Thursday, 21 January 2010

Free Italian translations to send to Italy requesting civil records

I have set up a separate blog where I am posting letters in Italian requesting Civil records such as birth or marriage records which you are welcome to copy and use:

 I have also started a new blog with a very concise list of books related to Italian Genealogy from a number of countries:

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Message boards and finding my Italian family.

On my return home from Como I sat down and started to work on my family history sorting all the information that I had managed to collect into a yearly sequence and by the time I had put everything together I had information from 1800 onwards, but I was missing a space of several years for my Grandfather, I had the information from Como council that he had left for Genoa in 1899 and his naturalisation records for 1922 where he gives part of his merchant marine service, the other missing link and one of my big challenges was my search for living Desio’s and where to look.
One of my most important breakthroughs was made by leaving messages on message boards. This can be a problem because you can start to receive a lot of spam, but if you are successful you can always change your e mail address which is what I ended up having to do. There are many places that you can add a message, Ancestry have message boards which get used frequently and also Rootsweb have mailing lists but choose carefully on which list you post a message as there are so many and might not reach the people that you want to find. I must say that it was neither of these two boards that eventually helped me but one that I just happened to bump into. I wrote into google a search using variations such as “Como Italian Desio message board” “Desio Italy Argentine message” Famiglia Desio Larghi Como mensaje” and eventually came up with a message board in Florida I am still not sure why I put a message there I think it was because the person running it was called Carlo Desio if I remember correctly and I thought anything was worth trying.

Don’t put too much information about your family, just enough for the person reading the message to see that there is a link, the name of the person you are researching, where he was born if known and a rough year of birth, the only thing I added was the name of his father. Note down where you have left messages so that you can always return to see if there are any replies, not all message boards pass the replies back to you and then cross your fingers. There is no need to return constantly to the boards but go back about once a month.

Admittedly I had forgotten completely about this particular message board and it was only when I was doing a search with Google using my Grandfathers full name that I found it again, over 6 months had gone by and I nearly fell of the chair when I saw there was a reply.

I received several messages from Ancestry and contacted with many Desio descendents but none were actually related with my family, even today we still keep in touch. But this one was special it said that her Great grandfather was called Edoardo Desio and his wife had been Annette Arrigo both from Como in Italy. I replied straight away and hoped for a reply after such a long time; Maria had placed a reply to my email 5 months earlier.

By the next morning there was a reply to my email, I nearly jumped for joy because all the information she was giving me was correct, and indeed this person was part of the Desio family. It turned out that my grandfather’s brother had immigrated to Argentine late 1893 early 1894 (Note the Comune of Como did have a wrong date of him leaving Como) he married very soon after his arrival. Maria had tried to find his arrival to Argentine but had not been able to find it, her family knew the date of Eduardo’s birth and I sent her copies of the rest of the family and filled her in with what I had been able to obtain. So after over 100 years we were able to reunite the two sides of the family, my second cousins still live in Argentine and his daughter Maria lives in the USA, my Spanish really was going to come in useful, what a small world, both brothers leave Italy in two different directions and yet we end up in Spanish speaking countries.
Sadly even today we have not been able to find out what happened to Edoardo father after he left Como and today we still continue our search.

Message boards can be a very useful tool to help you find not only other members of your family but also they can help you find out where your ancestor came from. If you put the surname and Italy into a search engine you can often see links to genealogical pages and messages that have been left by others. Depending on the surname you may be very lucky and find the right town or village, there are many helpful people out there willing to give you advice and help. Often if they share the same surname with you they can suggest as to which area your ancestor may have come from.

The Photograph at the top of the page is of Eduardo Desio and his wife Francisca

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Visiting the Comune in Italy

The monumental Cemetery Como

I decided it was time to go and visit Como and see if I could find new details. I took copies of the birth records I had been able to obtain and also the addresses that the family had lived at whilst in Como, I checked out where the local cemeteries were situated, the state archive and the council offices, armed with a phrase book and all my paperwork we set off well prepared!!! or so I thought.

Talk about finding your roots, when we arrived in Como it was pouring with rain but when we stopped just besides the lake and looked back towards the town I just knew that I had “Come home” it was such an extraordinary feeling one I have never had before and I doubt I will ever have again. Here before me was where my forefathers had lived and here I was, ready to follow in their footsteps along the streets of the old part of Como. Breathing the air they had breathed, looking at sights they would have seen as they went about their daily chores. So after taking in the wonder of the place we settled in and I got ready for my visit to the council the next day.

