Congratulations, Jeanette Shiel, CG!

The Board for Certification of Genealogists welcomes Jeanette Shiel a native of Brunswick, near Albany, New York, and a current resident of San Diego. Jeanette became interested in genealogy after moving to California. Researching her Northeastern ancestors has been a long-distance project.

Jeanette provides this insight into her reasons for doing family history. “I pursue genealogy research because our ancestors’ lives matter. Whether they were well-known and left a vault filled with a paper trail or whether there are barely bits and pieces of breadcrumbs scattered here and there to hunt after and collect them. They want us to know. They want their story told. I personally enjoy the hunt for breadcrumbs.”

Jeanette Shiel, CG

Jeanette Shiel, CG

Jeanette feels that participating in a ProGen (Professional Genealogy) study group was a very helpful piece of her genealogy education. It gave her insight into the world of genealogy publishing and various kinds of writing that go into a portfolio. Her advice for others considering certification: “Write, edit, set it aside, rewrite. Be prepared and absorb as much genealogy education as you can. Never stop learning.”

Jeanette’s experience in preparing her portfolio was mostly positive. She enjoyed writing, which turned out to be a pleasant task. However, she dreaded writing citations and put off adding them until she had completed each component of her submission.

Certification is a strong recommendation that she will be able to point to in her new genealogy business, Fine Lines Genealogy (http://www.finelinesgen.com/). She expects that having gone through the certification process will be helpful in working toward her goal of publishing her research. She says, “I think it’s important to share what you’ve learned.”

Inspiration for family history research and for working toward certification comes from “people (both genealogists and non-genealogists) that never give up. They take on obstacles as challenges and never stop (the search) until they reach their goal (answer their research question). Genealogy is a never-ending process, a puzzle never completely solved. There may be brick walls, but they take them down one brick at a time.”

Jeanette exhibits similar doggedness in searching for the father of her ancestor, William Goddard. “I have taken a possible eighty-eight adult males on the 1810 census and through process of elimination of probate and other records it’s dwindled down to thirty-six males. I keep records of each family and capturing all of these families in context is quite a challenge. I will eventually solve this enigma…and when I do, it will be a story to share.”

Good luck with that research, Jeanette. Congratulations!

Jeanette can be reached at jbstree@roadrunner.com.

by Nora Galvin, CG

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Coming from OnBoard, September 2016

OnBoard: Newsletter of the Board for Certification of Genealogists is scheduled to publish in September 2016. We’re pleased to offer a preview of some of its content.

“Standards and Forensic Genealogy”

Forensic genealogists use genealogical skills and methods to help resolve legal problems. Most practitioners of the specialty provide expert opinions relied on by legal professionals. Giving us a look into the world of forensic genealogy, Michael S. Ramage, JD, CG, explains how adherence to the principles in Genealogy Standards underlies success in forensic work.

“Investigating and Evaluating Family Artifacts”

Genealogists who are lucky enough to have inherited a cherished heirloom may wonder about its background. Pam Stone Eagleson, CG, shows how thorough research and applying genealogy standards and guidelines used by museum curators and educators can reveal the stories behind our family artifacts.

OnBoard publishes three issues per year. A subscription is included in annual associate fees and is provided to applicants “on the clock.” Subscriptions are also available to the general public for $15.00 per year (currently) through the BCG website, here. Issues back to 1995 can also be ordered online, here.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Associates in Action

Welcome to Associates in Action! This monthly feature highlights BCG associates’ news, activities, and accomplishments. Contact Alice Hoyt Veen to include your news in an upcoming post.

Activities & Projects

Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, was quoted as the BCG president in the New York Times news article, “A Personal Sort of Time Travel: Ancestry Tourism,” by Amy Zipkin, 29 July 2016.

Catherine Desmarais, CG, with Michael Ramage, CG, taught Fundamentals of Forensic Genealogy at GRIP in June. Catherine will be coordinating The Coaching Lab: Forensic Genealogy from Inquiry to Affidavit at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) in January 2017.

David McDonald, CG, was featured in the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel business news article, “Genealogist digs deep to unearth family roots.”

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, CG, JD, LLM, was the featured speaker at the 15 July 2016 Genealogical Institute on Federal Records Alumni Association Banquet. Her topic was “Including African American Genealogy in the American Mosaic.”

