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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oklahoma Indian Territory on-line

This week I read the post from Dick Eastman which included information about the Oklahoma Archives and their addition of wonderful information that has been added to their website.

The gateway to Oklahoma newspapers is really nice. You can search and browse them for FREE.

In addition, they have added Territorial Incorporation records, covering the years 1890 to 1907.
This is great if you have anyone in your research data that may have owned or worked for a company in this area.  The incorporation of the business records should be listed here.

For those who are studying the general history of Oklahoma, there is a listing of the governors, counties and county seats to present time.  The state constitution is also listed.

Route 66 repositories in Oklahoma are also listed.

There are links for Oklahoma and all digital data on the web.  Just click and go, which include Oklahoma birth and death certificate resources.
Of course, it is not a free service.  Charges are about $15 to $40 depending on what you need.

I took a quick look at the Chronicles of Oklahoma

here is the lead-in to the section about the Italians that settled in Oklahoma during the territorial days of this area : In Indian Territory the majority of early-arriving Italians settled in the coal-mining counties of present eastern Oklahoma in the mid-1870s. In that decade, coal mines began operating in Pittsburg County, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. In need of cheap labor, the coal companies hired immigrants, primarily men, from southern and eastern Europe. They were primarily farmers and uniformly Catholic. The first northern Italians arrived in 1874, and the first southern Italians arrived in the late 1870s.

The article goes on to say that when the era of petroleum began to overtake the coal industry, many of these immigrants lost their jobs and headed to larger metropolitan areas, both in Oklahoma and further away to New York and Chicago, as well as other cities.

I am so glad that this State, which was once an area of little available archival information, now has a place on the web.  And, I look forward to seeing much more becoming available in this website.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Last Full Day in Salt Lake City, and the Most Productive Day Yet

Our last morning coffee and rolls with POINT group gathering this morning on the lobby level of the Plaza Hotel....and a very productive day, ending with a delightful dinner and closing talk by Ruth Lapioli Merriman.  To describe the day in one word....AWESOME

Thumbing through the volumes of foreign language heritage books, I discovered that I actually can, well almost, read the many pages of history, heritage and genealogy records.  Hungarian is supposed to be the most difficult language to master.  How can that be?  My grandparents spoke it.  It can't be that hard, can it?  Maybe.  I had much better luck with the Italian texts since I have many years of hard work and study on that language.  There are so many things to read about when it comes to foreign names and their meanings, the locality of popular surnames, etc.

In the late morning, Ruth Merriman presented a program showcase of Internet websites for Italian research.  Apparently there has been an explosion of new websites for Italian research.  I have nine pages of those listed from her class today.  Some of my favorite include:  Index Mundi, a list of all population centers with geographical information and links to satellite photos.  Provincial Archives of Mantova, Milano, Cremona, Como, Pavia and passenger arrival records  (Buenos Aires)  Italian Archives website, a fantastic site to direct you to many, many records in Italy

There are way too many websites to mention here, but I'll be sure to blog about those others in my coming posts.

In the midday, I was able to do some of my magic and translate some records of 1870 Atti di Morte of Neirone, Genova from the Tribunale di Chiavani.  I  thought that I might find records for one of my clients.  I found family names, but -not the same family.  One town over, and voila!  I searched the records of Moconesi, Morte di 1866-1873.  This batch held the long-awaited records that I had been searching for.  It contains references to a smaller town called Gattorna....just what I had been searching for.  Fantastic.  So now I can look at these on-line, and translate to my heart's delight.  Just swell.

I am sad to be leaving tomorrow afternoon.  However, I must admit, one full week of this research and being away from home is about all I can take.  I want to sleep in my own bed, hug my pups and kiss my husband, who I've left to the dogs (so to speak).  I wonder if anyone fed the fish in the pond?  Did we get any rain at home, or do all of my potted plants need to be rescued?  Time will tell.  Back home again tomorrow evening, and a sip of my favorite wine before I get back to the regular grind.

