Introducing our AWESOME new service ! Available for anywhere in Italy. We can provide a video (or aerial photos) of your ancestor’s house and town by drone (of about 10 minutes long). Customized for your specific needs. Travel to the site fees apply. (Based in Central Italy). Starting at $997
“Rivelli”, (census records), spanning 1584 to 1755 ! Research was done on two different surnames, and all residents by those surnames were extracted. They give the head of the family (and that person’s father), his wife, and a list of all the children and their ages. They also mention boarders or servants residing in the house.
Following the names, the body then gets into the details about property holdings. For example, “one house of seven rooms in the quarter San Michele in Caccamo ; one land (extension two tumoli) with vineyard in the feud Ginestra ; In 1681 master Carlo owned: Equipment of shoemaker; one house in the quarter San Filippo in Caccamo, assigned to his son cleric Giuseppe; one vineyard consisting of 1500 vines in the feud San Leonardo, assigned to his son cleric Giuseppe; In 1636 Antonio son of Innocenzo owned: one little house in the quarter Castle in Caccamo; one vineyard consisting of 400 vines in the district Mandra Nuova; one she-ass [and also gives the values of each item]
Some of the collection includes notarial notes in Latin. There are 134 pages to be studied and translated. When finished it will be a great treasure to have ! Former Caccamo clients are anxiously waiting to hear if any of their ancestors are mentioned as Scelsa or Giovenco family neighbors. This is an amazing project of great excitement ! For sure the family will then want to go and see these properties in person. Research can also be done to investigate the current situation with these properties.
A major breakthrough towards discovering an ancestor’s town of birth in Italy! We now know her “last residence”, which may turn out to be her place of birth !
I was searching www.castlegarden.org for an 1887 ship record of Grazia Lingria (an immigration date given on a NY census record). I entered only the surname “Lingria” and it brought up a record that was a match to her age, with a husband “Antonio”. She arrived in New York on January 20, 1905 on the ship “Nord America”. The listing indicated she had been in the USA previously (since 1889), which was close enough to 1887, (and such info from census records is often a tad wrong). A street name in New York was mentioned. (It didn’t quite match a known address for this family, but from other records collected we know they moved around). It was a close enough match to follow through on this entry.
The year 1905 would be in the Ellis Island database. But it didn’t come up there under the spelling “Lingria”. At the www.stevemorse.org site, I left all names blank and searched only on the town name “Catona”. This brought up a list of names, including a Grazia “Lingua”, but a person of wrong age to be a match. I followed the link to the original manifest anyway, and there she was ! The original ship manifest actually said “age 54” (as the Castle Garden search results had indicated) and here were additional details (“husband, Antonio Santigati in Brooklyn” !! That’s her ! Her surname is actually spelled correctly as “Lingria” on the original manifest, but the Ellis Island indexing has both her surname spelling and her age wrong. You can’t trust it then. You have to be persistent and check things that are suspicious all the way through to the actual original document to see for yourself. Below is the incorrect information that was indexed. It should say age 54 “Lingria”
Now the search is on in the town of Catona, Reggio Calabria, to see if they have her birth record. We have her parent’s names from her 1926 birth record in Broolyn. It says she was born in 1853, but the ship record indicates 1851, and census records in NY indicate 1855. So the search will include 1850-1855. Should have the results in a couple of days from a microfilm search. If it is the correct town, then hopefully they will also have her marriage record, and then will also be able to discover where her husband was born.
© April 15, 1999 Debora L. Hill All rights reserved
(Reprinted from Comunes of Italy Magazine Vol. 3 : 12 Jan.-Feb. 2000 pp 10-12)
An exciting aspect of family history research is the discovery of an immigrant ancestor’s village of origin. It would be hard to fully understand your family’s history without knowledge of the historical and cultural context that shaped your ancestor’s lives. There are many approaches to learning about the local history of your ancestral village, including political, socio-economic, and anthropological perspectives. There is also a demographic perspective, which may sometimes be overlooked. Perhaps this is because statistical data at the village level may not be easily available. However, lacking published sources, you can always do your own demographic study utilizing LDS microfilmed records.
Genealogists can see their ancestors in context with the rest of the community by comparing data found on their individual records with statistics compiled for the village as a whole. Of course, the study need not be sophisticated and may not be entirely accurate for the purpose of drawing any academic conclusions regarding demographic behavior.Often information found in Italian vital records is only an estimate, such as a person’s age for example. But for genealogical purposes, it can provide insight on what went on in the village throughout most of the 19th century. How long did the average person live? What was the average age at marriage, and what time of year did the majority of marriages take place? Was infant mortality high? How common was your great grandfather’s occupation in this village? What else did others do for a living? In your pursuit to learn the answers to questions that arise, you will learn more about the general history and culture of the village.
By constructing a simple graph, you can get visual pictures of all of this, which will reveal patterns and exceptions, such as a steady increase in life expectancy or an unusual number of deaths in one particular year (an epidemic)? Plotting data for five or ten year intervals, will allow you to see how things changed throughout most the 19th century (depending on how much of the historical record survives and has been microfilmed). You can measure infant mortality or gain insight into marriage traditions, but you also need to check other resources to understand the .why. behind statistical patterns that emerge from examination of individual historical records.
If you plan to write a book on your family history, a demographic study of your ancestral village, taken together with other sources, such as printed histories, oral histories, correspondence with current village residents, and local historical societies, will make it more interesting. Your ancestors did not live in isolation. They lived within a framework of a local community which in turn existed in a regional framework.
As an example, statistics gathered for the village of Avezzano (AQ) in the Abruzzo Region of Italy, represent a first step in doing a demographic study for the purpose of genealogy. The methodology used is simply to pick a year to begin with and sit down with all of the LDS microfilms that contain records for that year. Go through the films frame by frame and keep a tally of how many deaths (broken down into male or female groupings and noting the age at death and the month). The groupings will in the end reveal patterns that exist, such as an unusually high number of deaths in any certain month or a higher life expectancy for females than males etc. You can keep a tally of births by month or just tally males and females and their ages. You might want to include the age of the parents at the time of birth and their occupation to check differences in birth rate amongst various social groups or age groups. Marriage records provide the opportunity to study the occupations of both the marriage couples and their parents. From marriage records you can also get a sense of immigration into the village from other areas by looking at the birthplace of the couples and residences of the parents. This can also be noted from birth and death records. If there are an extraordinary number of people showing up as not having been born in that village, there may have been a migration. In any case, from this information you would be alerted to seek out more information about the cause via anthropological and other perspectives.
Statistics from Avezzano records reveal many interesting things about this village. For example there are quite a lot of people who make their living as seamstresses and spinners. Avezzano has historically been a sheep farming village. If you are familiar with the Italian culture, this may seem obvious, if not, you might not make this connection unless you also consult a printed history of the village. The statistics that emerge should also peak your curiosity to find out more via an economic perspective.
It’s always possible that important events in the history of the village will be missed, if every single year is not examined. But that would not typically be feasible. A graph covering five or ten year intervals should be sufficient to provide a general overview of demographic behavior. Data for other years in Avezzano history has not yet been compiled, thus the final graph is not presented here. However, the graph below shows how total population changed over time in the village of Longano (IS), in the Molise Region, based on population figures provided in a manuscript. This makes an interesting visual for a family history book.
You can customize your graph(s) however you wish, or just report statistics in the text. It’s your story. But do more than just retrieve individual records for ancestors and list names and dates on a chart. Utilize all tools and resources available and apply as many methodologies and approaches as you can to build the fullest history of your family. Diversity of resources is vital to all types of historical research and extends to genealogy as well. The more resources you utilize, the more chance of uncovering conflicting data and realizing bias. For example, stats for your ancestral village may not jive with generalizations published in the literature. The average age at marriage, may be higher than what is said to be typical for Italians. For the purpose of family history, your individual ancestor should be compared to others in his or her own village, rather than stats derived from other villages that were used to make broad generalizations, perhaps primarily intended to support a writer’s theory for an academic research paper.
Demographic perspectives on ancestral villages for genealogists can provide insight into customs and traditions at a more personal level, with actual names attached to the data, (your ancestor’s real neighbors) that can be tallied to reveal change over time, and also visually represented with graphs and charts or woven into the text of a book on the history of your family. Check libraries and historical societies for existing published sources relating to your ancestral village and then do your own study.
Debora L. Hill owns and manages the Pallante Center for Italian Research (PCIR). It is a network of native Italian researchers based in various locations throughout Italy and Sicily and also includes a network of microfilm and onsite researchers in the USA.
© April 15, 1999 Debora L. Hill All rights reserved
(Reprinted from Comunes of Italy Magazine Vol. 3 Issue 12 Jan.-Feb. 2000 pp 10-12)
Congratulations to Sheri Mignano of Petaluma, California is our newest winner. She has won a cash prize of 100 euros, and a free genealogy document request! Sheri’s ancestors came from Borgetto in Province Palermo, Sicily. Her family handed down a recipe called Cuccidatti’s. It was submitted for the St. Joseph’s Day holiday.
You can view the winning recipe entry at this link: