Just like with anything else, experience is everything when it comes to a genealogy site. One that has been in existence for a number of years will give you the confidence in knowing that it is highly accomplished and has been used by many people over many years. You can be certain that it will give you all the answers you are seeking. However, a newly developed genealogy site may just be starting out and merely trying to gather its resources.

The best genealogy website will give you the free will to use information and let you search and transfer to your contentment. It is important to conduct your search with an open mind in order to find more of your long-lost family members. Needless to say, genealogy is history on a personal level.

While finding your roots can mean different things to different people, with a good genealogy site in your corner, it is not as hard as you think. You will simply find all of the answers that you need without a doubt in the world.

The post How to Choose A Good Genealogy Site in the UK appeared first on Professional Genealogists.

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We’ve created an article for you to identify the best family history researchers in the UK. Studying family history brings much more than just historical knowledge. The stories behind names and various dates explain more than just how each one of us came to be.

Family history gives us the kind of understanding that softens our hearts. There is nothing better than softening our hearts by learning more about our ancestors. With the help of the best family history researchers in UK, these stories from the past become alive and real-with insights that will be passed on to you.

Although there are many researchers with different levels of qualifications, not everyone can be able to find the family answers that you seek unless they possess the qualities of the best family researchers in UK. Whether you live in or out of the United Kingdom, the innate qualities of a good researcher will enable the professional to succeed in all manner of challenging research tasks.

Family History Researchers in UK Best Qualities

Here are 11 notable qualities of the highly qualified family history researchers:

Inquisitiveness

Family researchers take on the role of detectives. In order to find information from your past in the right way, they have to curiously ask all the right questions. This will steer the professional in the right direction and also help in acquiring all the answers that you need. If the researcher is working from a distance, they have to be capable of moving around and seeking various answers that may shed light on your past.

Patience

Productive family history research is not about browsing through a handful of websites, visiting a few libraries and walking away with all the answers that you need. On the contrary, genealogy is an unending lifetime pursuit which may not give you the answers that you need instantly. The best family researchers take time to investigate, get materials from various libraries and/or archives and is in no rush to provide unsatisfying answers.

Politeness

When seeking for information on your family history from information repositories such as libraries and archives, the best researchers are not rude and do not waylay the busy staff with long-winded accounts of the ancestry that they are seeking, Instead, they are courteous and brief. They also patiently wait to be attended to. Needless to say, you will catch more honey with flies than with vinegar. Politeness is always rewarded.

Attention to Detail

The best family history researchers in UK understand that sometimes, a clue that may not seem obvious is exactly what you need to understand the puzzle surrounding your family true. Therefore, researchers should have a keen eye for detail and not learn to disregard any piece of information that is available for them. For instance, carefully referring to props in a picture will enable a researcher to tell the period in which the picture was taken. This is a very important trait that one must be very attuned to pick up on.

Organized

Good organization skills separate successful researchers from those who may fail in challenging research tasks. In order to come up with logical information, save it in a reliable location as well as use charts and reports to stay organized. This will make it easy for the researcher to know which additional information to look for. It will easily eliminate confusion and ensure that the researcher stays on track. Otherwise, the research information may overlap each other. Every successful research project requires proper organization.

Knowledgeable

Needless to say, family history researchers know how to find out and discover limited information and easily find information in various repository sources, home sources and online sources of information. As such, they will be able to handle the project with the required level of knowledge.

Understands Research Standards

By adhering to all the family history research principles, the best researchers will easily know how to cite sources, analyze various processes, critically evaluate evidence as well as come up with solid sound conclusions. This will bring forth amazing research results. Without understanding the set research standards, the researcher may not be able to come up with reliable conclusions for your ancestry research.

Problem-Solving Ability

In family history research, answers may not be very easy to find. They do not necessarily stare you in the face. When a researcher uncovers conflicting information or discovers a record trail that has petered out, the professional has to think critically, challenge their assumptions and get creative. This is the only way to ensure that the researcher arrives at solid findings.

Life-Long Learning

Family history research requires continuous learning by the researchers in order for them to thrive in their careers. Any professional with an interest in learning will be equally knowledgeable and be capable of handling even the most difficult aspects of family history research. By reading books, periodicals, visiting websites and participating in seminars and conferences, any researcher will be able to polish their skills and enable them to present forth the best work.

Computer Skills

In this computerized era, it is essential for every family history researcher to have the best computer skills so that they can easily work with various research software, effectively search databases, use technology and search the internet. Such skills are of utmost importance especially if the researcher is working from a distance.

Passion for Family History

Family history researchers need to love the challenge for the “hunt” and they also need to convey that passion to everybody around them including family members, colleagues, clients, and readers. Passionate professionals are always known to stand out from the crowd.

Record Click comprises of family history researchers who possess these qualities and more. As they conduct your research project, they will make you part of the process by giving you all the answers that you need whether in person or via the written word.

Remember, our families all have a past and you can trust us to identify your generation. We are good at filling in blanks, you can be certain that researchers will not leave any stone unturned.

Our researchers have the ability to undertake the most challenging research tasks. Using an integration of these 11 qualities above, they go beyond the individual ancestor being studied

The post 11 Qualities of the Best Family History Researchers in UK appeared first on Professional Genealogists.

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Tracing your European and North American roots with a professional genealogist in Australia is not difficult at all. If you are just gaining interest in your heritage and are looking to explore how far your roots may go, you may be surprised by how global your history truly is.

While it may sound easy to look up relevant information about your ancestry on various online platforms, a professional genealogist in Australia will conduct local and international research to find out more about your past.

It does not matter how challenging you think the task may be, a professional will always go out of their comfort zone to find the answers that you need.

The Role of a Professional Genealogist

While it is easy to make assumptions about our past and who we are, it is best to confirm everything we have heard about our descendants as we grew up. Although our relatives may embellish or exaggerate certain stories, a genealogist will always put emphasis on true facts that have been documented. Remember, your ancestors in North America and Europe had occupations that were connected to agriculture. To make the process easier, it is best to start from the known to the unknown.

Decide on the Genealogy That You Want To Trace

As early on as you can in your family history research, try to determine whether you want to trace just your father’s ancestors, or perhaps a maternal line, or all your ancestors. This will make it easy for the professional to take on the project in a specific sense.
Here are a few other ways to ensure that you trace your family roots accurately:

Research Your Family Tree Online

In tracing your European or North American roots, the first logical thing for the professional genealogist in Australia to do is to research your family tree online. This will give the best clues about your ancestors as well as where you are from. By plugging in the information that you already have about your family, you will be able to find out much more about your origin.

