reconstructing family units?

Are you looking for an Italian surname? Do you need more information about your family heritage?
This is the right place to start your genealogy search.
kencwalker
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 193
Joined: 07 May 2016, 18:30
Location: Dallas, TX

reconstructing family units?

Postby kencwalker » 07 Jun 2016, 03:16

I've found Italian records to be more challenging to research when compared to the USA, Scotland or Sweden. It's not so much the language ("genealogical" Italian is way easier than Swedish! LOL). It's the lack of a census (aka household examination in Sweden). I now appreciate the value of a census to identify other family members (especially unknown siblings), track the evolution of the family unit, and find closely related relatives. I've heard rumors of an Italian census, but have yet to find one online for provinces of Sondrio or Novara.
So, my question.....how do others attack the problem of reconstructing family units in a comune?
Do you go page by page thru all the Nascita, Matrimoni, and Morti records, noting every matching name, then sort them out?
For example, I've documented about 100 Pedroncellis born in Madesimo/Isolato and Verceia between 1866-1900. I'm (slowly) collecting father/mother data to organize them into families, and establish generational relationships. (I suppose it's a "local" Pedroncelli family tree.)

You may wonder....why would he want to do that?!? (LOL @ me)
First, I thought my grandfather had 4 siblings. Then I stumbled into an existing family tree with 8 or 9 siblings, and realized I needed to do more research. Eventually I found 11 children born to my g/g-father. Who knew? (no one in my family). I found the same "missing siblings" issue with my maternal grandmother's line, and suspect I will have the same challenges as I go back each generation. How can you be sure you find all siblings?

I also discovered TWO Giovanni "John" Pedroncellis migrated from Verceia/Piantedo, Sondrio to Geyersville, Sonoma County, CA. Better yet, birth and migration years are w/in a few years of each other. What are the odds? (And, I wonder how many folks have been tripped up tracking the wrong Giovanni along the migration trail?) I met the "other" Gio Ped's g/grandchild (online) and now we are trying to figure out if/how we're related.

Sorry, a long post to ask how do others approach these situations?
Thanks,
-Ken
Researching surnames Pedroncelli and Pilatti in Sondrio; Cantoia in Novara; Penna in Asti.

User avatar
Italysearcher
Master
Master
Posts: 1800
Joined: 06 Jan 2008, 19:58
Location: Sora, Italy
Contact:

Re: reconstructing family units?

Postby Italysearcher » 07 Jun 2016, 12:19

You will find answers to some of your questions on my blog posts.
It's not uncommon to find two people with the same name from the same town (read What's in a name)
Ann Tatangelo
http://angelresearch.wordpress.com
ANNOYING THE SAINTS - Stories of my Life in Italy. http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-b ... ly/7731505

User avatar
adelfio
Master
Master
Posts: 6822
Joined: 27 Oct 2010, 13:47
Location: Chicago

Re: reconstructing family units?

Postby adelfio » 07 Jun 2016, 15:29

Work on one branch line at a time things get to confusing otherwise and verify all research with civil records. To many people just take word of mouth family info without proper research or they just latch on to tree on ancestry.com

Marty
Researching Trabia, Palermo surnames Adelfio, Bondi, Butera, Scardino,Rinella, Scardamaglia

Marty

VotM
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 211
Joined: 23 Dec 2014, 22:04
Location: Maryland

Re: reconstructing family units?

Postby VotM » 07 Jun 2016, 17:20

For my patrilineal branch I researched the long way that you described: went through the index for each year in the Nascita, Matrimoni, and Morti records, noting every matching name along with the parents' names, then sorted them out on an Excel spread sheet. It took several passes through the lists before i felt that I had everyone I could reasonably find. There were several name variants I needed to account for: my family's surname has been recorded in the civil records alternately as Nardo, Di Nardo, Molica Nardo, and on rare early occasions (mid-1800's) simply as Molica.