If you ever get the chance to visit Salt Lake City, and you have an urge to find out all about you, I highly suggest that visit the Family History Center Library and Museum.  Don't forget to stroll the Temple Square and view the marvelous gardens.  Take a walk along the new City Creek Center shopping mall with beautiful fountains.  This is such a clean city.  Bravo to the local community leaders.  You are doing a great job.  I will be back.  Next February for Rootstech.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Making Research Progress at the FHL in Salt Lake City

What a great day.  Paola gave a really nice presentation about marriage records in Italy.  Little tidbits of information that I had known, but needed gentle reminders.  Introducing our group to some wonderful ways to discover the location of little known places in Italy.

Here are just a few of the on-line resources to help with locating Italian communi :

http:// italiano

digitized books for geographical dictionaries can be found at
   just type in the subject search for the region you are looking for, ie.Dizionario geographico de Toscana, or fill in with other regions...Napoli, Sicilia, etc

You can also search for "searchable" formats online.

There are also records called AGP (Ave Grazia Plena).  These are institutes for the care of abandoned children.  Using Google search (or other search engines) may help to locate those.

On a personal note, I was able to locate a client's Irish ancestor in the 1820, 1830, 1840, and 1850 census records in Washington, D.C.  He never appeared again.  His wife is noted as a widow in 1860.  Now I have a good idea of when he passed away, and the recorded burial listings from one of the oldest cemeteries in the city have records of many with the same surname.  I just may have gotten a step closer to solve a research problem.

I took a long walk during the evening to visit the prettiest outdoor shopping mall I have ever seen.  Salt Lake City's City Creek is just lovely.  Fountains, flowers and live music.  A very restful place to take a stroll and buy a sandwich for dinner.

Tomorrow will be my last full day of research, plus a pre-planned dinner with the group of POINT members who traveled here for the conference.  Can't wait.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 2 POINT conference

Tuesday proved to be a good day for research.  First,  Ruth Merriman gave a great seminar and review for deciphering parish records.  She reminded everyone that most Roman Catholic church records, and yet many Protestant records, also, are written in Latin.  And, the clergy did not always have the best of handwriting.  That is understandable, I guess.

So the review of basic Latin words and phrases was very helpful.  And, for added help, you can always refer to the FamilySearch website :  There are lots of learning guides, including a fabulous one for basic Latin words to help with translating the old documents.

After a few hours of research on the third floor of the library, my eyes were red and sore.  The third floor is full of US and Canada books.  Finding texts full of cemetery transcriptions completed by the various DAR societies across the nation felt like living in a "candy land".  Lots of texts were full of obituaries, county histories, biographies, census abstracts and so much more.  If you plan to browse this area, be sure to plan ahead for exactly what you'd like to research.  Check out the library's catalog of books on their website.  Wow.

I was reviewing the notes that I had taken when we were treated to the guest speaker, Stan Lindaas.  He gave us an overview of what he considers to be the most important pit stop in the library.  On the second floor, there are many films covering the US and Canada.  In addition, Stan pointed out the four valuable reference tables that should never be missed.  Each one holds such great stuff.

Table One : County Court references, Township atlases, and general organization of counties in census years.
Table Two : Dictionaries dating from 1838, Black's Law dictionary, US Research Outlines, Gazetteers, The Source, Passenger Manifests helps, etc. References for Naturalization (Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and Cook County Courts) etc.
Table Three : Land and Property references, Military Service records references, etc.
Table Four : Native America references, Biblio and History of Newspapers 1831-1936.

Stan and his wife, Rachel, are partners in their research business, Heritage Consulting, locating in Salt Lake City.  They are not affiliated with the Family History Library.  They include pedigree charts, family group sheets and copies of supporting documents.  Stan said they have specialized in US, England, Canada, Western Europe, Russia and Latin America research for probate, heirship, adoption resources, family genetics research, document transcriptions and can provide general research assistance.  Stan and Rachel have a website :  Should you need help at any time with your research, I would not hesitate to contact Stan and Rachel.

And my taste buds still remember how we ended our day at Caputo's Deli and Restaurant.  They have the best Italian "grub" I've ever had.  And the hotel was kind enough to shuttle us back and forth during the evening.  When in Salt Lake City, I'd be sure to check out Caputo's for a nice snack or meal. Caputos is located at 314 west South, Salt Lake City, 801-531-TONY.  You can even call ahead for your order.