This way, it is also easy to track down your family lineage and find out an ancestral family member’s location. The professional will provide a clear idea of who you may be related to and where your ancestors resided.

Make a Genealogy Plan

The information on your family tree will lead the professional genealogist in Australia to the furthest corner of Europe or North America. The thought of visiting a new town or country and spending time with possible relatives is an intensive undertaking. Therefore, it is best to first discover the answers that may lie there and determine whether you want to explore further. While a genealogist provides all the relevant information, you are free to decide whether you want to take the next step and make a connection.

Pick a Trip Approach

It is becoming more common for people to venture out into foreign countries in order to piece together the missing parts of their lives. You can work together with the genealogist in picking a trip approach. This will make it easy to decide what you would like to do either in Europe or North America and what their place of residence meant to them. Needless to say, having this connection is thrilling.

Keep Track of Your Trip

If you choose to embark on a self-discovery journey once the professional genealogist in Australia has made his or her findings then do not lose track of the things that you will come across on your trip. It’s best to have a variety of tools that will help you record information that will assist in later searches. Pay special attention to important names, dates, and locations. Also record any new findings that you may make including birth records, various certificates, and medical information and so on.

Tracing Your Genealogy Tracing Your Genealogy in Barcelona

In the past century, a majority of people hailed from Barcelona and your ancestors could be among them. There are many established resources that will give you general information about these individuals and assist you in making important discoveries about the past. There are also copies of birth, marriage and death records that will help you in tracing your roots. The churches in the areas where your ancestors lived will also let you know where they were buried. This is the first step in tracing your North American or European roots.

Tracing Your Genealogy in London

The National and the Metropolitan are two of the best places to source information about your ancestry. They are must-use resources that will take you back to the middle ages in the most brilliant ways. Through them, a professional genealogist in Australia can get important ancestry information that directly pertains to you.

This will let you know all that you need to about your genealogy. Any of these sources could contain important information about your descendants. Religion was also a big part of life in early centuries, therefore, there are numerous church records that hold the information that you need.

Tracing Your Genealogy Through Slave Ancestral Research

If you think your ancestor ended up in Europe or North America as a result of slavery, then it is best to consult the 1870 U.S. Census. However, not all slaves took the names of their owners, therefore, your ancestors may have retained their own names. A professional genealogist from Australia will always offer relevant assistance in finding information to ensure that you do not hit a brick wall.

To research your enslaved ancestors, review their surname and determine whether it is unusual for their nationality. On the other hand, if your ancestors were listed in the 1860 U.S. census, they were not enslaved.

Conclusion for Professional Genealogist in Australia

Whether you want to know more about your background, want to form a connection with your remaining family members or simply want to learn more about the histories of your deceased family, genealogy research has been proven as a reliable way of uncovering the truth. A professional genealogist will always lead you on the right path.

The post Tracing Your Roots with a Professional Genealogist in Australia appeared first on Professional Genealogists.

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Regardless of which genealogy service you ordered, our genealogists understand the importance of writing accurate genealogical reports. After all, inside every genealogist is a hidden detective. Compiling a report about your family history automatically takes your search to the next level. This is a much better alternative than presenting your family history in the form of a chart that may not be too easy to understand.

Each page of a genealogy report is solely dedicated to telling the life history of your loved ones – who they were, where they were born, whether they were married, where they worked, as well as providing other important information. We believe that the best family history is that which perfectly describes the lives of those who came before you.

A genealogy report will enable you to leave a family legacy behind. This is not only important for your existing family members but also an important one for those who will come in future.

The Importance of a Genealogy Report

A genealogy report is a powerful investigative tool. It is written concurrently with family history research or after every research session. As such, it becomes easy to track personal research and share vital information about your ancestors. Multiple reports can be written on your family, depending on how much research is done.

Family historians can spend a long period of time developing a family history. Sometimes, their best information may come from a report. This also makes it easy for future family members to conveniently pick up beneficial in information about their descendants.

Types of Genealogy Reports
  • Narrative Report – This report takes into account all parts of a family history. It is more expressive and biographical in nature and may not necessarily detail the research procedures that underscore it. Usually, these narratives include the story teller’s interpretations of events.
  • Letter Report – Used to answer simple genealogical queries, this report details brief request that a professional researcher makes to a librarian or archivist in order for them to provide documents that will essentially further the research.
  • Formal Report – Just like the title suggests, the formal report is written in a consciously-developed and professional manner. It represents expertise and reputation. A tone of familiarity or chattiness does not have any place here.
  • Software Program Report – This report contains a summary of relevant information in a number of data fields. This report contains excellent supplements such as charts and graphs that further elaborates the information.
Ultimate Steps for Writing Your Family’s Genealogy Report

Although writing your family history report may seem like a daunting task, our experts are well-versed in the process. Worry not! You are in the best hands. We are well-equipped to find all the information that you seek. Here are 7 steps to writing your family’s genealogy report, step by step:

1. Choose a format for your family history

We allow you to decide on the format that you envision for your research report. As discussed above, there are various formats to write a report. You may choose a narrative or factual report depending on the depth of information you are looking for.

2. Define the scope of your family history

It is important to decide whether you want information about a particular relative or everyone who is part of your family tree. Thus, you should choose a focus for your report. You may include everyone who comes from the same descendant line or write about all of your general descendants. However, these suggestions are easily adapted to suit your interest.

3. Choose the right plot and themes

The report should include the problems that your ancestors faced such as their immigration, survival during wartime and even how they rid of slavery. These are the best themes for any report, especially one that is written in a narrative nature.

4. Focus on background research

Forget about dull and dry family histories. Instead, focusing on background research to ensure that the reader has an eye-witness perspective of your family history. It is best to have an idea of how far back you intend to go into research. You may want to create a story of your immediate family or alternatively, you can choose to begin with your great, great grandparents and slowly incorporate your family members.

5. Organize your research

By creating a timeline or duration for every ancestor that is part of your report, it is easy to spot any mistakes that may be in your report. You can easily sort a number of photos or records for every ancestor, thereafter identify what should be included in the report. Once all the right decisions have been made, use the set timelines to create an outline for your report. It can be organized geographically, chronologically, by theme or character.

6. Choose where to begin

You may choose to begin the report from interesting parts of your family history. Maybe you may choose a duration in which they escaped war or an era when an interesting invention was developed. Interesting facts make your report more exciting. Remember, you do not have to start writing your family history from the beginning, you are free to choose any starting point.