I suggest that your first visit is to the Ufficio de Anagrafe at the council offices which I mentioned in my last posting. If you are lucky to get a kind and patient official you should be lucky enough to be able to at least acquire the Situazione della Famiglia also mentioned in my last post. If it is an unusual surname they may even give you details of other people with the same surname, ask them to check on their records for citizens living in the commune to see if there are any people living in the area with the same surname, they may not give you the details but if you take a list from the local telephone book of people with the surname you are researching you can use this. If it is a small village you may find that they are far more helpful with individual surnames which are often known to them personally and almost certainly they should know some history of the family and may even point you in the right direction as to whom maybe a family member.

At the same department you can ask about the “registro di leva” military records for your ancestor. These will give you the date of birth and when they did their military conscription, where they served and what date they were demobbed along with any other military details that might have been added to the record.
Check opening times for all the places you want to go to and don’t leave your visit until near closing time you could be there longer than you think especially if there is a queue in front of you.

Normally the “Stato civile” Civil register is in the same department or near to the Ufficio di Anagrafe, here they should have the birth, death and marriage records, if they are very far back then these should be found in the State archive along with earlier military records. There should also be a department for the local cemeteries within the council; these should have plans of the cemeteries, how ever I have not attempted to do this myself.

I had several addresses in streets that I could not find on the street maps of Como and asked them at the council if they could tell me where they would have been and what they would now be called. They were unable to help me and suggested that I got hold of an old map in the archives. Believe it or not I was so nervous that I forgot to ask for any details about my own Grandfather and it was only later back home that I realised this, so as I mentioned go prepared with a good list of what to ask.

With my visit to the council concluded I thought that it was time to visit the local cemetery which happens to be called “The monumental Cemetery” and it certainly lives up to its name, it is enormous. One of the first things I noticed is that the earliest dates to be found was around 1910 and there were very few before that date. Eventually we found a worker and asked him, he said that most of the older graves had all been removed many years ago to make space for new ones. This is something that also happens here in Spain, if you have not bought the plot then you have a five year lease on it, after that you either buy it or the remains are passed into a communal area.
Obviously in the 1900’s a lot of the poorer folk who emigrated from the area would have been unable to afford to renovate the lease or buy the plot, so we had no luck in finding any of my family as I had hoped. Later in a book on Como city I found a mention that there was an older area of the cemetery just the other side of the railway track at the back of the cemetery, a bit late when I had returned home, so read your books before leaving the area you might pick up something to visit whilst you are there.

I also went to visit the “Monumenti il Caduti” monument to those fallen in the war, most towns have one and they normally have a list of names, Sadly the one in Como is not open except for one day a year so I was unable to see the lists, in other towns we visited they were normally in the main square below a large statute, but in Como they are inside a type of building surrounded by bars next to the monument to Alexander Volta.

Our next important visit was to the “Archivi di Stato”, here they have a wealth of information so go with plenty of time and the possibility of returning another day.

What kind people we meet at the archives, extremely willing to help, they do have their rules about how to touch the old documents, they charge very little for photocopies, but you are sometimes asked to join as a member for a year. In Como they also had a microfilm viewer available, I had a note book with me and they allowed me to use a pencil but not a pen for obvious reasons.

When I took out the birth records and asked about the names of the streets, they bought out a book that had all the old names of the streets and the dates that they changed including the sequence of the street numbers.
I took down the details of the changes in name and also noted the title of the books that they showed me. One extremely interesting book, was lists of people who had to pay house/land tax within the city (Catasto teresiano) some records starting back even before 1866. No Desio’s seemed to be found as owners of the houses, but there were even plans of the houses that they had lived in, so I could almost envisage what the rooms would have been like. On my return home I managed to order copies of this book from a library in Como and although there was no house titles for the Desio’s there were for other surnames linked through marriage, through this book I was able to follow back over the years from father to son and add many new members to my tree. I still have this book and I am willing to look up surnames that come from Como to see if they are in this book. They also showed me a set of three books called "the history of the old walled city of Como", these books are out of print but I highly recommend that if they can be order on loan through your local library you try and get hold of them, they are said to be the best description of what and how people used to live around the city don,t forget that they are in Italian.