Marriage allegati records were also useful in filling in details, such as exact birth dates... or, for one early family member, a baptism date. (Unfortunately, of the three parts of Sicily which comprise my heritage, my patrilineal branch is rooted in the town with the least depth of available online Allegati records.)
LDS Gioiosa Marea "road map" post at
http://italiangenealogy.com/forum/itali ... logy/33808

LDS Cefalù, Termini Imerese and Villaurea "road map" post at
http://www.italiangenealogy.com/forum/i ... 50#p239255

kencwalker
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 193
Joined: 07 May 2016, 18:30
Location: Dallas, TX

Re: reconstructing family units?

Postby kencwalker » 07 Jun 2016, 18:56

Italysearcher wrote:It's not uncommon to find two people with the same name from the same town (read What's in a name)

Ann, Thanks. Your blogs have been helpful. And yes, common names in the same town seems to be the rule, not the exception (in spite of efforts to outlaw the practice of naming sons after fathers). My maternal grandfather's family line has several Giovanni, Battista and Lorenzos with the occasional Cristoforo and Domenico. LOL. As others noted, I have a lot of notes to avoid accidentally crossing family lines.

The surprise (to me) wasn't finding 2 Giovanni Pedronecllis born about the same time and place. It's the fact they immigrated about the same time, then lived 20 miles from each other in Sonoma County California. A strange coincidence, and apparently neither family knew of the other "John". There's also 2 Battistas from Verceia that immigrated to California. Fortunately, their ages were 15 years apart, and they lived at opposite ends of the state.
Researching surnames Pedroncelli and Pilatti in Sondrio; Cantoia in Novara; Penna in Asti.

kencwalker
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 193
Joined: 07 May 2016, 18:30
Location: Dallas, TX

Re: reconstructing family units?

Postby kencwalker » 07 Jun 2016, 19:44

adelfio wrote:To many people just take word of mouth family info without proper research or they just latch on to tree

Hi Marty, thanks. I guess I'm lucky. I don't have much family "word of mouth" to confuse my research. :-)
Given my limited knowledge base, "stumbling" into other family trees has been helpful. I consider them "clues" for additional research and not facts. One helped me identify 6 previously unknown siblings. They died young (1 day - 3 years). All were confirmed with civil records. Another tree opened the doors to a "lost" generation in Sweden. Again, it required a lot of Swedish research to confirm family relationships (the household inventory was a big help).

adelfio wrote:Work on one branch line at a time things get to confusing otherwise and verify all research with civil records.

Amen!
I'm following VotM's suggestion. I'm going through each year in the Nascita records (to start), noting every matching name along with the parents' names [and ages], and sorting them out in Excel. I then go through Morti and Matrimoni for ancestors in my direct family line.
Thanks!
Researching surnames Pedroncelli and Pilatti in Sondrio; Cantoia in Novara; Penna in Asti.

User avatar
peonygirl
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 142
Joined: 02 Apr 2016, 20:34

Re: reconstructing family units?

Postby peonygirl » 07 Jun 2016, 19:59

Sounds like you found a great solution. I've been researching my family lines in Abruzzo and Sicily. It helps me to become a bit more clear headed to focus on one family line first. Go through the father, whose surname is most stable, and start at the present, going backward. Birth and Marriage acts are great for finding parents, then you can search on parents name. I agree with your family trees as clues -- they are not to be taken literally but can help as you research for records. With records, I note the family, document, then add to tree but stay focused on finding records for birth, marriage and death of each person. I've used Excel but also create folders on my laptop of images I need to consider, those that are verified, and other that are questionable. Sounds small but it helps when you are in the thick of research and all those same names get jumbled! I think it also helps to keep an open mind - people die, people get remarried, life happens. All contingencies are possible - just verify with records that fit the puzzle. Good luck....Peonygirl

VotM
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 211
Joined: 23 Dec 2014, 22:04
Location: Maryland

Re: reconstructing family units?

Postby VotM » 07 Jun 2016, 20:46

peonygirl wrote:I've used Excel but also create folders on my laptop of images I need to consider, those that are verified, and other that are questionable. Sounds small but it helps when you are in the thick of research and all those same names get jumbled!

Alternately, if the images are readily available online, save the links.

