Sunday, October 20, 2013

Finding Your Italian Ancestors Seminar

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 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 Louisiana census.

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

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment