I have been reading a lot of the information on here and found some posts that suggested looking up people in the area that the family is from and trying to correspond with them and see if they are related. I did this and actually found one Leonardo Piazza, which we have one that was a nephew of my great-grandfather (or something close to that) and so I thought writing may help in this case. But I do not know italian and do not know what to say and how to write for what i am looking for. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks.
Well, I can't tell you what to say. And I have never come across any form letters on the internet for writing to possible relations in Italy. And Trafford Cole's book on Italian Records doesn't have any samples of such a letter. And the Family History Library's reference material doesn't provide any sentences that would work either. I guess that's the bad news!
You can draft up a simple letter yourself and either have it professionally translated for $40 or $50 or translate it yourself. If you do it yourself it won't be perfect. But it won't matter. I have been exchanging emails with Italians for a few months now and I don't know the Italian language at all. My procedure is as follows:
First I draft up something in English, keeping it as direct and simple as possible.
Then I run it through the Alta Vista Babelfish translator from English to Italian. (This is a free internet translator).
Then I run the Italian version of my text back through the translator into English. The text that translates well back into English I keep. The text that doesn't translate well gets reworded until it does.
I know that my Italian language skills are horrible, but I have made wonderful contacts using this technique so it has been worth the effort for me.
Good Luck! And if you find a better way, please let me kow about it!
thank you for the help. I just wasn't sure if there was a form you were supposed to follow in writing over there. I think i've heard of the translation thing, so that's a great idea. But first i'm going to try to get my good friend's husband to help me. He actually served a mission in Sicily and spoke the language, so I'm going to try and put him to work. Thanks again! And I'm glad it's working for you. trisha