Canastota (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canastota,_New_York). It’s a little town in Madison County in Central New York with a substantial Italian population. It is where I grew up. Until recently when I had my DNA tested, I had no idea that I could have Italian ancestors but, sure enough, AncestryDNA says I am 18% Southern European (Italy, Spain, Portugal). Although I have not yet found Italian ancestors, I believe that hundreds of years ago my French Huguenot ancestors, who were located in Southeastern France, may have originated in Italy. I have found some indications on Ancestry.com on this, but I have no proof that it is so. Anyway, in honor of my newly-found Italian blood, I figured I would do a page on Italian genealogical research for me and my friends back in Canastota.
If you have never done genealogical research before, FamilySearch (www.Familysearch.org), operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a good general place to start. It is free and easy to navigate. If you know some basic information about an ancestor, you can gather more clues about them such as their immigration date. As you become more proficient at using the site, you can enter a place name (https://familysearch.org/catalog-search) and discover what resources (church records, cemetery information, land transactions, military records, history, biographies, vital records and more) are available for the area you are researching. You can then order microfilms online and have them shipped to your local Family History Center (https://familysearch.org/locations).
Under the Learn Wiki section (https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Main_Page) of the Familysearch.org website you will find numerous articles that will help you with your Italian research. For example, I found one entitled “Italian Marriage Records More Than You Think” (https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Italian_Marriage_Records_More_Than_You_Think). Another one is called “Italian Civil Registration—Vital Records” (https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Italy_Civil_Registration-_Vital_Records).
Familysearch even has an Italian Genealogical Word List (https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Italian_Genealogical_Word_List) to help you decipher documents.
You can also take free online courses in the Learn/Research Courses section of the website (https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/home.html). I found one called “Basic Italian Research” (https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/lesson/basic-italian-research/246).
If you learn an approximate immigration date, you can then go to websites such as Ellis Island (http://www.ellisisland.org), which covers the years 1892-1924, or CastleGarden (http://www.castlegarden.org), which addresses the years 1820-1892.
Here are some other helpful websites on Italian genealogical research that I have found:
- D'Addezio.com (http://www.daddezio.com/italgen.html)
- ItalianGenealogy.com (http://www.italiangenealogy.com)
And these are books that I may purchase:
- Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans by John Philip Colletta (http://www.shopfamilytree.com/finding-italian-roots-gpc1127).
- Finding Your Italian Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide by Suzanne Russo Adams (http://www.shopfamilytree.com/finding-your-italian-ancestors).
I hope this helps those of you seeking to locate your Italian roots!
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