LaBrenda will conduct a workshop on 13 August 2016 for the Central Maryland Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc., at the Miller Branch Library in Ellicot City, Maryland, entitled “Analysis of Probate Records and Study of the Probate Process.” She will make two presentations at the 37th Annual National Conference of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc., in Atlanta, Georgia: on 14 October 2016, “A Forum on the Board for Certification of Genealogists”  and on 15 October 2016, “Researching African American Families that Came Out of Slavery: Application of the First Component of the Genealogical Proof Standard.”

Melanie D. Holtz, CG, coordinated and taught a course at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) in July. Resources and Strategies for Researching Your Italian Ancestors included additional course instructors Suzanne Russo Adams, MA, AG, and Paola Manfredi, AG. Melanie has also completed work on a four-year family history book for the surname Mattei.

Awards & Achievements

Amy Larner Giroux, PhD, CG, CGL. Congratulations to Amy and her team on their second place tie in the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Chronicling America Data Challenge. Amy’s team developed Historical Agricultural News, a search tool site for exploring information on the farming organizations, technologies, and practices of America’s past. The site describes farming as the window into communities, social and technological change, and concepts like progress, development, and modernity. http://www.neh.gov/news/press-release/2016-07-25

Career News

Dawne Slater, CG. Ancestry ProGenealogists has promoted Dawne from Associate Genealogist to Genealogist Researcher. The new position reflects her years of experience in the field and acknowledges the work she has done at Ancestry since joining the firm last fall.

Publications

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, CG, JD, LLM, A Guide to Researching African American Ancestors in Laurens, South Carolina, and Selected Finding Aids (Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Pub., 2016). LaBrenda’s book is both a locality guide, with tips on where to look for sources, and a “how to” manual for those who have not mastered genealogical methodologies. It provides background information applicable to all South Carolina counties and includes references to “modern” finding aids and websites. She offers practical advice and research strategies based on her experience and formal studies. LaBrenda will discuss her new book on the blogtalk radio program Research at the National Archives and Beyond, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bernicebennett, 25 August 2016. The book is available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Xlibris.

Numbering Contest Winners!

Congratulations to Terri Wheeler and Joshua Hodge, first and second prizewinners in SpringBoard’s Numbering Modern Family Contest! Both are preliminary applicants and took time from their portfolio work to practice numbering. Terri has chosen the FamilyTreeDNA Y-DNA test and Joshua the Ancestry test.

Here’s how SpringBoard numbers the cast of Modern Family.

Important elements to note are

  • Individual numbers beginning with Jay (1). Note that Manny (5) follows Joe (4), even though he is older, because he is not a biological son of Jay Pritchett.1 Alternatively, the groups of stepchildren and biological children may be listed in chronological order.2 Manny would then be number 4 and Joe number 5, as in Alternative numbering below, after Generation Two.
  • Generation numbers. Note especially Manny (generation 2, but of a different surname) and Lily (generation 1 of her biological line with this surname).3
  • Child list numbers. Note especially that Manny and Lily do not have child list numbers, as they are not biological descendants of the lineage in question.4

Generation One

Generation Two

Alternative numbering of Jay’s youngest children


1 Joan Ferris Curran, Madilyn Coen Crane, and John H. Wray, Numbering Your Genealogy: Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin, ed. Elizabeth Shown Mills, rev. ed. (Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2008), 19, bullet 1.

2 Numbering Your Genealogy, 22, Figure 7, 11. Muriel Mercer example.

3 For Manny, see Numbering Your Genealogy, 19, bullet 3. For Lily, see p. 20, bullet 5.

4 Numbering Your Genealogy, 18, bullet 3, also pp. 19, bullet 4, and 20, bullet 4.

5 “Jay Pritchett,” Wikia: Modern Family Wiki (http://modernfamily.wikia.com/wiki/Jay_Pritchett). All web pages were accessed 15 July 2016.

8 “Claire Dunphy,” (http://modernfamily.wikia.com/wiki/Claire_Dunphy); other information states her birth in 1973 or 1974, which is inconsistent with her being two years older than her brother Mitchell.

13 “Manny Delgado,” (http://modernfamily.wikia.com/wiki/Manny_Delgado).  See also “Javier Delgado,” (http://modernfamily.wikia.com/wiki/Javier_Delgado).

 

Congratulations, Karen Auman, PhD, CG!

Karen Auman loves history, and as an assistant professor of history at Brigham Young University, she helps to inspire that love in others.  She revels in her work teaching history and family history and particularly enjoys helping her students use history to bring life to the stories of “average folks who persevere, work hard, and make a difference.”

