Today, The Guardian reports that Italy’s state archives–the institutions that preserve Italian American ancestors’ documents–are facing funding cuts that are putting the future of their records in jeopardy. Modena’s records office has closed its doors, and other offices are behind in their bills, the article says.
For Italian Americans who want to help preserve their ancestral records, there is something you can do!
As I mentioned in a previous post, FamilySearch.org, a church-run records preservation organization, has been microfilming Italian state archive records and making them accessible to researchers worldwide for several generations. They are now putting those records online, where Italian Americans can search them for free, at the site below:
FamilySearch.org’s Italian Records. Click on image to visit.
If you are of Italian American descent and want to do something to help support the preservation of Italy’s precious historical records, I recommend joining FamilySearch’s volunteer Italian Records Indexing project, which you can learn about at the site below. Indexing is as simple as tagging someone in a Facebook photo, only you will be tagging ancestors in a digital image. You can help index records on your home computer, or even on your smartphone–with their iPhone and Android apps–whenever you’ve got a few minutes to spare:
FamilySearch.org’s project for Italian records indexing volunteers. Click on image to visit site.
Thanks to FamilySearch, your Italian ancestors’ records will be safe, searchable, and available to future generations for free research as long as we continue to support FamilySearch in their Italian preservation endeavors.
Now, I’m off to go index another batch of Italian records!
For Italian Americans with Boston roots, I’ve got great news from Boston’s North End Historical Society! Documentary filmmaker Maureen McNamara of Kendall Productionsis looking for your old photos, home movies, or newspaper clips from the family scrapbooks. Check out what they’ve put together so far:
If you and your family would like to be a part of this historic undertaking, you can send your materials to the North End Historical Society at : NorthEndHS@gmail.com.
The North End Historical Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit, so they need your help raising the funds for this project, as well! Contributions are tax-deductible, so send them in to NorthEndBoston.org or send a check to:
North End Historical Society, Inc.
P.O. BOX 130152
Boston, MA 02113
If you plan to publish your family history online (which isn’t a bad idea! It’s a great way to share information with distant relatives and current relatives who might not share your enthusiasm for research), I would like to share one of my favorite examples of an Italian American ancestral web page done right!
The Mangiaracina family web page is just brimming with all sorts of helpful and interesting resources for their particular family–maps, photographs, stories, recipes, a forum, and pedigrees–a perfect model for anyone who would build their own family site.
When sharing your family tree with your loved ones, web-based media is a good way to make history come alive in the hearts and minds of those who might not be the history buffs that we are.
So check out the Mangiaracina’s web site and build your own. Then send me a link, and I’ll be sure to tell others about your site, too. Who knows–maybe I’ll help connect you with another site, assembled by your long, lost Italian cousins!
This is great news for Italian Americans who want to learn more about their ancestors! Click on the image, below, for the full story:
FamilySearch.org has been publishing their microfilm holdings to the Internet for the past couple of years (you can see a list of Italian records available online here) but the digitization project announced last week in the LDS newsroom means that we will be seeing more Italian genealogical records on the Internet, and at a greater rate!
Kudos to FamilySearch for making Italian research a priority, and to theItalian State Archives, for allowing FamilySearch to make these records accessible to Italian American researchers!
Novara, Italy Diocesan Baptismal Record Extracts Online
Today, my guest post at the Italian South blog tells you all about my first trip to the diocesan archive at Novara, Italy. I’ll let you read that post to find out the particulars of diocesan records, but for this post, I’d like to add that Italian diocesi are starting to put their records online, so you definitely want to check in with your ancestral diocese web page every so often, to see if they are following suit.
The Italian province of Cosenza has been transcribing records from their many different comuni and posting them online as a searchable database. If you have ancestors from the Cosenza province, you will definitely want to check out this site. Click on the image below to access it:
When searching this database, you will see a results page that shows where your ancestors’ name appears across the various comuni within the Cosenza province, and some of them even have images attached, as in this example:
Can you say genealogical heaven? I wish all of Italy’s provincie had web sites like this!
Italy’s parliament recently posted an online database that allows users to search–free of charge–the biographical sketches and parliamentary records that all sorts of individuals either working in Parliament or being discussed by them from 1848 up to 2008. This is a small (maybe 12,ooo names) yet fabulous new resource for Italian American genealogy enthusiasts! You can visit the site of this collection by clicking on the image below:
You will notice that there are four different search boxes on this site’s page. The first search box, in the site header’s image, will search everything–even photographs!–for the names or locations that you enter. But the three boxes below it will allow you to specifically search three different collections:
Employee profiles and photographs
Parliamentary work records (meeting minutes, etc)
Laws, acts, bills, both proposed and passed, etc.
Note that you can also browse each of the three collections by clicking on the arrow (triangle inside a circle) hat appears next to each search box’s label (“deputati,” “lavori parlamentari,” and “atti e documenti”).
When searching the three collections, you will want to type your Italian ancestors’ names into all three boxes (because even if they didn’t work in parliament, they might have been involved in cases being discussed), and then enter their hometown into the last two search boxes, just in case there were acts passed or bills proposed that pertained to your ancestral paese (which you might want to include in your family’s story).
When looking through your search results, you can narrow the search criteria according to the fields offered on the right-hand side of your search results.
If this is too confusing, or if you have hits on your ancestors and don’t understand them, drop me a line and I’d be happy to take a look at what you’ve found!