Tracing your Italian Ancestors: Fundamentals & Fun Stuff - A Half-day Course on 23 March

In this half-day workshop with Lynn Serafinn, you will be taken on a whistle-stop tour of the fundamentals of tracing your Italian ancestry. You will start the tour by travelling on a timeline of Italian history through the centuries, and consider how regional identities and modern DNA testing often defy our preconceptions of what it means to be ‘Italian’. You will explore the reasons for immigration, the impact of immigration on those of Italian descent, and the top 7 challenges you are likely to face when tracing your Italian ancestors. You’ll look at the different categories, origins and meanings of Italian surnames, and learn how to discover where specific surnames may have arisen. You’ll discuss Italian personal names and naming conventions, and how ‘soprannomi’ (special ‘nicknames’ given to families to distinguish one branch from another) can be both a blessing and a curse for the genealogist.

After a short break, the workshop will continue by looking at how Italy is organised on both a civil and ecclesiastical level, and the kinds of archives and documents you might be able to find within these structures. You’ll find out where to start looking for civil and church records, and learn about notary records and other ‘pergamene’ (parchments) that may pre-date available vital documentation. You’ll find out how to start your research ‘from scratch’ when you know little about your family, or how to take it further if you’ve already started your research.

All participants on the course will receive a packet of handouts containing lists/links of Italian genealogy research resources, as well as a vocabulary list of Italian terms you are likely to encounter in your research.

The information in this workshop will help prepare you for Lynn’s full-day course ‘Reading and Understanding Italian Genealogical Records’ on Saturday 13 April.

A half-day course on Saturday, 23 March (14:00-17:00 ), cost £20.00/£16.00 SoG members. Places should be pre-booked, through our website or by telephone: 020 7553 3290. Do you have a question? email the events department.

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