Karen Auman, PhD, CG, backpacking at Havasupai

Karen lives in Utah, but grew up in San Jose, California, which she still considers home. Like many in Silicon Valley, she worked with software companies and had a long career as a product manager. The job taught her to “think logically, to understand how information is organized, and how to use electronic tools to your advantage,” all useful skills for researching genealogy.

Interested in both genealogy and history from a young age, Karen received a bachelor’s degree in European Studies. When she later studied for a PhD in history at New York University, she focused her studies on her own ancestral origins: Germans in colonial America. To understand their lives, Karen notes, “it helps to be able to read old German script!” a skill she honed through an intensive course at the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Her advice to others preparing for BCG certification is the same strategy that helped her: practice!  She learned by reading case studies in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and built her skills by helping friends and neighbors research their families. In addition to being good preparation for certification, the volunteer client work allowed her to learn about a wide range of genealogical problems and geographic locations. She recommends practicing all the portfolio work elements before beginning the certification process.

When it came to preparing her own portfolio, Karen chose a research report that she now feels was too large. In retrospect, a shorter, more focused report might have been a better choice. She advises others choosing reports, “Don’t make it too big!”  Based on what she learned through the certification process, she now strives to make her reports as clear and precise as possible.

In her spare time, the self-described “sister, aunt, great-aunt, reader, walker/hiker, gardener, historian, teacher” enjoys chasing her own family mysteries. Her favorite past finds include locating her third great-grandmother’s family in Swedish church records despite the family’s name change and finding a power of attorney that named her third great-grandfather’s heirs. She found the document “buried in the basement storage of the courthouse, not filed with the other records.  It was written thirty years after he died, so it included the spouses of the daughters and all of the adult grandchildren. I had suspected he was my ancestor with lots of indirect evidence, but this was the written proof.”

Her current genealogical challenges include a search for the maiden name of her third great-grandmother Mary [–?–] Auman and a quest to discover the mysterious origins of a second great-grandfather. He may have “purposefully misled people about his roots,” possibly to cover up his illegitimacy. Their stories are two of the many that Karen plans to write for her family to introduce them to their ancestors, always teaching and inspiring love of family history in others.

Karen can be reached at kauman@byu.edu.  Congratulations, Karen!

by Sharon Hoyt, CG

Congratulations, Yvonne Mashburn Schmidt, CG!

New associate Yvonne Mashburn Schmidt lives in Cartersville in northwest Georgia. This is where she grew up and now does family research. All of her direct family lines are from the South, and many of them were early Georgians. Her professional research encompasses Georgia and includes African American and Native American families with Georgian roots.

Yvonne states that goal-setting is not one of her strong attributes, but it would be hard to find evidence of this. Her path to certification was carefully planned and executed. After finishing Boston University’s Genealogical Research Program, she knew she was not yet ready to apply for certification. She studied The BCG Application Guide, Genealogy Standards, Evidence Explained, and journal articles. Having identified the specific skills she needed to improve, Yvonne looked for advanced courses taught by some of the best genealogists in our field. She found many of those courses online (e.g. BCG webinars and the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research), which proves that one need not spend a fortune to acquire the knowledge and skills for certification. The time between her decision to seek certification and her actual portfolio submission was three years. This was a woman with a plan!

Yvonne Mashburn Schmidt, CG

Yvonne recognizes that there can be an emotional block for people thinking about applying for certification. The possibility of failure was a difficult challenge for her. She carefully considered the consequences of failure and accepted that possibility. She then committed herself to doing everything she could to prepare herself to succeed. She advises others who are considering applying for certification to identify problem areas in their work and target educational opportunities to correct or improve them.

Guided by group mentoring with her heroes Elizabeth Shown Mills and Judy Russell, Yvonne pursued advanced research skills. A particular post by Mills on the BCG Facebook page became a reminder for Yvonne of what she needed to do with her portfolio. The post lists common reasons that portfolios are not successful.

Thomas MacEntee assisted her when Yvonne became the target of cyber-bullying involving an unfounded attack on her family research. The incident influenced Yvonne’s desire for certification and contributed to her appreciation for ethical behavior in genealogy.

