How it will be clear from the fact that I always write about that, I like the story. Much. This stems from the fact that since I was a child I spent hours and hours browsing in public offices, abandoned churches and State Archives alongside my mother, while we were rebuilding the Corato family tree.
After I recently talked about my great-great-grandfather , I was asked several times for help to start a family tree. So I decided to consult once again with Mrs. Vania and put down a little basic tutorial. What then turned into a ten-page project body 10 single interline, so I warn you: make yourself a cup of tea before you start reading.
I do not promise to teach you the genealogy and make you become Henry Louis Gates Jr. – after all I am an amateur, and Mrs. Vania is only very practical – but at least you will have an idea of how to start, and where you could get. I warn you that it takes a lot of patience and even a little luck.
I divided the “tutorial” into three parts: basic, intermediate and advanced. Even if you stop only at the basic level, you should still go to the end of the article and read the tips / notes, which will clarify many small things. Ready? Here we go.
BASIC LEVEL: FAMILY SECRETS
1) What you know is the starting point of your research.
Start with easy things, transcribing the information of all your relatives you know. The basic data are name and surname with possible nicknames, profession, places and dates of birth, death and marriage. Brothers, parents, uncles, grandparents, cousins, madness, everyone who comes to mind.
As we will see later, the places are really important when doing genealogical research in Italy: if possible, marked the exact parish where religious events were held such as weddings, baptisms, deaths.
2) Ask everyone what they know.
As above: siblings, parents, uncles, grandparents, cousins, prozie matte etc. Typical questions can be: do you remember the name of your grandfather / grandmother? Do you remember when he was born / dead? Where is it? Do you know what work it did? Do you know if he had brothers? And then: do you remember what your grandfather’s / grandmother’s parents were called?
Everyone is embarrassed at first and they say they do not remember anything: they are patient. An effective method for collecting essential data is to proceed with anecdotes, which are increasingly more natural than schematic information.
A good idea may be to record the interviews you make, so as to keep a copy of all the stories that are told. You never know what might come in handy.
3) Take a nice ride to the cemetery. Or to various cemeteries.
Missing dates and other information can be collected easily: just find the gravestone of your ancestor! I know, it’s a bit ‘macabre, but then what did you expect?
All the municipalities have a cemetery office where, by giving the name and approximate date of death, the position of a burial can be traced.
This is the first moment when it will be useful to have talked to your relatives and have marked the parish of belonging: especially if there are several cemeteries, you will know where to look.
Keep your eyes wide open! Often related people are buried nearby, and this can provide other names and places to engage.
4) To rummage drawers, to turn attics, to empty cabinets.
In theory this point could be done together with point 2, but showing a minimum of research already carried out will certainly make your relatives more likely to let you investigate in their homes.
The most unexpected objects can come in handy: photographs, saintly pictures, birth announcements, wedding invitations, newspaper clippings. This phase is a bit ‘chaotic, but rearranged this material, you’ll be amazed at how much information you’ve already collected!
While you’re there, you’d better scan the photos that interest you and store them neatly.