Frustrated and Confused. Any suggestions?

Over 25 million Italians have emigrated between 1861 and 1960 with a migration boom between 1871 and 1915 when over 13,5 million emigrants left the country for European and overseas destinations.
ck2007
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Frustrated and Confused. Any suggestions?

Postby ck2007 » 12 Jul 2016, 17:48

Hi all,

I'm getting pretty frustrated as I'm having trouble finding information. I am trying to find the information for my Great Great Grandfather. The information I have found is conflicting. Here is what I have

I know that he was born in Novara Italy.
Baptismal Records from Italy show he was Baptised in 1870.
The 1910 US Census lists his age of 39, making his birth year 1871.
His obituary has birth year of 1875, along with his grave has birth year 1875.
I've mailed and emailed several people in Novara to request original birth certificate and have yet to hear anything.

On the 1910 Census, it lists his immigration year of 1886.
I have searched the manifests of New Orleans and even other ports, and I have found no record of his immigration. I have tried different variations of his last name and nothing.

On the 1910 Census it lists he was Naturalized. But I have found no record of that.
On the 1900 Census he is not listed at all, only his wife and 3 of his children.

What would be the reason that there is no records of him here in the US? I just feel I'm at a dead end and not sure how to move forward. Any suggestions or tips would be helpful, thank you in advance.

kencwalker
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Re: Frustrated and Confused. Any suggestions?

Postby kencwalker » 12 Jul 2016, 18:38

ck2007 wrote:I'm getting pretty frustrated as I'm having trouble finding information. I am trying to find the information for my Great Great Grandfather.

Nice job on your research. You have uncovered a lot of good info.

ck2007 wrote:What would be the reason that there is no records of him here in the US?

Research will frequently uncover conflicting information or unexplained gaps. It's not unusual to find disparities in birth and immigration years in different records. There are many reasons. Our ancestors didn't go a good job remembering these details. In addition, recording keeping was all done by hand on paper. And, there are errors indexing the written records for computer searches (a frequent problem). Yes, it's frustrating.
For example, various censuses indicated my dad's Swedish GF was born between 1865-71 and arrived between 1892-93. That's a challenge when looking for "your Jacob Peterson". I found 23 that matched.
OTOH, my mom's Italian GF was a ghost like yours. Almost no US records: just a grave marker, and SS Death Index. No Ellis Island entry, no census records, I couldn't even find his CA Death Record. His last name was so mangled indexed searches didn't find him.

ck2007 wrote:Any suggestions or tips would be helpful, thank you in advance.

Yes...take a deep breath, and prepare to dig for US records. Each record requires a different approach. For example, have you checked Castle Garden (NY) for arrival info? Castle Garden was the "Ellis Island" before 1892.
For census gaps, have you manually reviewed the 1900 census pages? Maybe he appears on a different page (assuming the family all imigrated before 1900).
You can contact NARA to search for Naturalization info. You will need some basic info. There's another thread on NARA in this forum.

Ironically my GGF mentioned above is from Novara.
Which comune are you contacting? Have you checked FamilySearch records?
Who did you email and mail, and how long ago ?
Based on others experiences, things still move slowly in Italy.

Good luck.
-Ken
Researching surnames Pedroncelli and Pilatti in Sondrio; Cantoia in Novara; Penna in Asti.

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peonygirl
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Re: Frustrated and Confused. Any suggestions?

Postby peonygirl » 12 Jul 2016, 22:03

Re: Frustrated and Confused. Any suggestions?


Well, as usual, Ken is on target. You are actually doing very well. This genealogy research is a slow process; it takes a great deal of patience, persistence, and a sense of humor! Perhaps it would be best to step back and allow this ancestor to be a phantom for a bit. Look at the wife, the children. It will help refresh your mind, so new options will seem more viable when you go back to your GGF.

I found information in very unexpected places. The death date for my great grandmother was nowhere to be seen, but I found it on her birth act. In a marriage act, I found the names and death dates for 3x GG parents. So, try to think of it as a whole, each piece a part of the whole; nothing is wasted, just not fitting together yet.

Keep a journal, start fresh every day, and keep us posted.
Peonygirl

kencwalker
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Re: Frustrated and Confused. Any suggestions?

Postby kencwalker » 13 Jul 2016, 00:11

peonygirl wrote:You are actually doing very well. This genealogy research is a slow process; it takes a great deal of patience, persistence, and a sense of humor!
...
Keep a journal, start fresh every day, and keep us posted.

Agreed, good work, and great advice peonygirl, especially about the sense of humor.

peonygirl wrote:step back and allow this ancestor to be a phantom for a bit. Look at the wife, the children. It will help refresh your mind, so new options will seem more viable when you go back to your GGF.
I found information in very unexpected places.
So, try to think of it as a whole, each piece a part of the whole; nothing is wasted, just not fitting together yet.