Completing the portfolio has made Yvonne a better researcher. She believes that her research prior to the certification process was shallow. Now she knows how to dig deeper. In the next five years, she hopes to target educational opportunities to strengthen the weak areas identified in her portfolio, work toward becoming a better presenter and obtaining her CGL, and promote ethical genealogical behavior in as many ways as she can. Sound familiar? Yvonne has a plan!

Yvonne can be reached at georgiagenealogist@hotmail.com. Congratulations, Yvonne!

by Karlene Ferguson, CG

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Diverse Communities: Researching Italian Ancestors Part 2

 Italian Genealogical Research: Part II

Melanie D. Holtz, CG

Italy is a land of beauty and contrasts, not only in its topography but also within its records. Yet that’s what makes this form of genealogical research so interesting! Knowledge of the major record sets is key to making sure your research is thorough. The five major record sets are:

  • Civil Registration – Italian civil registration is not just birth, marriage, and death records. It also includes municipal census records, records compiled from municipal census records, such as the Stato di Famiglia Storico [Historical State of the Family Certificate] or the Certificato di Stato di Famiglia [Certificate of Family Status, one of several forms of an Italian residency certificate], diverse acts [such as civil recognitions, births of abandoned children, adoptions, deaths of residents elsewhere, stillbirths], marriage banns, supplemental marriage, birth, and death records, and citizenship records.

If you wish to order civil records from an Italian town hall, it’s important to understand what formats the documents come in. Your purpose will determine what format of the record you order. For example, if you need the record because you are tracing the heirs for an estate, then you will need the “Certificato,” as other formats would not be acceptable in a U.S. court. Keep in mind that Italy has privacy restrictions that extend for seventy years after the creation of the record.

Two sets of civil registers are created each year. One set is conserved in the town hall and the other set is sent to the Tribunale (similar to a District Court) for use in legal proceedings. After seventy years, the Tribunale’s copy is sent to the province’s Archivio di Stato (provincial/state archives) for conservation. Understanding how these records were created may help find a record when one set of civil records has been destroyed.

FamilySearch currently has the largest and most accessible collection of Italian civil, ecclesiastical, military, and notarial records outside of Italy. According to their agreement with the Italian State Archives (Direzione Generale per gli Archivi or DGA), they are digitizing all civil records held within Italy’s provincial/state archives. Digitized copies of these records are then returned to the Italian State Archive, a key part of the digitization agreement. The DGA is placing these images on their website, Portale Antenati. These records will eventually be indexed by name, date, location, and record type. Ancestry also has a modest collection of Italian civil records.

  • Ecclesiastical Records – This record set includes baptisms, confirmations, death/burial records, marriages, marriage attachments, dispensations, and different types of ecclesiastical censuses. FamilySearch has some ecclesiastical records on microfilm but the great majority must be accessed in local parishes or diocesan archives.

In general, ecclesiastical records extend back to the end of the Council of Trent in 1583 or to the construction date of the parish the ancestors attended. Records of defunct parishes are often kept at the diocesan archives. In 1614, Pope Paul V prescribed the keeping of status animarum (State of the Souls) records, a census-like record used to track the vital statistics of all parishioners and the sacraments (baptism, confirmation, communion) they had received. They were also used for taxation purposes in some time periods and localities.

  • Military Records – Key military records consist of conscription records, extraction lists, service records, and discharge papers. FamilySearch has a limited amount of these records on microfilm or in digitized form. Some provincial/state archives have created databases containing the conscription records for their province, which can be accessed on their websites. For an example of one such project, see the website of the Archivio di Stato di Cosenza.
  • Census and Tax Assessment Records – Census and tax assessment records take many different forms in Italy, depending on time period, locality, and who created the records. Various forms of land or property taxation censuses existed into the mid-nineteenth century (for some areas into the 1870s). Often called catasti onciari, censimente, or riveli, they were usually created by ecclesiastical authorities. Many provincial/state archives are digitizing these records, which can be a valuable resource, especially when parish records have been destroyed.

Some forms of municipal censuses began after Italian Unification but were phased out with the onset of federal censuses. If the municipal censuses survive (registri di popolazioni, shede individuale, foglie di famiglie), they can be an invaluable source of information, as they often document the vital statistics of whole family groups, as well as immigration/emigration information. Federal censuses are usually not available for consultation.

