On October 12, I attended a free seminar hosted by the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society, “Finding Your Italian Ancestors.” The presenter was Paola Manfredi, a native of Italy and accredited Italian Genealogist. Paula earned a degree from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT with a specialization in family history and genealogy. Her experiences include conducting research on microfilm and at archives all across Italy, teaching Italian research classes at BYU, and presenting at conferences in the US and internationally. Paola also managed Italian record acquisition for Ancestry.com and is experienced in researching, reading and translating old hand written Latin, French, and Italian documents. She currently works at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT and travels extensively throughout Europe visiting archives and exploring their record holdings.
I am so glad I attended. I have Italian ancestors on both my
father's lines. My maiden name is Ficarra. I've traced and cited
sources on this line only through my grandfather Philip. He was born
in New Orleans, Louisiana about 1887. There is a big, brick wall
between his birth and when he enlisted in the regular army in 1910. I
can't find his parents in any census or city directories. I did find
my uncle Philip age 4 (he was from my grandfather's first marriage),
enumerated with Philip's older brother and his family in the 1920
I've had better luck with my father's mother's family. I've traced
and cited sources from Ross and Christina Catania marriage in 1898 in
St Mary's Parish, Louisiana through their deaths.
The Italian seminar was so eye-opening for me. I really didn't
know where to start. Paola's seminar came at the right time for me. I
felt like a newbie starting all over again. I'm excited and full of
optimism once again. Her handout was full of links, descriptions and
Italian history. She broke down Italian words, gave us the English
version, what to look for and what the phrases in documents meant.
She explained the Italian Civil Registration Records, civil
jurisdictions and archives.
Localities: Finding a town, Italy before 1861, Historical maps of
Italy, Finding a parish or a diocese.
Records: State Archive are located at the provincial level. Gave
us clues how to search for a microfilm, search by name and search for
records on line at FamilySearch.org
Transcribed Vital records of Italian Towns, 2 links
More Italian Records Online, 6 links
Names, 4 links
Since the seminar I bought the book, “Finding Your Italian
Ancestors A Beginner's Guide” by Suzanne Russo Adams, AG.
I'm looking forward to plowing through those Italian brick walls.