Yeah, sometimes ignoring the phantoms is the best strategy. (I call 'em ghosts and unicorns.) There's no hurry. They're not going anywhere. :)
Things I've learned:
1) There's usually a good explanation when the pieces don't fit they way you thought they should. Unfortunately, you need to find more pieces to see how the pieces really fit. (kinda like a real puzzle).
2) Taking a "phantom break" is helpful. Sometimes you find facts you didn't see the first time. Other times, you understand facts from a new perspective. (I could write a chapter about finally finding my Italian GGF Carlo in the 1920 Census, along with his French "nephew". What a story!)
3) Keeping notes, then summarizing your what you know (and don't know) will help clarify what you need to do. I've half-written a few emails, then with the organized info, realized I answered my question. :)
4) Keep notes about things that don't appear to fit (at first). It's amazing how often I think..."this looks familiar, kinda"...then connect it to an earlier unconnected scrap, and the 2 together form something useful.
Enough on this topic. Enjoy the search,
-Ken
Researching surnames Pedroncelli and Pilatti in Sondrio; Cantoia in Novara; Penna in Asti.

ck2007
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Re: Frustrated and Confused. Any suggestions?

Postby ck2007 » 13 Jul 2016, 03:45

Thank you all for your responses! It's taken away some of my frustration already reading your replies!

I started my research in 2011, I've had to take many breaks over the years in regards to this information lol. I switch between relatives during that time and try and get some information there hoping to come across other info I needed.
The emails I've recently sent were to several persons in the Comune of Novara. I actually had one respond to me this morning asking for his birth place, fingers crossed they'll be able to provide me some info!!!

About 2 years ago I wrote to them seeking information for other ancestors (my GGGF siblings) they actually wrote back and provided me with alot of information, such as marriages and even migrations to other Italian towns. Unfortunately I reached a dead end there also, and no info was uncovered for my GGGF.

I probably have 2 books of notes by now! It just amazes me how difficult it has been tracking down info for my Italian ancestors! The farthest I've gotten back was my GGGF parents, and the only info I have there is their names and maybe the year they died.
Whereas on my other side of my family tree, it was like a breeze putting it all together. Most of them are from England and a few other countries, I've gotten all the way back to the 1400s with them.
And I'm still stuck in the late 1800s with my Italian ones!

I do have to say, for a while I was stuck with only having my GGGF name and I thought he only had one brother. I came across the Baptism Records of Novara and boy it helped me tremendously when it came to finding out their actual Italian names and also uncovering other siblings (7 others i believe), and I was also to get their childrens name too. I'm sure anyone with ties to this area has come across the site but if not it is: novaria.org

The main sites I've used is of course Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyGenWeb (i think thats the name), and maybe a few others. This time around I'm trying to focus on actual Italian sites..I've came across a site where I can search the web as if I'm in that country so it brings up Italian results so I'm hoping I can come across something there..

Anyways, I will update if I come across anything (fingers crossed). Also if anyone comes across any Montoli's, please let me know! :D

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Re: Frustrated and Confused. Any suggestions?

Postby kencwalker » 13 Jul 2016, 16:22

ck2007 wrote:Thank you all for your responses! It's taken away some of my frustration already reading your replies!

As Lucy (from Peanuts) would say: "the Dr. is in". She charged 5 cents. Our advice is free. :)

ck2007 wrote:It just amazes me how difficult it has been tracking down info for my Italian ancestors! The farthest I've gotten back was my GGGF parents, and the only info I have there is their names and maybe the year they died.
Whereas on my other side of my family tree, it was like a breeze putting it all together. Most of them are from England and a few other countries, I've gotten all the way back to the 1400s with them. And I'm still stuck in the late 1800s with my Italian ones!

I hear what you're saying. I've discovered the same; I'm stuck in the mid-1860s on my Italian line, while I've located ancestors in Scotland and Sweden back to 1700. Frankly, these 2 countries have done an awesome job of collecting, sharing and indexing their CHURCH records (which, like Italy, are the primary sources before civil registration began in the late 1800s).

There are many reasons Italy is "difficult":
1) Records/sources are scattered: FamilySearch, Portale Antenati (Ancestors Portal), others
2) Very little is indexed, so you have to search manually
3) Record availability varies by locality and timeframe (comune/province)
4) No census (the fastest way to identify family members)
5) Very few church records (needed to search earlier than early-to-mid 1800s)
6) Everything is in Italian (obviously)

ck2007 wrote: I'm sure anyone with ties to this area has come across the site but if not it is: novaria.org

My GM & GGF are from Novara Province. Tell me more... Are these Novara parish or diocesean records?
Please share any other useful sites you find (besides those below).
Thanks. Good luck (fingers crossed),
-Ken
Researching surnames Pedroncelli and Pilatti in Sondrio; Cantoia in Novara; Penna in Asti.

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Re: Frustrated and Confused. Any suggestions?

Postby lynnef » 16 Jul 2016, 17:50

ck2007, hang in there! I've been researching my Italian side of the family since 2007 and it wasn't until just recently (last few months) I learned the surname of my MGGM. Genealogy has taught me a valuable lesson in patience as it can literally make me want to pull my hair out!!! Don't give up! Stepping away for a while IS the key...then you can return with fresh eyes and a new sense of adventure. And...if you ever get the opportunity to visit your ancestral town...GO!!!! I was able to visit mine (Caulonia) in 2013 and the comune was so accommodating. It was something I'll never forget! :-)
Lynne

Researching: Ali, Grigora, Crisafi, Niutta, Greco, Puccio in Caulonia


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