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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Looking for an Ancestor in Italy

Carol asked a question about genealogy research in Italy

 I am unable to find records from Italy.  I am new to geneology and don't know how to continue.  I know the village from where my ancesters come from and I know last names.  How do I continue my research.  My ancesters are Ponzis and Pandolfis and were born in Campotosto, Italy in late 1800s.
 Dear Carol - I am not an expert in Italian genealogy research but I would start with FamilySearch catalogue online to see what Italian records they may have microfilmed or digitized.

Being curious I did a quick search for Compostoto Italy on FamilySearch and found they have the Civil Registrations starting very early!  You are looking for Campotosto (L'Aquila).

You may want to visit Italian GenWeb for a list of addresses for Compostoto

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Finding a Burial or Death Record in Ontario Canada

Walter wrote with a  lengthy outline of his family (from England to New York and on to Ontario Canada) and he asked several questions. I'm going to extract one small portion of his email and respond to that question. I will respond to his other questions at a later date:

Mary Manns(Hutchens) died on 12 October 1862 at age 40 and is buried in Bayfield (Public) Cemetery in HU-3241-B. The CFA listing shows her "Manns, Mary West". The West's and Manns were neighbors I am told and Mary was buried in their plot or section. Fredric Manns, her husband is buried in the same Cemetery and apparently in the same section according to OCFA records. I would like to know the Address of the Cemetery in order to communicate with them. I want to find out the date of Frederik's death and if he is buried next to or near Mary

ASK OLIVE TREE ANSWER:  Dear Walter, When you searched OCFA (Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid) online for your ancestors, you overlooked something helpful. The Ref. you quoted above (HU-3241-B) is very important. Let me explain what it tells you.

The opening page is at 

Look down that first page until you see the following text

Once you have located an ancestor in OCFA and know the Reference number, you are ready to contact the contributing organization for more information.


A new page loads. Using the FIND feature on your browser, hunt for HU (the start of your Ref number for Mary Mann's burial)

You will next see
"For REFERENCE FIELD numbers beginning with "HU-", write to..."

Bingo! There's the address for Huron Co. Ontario Genealogical Society Branch. Write to them with Mary and Frederik's details and request a lookup.

If you are intent on skipping the Huron Co. branch OGS and writing directly to the Cemetery, just Google it or order the microfilmed records via ILL (InterLibraryLoan) to read through it. Have you checked the Huron Co. GenWeb site to see what is online?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Finding an Ancestor on Ships Passenger Lists circa 1846

Mary Lou asked about a ships passenger list circa 1846.

I have searched for many years for name of ship my g-grandfather Joseph Ecabert, age 28, farmer, came over on. He was from Switzerland. His passport was dated March 23, 1846. There was a cousin Joseph who came with brother Ignace in April 1847 and some have confused him with my Joseph. I don't know where he left from nor where he landed. I first found him in New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana in 1850.

Mary Lou - My first question is how you know that "cousin" Joseph is not your Joseph? I"m not saying you are wrong, but wondering if you have proof they are not the same man. Did you trace "cousin" Joseph to prove he was in a different place or with a different family at the same time as your Joseph?

Let's assume you have proof they are not the same person. With a surname like Ecabert you need to be very creative when searching. Use wildcards if possible. For example on you can search for e*b*rt and that would pick up many variant spellings

Have you allowed a year or two past the date you have for his passport application? He may have arrived much later than you think.

Don't forget he might have come in via Canada and if he did you are probably out of luck as ships passenger lists to Canada did not have to archived until 1865.

Look for naturalization records if he naturalized. Some census years will give you that information. For example the 1870 census will show you if he was a citizen of the USA. If yes, you know he was naturalized.