Am new to this site, having done really well in researching my UK ancestry in the past year or so, mostly back to the 1700s. Would now like to address the Italian part of my ancestry and wonder whether anyone could give me any tips on sources/how to proceed?
My maternal grandfather, Carlo Cordani, was born in the vicinity of the town of Bettola, near Piacenza, in 1896. He left Italy originally when he was about 13, returned to fight in the First World War and than came back to Wales where he married my grandmother, a Welsh woman, and started a business; he was followed to the UK some years later by a younger brother, Francesco. He was interned for a time in WWII and became a naturalised UK citizen in the 1950s. From the copies of his wartime internment and later naturalisation files which I obtained from the UK National Archives last year, I learned that his father was a Giuseppe Cordani and that his mother's name was Maria.
Having been taken to Italy from a very young age, I know that there were family links with two farms/settlements, one at Costa di Roncovero, nearer Bettola and the other at Ronchi, nearer the town of Bardi and close to a settlement called Groppoducale. I also know that there is a village in the vicinity which bears my grandfather's surname, but I am not aware whether there is a definite family connection. Unfortunately, all my grandfather's siblings/half-siblings (his father married twice), most of whom I met at one time or another, are long since dead, and I have lost touch with all my cousins. I have been told, however, by a distant relative via the Groppoducale website, that apparently there is a reference in a book on local history to a family by the name of Cordani being in the area in the 1470s, but I have been unable to substantiate this.
Can anyone suggest any ways in which I could proceed with researching my Italian roots, even if it only fleshing out the bare bones of what I already know? I remember one of my cousins telling me about 15 years ago that many church records for the vicinity would no longer be available, as many of the small, local churches had fallen into disrepair and been abandoned, but what about civil records? As an ex-student of Italian history, I am well aware of the chronology of the Risorgimento in the nineteenth century, so would government records have become more rigorous from 1870 onwards? I am not as fluent in Italian as I once was, but having studied the language for four years I am still reasonably proficient, so would be more than willing and able to consult any original sources in Italian.
Any help or guidance that anyone could give me would be greatly appreciated.
-your ancestor came back in Italy for WWI, you can write in Piacenza State Archive( because they have all draft registration card for men born in all Piacenza province from 1871-1943) and you can request ( by payment) the photocopy LISTA DI LEVA of CORDANI Carlo born in Piacenza province, in the 1896, son of CORDANI Giuseppe and ... Maria.
-from this document you can decover the right birthplace and birthdate.
Piacenza Archive, address and email: http://www.aspc.archivi.beniculturali.it/dove.htm regards, suanj
Tante grazie per quello, Suanj. I already have a date of birth for my grandfather of 29 July 1896, and he gives his place of birth on his UK naturalisation form as "Bettola, Piacenza". Am I likely to learn much more from his draft registration?
the hair, eyes, hair, hight, torax, etc, and mother surname also and when and where he was in militar service and in WWI and the dates( lista di leva and Ruolo Matricolare records by Piacenza Archive)... but, maybe, this could be no interesting for you... also you can look the Mormons microfilms of civil records in Bettola:
Registri dello stato civile, 1806-1929 Bettola (Piacenza). Ufficio dello stato civile
mj: Wow! So many Cordanis emigrating to the USA! There may well be a family connection with some of the people you list, but I understand from various people I've contacted that Cordani is a very common surname in the area around Bettola. This is borne out by the fact that I've just remembered that, according to my grandfather's UK naturalisation form, his mother's maiden name was Cordani, as well as her married name! I know that my great-aunt Antonietta, the wife of my grandfather's youngest half-brother, had a brother who emigrated to the USA, so there may well be a a wider US family dimension. Also, I have a dim recollection now of an old guy who called himself "Joe" (presumably Giuseppe), who inhabited a part of my great-uncle's property, had lived for many years in the States and who I met when I was on holiday in Bettola with my family in, I think, 1974. I have no idea how old he was at the time (I was 11 in 1974!), but he could well have been another Cordani and may have been included in your Ellis Island listings.
I think it WOULD be interesting to see the Lista de Leva for my grandfather. Is it normally quite difficult go get information from the State Archives? I think the Mormon Church microfilm would also be useful. Am I right in thinking that in order to view this, I contact a Family History Centre close to where I live (Herefordshire, on the border with South Wales, where I'm originally from) to order the microfilm to view at the Centre? The only contact I've had so far with the Mormon Church is to use their website to look for various UK ancestors on the 1881 census.