7. Include an index, source, and citations

An index is an important feature of a genealogy report. It makes it easy to find the portions of the report for easy reading. As such, no level of confusion will be experienced.

Once the report is completed, you can confidently sit back, relax and read it with pride. Our professionals will certainly enable you to meet all of our research objectives and encourage you to make strides in the right direction. Regardless of the kind of format that your report is in, it is important to have a backup copy and save it in a flexible manner so that you could access it anytime-anywhere.

Thinking of writing a family history report? We’re here to help you get all the answers that you need – step by step.

The post Writing Your Family’s Genealogy Report (Step By Step) appeared first on Professional Genealogists.

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Tracing your Australian family history is anything but an easy task. However, when you cannot seem to find the right information may be due to the constraints of living miles away from the country or even dealing with a foreign language, then hiring a genealogist Australia is the way to go.

It does not matter if you come from a small or large family, you have roots and branches that are deeper than your understanding. Remember, your Australian ancestors came from all kinds of geographical areas time periods and certainly belonged to diverse ethnic groups.

It is only a highly qualified genealogist Australia who can confidently handle the research task and provide you with the information that you need. This article is your ultimate guide on how to find a genealogist in Australia.

Types of Australian Genealogists

Before selecting your genealogist of choice, you should understand that your family research will be conducted internationally and you may have ‘zero contact’ with the professional. Therefore, to go for a genealogist who is highly ranked and can professionally handle the task even if you are not present.

These are the different types of professionals that you will come across in your quest to find a genealogist in Australia:

The Upcoming International Genealogist

This is a professional who knows the basics of Australian genealogy but is not well-versed in his practice. He or she has not had serious or diverse clients and mostly sources for information online. Unfortunately, this professional is not credible enough to work at an international level.

The Hobby Professional Genealogist

This is a genealogist who has extensive experience that comes from researching their own family tree for many years. Unfortunately, they do not have the know-how to overcome genealogy problem or roadblocks that may occur during your family history research.

The Local Genealogist

Although this researcher is based in local Australia, he or she lacks the relevant resources to take on any research work. Therefore, it may be impossible for the professional to provide exhaustive information and will only be of limited help to you. They only draw a research conclusion based on the evidence that is readily available to them.

The Specialist International Genealogist

This professional is considered the best genealogist Australia. With an abundance of expertise and a wealth of information, the professional will perform analysis, prepare various search strategies, consult physical and online information repositories as well as travel across Australia and beyond to find original records pertaining to your heritage.

There is no doubt that this is the ideal international genealogist. He or she is highly experienced and thoroughly carries out their work. However, this is reflected in their research fees. But for the quality information that the professional provides, they are worth top dollar.

Evaluating International Genealogists

Even if you think that you have found the perfect professional who will carry out your Australian genealogy research in the best way, it is highly important to evaluate every professional before hire.

The following considerations will enable you to end up with the best and most qualified professional for the job:

Work Samples

Before hiring a genealogist, it is important to review their work in order to understand what to expect from the end results. Different Australian genealogists use diverse methods to provide the information that you need.
It is equally important to determine the following:

The Genealogist’s Proof of Standard (Gps)

This is a qualification that ensures every international genealogist meet a minimum standard when trying to prove your ancestry. Therefore, the researcher must be exhaustive and use pertinent records that will be highly beneficial to the research process.

Time Efficiency

Needless to say, the genealogist should be capable of utilizing the allotted time efficiently and come up with all the information that you need. This will ensure that you do not exceed your budget in terms of what you will pay. This simply shows the motivation that the professional has to track down clues and end up with relevant findings.

Public Reviews and Testimonials

All international genealogists should showcase their qualifications through positive public reviews as well as testimonials. By utilizing the internet, you can find out their work and find experiences and this will help you determine whether to choose the genealogist Australia. Based on the experience of others, you will find out whether you are making a solid decision. Apart from the professional’s personal website, there are also many other great review sites that will give you insight into your decision.

Qualifications

The best genealogist Australia is often established in a specific region and should have passed several levels of qualifications. They should also be certified and possess the ability to tackle any challenging genealogy research projects. This will only prove that you have chosen the best professional for the job.

Your Personal Requirements

The international genealogist that you choose should meet all of your set requirements. They should be cost-effective, maintain constant communication and be ready to tackle the job diligently in order to meet your desired outcome.

Choosing an international genealogist Australia presents equal opportunities and challenges. However, remember to be confident in your choice because this will determine the kind of end results that you will achieve.

Also be open-minded enough to understand that what you even the best genealogist may not deliver all the information that you seek. When hiring a genealogist, you will only be getting the pledge that a genealogist will use their paid time effectively to look for information in the best way.

Do not let this deter you from embarking on a research that will lead you to your Australian roots. While finding the best person for the job may seem difficult, the end of the process will be well worth it.

When it comes to tracing your Australian genealogy, there is no better time than the present! It is best to go international ad embrace the experience while you still can.

The post How to Find a Genealogist in Australia appeared first on Professional Genealogists.

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Being Italian, or an American with Italian roots, or Italian ancestry, in the Italian diaspora, has got a lot more to do with choosing Barilla as your favorite brand, knowing that pizza really comes from Naples, or feeling proud to have the same roots as Liza Minelli because she has such a great voice.

Possibly the most interesting thing about the US and Italy in terms of roots, and being rooted in a territory of origin, is that they are clear polar opposites. On the one hand, the European settlement in the US could be described as one of the newest nations in the world today. Whereas Italy is one of the most ancient, with a history that is so complex, rich, eclectic and fascinating, that even if you weren’t Italian, it would be a delight to investigate it.

This is what makes you, as a person with Italian roots, and an Italian history which stretches back into the mists of ancient history, so uniquely interesting. This is the root of Italian ancestry.

Italian Immigration

Most people associate Italian immigration to the US with the Ellis Island immigration (1905 – 1914 approx): 84% which came from Southern Italy and Sicily, where Southern Italians had been disenfranchised by the unification of Italy, had become impoverished, and arrived in the US with a suitcase and $18 – $25 (about $600 today) in hand.

Many were turned back due to illness, or just because they did not make the grade in other ways. Almost half just couldn’t face the hardships and discrimination, and left of their own accord. It became known as “L’Isola delle Lagrime” (Island of Tears). After years of research Italian genealogists have confirmed this finding.

For many immigrants the journey to America became the fulfillment of the Venetian proverb – “The first sin is to be born desperate”

Italians Discovering the Americas

But let’s back up a bit. This was not the first, though clearly the most significant in numbers, connection that Italy had had with America.