Eventually we left the archive with a bundle of maps from 1866 and 1881 under my arm and several copies of civil records. Alas we were leaving the next day so we were unable to return again and there were still a lot of things I could have looked up, including my grandfather’s military records which I forgot to ask for. We continued further up the lake to Musso which was mentioned on several birth records, again another visit to a cemetery, here the graves went back much further, but there was no record of any Desio there. The local priest was not around so I was unable to ask him about looking up old baptism records.
Try and do as much homework as you can before going, unfortunately there are things that you cant do as you only find them out as you go from one office to another. If you have an extra few days whilst you are there, take a day to sit down and examine the details you have managed to collect and then with the new information return if necessary to the offices again.I need to return to finish of my research and hopefully next time I will be much more prepared.

I wish I had read the book about the changes in the street numbers before I took loads of photographs, outside what I thought was my ancestors homes, I didn,t get one right, all the street numbers have changed at least three times since the civil records I have in my possession, so it was “down the road from where Grandfather was born” or half way up the street from Great grandfathers house. A good reason for returning……

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Requesting civil records from the Comune council

There are a number of records that can be requested from the local and county (Comune) councils normally from the department “Ufficio di Anagrafe” which deals with the registration of citizens and other civil matters.

As I had the details of Edoardo and Annetta I decide to try requesting a “Situazione delli famiglia” which can also be known as “Stato di famiglia” for Edoard. This is a document that gives details of all living members of the family; it cost me a very small sum of money but took several weeks to be sent. Included on this sheet are the date and place of the birth of Edoardo, his wife’s details including her death, then his children’s details, date of birth etc. but only for living children there was no mention of the younger sister who died when she was two. The extraordinary thing that appeared on this document was the following details.Edoardo and his son Edoardo Fedele moved to Genova in 1895, my grandfather Joe moved to S. Pier d’Arena, Genova several years later in 1899. No wonder I couldn’t find any Desio in Como………….. back to the work board.

To order this document you need to know at least a place of residence or birth in Italy and a possible birth year, don’t forget that the civil records only started in most commune from 1866 and this type of document normally started around 1870, the person whom you are requesting information about must be over 18, Edoardo was born in 1850, but when I tried requesting one for his father born around 1817 they said there was no record. It can be very useful especially if you don’t know a birth date or even an exact place of birth. Needless to say I am not sure about the exactitude of all the details given as later in my research I found the son married and living in a different country before 1895, however it certainly gave me a lead as to where they all went from Como.

When I visited the council offices I found a very interesting record, I presume to be a civil register of all the people that have lived in Como, I am unaware if all comunes have the same type of record but I would think so. I was asking if they had any other Desio recorded as living in Como today, but they found nothing. The head of the department disappeared and came back with several pieces of cardboard about as big as my hand, the top end was triangle and here was the name of the person, further down their parents name, place and date of birth, if single or married and to whom they are married. When I turned over this piece of brown card on the back all the addresses that he/she had lived in whilst living in Como were noted down and at the bottom the details of leaving the comune and going to Genova.

Birth, death and marriage certificates can also be requested from the same department in the local council, but you need to send at least some details such as birth year and possibly the name of the father. A large amount of our members who have tried requesting certificates have been fairly lucky; however there are some councils that do not reply not even when you enclose a small amount of money to cover postage. I always suggest that about 10 euros be enclosed and only once was there no reply at all, others may write back saying they have not found anything but if they are small villages, with not many people working they may not reply.

All Italian males over 18 have to do their conscription. Call-up records (registro di leva) are kept even for Italian citizens who emigrated. Some of the more recent ones can be found at the council, but earlier ones will be at the state archives for the comune. I found one for my Grandfather at the State archive and will tell you about that in my next posting.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Looking further a field for clues

Whilst trying to find living members of the family I started looking through records from other countries, this is also a good way of helping to work out areas that your ancestor came from. I knew where Joe (grandfather) came from but still couldn't find where his brother had emigrated to, I still had a long way to go with my research and little help was available at that time for Italians that had moved to the UK to live.
The National archives of Australia have an excellent search tool and this can help you find other members of your ancestors family, even some POW records from the war are available, they also have details of all Italian internees who resided within the UK that were sent to Australia during the 2ND WW.
I was lucky enough to find a mention of Joe Desio in these archives requesting Alien entry into Australia whilst waiting for his ship to be repaired.
One of the new websites to appear a few years ago was the Ellis Island records; this indeed has made a major break through for many family historians trying to trace their roots. It is one of the main sites that I use to give me an idea from what area Italians emigrated as their place of birth or last residence is mentioned on the passenger lists. Sometimes a province is mentioned but often the actual village is named, if the years of immigration is around the same years as your ancestor moved, you can be almost certain that others from the same areas will have also left, so with a little bit of luck you may be able to find just a few villages to work on.
There is another website Castle Gardens that has arrivals to the USA, the details are not so helpful but if you are looking for members of your family arriving in the states it is worth looking at. See helpful links for websites mentioned

On the Ellis Island site I found details for Joe in the form of a crew list for 1919, this was to be a breakthrough in my researching his merchant seaman history.