  • Notarial Records – In Italy, notaries recorded all types of legal transactions. Therefore, notarial records can be an invaluable source of evidence. Some types of notarial records are mortgages, property sales/transfers (may include the sale of land, buildings, animals, trees or fruits thereof, wells/water rights), adoptions, atto di notarietà (sworn statement used to prove identity when there was no birth or baptismal records), wills, dowries and marital contracts. I once found an amazingly helpful property transfer that detailed three generations of a family and provided death dates and places for the initial couple on the deed, the client’s second great-grandparents. As access to parish records was not permitted in this area of Italy, this pre-civil registration information was especially valuable. To learn more about notarial records and their application to genealogical research, consider attending my BCG webinar this coming November, “Civil Law Notaries: Using Notarial Records to Build a Family History.” Watch SpringBoard for an announcement in October.

FamilySearch has a limited amount of these records digitized or on microfilm but their collection is increasing. The majority of these records need to be researched onsite in Italy’s provincial/state archives or notarial archives, depending on the province.

Other types of records do not have as strong a genealogical application as the four listed above. Italian newspapers are one of these resources. The great majority of emigrating Italians came from the peasant class, which was largely illiterate. Obituaries, wedding announcements, or “hometown happenings” sections in Italian newspapers for the majority of Italian citizens are not found until the later part of the twentieth century, long past the major immigration waves. However, Italian newspapers are a valuable resource for cultural, social and historical research. There is no centralized source for digitized historical versions of Italian newspapers, like one sees in the U.S. These records are being maintained on individual newspaper websites. For example, see the Italian newspaper, La Stampa, which has digitized all of its publications since its founding in 1867.

In contrast, Italian-American (Italian-Canadian, Italian-Brazilian, etc.) newspapers contain notifications of immigrant arrivals, wedding announcements, death notices, and many other types of valuable genealogical information. You can find these records in the collections of historical societies, as well as state and local libraries.

Further Study in Italian Research

Courses/Institutes

There are several Italian courses available now or during the upcoming year.

  • The National Institute of Genealogical Studies has four Italian genealogy courses available, ranging from basic to intermediate, with more to come in the future.
  • The Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research will offer an Italian Genealogical Research Practicum in October 2016. The practicum is for the intermediate researcher with some experience in Italian research.

Resources

The list below is not exhaustive but does provide important resources for a genealogist learning to work in Italian genealogical research.1 Several language resources are included.

Amadè, Luca Sarzi. L’Antenato Nel Cassetto: Manuale di Scienza Genealogica. Sesto San Giovanni, Milano, Italy: Mimesis Edizioni, 2015. This resource is in Italian and contains handwriting samples of abbreviations seen in documents written in Latin.

Battelli, Giulio. Lezioni di Paleografia. 4th ed., second printing. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2007).

Bischoff, Bernhard. Paleografia Latina Antichita e Mediovo. 2nd ed., Italian translation. Padova, Italy: Editrice Antenore, 1986.

Cole, Trafford R. Italian Genealogical Records: How to Use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical, & Other Records in Family History Research. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry Incorporated, 1995.

Holtz, Melanie D. “Evaluating the Evidentiary Value of an Italian Record.” Finding Our Italian Roots Blog, 21 May 2015. http://italiangenealogyroots.blogspot.com/2015/05/evaluating-evidentiary-value-of-italian.html : 2016.

Holtz, Melanie D. “Genealogical Standards in Italian Genealogical Research, Genealogical Proof Standard (Part I).” Finding Our Italian Roots Blog, 23 November 2014. (http://italiangenealogyroots.blogspot.com/2014/11/genealogical-standards-in-italian_23.html : 2016.

Holtz, Melanie D. “Applying Genealogical Standards to Italian Genealogical Records.” Finding Our Italian Roots Blog, 17 November 2014. http://italiangenealogyroots.blogspot.com/2014/11/applying-genealogical-standards-to.html  : 2016.

Holtz, Melanie D. “Adding Cultural Context to Your Family History.” Finding Our Italian Roots Blog, 29 July 2015. http://italiangenealogyroots.blogspot.com/2015/07/adding-cultural-context-to-your-family.html : 2016.

Mendola, Louis. Sicilian Genealogy and Heraldry. New York: Trinacria Editions, 2013.

 

Melanie D. Holtz, CG®
Melanie@holtzresearch.com
www.italyancestry.com
Specializing in Italian Genealogical Research and Dual Citizenship


1 The resources given in the first post on this subject have not been repeated.

 

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Diverse Communities: Researching Italian Ancestors Part 1

Italian Genealogical Research: Part I

Melanie D. Holtz, CG

Between 1880 and 1920 more than four million Italians immigrated to the United States. During this same time period, there were significant Italian immigration waves to South America, Canada, Switzerland, France, England, and many other countries. Italians remain one of the largest ethnic groups within the U.S., and interest in Italian ancestry and culture continues to grow exponentially. Professional genealogists, especially those working in the U.S., Canada, or South America, may encounter Italian ancestors when researching an extended family.

Historical Considerations for Italian Research

The country of Italy was created from multiple city-states during a time period known as Italian Unification. Combining vastly different city-states with different cultural mores and dialects was especially challenging, and those differences are seen within the records. As not all areas of present-day Italy became part of the country during Italian Unification, understanding history can help locate hard-to-find records.

1543–1563 The Council of Trent, a body of Catholic leaders, met in the city of Trent to reform various policies of the Catholic Church. After the Council’s adjournment in 1563, priests were required to maintain baptismal, marriage, and death/burial records. In 1614, Pope Paul V prescribed the keeping of status animarum (State of the Souls) records in his book, Rituale Romanum.
1559–1713 Spain ruled most of present-day Italy. Some records in this time period are in Spanish.
1713–1796 The Austrian Hapsburgs ruled most of present-day mainland Italy. German can be found in the records of this time period, most especially in the northern regions.
1796 Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France, conquered the Austrians and gained control of Italy.
1806–1815 Napoleon ruled most of Italy. In 1806 he implemented civil registration.
1808 The King of Naples introduced civil registration to the Kingdom of Naples (in general, those areas of mainland Italy south of Roma). Civil registration was called the Stato Civile Napoleonico (Napoleonic Civil Registration).
1813–1815 Civil registration ended in most areas of northern Italy, and the present-day Italian regions were returned to their former rulers. Southern Italy maintained civil registration from 1806. Sicilia did not begin civil registration until 1820 and continued it unabated.
1816–1865 Civil registration during this time period was called Stato Civile Restaurazione (Restoration Civil Records]) and kept by part of the peninsula between 1816–1865 and in Sicilia from 1820–1865.
1821–1831 During this time period there were many revolts against former rulers. You may find that civil registers for some years were destroyed, especially in the region of Sicilia.
1848–49 There were bloody revolts against Austrian rule in most major cities. New governments were established, and the Pope won back control of Roma.
1858–59 Most of northern Italy was united under the Kingdom of Sardinia.
1860–62 Sicilia and southern Italy were freed from French rule.
1861–65 Italian Unification: On 15 November 1865 King Vittorio Emmanuele united all city-states, except for the city of Roma, the independent country of San Marino, and the region of Venezia. After this point, civil registration was known as the Stato Civile Italiano (Italian Civil Records).
1866 The region of Venezia became part of Italy after the Prussians defeated the Austrians. Law now mandated civil registration.
1870–71 The French were ousted from Roma during the Franco-Prussian War. Italy took control of all areas except for the Vatican. The capital of Italy was moved from Torino to Roma.
1915–18 After World War I, Trentino and Trieste became part of Italy.
1946 Italians voted to establish a republican constitution.
1970 Civil divorce was made legal.

Getting started in Italian research is not as daunting as it might seem. There are many helpful resources available for free or at low cost. FamilySearch’s Family History Research Wiki on Italian Genealogy contains helpful information on all record types. They also offer a video course on beginning Italian genealogical research, genealogical word lists, and letter-writing and handwriting guides that are very useful.

Brigham Young University also has an Italian script tutorial that can be invaluable when reading the records.

The resources listed below are aimed at the beginner and intermediate researcher. They contain translations of the most commonly found documents, guidance on ordering documents from Italy, details on the various Italian archives, and other information.

Adams, Suzanne Russo. Finding Your Italian Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide. Provo, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2008.

Colletta, John Philip. Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans. 2nd ed. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2008.

Nelson, Lynn. A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your Italian Ancestors: How to Find and Record Your Unique Heritage. Cincinnati, Ohio: Betterway Books, 1997.

Is It Important to Know the Town of Origin?

It is essential to know the ancestor’s town of origin, as nearly all records useful for genealogical research were created at the town (commune) or parish (parrocchia) level. If the town is unknown the research should first focus on the records created by these ancestors in the place of immigration. Once the town of origin is known, research can proceed in the Italian records.

