My first day at the Family History Library involved something I never thought I’d be doing – hunting for Italian ancestors. The reason I thought this experience would be unlikely is simply that I don’t have any Italian ancestors.
I’m searching for these ancestors for a client who knows when and where her parents were born and the maiden names of their mothers, but little else.
Fortunately, the Family History Library has microfilmed copies of the civil registration for Augusta, Siracusa, Italy from 1820 to 1929, and census records from 1682 to 1815, giving me coverage from 1682 to 1929!
I spent the entire day yesterday searching through these records and was able to find records that listed my client’s parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and even four of her great-great grandparents. Even so, I’ve barely begun to look through the records.
One important record set for researching Italian roots that I never knew about are the allegati. More about that at a later date.
An important website I learned about for researching Italian genealogy is italia.indettaglio.it. In particular, since I was researching Sicilian surnames, I was able to follow links on this site to the Sicilian Surnames Search Engine in order to confirm the spellings of the surnames I found in the records.
In that way, I was able to confirm that the surnames I found in the civil registration records were frequently encountered names in Sicily, and was even able to find the frequency of those names in the village of Augusta.