I've been researching my family in Alberobello, Bari using the LDS records but am now at the point where I will need to look at church records to go back any further (pre-1809).
I was just wondering if anyone has had any experience getting records from the church through the mail and, if so, how cooperative the priest was, how long it took, how far back the records go, etc...Also, would it be impractical to go there in person to try and access the records? (I plan on visiting Alberobello within the next year or two..) Has anyone else had success in person? I've read that priests in some parishes won't allow you access to their records, but I would really like to be able to go there to view them. Is there a procedure I could/need to follow for the priest to give me access?
Any other general advice about gaining access to church records would be appreciated.
A couple of years ago a friend did a search for me in that area but not in Alberobello. I suggest you write to the priest ahead of time (a couple of months) and request permission to do the search. You likley won't get a reply but at least he will know you are coming. If you are Catholic get a letter of recommendation from your local Diocese. When you get to ALberobello go to the mass and talk to the priest afterwards reminding him about the letter and ask for a time to do the search. Take your digital camera (no flash) and ask permission to take photos of the records. I just learned about a portable scanner called Flip-pal which looks great but might scare them. Take along a pair of white cotton gloves. The records are very dirty and they will keep your hands clean. They never use gloves but it will make you look like a serious researcher! Make a donation to the church after.