We had a research lecture about reading and indexing the Italian Records for FamilySearch.  We will also met with others in the group who are researching their families in the same provincial areas.  Time to compare notes, and discovered someone that I just might be related to!  oh boy, more cousins!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

FHL Day One POINT conference

Day one was wonderful. I had a nourishing breakfast, then, off to the library just around the corner.  The Library has many, many computers for patrons to use.  You can bring your own laptop, Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, Nook, whatever...or just use their systems already set up for you.

I did a quick search of the published family histories that they have on hand.  I did not count them all, but I would venture to say that they number in the MILLIONS.  No kidding.  I saw many possibilities for my research for clients and myself, so I jotted down those call numbers to refer to later in the week.

We had a fantastic speaker, Paola, who gave us a lesson in the early laws of Italy regarding marriage.  Very interesting.  Apparently, Mom and Pop, had to give their approval of their child's choice for their mate, unless the union had already been arranged by the parents.  Very stiff rules were in place.

Napoleon had a lot to do with the proper recording of vital records.  That guy knew what he was doing.  His intent was to make sure that all records within his conquered lands, which included most of old Italy, were noted in the same form and fashion.  Names of persons, places of births, dates, parental information, etc., including witnesses had to be included.  This makes it nice for those of us who want to search these records hundreds of years later.  Hooray for Napoleon, huh?

In addition, Paola gave some great tips on how to determine where one would find the records that they are looking for.  Are they in the local town hall, the Province tribunal, the Courthouse...?  All depends on the age of the document.  After 70 years, most have moved onto the larger archives of the "state", aka province and larger court archives.  But not always.  Isn't that always the case?

After a brief lunch, and back to the library, I started to look into a client's research problem.  Finding the birth place and record of the birth of a certain great grandfather.  Turns out after I had exhausted the archive indexes, that particular part of Italy did not start to record their civil vital records until 1866.  The date that I was looking for was 1865.  Darn.

I searched for the approximate area of another client's ancestral hometown.  Pinpointing it to just east of Salerno, and finding that not very many records were available for the timeline that I was interested in, I turned my attention to the recorded family histories of the surname.  Bingo.  I took down the call numbers of those books, just before the overhead speaker announced, "the library will be closing in 15 minutes".  So tomorrow, I'll pick up where I left off.

A nice genealogist met with us at the Plaza hotel and gave a very informative presentation on where the most valuable books for research are held.....2nd floor, please.  What a nice guy with tips to expedite the research we all had in our "to do" notes.  I rapidly took notes and now I know where I'll head before doing any other research.

A nice evening was had by all as we were transported to Caputo's deli/restaurant where we had our choice of Sicilian delicacies.  Yum.  Along with a glass of red wine.  Back to the hotel to plan the next day's research.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Week in Salt Lake City

Thanks for letting me take off some time since the last post.  Family health issues came into play for a while, but all seems better now.  So, it's back to researching family history and having some fun.

I am spending a whole week in Salt Lake City, attending the POINT 2012 conference (Pursuing Our Italian Names Together).  A great organization to join, for those of us who have Italian heritage.  We'll talk about that a little more later.

Meanwhile, here in Salt Lake City, the local "play-land" for historians and family history buffs is the Family History Library.  It is owned by the Mormon Church, aka LDS ( Church of the Latter Day Saints ).  Part of their beliefs is that they should identify and honor their ancestors, and allow them to be "baptized" in the afterlife, so that they will be saved from the original sin that we are born with (according to most Christian religions, due to the sin of Adam and Eve).  In order to accomplish this task, the LDS has sent liaisons with photographers all over the world to photograph the many civil and church records from every town and village where they were welcome.  Imagine a large mountain vault chocked full of microfilms.

But wait, there's more....The LDS has recently begun to digitize the microfilmed records and have posted those on their website.  This information is absolutely FREE.  Can you keep your excitement down to a low roar, please.

This week I will be attending a daily seminar regarding Italian research topics.  Then, my afternoons and evenings will be full of researching data from historical records in the Family History Library.  Here is the link to the website for Family Search:
Family History Search
Visit it and enjoy it.  Click on every available tab.  Take a minute to explore, and listen to the flicks on various topics regarding family history research.

Tomorrow evening I'll post the fantastic findings that I know I'll find.  Sit tight!