I haven’t posted in a while, but back when I did, everyone was extremely helpful and friendly. Since I last posted I was able to uncover some more information that leads me to believe that I may be eligible for Italian citizenship; however, I wanted to post here to get the panel’s opinion.
My Great-Grandfather (Alfonso Fratti) was born in Verica (Verica frazione di Pavullo nel Frignano) near Modena in 1870. My Great-Grandmother (Teresa Donini Fratti) was born in Verica in 1886. They got married in Verica in 1906. They moved to the U.S. in 1906-ish. My Grandfather was born in Illinois in 1908. My mother was born in 1940. My Great-Grandparents naturalized in 1942. I was born in 1974.
I’m slightly confused by the 1948 issue and a woman not being able to pass along citizenship so I don’t know how (or if) that plays a role.
Secondly, either way, I was interested in acquiring my Great-Grandparents’ birth and marriage certificates. Would I contact the Pavullo Comune or the Modena Comune? Also, would you recommend that I handle this myself as opposed to hiring a service? I have seen some form letters on this forum that I could use.
Finally, just a little more information. Assuming that I can get the Italian documents, the problem that I’m going to face is that both my Grandparents (who were born in the United States) do not have birth certificates. I’ve contacted Illinois’ Vital Records Office and they at least have a process to create a Delayed Birth Certificate. It’s just going to take some time and documentation. However, my non-Italian Grandmother who was born in Ohio also doesn’t have a birth certificate, and I haven’t been able to get much information from them about the ability or process to create a birth certificate for a deceased person in Ohio.
Would the Consulate in Miami require documentation for my non-Italian Grandmother? In other words, I wouldn’t be trying to trace anything back through her.
Thank you. Hope everyone’s having a great Father’s Day.
Thank you for your reply and for the information. I will spend some time looking at the forum you suggested. I never thought that I would have this much trouble acquiring the more recent U.S. documents for my Grandparents, but it's going to be difficult. It looks like I will need to create a birth certificate for my Grandpa (if possible) in Illinois and then I just found out yesterday that Illinois will not release a certified copy of the marriage certificate except to my Grandparents, who are both deceased. I'm sure there's some way around this, but it's just going to take time to research, and I haven't even tried to get the Italian documents yet. In any case, thank you again for your help.
I had the same issues as you do. I was anxious about getting the Italian documents, but they were one of the easiest things to obtain since the Italian records are generally much better kept than the American ones from that time. If you've had some Italian (and even if you haven't) you can easily find templates to write to the comune yourself.
I'd collect as many documents as you can to support your GF's delayed birth record. Sometimes these old documents are misspelled or misfiled, so I'd guess there's also a chance you may yet find it. In any event, you should at least make an initial request for a search in order to obtain a "no records found" letter, which you can use for the delayed birth record application. Then collect his baptism record, Social Security application, marriage record, death record, a Will or anything else you can think of that gives his name and birth date along with his parents (like your great-grandparents' naturalization record, which may list their children).
I'm not familiar with Illinois, but I'd also be surprised if you or your mother wouldn't be eligible to obtain your grandparents' marriage record if you provide documentation, particularly since they were married such a long time ago.
Thank you for your reply Karen, and thank you for your words of encouragement. I'm juggling a few things at the moment, so we'll see which documents I'm able to acquire. I've drafted a few letters addressed to the Pavullo Comune which I plan to send out shortly, and I was on the phone with a couple Illinois County Clerks today. It seems that I am able to get a copy of my Grandparents' marriage "license" but just not their "application", though it seems like the "license" would be the document that I would need. I hope that there is in fact a record. I'm also working on getting their death certificates. I was told by Illinois vital records that I'm able to obtain certifid copies, but I need to explain/include the reason why I need them. I'm going to save the delayed birth issue for last, and will work on acquiring the documents that I need to prove his birth. I'm simply going to get a "no record" letter for my non-Italian grandmother (born in Ohio) and hope that that will suffice for the Miami Consulate (if I ever get that far). And, I'm going to request certified NARA naturalization certificates. I'm frustrated, but excited at the same time. It's going to be tough waiting for responses from these agencies (in 6 different states), but hopefully it will all work out. Thank you again.
Hopefully the license part of the marriage record also has a confirmation by the priest or city official that they were married. I made the error of neglecting that (a 2nd page in NY) and had to re-do the whole thing with certification and apostille. You may not need certified copies of records in the non-direct line -- they accepted photocopies here in NYC. Good luck!
My husband's grandparents were born in Pavullo (not sure about the Verica you mention). Grandfather is Donini and grandmother Serri or Serifini. If you have geneology on the Donini family I would love to correspond. We have no information before their immigration to the US in the early 1900's. Thank you!
Love to know what you found out about the Donini's. We had a family reunion last fall, but the cousin who had visited the relatives in Italy many years ago could not attend, We were fortunate to visit Italy in May/June. We went to Modena, but didn't have the opportunity to venture away from the train routes throughout the country. Also, now know that my husband's ggrandmother was also from Pavullo. Don't know if any of this is accurate: Adelina T. Serafini married Enrico Borelli and had Palmo. Enrico died. She did or did not marry Gaitano Serri and had my husband's grandmother Giuseppina.
First, before I forget, this is a link to my initial post back in 2010. There are some great links that were provided by some very helpful people on this forum. Some of the Ellis Island ship manifests are helpful. If you look at the one from 1905 you can see that there are a number of people from Pavullo: my Great-Grandfather, Alfonso Fratti, and Alberto Serafini, Genoveffa Serafini, Lucia Serafini, Domenico Donini, Lorenzo Serafini.
I also was able to get my Great-Grandparents birth and marriage certificates from Modena. My Great-Grandmother's name was Silvia Donini, though she went by Teresa. Her father was Adolfo Donini (his father was Giuseppi) and her mother was Maria Bernardoni. They eventually settled in Decatur, IL, where my mom grew up. I spoke with my mom today, and she remembered visiting a Carlo Donini near St. Louis. She also mentioned that Carlo had a son named Perry and a daughter named Dorothy. Does any of this help or sound familiar?