In large cities, like Roma, Palermo, or Napoli, knowing the neighborhood (quartiere) where the family resided is essential to effectively research the civil records. Large cities had multiple town halls so the civil records are separated by the neighborhood where they were recorded. Not knowing the neighborhood may require paging through thousands of records for each town hall and each year, a time-consuming process.

Italian military records are arranged by military district, with only a few military districts within each province. Each provincial/state archives (Archivo di Stato) conserves 19th century military records for their province. Where a researcher can find pre-19th century military records varies. Research in military records could determine, for example, the town of birth for a male ancestor born after 1855, even though all that is known is that he came from the province of Napoli.

Ports of Emigration

Understanding the major ports of Italian emigration is also important. Italian ancestors who emigrated out of Genova were usually from northern Italy. Ancestors who emigrated from Napoli were usually of southern Italian or Sicilian descent. While some immigration manifests show the port of emigration as Palermo, these ships also docked in Napoli to gather supplies and additional passengers for the transatlantic journey. Therefore, ship manifests that show Palermo as the port of emigration may also include immigrants from southern Italy.

Understanding the general area an ancestor may have come from could help determine the town of origin, as town names on immigration manifests are often abbreviated. For example, if an ancestor came from the town of Santa Maria, knowing the general area of origin may help narrow down which one of the twenty-plus towns in Italy that begin with Santa Maria is the correct one.

Tracing Italian Women

Italian women used their birth surname throughout their lives, even on their immigration manifests. Occasionally, you may find a record under her maiden and married surnames, with the word “in” between them. Ecclesiastical records may note only her first name once she reaches adulthood, and she may be designated as “the wife of [husband’s name]” or “the daughter of [father’s name].” However, while this was the practice in Italy and other Latin countries, after immigration to the United States Italian women were recorded using their husband’s surname.

In my next post, we’ll discuss the five most common record sets used in Italian research, the best places to find records outside of Italy, and additional educational resources on Italian genealogical research.

Melanie D. Holtz, CG
Melanie@holtzresearch.com
www.italyancestry.com
Specializing in Italian Genealogical Research and Dual Citizenship

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Associates in Action

Welcome to Associates in Action! This monthly feature highlights BCG associates’ news, activities, and accomplishments. Contact Alice Hoyt Veen, to include your news in an upcoming post.

Activities and Projects

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD , LLM, CG, will present “Including African American Genealogy in the American Mosaic” at the National Institute on Genealogical Research Alumni Association (NIGRAA) Annual Banquet, 15 July 2016.  http://www.gen-fed.org/2016-banquet-to-feature-labrenda-garrett-nelson/.

Trish Hackett Nicola, CG, was featured in the Chinese Oregon Speaker Series in March and April. She spoke at the Oregon Historical Society and the Multnomah County Central Library in Portland and gave four presentations for the Southern Oregon Historical Society in Ashland, Medford, Klamath Falls, and Grants Pass. Her final lecture for the series will be on 24 August at the Washington County Museum, Hillsboro, Oregon. http://www.washingtoncountymuseum.org/home/2015/10/24/crossroads-lecture-august-24/

Judith A. Herbert, CG has relocated from Maine to New York’s Capital District. New York represents the lion’s share of her genealogical research efforts. The move affords closer access to the Albany and Greater New York records and the luxury of being able to get to Hartford, Boston, and the New York City area for same-day research. http://www.genealogyprof.com.

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA, has two courses available at Ancestry Academy: The Lure of the Train Whistle: Researching Railroad Workers and Native American Ancestry: Steps to Learn More. https://www.ancestry.com/academy/courses/recommended.

Paula also has a new blog exclusively for Lyfmap, a new free website. Lyfmap began this spring as a website for sharing memories, photos, stories, businesses and family history related to Saint Paul, Minnesota. Shared materials are saved at the location and date in history when they actually happened! Post a picture or memory and pin it to a specific street address then read the genealogy blog to learn more about researching family history. http://www.lyfmap.com/index.php.

Awards and Achievements

Trish Hackett Nicola, CG, has received the Weidman Outstanding Volunteer Service Award, presented during the 16th Annual Archivist’s Award Ceremony of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C. The award recognizes exemplary diligence in making records more accessible. Trish worked to create a database of 60,000 Chinese Exclusion Act case files at National Archives-Seattle Branch.

Trish’s mentor, Loretta Chin, another National Archives volunteer, worked on the index for many years until her retirement. Recently a team of four other volunteers joined Trish on the project. The basic index should be finished by December 2016. Trish has started a blog on interesting cases found in the files at the facility in Seattle: www.ChineseExclusionFiles.com.

