More About Debora and Qualifications

There are two main skill sets a genealogist needs to know:

  1. How to conduct historical research (Debora has a B.A. degree in History, which included formal coursework in genealogy and training for any type of historical research and a full semester of critical thinking skills when conducting historical research, with rigorous testing from university professors – graduating with honors.
  2. To understand genealogical resources that exist in the field (Debora Has a library degree), and has been doing genealogical work since the 1970s, taking continuing education courses in genealogy along the way.

A world traveler, with a cultural anthropology background, she has also done research in several other countries, as well as much of the Eastern Unitied States. 

In South America (see the full blog about adventures in Brazil January 2014) she tracked an Italian immigrant in person from his point of entry in Rio de Janiero to the big city of Sao Paulo and its Little Italy neighborhood, to Campinas where she had a private tour of an old coffee plantation where the immigrant once worked and it was explained the various types of jobs the workers did. She was shown an old registry book about payments to immigrant laborers. Then on to Santos, where she toured a coffee shipping museum where the sacks of coffee from the plantations were loaded on ships for export. While there, she attended an immigration workshop about immigrantion to Brazil.  Next to Curitiba and an Italian neigborhood, as well as a tour of a railroad museum and the old wooden passenger trains that once transported people of the immigrant generation. After a stop in Florianopolis, she flew all the way south to Porto Alegre and got a special permission to see behind the padlocked gates and the old loading docks where the immigrant later worked. Next to the state of Rio Grande do Sul, where she visited an immigration history museum and then on to the Italian town of Veranopolis, and to its Italian-style cemetery which was the final resting place of the immigrant. There she met up with a living descendent of the immigrant, who took her to see the remains of the old stone farm house where the immigrant lived.  It was learned that after his initual job at the coffee plantation, the Italian immigrant traveled vast miles all over southern Brazil. Quite an adventure! And Debora got to meet in person with professional archivists at museums, did research at the National Archives, and studied internal migration patterns, railroad history, and the thriving Little Italy in Curitiba.

In Ireland, she conducted research at the National Archives in Dublin (after decades of conducting research by mail), visiting her own family’s ancestral farm house County Donegal, revealed to her after locating a living relative through genealogy. She also went to London and to a small town in England, called Colne, where she found the records of her mother’s line, who migrated there from Scotland in the 1700s,  and to several towns from one end of Wales to the other, researching her husband’s family. In addition,  Debora has been to Mexico and collaborates with a professional researcher there.  She’s done extensive research in Maryland and Virginia, and of course her native South Jersey.  She’s also followed the Erie Canal system in upstate New York from its beginning all the way out to Buffalo,NY – visiting related museums along the way and studying that migration route that brought early settlers west.

Debora has visited the Halifax Immigration Museum in Nova Scotia to study Italian immigrants to Canada.  She has visited and studied many “Little Italy” neighborhoods from Toronto and Montreal Canada many times, and the East coast United States: Maine, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia many times (having grown up across the river South Jersey), Baltimore, and west to Chicago and Michigan. She has successfully helped clients of South Africa find their town of origin in Italy, and has a professional contact there, as well as in Ethiopia for those with ancestors who served in the Italian military in that area.

This extensive experience has given her a first-hand knowledge of some of the main areas where Italian immigrants settled, an important background that aids with being able to find records that pertain to these areas, and a general knowledge of internal and global migration patterns, useful in the quest to discover a town of origin in Italy.  We have been very successful in locating a town of origin for immigrants to Australia and then tracing their roots back several centuries.

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Debora received hands on training and experience in helping genealogy and history patrons at various historical societies in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (the Mid-Atlantic Region of the U.S.), as well seven years of professional training at the world-renowned University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology in Philadelphia, Pa. (having minored in anthropology and world cultures in college–especially the Mediterranean region). This included curatorial assistant projects cataloging ancient artifacts, as well as training at the museum archives preparing finding aids and assisting visitors. Studies of human migration patterns has always a passion.

She has first hand experience in cataloging description of old documents and photos, trained in archival preservation, written articles about collections, and worked as a professional archivist at an upstate New York history museum, where she conducted genealogical searches and responded to the letters of people seeking their ancestors. At a large archives center she helped professors and grad students find primary source materials for their research projects. When you write to an Italian archives office, it is the archivist who does the search. Debora understands what is involved in being in charge of a record collection. She understands the issues from their point of view regarding access restrictions and preservation and knows how to deal with such offices in Italy. We are also primarily a Catholic organization and understand parish records in Italy. We can consult with priests or diocese curators by phone to request a document search or send a researcher in person for a day of research.

Get started today! Learn about YOUR ancestors and their life in Italy.

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