The Italian/American affair began in 1499 – 1502, when Vespucci, an Italian explorer, discovered the Americas. In a poetic sense, therefore, could the immigrants who later arrived at Ellis Island have been considered to be immigrants or re-colonisers? Tongue in cheek, of course!

Other families of note, whose family names are still prominent in the US today, include: the Venetian family, Tagliaferro, and the Fonda family.

Perhaps one of the most interesting, from a historical point of view, is Filippo Mazzei, confidant of President Jeffersen and author of the phrase which assumed the equality of all men, which is included in the American Constitution.

Ellis Island – shaped the face of America

Back to Ellis Island, and the immigration which, despite such humble beginning, significantly shaped the face of what America was later to become. To date, 17 million of Americans are of Italian descent. The long list of important influencers amongst this population is well-known by most Americans.

These were often the descendants of these poor immigrants, who arrived poor and illiterate, often to be berated and despised; and yet, who rose to the top, anyway.

How did they do this? Where did they get the “grinto” (courage, determination)? The secret lies in their roots. Ernest Hemingway once wrote this; that every person can write at least one great novel – the story of their own lives. History is essentially about the personal stories of people and an Italian genealogist can help you uncover the stories of your linage. When your personal story is connected to a history as great as that of Italy, with bloodlines that stretch back to the Etruscans, The Renaissance and the Roman Empire, your personal history could be considered to be a masterpiece of genetic diversity and culture.

Sicilian Italian immigrants

Italian immigrants (many of whom were Sicilian), at face value, looked like a ragtag lot of sad illiterates (more on the question of illiteracy and poverty later); but they knew something which no-one else knew – their history. They were Sicilian, and fiercely proud of that.

Taking Sicily as an example, here are some historical reference points:

Sicily was the crossroads for invasions and cultural exchanges by Greeks, Arabs , Normans, Germans and Jews. Before 1250, womens rights were defended , as was the environment. Does this sound backward to you?

The cultural patrimony of Sicily, and Italy, in fact, is so rich and diverse, as to be impossible to cover adequately in one article.

Sicily is also particularly interesting because it is a unique instance in the area of genealogical research. This is because the records stretch back to 1500. With the help of an Italian genealogist, you don’t have to be nobility to trace a clear unbroken line of ancestry through one of the many archived resources which have been so carefully kept intact: monastries, parochial records, land tax records, legal records etc.

Italian Genealogical Heritage

All the other areas also have similar areas of fascination with regard to genealogical heritage. Historically, Italy has only been a homogenous nation for a brief period of time; since the middle of the 19th Century. Before that, it was comprised of separate nation states. Many people still consider this to be the over – riding reality of their lives. Their cuisine, language (distinct dialects) and customs, all reflect very specific regional preferences. They feel a strong sense of “campanilismo” (pride for your own town). Even another Italian traveling to that region, will feel, to some extent, like an outsider.

What about the nitty- gritty? Do you need a professional Italian genealogist to help you with your search? Is this something you can do alone, or with your family?

This depends. You need to understand the Italian ancestry panorama, and how it works, to better be able to understand what will work for you, and how far back into your history you want to go. However, usually you can take the search into your own hands, up to a certain point. This can be time-consuming. If you don’t have the time, maybe it would be better to hire a professional Italian genealogist.

This is what a search into Italian ancestry would entail:

Italian Ancestry – An Overview

Italian ancestry and genealogy in general is the field of family history study, encompasses various disciplines; including: ethnology, onomatology, and even heraldry. To be a good genealogist, you have to be not only a competent historian, but also an adept sleuth. Since a knowledge of specialised fields, like languages, kinship, canon law and paleography are often essential; a professional genealogist often has to refer to colleagues who work within these disciplines.

As an Italian descendant, your most important point of departure is to know where, and who, to refer to, in search of your family roots – who can best help you.

Italian ancestry is a complex area of genealogical study and research. Many authors and experts do not agree on every issue. One of the biggest traps not to fall into, is to go in search of stereotypes. Broad statements about the disparity of wealth between the North and South, might not be useful in your particular search. For instance, Naples was, in fact, the wealthiest city until its annexation to the Kingdom of Italy (1860). At that time the second wealthiest city was Palermo. The fact is that at this time, the North was poorer than the South; most immigrants were Northerners.

Northerners and Southerners Italian Ancestry

Another common stereotype which can be wrong, is the conception of the typical blond Northerner and the dark-haired Southerner. Many Southern Italians are blond or red-haired, with light eyes, because of the Longobard and Norman influences. The notion that all immigrants were illiterate and impoverished, is also not correct. This is helpful to know, because your family of origin might not have belonged to that class. Some had become impoverished due to politically motivated set backs; however, many were skilled middle class craftsmen and merchants. Neither were many really illiterate, but simply considered to be illiterate, because they could not speak and write English.

Neither were 19th Century Italians landless peasants. Most owned a bit of land. This is useful to know, because the census and land records can be investigated. This is why tracing your roots in Italy is not always simple. However, there are some simple first steps you can take.

What can you do?

A fundamental first step is a knowledge of Italian; since most of the records will be in either Italian or Latin. The quest becomes more difficult, if, for example, your origins are in Piemonte, and the records are in French; or your family were from Tirol, and the records are in German.

Start in the present and work back to the past. Do you have elderly family members who can give you information? Do you have old photos and memos? Understanding the ethnological norms is also often quite useful: certain regions named their children and dressed certain ways. These kinds of records, even photographic, can be very useful. Having the maiden names of family members can help you do a more profound search.

Once you have accurate first hand accounts from elderly family members, it is easier to research the official record or ask your Italian genealogist to locate a record for you. It’s also easier to take a first step, and to draw a family tree from the information you have gleaned.

Joining a site like ancestry. It puts you in a good position to be contacted by people with similar interests. You never know what you could discover along the way.

Surnames are also a very good guide in Italy for regional provenance. A guide like “Dizionario Ragionato dei Cognomi Italiani by Rizzoli is very useful resource.

If your family have kept original documentation, birth certificates, etc; it’s much easier. If not, you will have to resort to the Italian authorities or ask your Italian ancestry expert to contact the Italian authorities. This can be difficult; but here is a guide, if you feel you can do this alone.

Simply contacting families randomly in the village where your family came from can be time-consuming and confusing. Making contact with them, establishing a relationship, and all the other niceties; only to reach a dead end, can be frustrating – if they are even willing to become involved.

What if you don’t have any of these records? How easy are they to obtain?

First step – American records. You can consult microfilmed immigration records, steamship passenger lists, and old census records. There is a free online search available of Ellis Island.

Italian Records

Acts of birth, baptism, marriage and death would be the most important primary source. If you know what commune (municipal area) your family originates from, you can contact the Ufficio Anagrafe and ask for the “certificato di stato di famiglia”. This provides extensive information about your family, if they immigrated after 1880.

Contacting the vital statistics office in a particular commune is not always simple, and getting information about a specific ancestor might not get results. They might give you an act of birth extract, if you give them precise information regarding names and birth dates; but they will not involve themselves in detailed research projects. You will also need to be able to speak Italian to do so. They will not allow you, as a third party, to request records of a living relative. The privacy laws exclude this kind of search.

Where these primary records are missing, you can consult parochial records, which date back prior to the 1800’s. However accessing these is not easy at all. Most of these have not even been microfilmed. The other point is that nay request can take up months of bureaucratic time, and to and fro communication, necessarily in Italian, before it could prove to be fruitful. More often than not priests are just too busy and not willing to get involved. if you’re lucky, a friendly, polite explanation in Italian, and a generous donation might get some response.

Secondary records can be consulted in the absence of primary records. These could be military service records, land and census records, etc.

A note about source documents

Both microfilm and original documents can vary according to the region. To be able to discern them correctly might need expert help. For example, certain Sicilian records might need a knowledge of Greek, Latin and native Sicilian elements. However, most records are written in either Italian or Latin.

Sometimes site is not possible to obtain documents for various reasons, particularly with regard to original records. Photocopying of archival material might not be allowed, or there might just not be a photocopier. Remember, this is Italy! The food is great, but the bureaucracy is inefficient and unwieldy.

Sound complicated and time-consuming? It is. That’s why many people do as much as they can, and then consult with professional service.

At Record Click we have many Italian genealogist who are ready to assist you with any roadblocks that you might be facing. Consider hiring a professional genealogist from Record Click.

The post Italian Ancestry – Slow Life, Ancient Roots appeared first on Professional Genealogists.

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Mention the lost military records of July 1973 to a genealogist, he/she will most likely gasp for air and start shaking their head in dismay.

Sometimes records in archives are destroyed by fire. Our RecordClick professional genealogist uncovers some additional ways to find ancestry details that may help in the case of 1973’s losses of military records. Stop mourning! Start looking at Morning Reports!

When this professional genealogist goes to a national genealogy conference, sometimes it’s tough to get up and at ‘em. This experienced ancestry researcher has attended, over the years, presentations by most of the professional genealogy services “A-Listers”.

The subjects these professional genealogists and expert ancestry researchers cover are the usual: German research, Irish research, military research, documentation, DNA, the law.

So, at a recent genealogy conference in Springfield, Illinois, this professional genealogist had a nice change of pace when I attended a National Archives presentation. This genealogy session included a discussion about The Morning Report.

The speaker was Bryan McGraw, Director of the National Archives at St. Louis. When he mentioned the fire of July 1973, there was an audible gasp. Yet, in the professional genealogy services world, there’s always a gasp when the fire at the St. Louis Branch of the National Archives is discussed. Knowing that so many military records have been lost forever.

That fire burned over 75 percent of the military records from after 1911 that had been housed on the top floor of that collection. For the genealogy world and especially for those genealogists who might be seeking World War I and World War II records, the fire of July 1973 was a true disaster. These lost military records are a devastation to the entire community.

Yet, in a hopeful note, McGraw reminded us genealogists not to forget “The Morning Report”. Yes, the lost military records were important but not all hope is gone.

The St. Louis Branch of the National Archives houses military records and so much more. While any genealogist might first think of the vast archived Military Personnel files; for those individuals with a discharge date between 1911 and 1954*, the St. Louis facility’s holdings also include:

  • Archived Civilian Personnel Records for federal civil servants whose employment ended before 1952.
  • Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) enrollee records.
  • Archived Other Records.

The industrious genealogist should not dismiss the category of “Other Records”.

When you are on an assignment as a genealogist doing or checking genealogy research, make sure you investigate everything—including general categories in archives. When you come across general categories, there may be lots to find. Take the category “Auxiliary and Organizational Records”.

Here, the genealogist will find that the holdings include:

  • Morning Reports
  • Unit Rosters
  • Officer Pay Cards (Army)
  • Muster Rolls (Navy)
  • S. Army Surgeon General’s Office Records
  • Veteran’s Administration Index Cards

This is good stuff for a genealogist.

Yet, what exactly is a Morning Report and who was responsible for the Morning Report?

The Morning Report was just that. It was a report done every morning to document the comings and goings of a Military unit’s personnel. It was usually done by a guy who had learned how to type. If someone new came into an outfit, documents were completed. If someone transferred out, documents were done. If someone changed units, became sick, was injured or died, even more documentation was completed.

Now do you see why this is good stuff for a genealogist?

Morning reports are filled with information for the genealogist. Looking for lost military records go from impossible to possible. And, the Morning Reports are not as quick and easy to use as one might think. That is because when they are compiled, these reports focus not on the individual but on the Military unit.

The National Archives McGraw emphasized that family history researchers are always welcome to look at the Morning Reports in the St. Louis archives where there are thousands and thousands of cubic feet of documents.

McGraw noted that if a genealogist is looking to use these Morning Reports at the St. Louis facility, the research process may be sped up with a bit of pre-planning. He encourages the genealogist to contact his staff ahead of time if the name and unit are known for a soldier.

That way, documents may be ready upon arrival of the genealogist. The genealogist may begin the search online.

If time or knowledge is a concern for you in your family history search, hire a genealogist from RecordClick.  You will get a professional genealogist who knows and d understands the many different types of records and the organization of the National Archives.

*–Earlier military personnel records –before 1911–are housed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

The post A Genealogist Mourning For July 1973 Lost Military Records appeared first on Professional Genealogists.

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This professional genealogist has found that Jane O’Meara Sanders, (b. Mary Jane O’Meara, October 8, 1950) potential first lady and wife of presidential candidate Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders #FeeltheBern is a good example of someone whose family history details are helped by historic local newspapers.

Jane O’Meara Sanders, originally from Brooklyn, New York, is of Irish heritage. Jane is the youngest of five children and the only daughter of Benedict Patrick O’Meara and Bernadette Joan Sheridan (b. June 8, 1915, d. April 29, 2005 ).

This genealogist first found her parents Benedict and Bernadette in the 1940 U.S. Census. In a time when many households consisted of more than one generation, Jane’s parents and their eldest son Benedict, Jr., age 1, (b. 1939. d. 1966) were living with her mother Bernadette’s parents, Francis (Frank) and Mary Donovan Sheridan, at 196 Prospect Place in Brooklyn.