Many Italians immigrated to South America mainly Brazil and Argentina, again there are websites available online, none of these will help you in finding where they came from as only the port they left from is mentioned, the year and name of the ship, however with the name of the ship you can check with the LDS family history library to see if they have the passenger lists and if so these should have the full details including at least last residence. One of the main passenger lists for South America is and is fairly easy to search.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Searching for family in Italy

I must admit that I didn’t have a clue how to start looking for living family members in Italy. My first choice was to look at the telephone directories in Italy and entered the surname Desio into the Italian white pages; I came up with only 160 telephone numbers all over Italy. Surprisingly there was only one from the Como area and a few around Lombardy and several De Sio from the south. I felt sure I was onto an easy search and sat down and wrote a letter in Italian, thank goodness that the local dialect here is very similar to Italian and with the help of an online translator I managed to put something legible together.

So I wrote nearly 150 letters and sent them off and waited …………. What a disappointment I was in for, the response to my letters was far from what I had hoped for. I received 6 letters back and not one originated from the Como area and none were related to me. So my easy search came to nothing, where did I go from here?

It is a good idea to use the telephone directories to at least find out which areas your surname is mainly situated through out Italy. As you can see above my surname is spelt 2 different ways depending if they come from the North or South of Italy. So if you see a surname that sounds like yours but spelt slightly different it doesn’t mean that it is not correct. The way the surname is spelt can also give you a hint as to what part of Italy your ancestor came from. There are many white page searches available online but I find that the two I have added to “Helpful links” are fairly easy to use. Write the surname you want to find in the Cognome square, if there are a lot of people with the same surname then you can whittle down your search by adding a place ie, Milan or Province, Lombardia in the square that says “Dove”.

I felt sure that there must be other family members around somewhere; surely the brother that had gone to America must have had descendants? So my next search was telephone directories in the USA.

There turned out to be far more people with the surname Desio in the USA than there are in Italy so at least one of them must be mine. Again I did a search and pulled out a long list of Desio’s but before sending so many letters, this time I started to look at the first names to see if I could find a typical first name pattern, I crossed off the De Sio spelt surname and I even did searches with Google to see if I could pick up emails to write to.
I searched in the Ellis island records ( I will go back to Ellis Island in a future blog) and sorted out which Desio’s had come from Genova and with the help of the Social Security death records available on Rootsweb I picked out 60 possibilities. All I am sad to say to no avail.

From here I spread my search further a field and tried near the Italian/Swiss border, I pulled Desio's living in South America and even France. As you can imagine this all took several months. In the meantime I started to find out more about what civil records were available for Como and where.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Searching for Italian civil records

When I started my research 10 years ago there was a lot less available in internet, very few records had been transcribed and living here on an island limited the chance of visiting a Family History Library to see any of the microfilms from the Italian civil registers of a large part of Italy. (See LDS in helpful links).

After checking out the microfilm numbers from the FHL catalogue I decided to search for a volunteer to look up films in Salt Lake city the principal repository for the full microfilm collection. I was lucky enough to find a marvellous and very kind lady called Carol who willingly spent much of her free time in looking through the Como records for me.

She did a very thorough job and found 3 generations of my family which included births, deaths and marriages. At first she sent me the marriages and a few births but the day an envelope arrived full of death records I felt that someone very close to me had died, it took all day to get rid of that sad sensation. Sadly out of 4 children only 2 had survived those were my Grandfather and his brother.
There was a death certificate for my G grandmother who was only 42 when she died, this is something that whilst translating records for others I find time and time again, the women died young, Annetta as I said was 42, her sister in laws died at 30 and 34, certainly women had a tough time in those days (1890’s)it was not uncommon for the men to remarry, this includes my G G grandfather who married twice.

