Will solving family mysteries take you to the Chateau of Chenonceau on the Cher River in France’s Loire Valley?

Nana Caterina's Birth Record

This is the original copy of Nana Caterina’s Atti Di Nascita, Birth Record.

Are the following “TRUE” or “FALSE?”

Genealogical Tourism is:

  1. A vacation people take to their ancestral home to learn about family history.
  2. A component in the genealogical research process.
  3. A growing travel sector.
  4. Popular with baby-boomers.
  5. A trip that requires pre-planning for success.

These statements are all “TRUE.”

5 Steps To Maximize Your Roots Vacation

Use the following points to help develop your plan.

  1. Set goals. Why are you going? What do you want to learn? What person is your focal point?
  2. Complete ancestral research beforehand. Know family basics: who, when and where.  Refer to earlier blogs for resources and tips.
  3. Plan an itinerary and decide logistics. If you intend to contact someone, what arrangements do you need to confirm in advance?
  4. Determine an organizational system to gather and record the information you obtain.
  5. Allocate appropriate time and money.

Getting Help For Your Trip

  1. Begin with the Google search “Genealogical Travel”  to generate websites  on family history travel, research trips and vacation, the travelling genealogist, genealogy tour and travel services, the genealogy journey, etc.
  2. Refine your Google search according to personal goals such as: Genealogical Travel + Italy or Genealogical Travel+ Calabria.
  3. Contact organizations related to your genealogical research. For example: www.circolocalabrese.org is an excellent resource for those interested in Calabrian-Italian genealogy.
  4. Connect with online social networking sites including LinkedIn and Facebook. Search and join related groups. Seek advice in discussion groups. Ask for the names of organizations involved in genealogical travel. Network with contacts on mailing lists. Post information requests on message boards.
  5. Explore possibilities through online genealogical resources. Refer to earlier blogs for information on ellisisland.org, ancestry.ca, familysearch.org, cyndislist.com, circolocalabrese.org and pier21.ca.
  6. Consult local museums, libraries, genealogical chapters, churches and cultural groups.
  7. Travel agencies, tourism boards and country/region/city specific websites may prove helpful. For example: http://en.comuni-italiani.it provides information on towns in Italy. I obtained information on Mottafollone, Calabria here plus a link to the village’s website where I found details specific to the Registry’s Office and documents related to my genealogical research that could be accessed.

Solving Family Mysteries On A Genealogical Trip

My paternal Nana, Caterina Spagnuolo Andreoli Perri, was my research starting point. She was born in Mottafollone, Calabria, Italy in 1889, landed at Ellis Island on January 13, 1913 and relocated to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. I’d been trying to learn about her life for years when I decided to go to Calabria in 2004.

I went to the Registry Office when I visited Mottafollone, reviewed Nana Caterina’s Atti Di Nascita, Birth Record, and discovered the following:

  1. Nana Caterina’s date of birth was April 5th, 1889.We’d always understood it to have been April 8th but learned that this was the date her birth had been registered.
  2. Pasquale Andreoli, Nana Caterina’s father, had been a farmer.
  3. Maria Spagnuolo was confirmed as Pasquale’s wife and Nana Caterina’s mother.
  4. Nana had been given the name “Maria Caterina” at birth.
  5. The Andreoli family lived in Mottafollone at the time Nana Caterina was born.

Understanding Old Family Documents

  1. I inherited an original copy of Nana Caterina’s Atti Di Nascita, Birth Record, from my father and have posted it with this blog for your review.
  2. The following book is an excellent resource with samples and explanatory notes for many different documents.

Nelson, Lynn. Discovering Your Italian Ancestors. How to find and record your unique heritage. Betterway Books. 1997.

Have you taken a vacation to solve your family mysteries? I’d welcome your comments.

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Flowers and angel statue

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