My initial capture may have been overkill, but it was useful for differentiating families where people had similar names. It was a unified sheet with columns for:
  • year
  • type of event (birth, marriage,death)
  • "contrada" (may not apply to all communes)
  • last name
  • first name
  • age
  • spouse's last name
  • spouse's first name
  • father's first name
  • father's age
  • mother's last name
  • mother's first name
  • mother's age
  • URL
  • notes to myself
Not every column applies to every event.
LDS Gioiosa Marea "road map" post at
http://italiangenealogy.com/forum/itali ... logy/33808

LDS Cefalù, Termini Imerese and Villaurea "road map" post at
http://www.italiangenealogy.com/forum/i ... 50#p239255

User avatar
peonygirl
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 142
Joined: 02 Apr 2016, 20:34

Re: reconstructing family units?

Postby peonygirl » 07 Jun 2016, 22:49

Nice form and I appreciate your thoroughness. You can never have too much overkill with all the same names floating around communities. It's much easier to eliminate than to find. You are right, links are important to get when you find them.
Depends where you have to search. My paternal side in Abruzzo was much easier -- there are more records and more organization. I was able to copy the links I found in the Antenati for them in my Excel worksheet. Seriously, I'll never think of ancestors now without imagining a squid!
Sicily is much harder - smaller pool of people, less records indexed. Even with a subscription to Ancestry, I get little facts, no images, which is hard. I've contacted my local Family History Center and am setting up a date to go search there as so far its all been online. Perhaps church records may give a few more clues.....

kencwalker
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 193
Joined: 07 May 2016, 18:30
Location: Dallas, TX

Re: reconstructing family units?

Postby kencwalker » 07 Jun 2016, 23:41

peonygirl wrote:Sounds like you found a great solution.

Not sure I'd call it a "great" solution. :-) But it works with a lot of record keeping. Basically I'm indexing an entire family name. Because this family migrated with the seasons, I also track "domicilato in" to establish where they lived (as opposed to where the babies where born).
Then, just when I think I have have a family figured out, I find a data point that doesn't fit. Sometimes its an error in my notes, sometimes its a missed entry, sometimes it's an illegible entry. And, as I get better at reading the records, I sometimes find more useful info the second or third time around. :-) Like you and VotM said, you can't have too much data.
Researching surnames Pedroncelli and Pilatti in Sondrio; Cantoia in Novara; Penna in Asti.

VotM
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 211
Joined: 23 Dec 2014, 22:04
Location: Maryland

Re: reconstructing family units?

Postby VotM » 08 Jun 2016, 00:41

peonygirl wrote:Sicily is much harder - smaller pool of people, less records indexed. Even with a subscription to Ancestry, I get little facts, no images, which is hard. I've contacted my local Family History Center and am setting up a date to go search there as so far its all been online.

One other large step I had to take was building the "road maps" to the records of interest to me; i.e. locating all of the index records for Gioiosa Marea, Cefalu and Termini Imerese. (Which, admittedly, became much easier towards the end of my most recent efforts, when FamilySearch added a multi-page scrolling ability!)

I'm grateful for the FamilySearch and the Antenati (http://www.antenati.san.beniculturali.it) image sets. Most of my work was done with the ones readily available via the web at large, but of late I've been delving into a few of the sets that recently became viewable online at Family History Centers.
LDS Gioiosa Marea "road map" post at
http://italiangenealogy.com/forum/itali ... logy/33808

LDS Cefalù, Termini Imerese and Villaurea "road map" post at
http://www.italiangenealogy.com/forum/i ... 50#p239255

User avatar
peonygirl
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 142
Joined: 02 Apr 2016, 20:34

Re: reconstructing family units?

Postby peonygirl » 08 Jun 2016, 02:21

VotM - just looked at your "road map" on FamilySearch - impressive work!

kencwalker
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 193
Joined: 07 May 2016, 18:30
Location: Dallas, TX

Re: reconstructing family units?

Postby kencwalker » 08 Jun 2016, 21:09

VotM wrote:One other large step I had to take was building the "road maps" to the records of interest to me; i.e. locating all of the index records

I second peonygirl's comments: IMPRESSIVE.
I've done most of the work for Nascita records in 3 comunes (+ 1 in progress). I'm curious, how easy/hard it is to add this info to the FamilySearch Wiki? Do you have to be an LDS member?

VotM wrote:of late I've been delving into a few of the sets that recently became viewable online at Family History Centers.