Luckily there are new records made available to the public every day, the complete register for Como is now online at Ancestry at a price, the LDS (the Family History library) have also started to transcribe the original registers for other areas, at the moment they are preparing to start on the Italian records, however they do have some American census records, Parish records for some areas in UK and the 1891 census for Argentina free (at the moment) online, see the Family history link. These are not the same lists of records that they have on the other website mentioned further up in this posting but here scans of the original documents are available for most of the records mentioned.

I think that within 3 years a large amount of the Italian records will be available to be viewed online, this will be an enormous help to many, helping people who are not sure of the areas their ancestor came from to try and find their roots.

In the majority of Italy the civil registration started when Italy was united in 1866 and the only records available before that year are church records. However there are some areas within Italy that have records that go further back and others that don’t even have records from 1866, this is due to these parts of Italy being part of other countries, mainly Austria. Use a map of Italy for the years your ancestor would have lived there to see where the boundaries were. In a further post I will go into detail about other records that can be requested from the communes in Italy.

I am willing to do look ups in the Como records and translate them for anyone that needs help.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Notes on Naturalization records and British subjects

It can be very frustrating when you find your ancestor on the census records and he states that he is a British subject, but you can’t find the record. Many of the immigrants that arrived before the late 1800’s did not apply for naturalization mainly because it was to expensive and only people with money or businesses were able to afford it. So if your ancestor is on the 1861 census for example and he is a street singer, organ grinder or carman and he says he is a British subject it is probably not true. I have even found a case for one of our members, where the man had served as a volunteer in the army in 1914 and stated that he was born in Bristol and it wasn’t until the 2nd WW that the HO started to ask questions due to his Italian surname, the police checked him out and found out that he had actually been born in Italy…… Remember keep an open mind not everything is always the exact truth.

Other Italian immigrants just did not want to loose their own nationality and preferred to stay as they were, some intended to stay a short time and make some money to take back home, others were and are proud of their origin and wish to remain Italian even though they settled down within the UK.

Did you know ………….
Women who had British nationality were automatically considered Italian in the eyes of the British Government when they married an Italian. Therefore they were also called “Aliens” when WW II broke out and had to request and sign for re admission when the war was over, many of these can be found in the London Gazette.

If your Grandfather or Great grandfather did not become British and did not serve with the British army, then you and your family are entitled to Italian nationality.

Replies to comments and questions August 2008

Thanks Valerie for your comments;

Regarding Naturalization before 1800, the earlier the date the less requests for naturalization there was. Send me your research surname and your members number, my details are available in any of the AIFHS journals.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Naturalized British Subject

Mum knew that Joe had been given British Nationality at sometime which saved him from being interned in WW II. She had no idea where the documents were so I started to search the web and struck lucky when I found the National Archives website.
I put a search in for Desio, but had no luck and eventually searched for someone who was going to Kew and would be willing to do look ups if you pay part of the costs. I asked him to look up the naturalization records for me from the ledgers that are in the Open reading room and up he came with a reference number for 1922. Due to the fact that 100 years had not passed my mother as a direct descendant had to request and fill in the forms.

The National Archives at Kew in London (see helpful links), have a fairly good search engine, sadly it won’t do wildcat* so remember what I said in my last post “In the Beginning” if you don’t find it at first try variations. From the late 1800’s most of the immigrants applied British naturalisation and these normally come under Naturalization and Denization records, luckily the National archives have now put the complete list of names into the archive search and Joe is now on there. If for any reason the person you are looking for doesn’t come up try the London Gazette.

Below is a list of the National archives references that include naturalization and denization records.
Denizations can be found in the Patent Rolls in C66, with supplementary Patent Rolls in C 67. There is a name index to C 97 for the period 1751 to 1793, the Westminster denization roll is held at Westminster Abbey Muniments and Library, London.

Background Naturalisation papers can be found in HO 1 for 1844 to 1871, HO45 for 1872 to 1878, HO144 from 1879 to 1934 and HO405 for 1934 to 1948. All records dated after 1922 are closed for periods up to 100 years though the Home Office will consider opening files on request, these records can be searched using the search on the NA website.
Between 1844 and 1873 naturalisations were also enrolled on the Close Rolls in C54, duplicate copies of Naturalisation certificates, which gives limited information of what is contained in the background papers, can be found in HO 334 between1870-1987.