Looking in New York City Newspapers

This genealogist is going to digress for a moment. New York City has been a city known for its newspapers. The first two that come to mind are The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. They are known for coverage that goes beyond New York and includes the world, national and economic news. However, when a genealogist searches for historic local New York City news, finding it is not so simple. When you hire a genealogist, especially one who specializes in New York area ancestry research, you will most likely get someone who knows that over the years there have been many newspapers that have come and gone. The New-York tribune and Evening World are two of the historic papers that a genealogist will likely search.
Ah, and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, first published in the 1840s, is probably this family history researcher’s favorite New York City newspaper. This Brooklyn paper became one of the first online newspaper digitization projects.  A regular “small” town publication, it contains plenty of local happenings and personal items. For any genealogy researcher looking into Brooklyn, it is a readily accessed online treasure trove.

Now back to Presidential candidate Bernie’s wife and possible first lady, Jane.

Brooklyn News Reports on the Family

In the Sunday, February 27, 1938 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle this genealogist has found a nice notice that includes a picture and announces the recent marriage of Miss Bernadette Joan Sheridan of 196 Prospect Place to Mr. Benedict P. O’Meara of 96 Decatur Street.

Next, I located Jane’s parents when they were young in the 1930 U.S. Census. This genealogist first found her father’s extended O’Meara family at 96 Decatur Street:

  • O’Meara, Patrick B., head, 63
  • O’Meara, Julia A., wife, 45
  • O’Meara, Mary E., daughter, 21
  • O’Meara, Benedict, son, 18
  • King, Edward A., brother-in-law, 49
  • King, Lillian E., sister-in-law, 42

Then, as my ancestry research continued, I found Jane’s maternal grandparents and the Sheridan family in the same 1930 U.S. Census living at 196 Prospect Place:

  • Sheridan, Francis, head, 45
  • Sheridan, Mary F., wife, 45
  • Sheridan, Francis, son, 20
  • Sheridan, Gerard, son, 16
  • Sheridan, Bernadette, daughter, 14

While most everyone doing professional genealogy research knows that a census provides vital information, a newspaper such as the Brooklyn Daily Eagle tells the family historian more.

One article reported in the Friday July 12, 1935 issue that Edward King, a brother of Julia O’Meara had died.

From this article in the local newspaper, one doing professional ancestry research now knows the name of the church that the family attended. One also knows the location of the burial as well as names of family members.

Active in his community and proud of his heritage, Jane’s paternal grandfather Patrick B. O’Meara is a bit more interesting. The January 2, 1944 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle states that he died on Dec. 30, 1943. It also notes that he was the beloved husband of Julia A. and “the devoted father of Thomas, Edward, Benedict, Sister M. Audrey S.S.J., Mrs. Samuel McNell, and Mrs. Joseph Nelson.”

Mass was held at Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church with burial reported to have taken place at Holy Cross Cemetery. When you hire a genealogist for professional ancestry research, you will likely get someone who knows how to find out if a cemetery keeps an updated online list of burials. In the case of Jane’s family’s cemetery in Brooklyn, this genealogist has confirmed that the records are, indeed, online.

Following the obituary in the local Brooklyn newspaper, there is a notice from The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Brooklyn announcing the death of their member–and former president–Patrick B. O’Meara. By going through the newspaper, this professional ancestry researcher has discovered that Jane’s grandfather, Patrick B. O’Meara, was very involved in The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Brooklyn organization and held the presidency as well as several additional positions. With a bit o’ digging, this genealogist has found the history of this organization which includes the fact that it goes back to the 1700s. Membership includes businessmen and notables of the community. In addition to remembering their heritage, philanthropy plays a role for the members of The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. By understanding more about The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, one can see that participation in this group is a good reflection on Jane’s ancestors–Patrick B. O’Meara and his family.

Challenges for a Professional Genealogist

When a genealogist like me does this type of research, these are three constant struggles:

  • Never enough time.
  • Taking a quick glance.
  • Assuming the usual.

These things may also lead some genealogists to short cuts that can next lead to errors or the missing of a good family history tale.

When you hire a genealogist from the RecordClick professional genealogy service, you will get ancestry research that goes beyond the usual. Our network of genealogists in the United States and around the world will conduct research that will bring you details of your family story that you don’t yet know. Contact us at RecordClick or call 866-632-9291. Your first consultation is free.

The post When Genealogists Ask About the Wife of #Bernie Local Newspapers Answer appeared first on Professional Genealogists.

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Family Heritage

Family heritage, the great melting pot that is America is descended from people of different ethnic and racial origins. Everyone here happens to be an immigrant. Ranging from the prehistoric immigrants to the masses arriving in pursuit of ‘the American Dream’ during various phases of history. There are forced immigrations of the African Americans as well. Excluding the African American migrations, rest of these were triggered by varying factors. Most of the Europeans arriving in pursuit of a place with equality. Where common people could own land, work as hard as they had in their own lands and turn their fate around. Others were forced by famines, war, religious discrimination, better economic opportunities or the so-called ‘American Dream’.

 
Why don’t I know my family heritage?

As they settled in the new land and adopted it as their home, their future generation busied themselves with other things. And most lost tract of their ancestry. Not knowing who their forefathers were and their stories. But at some point, in life, people develop an interest in their family heritage. And wonder who were their ancestors, where they came from and what challenges they faced when they landed on a new land.

 
How to trace family heritage?

It seems fascinating to do so but can be a little tricky. You can begin your search by identifying the ‘old country’, relatively easily if your ancestors came to the US when travel records were maintained. That’s where you can look for information. Owing to the growing public interest in family heritage, many resources in the print and electronic media have been dedicated to the purpose. These include books, chapters, a compilation of records CDs and web sources. Some organizations have dedicated themselves to help people trace their ancestors through genetics. With simple tests like spit tests, they link the genetic information with the vast data available to them and the scientific expertise at hand.

Tracking your ancestors from available old records should proceed systematically to be able to bear any fruit. Begin by trying to identify the biological records. The exact name of the immigrant and/or as many relatives as possible. The ethnic group or religious group or the community the ancestor belonged to. The ancient ability to move in groups bearing religious or ethnic similarities can help point to the records you need to explore. If you can find information about the family or friends of your ancestors, exploring family records or family traditions could be a great way to figure out your family heritage.