Mike, is no hard to obtain the Lista di leva and Ruolo Matricolare by Piacenza State Archive; only the payment it must be made in euros, but it is a little sum for photocopies exepenses and postage... I believe that this records is no availables in Mormons, only births/ marriages/deaths microfilms...
Tante grazie, Suanj, ho scritto adesso al'Archivio di Stato di Piacenza per ottenere la Lista di Leva e e Ruolo Matricolare per mio nonno.
For the Mormon Church, I have now located the Family History Centres closest to me (Worcester, England and Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil in Wales). I note that the microfilms have to be ordered in advance and that there are 44 listed for Bettola's registri dello stato civile between 1806 and 1929. As the only date I am sure of is my grandfather's birth date, 29 July 1896, is it best as a starting point to order the microfilms immediately around that date to find, for example, the date of my great-grandparents' marriage, and then work backwards from there? Any advice would be gratefully received.
I have now received a reply from the Piacenza State Archive (thanks, Suanj!) regarding my grandfather's WWI military service. Can someone confirm that the email below says what I think it says as my conversational Italian these days is much better than my "official" Italian!
I think they're telling me that they have located the "ruolo matricolare" for my grandfather and that they can send an A3 copy to me if I send them my address and payment of 16 cents for photocopying. Does anyone know how would I make payment of such a small amount?
I think they're also telling me that the "lista di leva" is held at Parma State Archive, but I have been unable to locate a website and/or email address for this. Can anyone help?
Con riferimento alla sua e-mail del 17/05/07, si informa che Ã¨ stato rintracciato il ruolo matricolare richiesto e che il medesimo verrÃ inviato a fronte del pagamento di centesimi 0,16 necessari per la duplicazione su di un foglio A3.
Si raccomanda all'uopo di voler far pervenire l'indirizzo postale presso il quale si desidera venga inviato il documento.
La copia della lista di leva del medesimo ex militare indicato in oggetto, potrÃ invece essere rirettamente richiesto dall s.v. presso l'archivio di stato di Parma.
Rossi - Capuano
U.O. Servizio Riproduzioni
Hi, well from Piacenza they have found the RUOLO MATRICOLARE document, of your ancestor; they need of payment ( 0,16 euros= 16 eurocents) and the right your address ; abt LISTA DI LEVA document, they say that you can request it directly in Parma Archive; however the Ruolo Matricolare is sufficient, because it are so much infos as birthdate and birthplace, and other interesting infos as Regiment, Batallion, dates of miltar service, etc... ... so send the money in a envelope with a cover letter and maybe you can send also a international coupon for document sending... kind regards, suanj
Hey Mike. I am also going to send an email to them about my great grandfather's military service. Can you please put here what you wrote to them? If you can, in English and Italian. I would be most grateful.
Searching for surnames Ignazio, Graziano, Trella, Del Principe, Biani, Subrizi, Della Valle
Sure, no problem! I've appended below the text of the original email I sent to Piacenza Archives. Apologies in advance to any native Italian speakers if I've mangled the language (I'm 15 years out of practice!!) but it SHOULD say:
I am writing this from Great Britain. I would like to know how it is possible to obtain copies of the Lista di Leva and Ruolo Matricolare for my grandfather, CORDANI Carlo, born 29 July 1896 in Bettola, Piacenza, parents CORDANI Giuseppe and CORDANI Maria. If it is necessary to pay, how much does it cost and how do I pay?
Thank you very much."
Kept it as simple as I could, but it seemed to work! I've since written to them again asking how they would like payment and how much it would cost for postage, and they've replied this morning saying that a further 3 euros should cover this and that they will send any refund to me in the form of stamps. Hope all that helps.
Scrivo questo da Gran Bretagne. Vorrei sapere com'e possibile ottenere le copie della Lista di Leva e Ruolo Matricolare per mio nonno, CORDANI Carlo, nato 29 luglio 1896 a Bettola, Piacenza, genitori CORDANI Giuseppe e CORDANI Maria. Se si paga, quanto costa e come pago?
Thanks for the 1901 English census page. Unfortunately, don't think any of the Cordanis detailed are my close relatives, but they may be more distantly related. I THINK my great uncle Frank (Francesco) was born in 1898, although I'm not absolutely sure about that, and when he came over to Britain he followed my grandfather straight to Wales. He eventually ran a cafe in the village of Sennybridge in mid-Wales.