Monday, November 26, 2012

New on the Shelf : Italy & Ireland

The genealogy/local history department is adding quite a few new titles to its collection this and next month.  It's kind of an early Christmas for us...

Not enough can be said about the benefits of research guides, especially those that focus on family history in countries outside of the United States.  There's so much to learn in terms of record types, access, online resources, and in many cases, language barriers.  To our shelf of non-U.S. research guides we now add, Finding Your Italian Ancestors : a beginner's guide, by Suzanne Russo Adams.

The headings listed in the book's Table of Contents include:
  1. Getting Started
  2. Beginning Your Search in the United States
  3. Finding Your Place of Origin
  4. Italian Civil Records : 1866 to the Present
  5. Pre-Unification Civil Records
  6. Ecclesiastical Records
  7. Reading the Records
  8. Records in Italian Archives
  9. Researching Italian Ancestors Online
Other sections include a Timeline of Italian History, Sample Letters, a list of Societies & Research Resources.

Having no known Italian ancestry myself, I know little about researching in Italy other than the great differences between European and American records.  Because of this, if I were to begin research there, Finding Your Italian Ancestors would be the first book I would read.  

The added bonus - many European records, including those for parts of Italy, have been microfilmed by the Family History Center (FHC), Salt Lake City.  Some have been indexed, transcribed and added to the FHC website.  Those that haven't been uploaded to the internet yet may be available on microfilm loan to your nearest Family History Center affiliate.  Search the FHC catalog to search for records available from your ancestral homeland.  The Van Buren District Library is one of the licensed microfilm loan affiliates of the FHC.  Contact us for more details about to order & view microfilm on loan from Salt Lake City.

Finding Your Italian Ancestors may be checked out from the library with a valid patron library card, request a copy through MelCat if you are a Michigan resident, or inquire at your local library.

The latest addition to the Irish section of the department is Irish Marriages : being an index to the marriages in Walker's Hibernian Magazine 1771 to 1812, by Henry Farrar. 

This latest memorial for local history friend Shirley Probst who passed away in 2007, helps flesh out Irish vital records during a period in which civil registration records either didn't exist or have been subsequently destroyed. 

The Walker's Hibernian Magazine was published only for the dates 1771 thru July 1812 and included thousands of English & Irish marriages.

There's not much in the line of further explanation to the notations in this book.  An example of an entry from page 111:

"Cussing, George, aet. 78, Greenwich = Bailder, Hannah, aet. 22, of Deptford, the gentleman's 5th wife - April 1798"

It appears that George was age 78 when he latched onto a 22 year-old bride as his 5th wife.  Lucky George...

There is also a number in the margin for each entry, the above example listed as "283."  Since this is an index to marriages in another source, it is assumed that this page number must somehow correspond to the Walker's magazine. 

The images of Irish Marriages may also be viewed on the Internet Archives or searched with an Ancestry.com subscription.  For a list of other Irish family history resources in the Local History Collection, visit the VBDL catalog and search using the words "Ireland" and "Genealogy."

Nameless Picture of the Day
 unknown couple
P003-0055
Photographer - McCollum, Dowagiac

Can you identify the young couple shown in this cabinet card?  Do you have knowledge of the photographer?  Please contact us if you have any information and we will publish it in a future blog.  Please include the photo's catalog number with your e-mail.   

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