Your next go-to area should be scanning through the immigration records. Combine the information from the biological research and find where they first arrived? Where they came from and the transportation means they used. Try to get as close as possible to the arrival date and ship etc. used to reach the US. The town they first came to and causes of the immigration. This can lead you to a new set of records that you can explore.

 
Where did the initial settlers come from?

Records show some 57 million people initially came to the US since the year 1607 from different parts of the world. Out of which 10 million only passed through the US enroute to another destination. Other records are available with the US statistics bureau. Where there are records available for larger migrations from different countries.

The early migration between 1607-1790 was primarily from the British lands, including England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the Southern Ireland and Ulster Ireland as well as Germany. The largest group remains to be the forced migrants from Africa which account for approximately 40% of the total migrations to the US. Fewer people came from the Netherlands, France, Sweden or Finland and a small number of Jewish people made the US their home until the 1790s.

The demographics shifted between 1820-1855. When the Irish formed the biggest community of Immigrants, followed by Germans. More diversity came with people from other European countries, China and Mexico. It was after the year 1885 that the so-called newer immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe came and moved to the urban areas. These mostly Jewish immigrations came primarily from Italy and Russia.

 
Why family heritage is important?

More and more people from varying backgrounds kept pouring in to seek a better fortune for themselves. By the year 2000, the ethnic mix had vastly shifted. German was the dominant ancestry (German Genealogy), the African Americans were second in place (African American Genealogy), third place for the Irish ancestry (Irish Genealogy) and fourth for English. Other prominent ethnicities included the Hispanics, Italians, French, Poles, American Indians, and Dutch.

While searching for the family heritage among Whites’ resources have been readily available. Things were very different for the African Americans. Since slavery is a shameful reality of the dark past, many like to shun it. But as more and more African Americans voice their concerns and want to search their roots like their White counterparts. Resources have developed and efforts are being made to help the African Americans get in touch with their past.

This happens to be especially difficult because most of them came on slave ships with no travel records. Finding other records is difficult as well. They were only made part of the census for the first time in 1870. A good way would be to begin your research with the year 1940 and build the family tree in reverse from there on in the previous records. Just like other ethnic communities, African American search for ancestry is also guided by DNA testing; known as DNA genealogy. If not too clearly understandable, it can help you connect with others who decide to take the test. The results might be pointing towards a common ancestry.

 
Can family heritage of slaves be found?

In the census for 1860 and 1870 slaves were accounted separately. You can look into these records as well. Starting with the later census and tracking back to see if your ancestor could be tracked in the former. A good way would be to match the owner’s name since freed slaves those days used to take their owner’s surname. Exploring Freedman’s Bank records can also be useful. The bank was established in 1865 to help the freed slaves save money. It existed till 1874 and boast records for over 70,000 African Americans during that period. Military records for the Union’s ‘Colored Troops’ during the Civil War and Newspapers from the early 20th century dedicated to the African Americans can also be of great help.

At Record Click we help dive into your family history by identifying the important records of your past. We receive many great reviews of our record retrieval process. Regardless, if it right here in the USA or globally. Contact us today to see how we can assist you with your ancestral research.

The post The Diverse Family Heritage and How to Find It appeared first on Professional Genealogists.

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Italian Genealogy

Being Italian, or an American with Italian roots, or Italian genealogy, in the Italian diaspora, has got a lot more to do with choosing Barilla as your favorite brand, knowing that pizza really comes from Naples, or feeling proud to have the same roots as Liza Minelli because she has such a great voice.

Possibly the most interesting thing about the US and Italy in terms of roots, and being rooted in a territory of origin, is that they are clear polar opposites. On the one hand, the European settlement in the US could be described as one of the newest nations in the world today. Whereas Italy is one of the most ancient, with a history that is so complex, rich, eclectic and fascinating, that even if you weren’t Italian, it would be a delight to investigate it.

This is what makes you, as a person with Italian roots, and an Italian history which stretches back into the mists of ancient history, so uniquely interesting. This is the root of Italian genealogy.

Most people associate Italian immigration to the US with the Ellis Island immigration (1905 – 1914 approx): 84% which came from Southern Italy and Sicily, where Southern Italians had been disenfranchised by the unification of Italy, had become impoverished, and arrived in the US with a suitcase and $18 – $25 (about $600 today) in hand.

Many were turned back due to illness, or just because they did not make the grade in other ways. Almost half just couldn’t face the hardships and discrimination, and left of their own accord. It became known as “L’Isola delle Lagrime” (Island of Tears). After years of research Italian genealogists have confirmed this finding.

For many immigrants the journey to America became the fulfillment of the Venetian proverb – “The first sin is to be born desperate”

But let’s back up a bit. This was not the first, though clearly the most significant in numbers, connection that Italy had had with America.

The Italian/American affair began in 1499 – 1502, when Vespucci, an Italian explorer, discovered the Americas. In a poetic sense, therefore, could the immigrants who later arrived at Ellis Island have been considered to be immigrants or re-colonisers? Tongue in cheek, of course!

Other families of note, whose family names are still prominent in the US today, include: the Venetian family, Tagliaferro, and the Fonda family.

Perhaps one of the most interesting, from a historical point of view, is Filippo Mazzei, confidant of President Jeffersen and author of the phrase which assumed the equality of all men, which is included in the American Constitution.

Back to Ellis Island , and the immigration which, despite such humble beginning, significantly shaped the face of what America was later to become. To date, 17 million of Americans are of Italian descent. The long list of important influencers amongst this population is well-known by most Americans.

These were often the descendants of these poor immigrants, who arrived poor and illiterate, often to be berated and despised; and yet, who rose to the top, anyway.

How did they do this? Where did they get the “grinto” (courage, determination)? The secret lies in their roots. Ernest Hemingway once wrote this; that every person can write at least one great novel – the story of their own lives. History is essentially about the personal stories of people and an Italian genealogist can help you uncover the stories of your linage. When your personal story is connected to a history as great as that of Italy, with bloodlines that stretch back to the Etruscans, The Renaissance and the Roman Empire, your personal history could be considered to be a masterpiece of genetic diversity and culture.

Italian immigrants (many of whom were Sicilian), at face value, looked like a ragtag lot of sad illiterates (more on the question of illiteracy and poverty later); but they knew something which no-one else knew – their history. They were Sicilian, and fiercely proud of that.

Taking Sicily as an example, here are some historical reference points:

Sicily was the crossroads for invasions and cultural exchanges by Greeks, Arabs , Normans, Germans and Jews. Before 1250, womens rights were defended , as was the environment. Does this sound backward to you?