Julie Miller, CG, FNGS, was honored with the award of Fellow by the National Genealogical Society at their annual banquet on 6 May 2016. www.jpmresearch.com.

 Publications

Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, and Blaine T. Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., have co-authored a new book: Genetic Genealogy in Practice (Washington, DC: National Genealogical Society, 2016), to be released in August. Part of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Special Topics Series, this is the first genetic genealogy workbook. The book covers biological basics, types of DNA testing that are useful for genealogy, and analysis techniques needed for successful genetic genealogy. No matter which company a person tested at or which tools are used for data collection and analysis, this book will help researchers incorporate DNA evidence into their family study.

Debbie is also the author of the NGS online course Continuing Genealogical Studies: Autosomal DNA, http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/genetic_genealogy_autosomal_dna. This intermediate course focuses on concepts and techniques for genetic genealogy. The concepts taught in this course cover the analysis of the data no matter how the data was accessed.

Sandra M. Hewlett, CG, “English Origins and First Wife of Samuel Winsley of Salisbury, Massachusetts,” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register: The Journal of American Genealogy 170 (Spring 2016): 121–27.

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, FASG, FUGA, FNGS, “In the County of Cumberland and the Province of New York: Clarifying Josiah Burton’s Identity, Relationships, and Activities,” The New York Genealogical And Biographical Record 147 (April 2016): 85–102.

Harold A. Henderson, CG, The Family of John S. and Zerviah (Hawkins) Porter of Jefferson County and Points West,” The New York Genealogical And Biographical Record 147 (April 2016): 129–43.

Jeanne Larzelere Bloom, CG, “The Child Left Behind: Henry Larzelere of the Town Of Jerusalem, Yates County, New York” (continued), The New York Genealogical And Biographical Record 147 (July 2016): 144–55.

 

Contest Deadline Friday, and Odds of Winning Are Good!

The Modern Family Numbering contest closes Friday at midnight EDT, so get your entry in today! You need not watch Modern Family to enter. Not even once. The links below take you to all the information you need. Look at what you could win:

A DNA test courtesy of AncestryDNA

or a 37-marker Y-DNA test courtesy of FamilyTreeDNA

or a copy of Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, courtesy of the National Genealogical Society.

ABC’s TV series Modern Family features a blended family like those we encounter in real life. SpringBoard challenges readers to number a genealogy of Modern Family’s characters as if they were a real family. The first-place winner may choose among the three prizes above. The second- and third-place winners will choose from the remaining two prizes.

Characters Alex, Manny, Luke, Cameron, Lily, Mitchell, Phil, Haley (Not pictured: Jay, Gloria, Joe, Claire)
By Roderick Eime (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0]), via Wikimedia Commons

Rules:

  1. Contest is open to all persons eighteen years and older. You need not be Board-certified to enter or win. Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists are not eligible to win.
  2. Contest will run from 1 June 2016 to midnight 1 July 2016, Eastern Daylight Time. Email your entry in a stable format to NumberingContest@gmail.com. Include your full name and mailing address.
  3. Void where prohibited.
  4. Watching Modern Family is not required. Online resources are offered below. No purchase is necessary.
  5. Entries must follow the NGS Quarterly System as demonstrated in Numbering Your Genealogy (Joan Ferris Curran, Madilyn Coen Crane, and John H. Wray, Numbering Your Genealogy: Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin, ed. Elizabeth Shown Mills, rev. ed. [Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2008]). This system is also used for the examples in the SpringBoard numbering posts (links below) and in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.
  6. Jay Pritchett is the starting point person, individual number 1.
  7. All regularly appearing characters in Modern Family must be included.
  8. Entries must include genealogical sketches comprised, where appropriate, of a character’s
  • name
  • individual number
  • generation number
  • birth-order number
  • parenthetical summary of descent
  • birth and marriage information (with missing or unknown information indicated by ellipses [ . . . ])
  • spouse information
  • child list
  1. Extensive biographical information is discouraged.
  2. Accuracy of numbering relationships will determine the winner. Accuracy of formatting, interest of presentation, and earliest date of receipt of entry will break ties.
  3. Decision of the judges is final.

Resources:

SpringBoard: News and Notes

Board for Certification of Genealogists

P.O. Box 14291

Washington, DC 20044