Eventually a number of large sheets of paper arrived with copies of all contact that there had been with grandfather and others related to his petition. The form requesting naturalization included his parents names which was Edoardo (Mum got that right) and Annetta Arrigo (Hum that’s not Eleanora is it!!!!) When he requested naturalization both parents were deceased and further down he mentions a brother in America.
As he was a merchant seaman he had to fill in a list of all the ships he had worked on over the years, this included the date, name of ship and sometimes the ships registration number. According to the record he had arrived in the UK in 1898 and before working on the ships he had been working as a machine operator, he was living with his cousin and gave a list of people who vouched for him, including one who was brother in law to the lady Joe was engaged to…… and that wasn’t my grandmother, this is still an unsolved mystery.

When you receive the documents these will give you details of their date of birth, where they were born, parent’s names and surnames and if they are still alive, and any other information that might help prove that they have lived in the UK during the past 7 years this includes where they have lived and what they have done. 7 people (referees) have to give a written oath confirming that they know this person and for how long and the type of person he/she is. Sometimes letters written by your ancestor may also be included requesting information about their naturalization from the Home Office. Normally the local police are the ones that had to go to visit the list of 7 people and double check that they know the person mentioned and then send the inform back to the HO. Finally the last document is a signed oath by your ancestor and a letter confirming that they are now British Subjects.

Joe stated that he had been living with his cousin, Nicola Macchiavello was also Italian (one that doesn’t appear to have become British) due to this he was not accepted as the home referee, as you must be British. A great deal can be learnt about your ancestor from the details given about his/her character, so bit by bit you start to get to know them a little more.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

In the beginning

Here in Spain we have identity cards and about 10 years ago I went to renew my ID card, when it came to my turn the person dealing with the renewal said that I had to add my second surname which is my mother’s maiden surname. So OK I had my second surname added to my ID card.

What did I know about the history behind my mother’s maiden surname …………. Not a lot, I knew that my grandfather was born in Como, Italy and when I added his surname to my ID card I found out that it was Desio, until that day I didn’t even know that much.

One afternoon I typed the letters “Desio” into the computer and among other options I got back several genealogical pages, “God what are these?” I opened Rootsweb and came across a list of Desio’s in the USA, some of these could belong to my family but I didn’t even know Grandfathers full name. So back to my mother and a talk about the past, it was time to learn about who he was.

It is important to find out as much as you can from family members, jot down any information that they give you or tape the conversation especially if stories from the past are going to be told.

I was told that Mum’s father was called Jo Desio but his real name was Giuseppe Desio, he was a merchant seaman and came from a rich family who lived besides Lake Como, they had a villa with a swimming pool and they had something to do with the newspaper business. She was pretty sure that her grandfather was called Edward and her grandmother Eleanor. Jo had escaped from a monastery where he was being prepared to become a priest and his family had disowned him, so he ran away to sea. She thought that there was a brother who had gone to live in America and bred pigs and made gloves!!!!!!!!

Well she got her father and her grandfather’s names right and that the family came from Como, the rest was a bit of an exaggeration to say the least, told to her by her father. Time was on my side and patience is a virtue, which is something you need to have lots of when it comes to genealogy.

Don’t take everything that you are told as gospel truth, memories can get mixed up; stories told over the generations get changed, keep an open mind and don’t close your eyes to anything that might present itself.

First names and surnames especially foreign ones often got changed or misspelled, sometimes they were changed to sound more English, many even changed their surnames by deed poll and these can often be found in one of the three gazettes, the London, Edinburgh or Glasgow.
The Gazette has a brilliant search of their archives on their website and goes back as far as the early 1800’s, I have added the address to my “helpful links” keep your search simple, I find using one word is almost the best way and easy when it is a foreign surname and you can be sure that less articles are going to found. If nothing comes up with the surname try the first name as the person would have been called in Italy, try variations of the spelling of the names and as a desperate last try write in “Italy".

Details to be found in the Gazette are naturalization records, news about businesses that may have needed to be published here, military lists, deed poll and bankruptcy.

Friday, 8 August 2008

My Italian Family from Como, Italy

When I started researching my ancestors several years ago, I never thought that it would draw me into such a wonderful and highly interesting journey back through the years from here in Spain where I now live, back to Wales where I grew up and finally arriving at the most lovely place on earth Lake Como.

I intend to give an account of my own research and at the same time I hope that I can give guidance to others who need a helping hand with their research. I have had an enormous amount of help from other people, often complete strangers who have spent their time on looking up civil registers for me ............ Thanks to Kay, Carol, Debbie and many others.

This is my way of returning the help given to me.