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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.

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