I'm in the same boat. Image sets for my maternal grandmother's comune are "view only" at the LDS FHC.
Do you know why thy have this restriction? FHC staff "thought" it might be due to a partnership/contract that restrict access. Maybe they are available via a subscription site? Do you know?
I'm willing to pay for improved access. As it is, I can only research when they are open, and can't save or print copies of the images for later reference. I'm tempted to order the films and review the "old-fashioned way". LOL

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

VotM
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 211
Joined: 23 Dec 2014, 22:04
Location: Maryland

Re: reconstructing family units?

Postby VotM » 08 Jun 2016, 21:37

kencwalker wrote:I'm curious, how easy/hard it is to add this info to the FamilySearch Wiki? Do you have to be an LDS member?

Easy question first: you do not have to be an LDS member to add information to the FamilySearch Wiki. I'm not a member.

How easy/hard it will be depends on whether you have worked with making Wiki entries or not. The tables were a bit of a challenge. Basically, my approach involved downloading the "Microsoft Office Word Add-in For MediaWiki" so that I could paste the Excel tables in to Word and generate a good first cut at them. I also did a LOT of testing things out in my FamilySearch sandbox before attempting to create a Wiki page. If you have a FamilySearch account (free), you have a sandbox.

For me the effort to bring the first table online was a bit difficult (I'm not a Wiki expert), but it was worthwhile... sort of my way of paying back -- or perhaps paying forward? -- for the free access to all those records! :-)

Anyway, now that the hard work has been done once, other pages should be a little easier for those so inclined: simply copy one of my Wiki pages and use it as a template to make a new page.
kencwalker wrote:
VotM wrote:of late I've been delving into a few of the sets that recently became viewable online at Family History Centers.
I'm in the same boat. Image sets for my maternal grandmother's comune are "view only" at the LDS FHC.
Do you know why thy have this restriction? FHC staff "thought" it might be due to a partnership/contract that restrict access.

That's the reason I hear from the people at my local FHC.
kencwalker wrote: Maybe they are available via a subscription site? Do you know? I'm willing to pay for improved access. As it is, I can only research when they are open, and can't save or print copies of the images for later reference.

A member of the LDS with an LDS account can log in and download the restricted images.

But you can still capture images to bring home. You can either do screen captures, or right-click and "Save image as..." in your browser. Then copy the images to your thumb drive or send them home via a dropbox site (e.g., Dropbox). The images won't have the same resolution as if you were able to do a true download, but if you're working on a screen with high resolution you can generally capture something that you can work with later at home.

P.S. Thanks to you & peonygirl for the good word on the Wiki pages!
LDS Gioiosa Marea "road map" post at
http://italiangenealogy.com/forum/itali ... logy/33808

LDS Cefalù, Termini Imerese and Villaurea "road map" post at
http://www.italiangenealogy.com/forum/i ... 50#p239255

kencwalker
Veteran
Veteran
Posts: 193
Joined: 07 May 2016, 18:30
Location: Dallas, TX

Re: reconstructing family units?

Postby kencwalker » 08 Jun 2016, 23:53

Hi VotM,
Thanks for the tips.
I'm not a LDS member either. How I pine for LDS member level access to Cavaglio. :) . I'm trying to recruit Mormon friends to help, but they're not interested in genealogy. LOL

It took awhile to figure out how to access them: Drive to the FHC; then DON'T login. Even the FHC staff didn't know that trick. Maybe I should volunteer there?!? "will help staff to access records" :)

I was caught flat footed when I couldn't save or print the images. I tried a couple of Windows tricks, but didn't think to use the browser's "Save Image As...." function (darn it). That tip should dramatically improve my FHC productivity! (I still have 30 years to search.)

Like you, I appreciate the resources they provide thru FamilySearch and the FHC, and willing to pay it forward by sharing. My notes are still evolving; the more I learn the more I need to record. I'll checkout your Wiki template when I'm in position to do that. (I hate reinventing the wheel.)

Grazie mille!
-Ken
Researching surnames Pedroncelli and Pilatti in Sondrio; Cantoia in Novara; Penna in Asti.


Return to “Italian Genealogy”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot], VotM, Yahoo [Bot] and 10 guests