The cultural patrimony of Sicily, and Italy, in fact, is so rich and diverse, as to be impossible to cover adequately in one article.

Sicily is also particularly interesting because it is a unique instance in the area of genealogical research. This is because the records stretch back to 1500. With the help of an Italian genealogist, you don’t have to be nobility to trace a clear unbroken line of ancestry through one of the many archived resources which have been so carefully kept intact: monastries, parochial records, land tax records, legal records etc.

All the other areas also have similar areas of fascination with regard to genealogical heritage. Historically, Italy has only been a homogenous nation for a brief period of time; since the middle of the 19th Century. Before that, it was comprised of separate nation states. Many people still consider this to be the over – riding reality of their lives. Their cuisine, language (distinct dialects) and customs, all reflect very specific regional preferences. They feel a strong sense of “campanilismo” (pride for your own town). Even another Italian traveling to that region, will feel, to some extent, like an outsider.

What about the nitty- gritty? Do you need a professional Italian genealogist to help you with your search? Is this something you can do alone, or with your family?

This depends. You need to understand the Italian genealogy panorama, and how it works, to better be able to understand what will work for you, and how far back into your history you want to go. However, usually you can take the search into your own hands, up to a certain point. This can be time-consuming. If you don’t have the time, maybe it would be better to hire a professional Italian genealogist.

This is what a search into Italian genealogy would entail:

Italian Genealogy: An Overview

Italian genealogy and genealogy in general is the field of family history study, encompasses various disciplines; including: ethnology, onomatology, and even heraldry. To be a good genealogist, you have to be not only a competent historian, but also an adept sleuth. Since a knowledge of specialised fields, like languages, kinship, canon law and paleography are often essential; a professional genealogist often has to refer to colleagues who work within these disciplines.

As an Italian descendant, your most important point of departure is to know where, and who, to refer to, in search of your family roots – who can best help you.

Italian genealogy is a complex area of genealogical study and research. Many authors and experts do not agree on every issue. One of the biggest traps not to fall into, is to go in search of stereotypes. Broad statements about the disparity of wealth between the North and South, might not be useful in your particular search. For instance, Naples was, in fact, the wealthiest city until its annexation to the Kingdom of Italy (1860). At that time the second wealthiest city was Palermo. The fact is that at this time, the North was poorer than the South; most immigrants were Northerners.

Another common stereotype which can be wrong, is the conception of the typical blond Northerner and the dark-haired Southerner. Many Southern Italians are blond or red-haired, with light eyes, because of the Longobard and Norman influences. The notion that all immigrants were illiterate and impoverished, is also not correct. This is helpful to know, because your family of origin might not have belonged to that class. Some had become impoverished due to politically motivated set backs; however, many were skilled middle class craftsmen and merchants. Neither were many really illiterate, but simply considered to be illiterate, because they could not speak and write English.

Neither were 19th Century Italians landless peasants. Most owned a bit of land. This is useful to know, because the census and land records can be investigated. This is why tracing your roots in Italy is not always simple. However, there are some simple first steps you can take.

What can you do?

A fundamental first step is a knowledge of Italian; since most of the records will be in either Italian or Latin. The quest becomes more difficult, if, for example, your origins are in Piemonte, and the records are in French; or your family were from Tirol, and the records are in German.

Start in the present and work back to the past. Do you have elderly family members who can give you information? Do you have old photos and memos? Understanding the ethnological norms is also often quite useful: certain regions named their children and dressed certain ways. These kinds of records, even photographic, can be very useful. Having the maiden names of family members can help you do a more profound search.

Once you have accurate first hand accounts from elderly family members, it is easier to research the official record or ask your Italian genealogist to locate a record for you. It’s also easier to take a first step, and to draw a family tree from the information you have gleaned.

Joining a site like ancestry. It puts you in a good position to be contacted by people with similar interests. You never know what you could discover along the way.

Surnames are also a very good guide in Italy for regional provenance. A guide like “Dizionario Ragionato dei Cognomi Italiani by Rizzoli is very useful resource.

If your family have kept original documentation, birth certificates, etc; it’s much easier. If not, you will have to resort to the Italian authorities or ask your Italian genealogy expert to contact the Italian authorities. This can be difficult; but here is a guide, if you feel you can do this alone.

Simply contacting families randomly in the village where your family came from can be time-consuming and confusing. Making contact with them, establishing a relationship, and all the other niceties; only to reach a dead end, can be frustrating – if they are even willing to become involved.

What if you don’t have any of these records? How easy are they to obtain?

First step – American records. You can consult microfilmed immigration records, steamship passenger lists, and old census records. There is a free online search available of Ellis Island.

Italian Records

Acts of birth, baptism, marriage and death would be the most important primary source. If you know what commune (municipal area) your family originates from, you can contact the Ufficio Anagrafe and ask for the “certificato di stato di famiglia”. This provides extensive information about your family, if they immigrated after 1880.

Contacting the vital statistics office in a particular commune is not always simple, and getting information about a specific ancestor might not get results. They might give you an act of birth extract, if you give them precise information regarding names and birth dates; but they will not involve themselves in detailed research projects. You will also need to be able to speak Italian to do so. They will not allow you, as a third party, to request records of a living relative. The privacy laws exclude this kind of search.

Where these primary records are missing, you can consult parochial records, which date back prior to the 1800’s. However accessing these is not easy at all. Most of these have not even been microfilmed. The other point is that nay request can take up months of bureaucratic time, and to and fro communication, necessarily in Italian, before it could prove to be fruitful. More often than not priests are just too busy and not willing to get involved. if you’re lucky, a friendly, polite explanation in Italian, and a generous donation might get some response.

Secondary records can be consulted in the absence of primary records. These could be military service records, land and census records, etc.

A note about source documents

Both microfilm and original documents can vary according to the region. To be able to discern them correctly might need expert help. For example, certain Sicilian records might need a knowledge of Greek, Latin and native Sicilian elements. However, most records are written in either Italian or Latin.

Sometimes site is not possible to obtain documents for various reasons, particularly with regard to original records. Photocopying of archival material might not be allowed, or there might just not be a photocopier. Remember, this is Italy! The food is great, but the bureaucracy is inefficient and unwieldy.

Sound complicated and time-consuming? It is. That’s why many people do as much as they can, and then consult with professional service.

At Record Click we have many Italian genealogist who are ready to assist you with any roadblocks that you might be facing. Consider hire a genealogist from Record Click. Contact us today and we’ll assist you with your Italian genealogy.

The post Italian Genealogy – Slow Life, Ancient Roots appeared first on Professional Genealogists.

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