Take along the companion book Discovering Your Italian Ancestors by Lynn Nelson and a magnifying glass since most of the records are handwritten in that glorious script when handwriting was art. =Peter=
To speed up your search, study the first record and determine (using the book) where the name of the baby appears on the film (or the name of the father etc) Once you have got the spot, advance the film, record by record, keeping your eyes on the 'spot'. When a name appears that you are looking for, check the other information to make sure you have the right record.
John, do you know how to read Italian? If not, familiarize yourself with the names of numbers, months, days and years (which are written out in words, not numbers). This will help you decipher that "glorious script." Also, many films have a handwritten index. The index either appears before the year in question or after the year in question. Visually scan that index first for any applicable names in your search.
Well, I can say before I started this research I did not know any Italian but I am starting to pick up some of it as I go, but no, I do not speak or read Italian, but I can read some Spanish so that helps a little as some things are similar...
Well I spent 4 hours going through 1 and 1/2 films. The center does not have a digital copier so I am having to work with a printer when I see a record of interest. The image is quite clear on the film viewing screen, I may bring my camera next time and see if I can get a good image to the camera then I will have digital.
The Family History Center staff are very helpful and they make it easy for anyone who wants to view microfilms. Anyone out there thinking about doing this should.
I probably spent too much time looking at records that were not specific to my search, for example they have multiple towns on the same film. So you are tempted to see if there are your surnames on those towns just in case. I also recommend to go look at the index of names which is usually at the end of the records for each segment, BUT I found they are not always 100% correct so I did not take a chance and went through the records anyway. Sometimes it hard to tell when an index is directly related to the records in the very old films like the 1869 roll I looked at.
This is a very interesting search and I will have a lot of questions in the future. The reference books are very helpful.
The woman at my center said that sometimes the index is at the beginning, sometimes at the end, and sometimes non-existent. One of our members, Billythekid, I believe warned in another thread that the indices were not at all accurate. She suggested going through one by one. I am just starting the process myself and haven't found an index in my first roll yet. The part that is a little frustrating is how little time I have for each session. I wish they were open longer, four and a half hours sounds like a great luxury.
Translations can be found on my website also.
It was not uncommon to drop the first part of a name in the indexes if it was a 'La' 'Di' or L'. This changed over the years so remember to check both versions.