How to pay towns and churches for information

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donnawright
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How to pay towns and churches for information

Postby donnawright » 18 Jan 2009, 22:24

I read a couple of different things about this subject. I read that there is something to get from the post office and send as payment. Not to send checks because they are expensive to cash in Italy. When I inquired at the post office what they have, they said an international money order. Please advise. I understand that towns might send a bill with the information and that donations are the custom with churches. Clear it all up for me please before I send for information. I believe I located ancestors hometown, but in Sorano there are many catholic churches, it seems.

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PeterTimber
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Re: How to pay towns and churches for information

Postby PeterTimber » 18 Jan 2009, 22:43

First of all most often records are free of charge and people send a "tip" for poorly paid clerks inthe municipal offices who research for documents as an end of day duty. The best way is to send euros which most people do not have handy and to send dollars I am told is difficult for them to cash since exchange charges are high and not worth it. In some instances there is a charge and you will be billed and can send whatever is asked or go to the nearest American express offices that exchange moneies in the USA. All things being considered since the service is free is to perhaps say THANK YOU and send nothing or buy euros from American express if you can. Figure about$10.00 US which comes to about 6euros these days.

As for church donations the ante goes up to about $20.00 and you can send dollars and hope they don't ask for more or hire a local researcher to go thru church records if the good fathers will allow it or they refuse to check the records themselves. Some just say NO WAY JOSE can you touch my records too!! =Peter=
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Re: How to pay towns and churches for information

Postby Italysearcher » 19 Jan 2009, 13:52

Peter is right, most towns do not charge for certificates where you have the dates, others charge only if they have to search for the record. If you don't get a response the first time try sending a second request after 6 weeks with Euros included not dollars.
For the church, same thing. Include Euros for one or two records where you have at least the year. If you are looking for a search then ask if a local person can do the search for either remuneration or a donation to the church. Don't expect to get photocopies or photos and they may just provide the year. Many church records do not give the parents names, others provide two or three generations. If there are no indexes it is unlikely they will do a page by page search.
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Re: How to pay towns and churches for information

Postby lilbees » 19 Jan 2009, 16:12

In the past year I have been billed for the cost of copying and postage from the Archives (Salerno and Palermo in particular). Usually 6 euros each record. They both suggested a money order from either Western Union or Moneygram. Apparently it has worked okay for me.

I was surprised to learn that Moneygram even did money orders and the same with Western Union. It may cost me postage to send them but it has now eliminated any hassel I had in trying to get the IRCs which in my area are not available. As far as the local Post Office knew, not even Atlanta probably wouldn't have them.

Just an F.Y.I. for all.

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Re: How to pay towns and churches for information

Postby matta » 24 Jan 2009, 20:29

lilbees wrote:I had in trying to get the IRCs which in my area are not available. As far as the local Post Office knew, not even Atlanta probably wouldn't have them.

Just an F.Y.I. for all.

lilbees



It may be a hassle, but IRCs are available at every post office in the US, just not immediately available. When you need some, ask the supervisor to place an order for 10 IRCs (or however many you need) with his/her next order. Since most post offices place multiple orders per week for supplies, you'll get some in a few days.

I had the run around for a month with people who told me "they don't exist anymore" or "we don't carry those". Eventually I got someone at the Postmaster General's office that explained to me that the supervisor has to order them if you request some. The people who told me that they didn't exist or that a particular post office didn't "carry" them were either misinformed or lazy.

Then again, I'm always torn on the value of sending IRCs. It's a nice gesture, but 75% of the time, the IRC is just sent back with the letter (either it's too much work to use or the comune doesn't know how to use it). Plus, the IRC costs about twice as much as the postage from the US to Italy.

On the other hand, they're pretty interesting looking, and people always ask about them when I have some sitting out (kids usually ask to keep one).

edit: and I get my supply in rural Georgia

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Re: How to pay towns and churches for information

Postby nuccia » 24 Jan 2009, 20:45

I used to work for many years at a small post office .. a "sub- post office" as it was located in a store.

IRC are available, and they do have to be ordered. The problem is that they expire and so once ordered, expired ones can not be sent back so the postal station ordering them would take the hit. In the four years I was there I only sold one (and that was to myself). This is why they are easier to obtain in larger Postal Stations or in big cities than it is in smaller ones.

As for the comuni in Italy, some don't know how to cash them, and in smaller comuni its difficult to get the people working there to know what to do either (I have experienced this). Also, there isn't supposed to be a charge for exchanging them but thats not always the case.

This is just based on my personal experience. Others may have a different story.
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Re: How to pay towns and churches for information

Postby PeterTimber » 24 Jan 2009, 21:10

It is better to send a Thank you if you cannot send a few Euro notes to the poorly paid clerks in the Muncipal offices who research as an end of day duty. If you send dollars they would only have to pay commissions to exchange into Euros which means that you are more obligated then to send more dollars to make your "tip" worthwhile ($10.00 which at current rate of exchange is about 5-6 Euros and less cost of commissions and can be high) and may not be worth the effort. This was kindly pointed out to me by another colleague.

I have never used IRC's since they can cause more exchange grief whichis what you want to avoid. =Peter=
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Re: How to pay towns and churches for information

Postby donnawright » 24 Jan 2009, 22:18

When I asked the question at my post office, I could not remember the word/phrase IRC, and he said the only thing they have is international money order. I suppose they would still have to pay the commission on an international money order???
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Re: How to pay towns and churches for information

Postby nuccia » 24 Jan 2009, 22:35

donnawright wrote:When I asked the question at my post office, I could not remember the word/phrase IRC, and he said the only thing they have is international money order. I suppose they would still have to pay the commission on an international money order???


There are two things the Post Office sells:

IRC=International Reply Coupons which could be exchanged for postage

and International Money Orders which are like..well Money Orders and from my experience, not very easy to cash (yes, they DID charge me commissions on one, believe or not, although it clearly states that there is not suppossed to be a charge to cash one.)
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Re: How to pay towns and churches for information

Postby ashlandlee » 25 Jan 2009, 03:50

I recently sent a Church in L' Aquila a donation. I used a bank money order from HSBC. It worked.

It is best to ask the church person what way to make the donation. He did a lot of work, I asked for information on three people and he sent back 8 people's records.

I could only send him about US$15 per person.

I then sent a gift to the woman, who was from the same town, who spoke to the father at the church for me. The gift consisted of locally made jams and maple syrup. She liked them.


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