08 May 2020

Finding Relatives Who Sailed to South America

There are online tools to help you identify family members who went to Argentina and Brazil. Recently we looked at Brazilian documents with photos of my Italian townspeople. Today we'll look at another resource to find family members who went to Argentina.

CEMLA is the Centro de Estudios Migratorios Latinoamericanos (Center for Latin American Migratory Studies). Their website offers a simple search form where you can enter:
  • Apellido (last name)
  • Nombre (first name)
  • A date range, Desde (from) and Hasta (until)
Type in the jumble of letters and numbers you see and click Buscar (search). (Tip: You may only have to enter the jumbled code the first time.)

The database:
  • covers more than 75 years of immigration
  • has more than 4.4 million names
  • includes more than 200 countries.
But their website does not have the ship manifest images for us to see. That's disappointing, yes. But let's see what we can do with the information they do provide.

This simple search form can turn up a list of possible relatives for you.
This simple search form can turn up a list of possible relatives for you.

I searched for immigrants with my maiden name, Iamarino, and got 19 results. All 19 Iamarinos arrived in Argentina between 1896 and 1954.

You can open Google Translator in another browser tab to translate the immigrants' professions. I used it to make sure "desconocido" in the Place of Birth column means unknown. And I found that C or S in the "Estado Civil" column means Married (Casado) or Single (Soltero).

Let's see what we can do with this table of search results.

Click on any column in the search results to sort by that value. I clicked the "Fecha de Arribo" (Arrival Date) column. You can also type a value in the "Filtrar resultados" box to filter your results. I can type the town name of Colle Sannita in the box to filter by my ancestral hometown.

That leaves me with 7 people who came from Grandpa Iamarino's hometown. The first one, Carmine Iamarino, was 29 years old in 1924. I can search for him in the towns' 1895 birth records. These are available on the Antenati website, and I've downloaded them to my computer.

There is a Carmine Iamarino born in 1895 to Pasquale Iamarino and Orsola Marino. Is he in my family tree? I searched my tree for him, and he isn't there. Yet. His parents are in my tree, and his father Pasquale is my 2nd cousin 4 times removed.

That means Carmine, whom I've just learned sailed to Argentina in 1924, is my 3rd cousin 3 times removed. Now I can enter Carmine into my family tree with his 1895 birth record and his 1924 immigration facts. I'll use the CEMLA website as my source and add all the facts I see:
  • Carmine was a married man in 1924
  • He was a laborer
  • He arrived in Argentina on 31 December 1924
  • He sailed out of Naples on the ship Belvedere
Let's try another one. Innocenzo Iamarino arrived in Argentina in 1935 at the age of 31. I searched my vital records for Innocenzo Iamarino born in 1904 and found him. He isn't in my family tree yet, either. But his parents are. And he's a closer relative than my first search.

Innocenzo's father, Giuseppantonio Iamarino, is my 2nd great uncle. He's the brother of my great grandfather Francesco. Innocenzo, who I'll be putting into my tree immediately, is my 1st cousin twice removed. (He's Grandpa's 1st cousin.)

Innocenzo's birth record tells me he married Rosa Paolucci in 1925. I searched the CEMLA site to see if she followed her husband to Argentina. It looks like she did not, so Innocenzo probably earned money in South America and returned to his wife in Italy. (Tip: There is no button to start a new search, so refresh the page in your web browser.)

Did Innocenzo sail to Argentina more than once? I removed the Colle Sannita filter from my search. There is another result for an Innocenzo born in 1904. He arrived in Argentina in 1926, married, listing his hometown as Benevento. Benevento is both a city and the name of the province to which Colle Sannita belongs. I'm fairly confident that this is my same 1st cousin twice removed.

The search screen offers many controls to help you find your relatives.
The search screen offers many controls to help you find your relatives.

I'm eager to work through every Iamarino in this list. You can't use an asterisk or question mark in your search, but I know the usual misspellings of my maiden name. I search for Jamarino and found 10 more results, one of which lists Colle Sannita as their place of birth.

It's great to have this bit of information to add to the stories of my relatives. If you have family members who traveled to and from another country to work, try the CEMLA website. You, too, may find relatives who sailed to Argentina to support their families.

05 May 2020

Attracting a New DNA Match

I received an Ancestry email for my dad's DNA test account. It says he has a new 2nd cousin once removed that he can find using ThruLines™. Dad's 2nd cousin once removed would be my 3rd cousin, so I took a look.

This new DNA match is the granddaughter of a cousin I identified some years ago. You see, when my paternal grandfather came to America in 1920, he went to join his uncle Antonio Pilla. Grandpa worked for a baker in Newton, a suburb of Boston. But he didn't stay long.

I researched Uncle Antonio's wife and kids in Newton found a living daughter. I wrote to her, but I didn't hear back. Unfortunately, she died in 2014. This new DNA match is her granddaughter.

Ancestry's ThruLines™ takes the guesswork out of your DNA match's identity.
Ancestry's ThruLines™ takes the guesswork out of your DNA match's identity.

Pay It Forward

I've got a ton of Uncle Antonio's ancestors in my family tree, but not for his wife Angelina Iarossi.

I thought it'd be good to build Angelina's branch as much as I can, and then reach out to my newfound 3rd cousin. What if she has photos of Uncle Antonio? If I offer her a ton of info on her grandmother's parents, she may be more likely to share photos.

To keep my enormous family tree from getting out of control, I made a policy a while ago. When it comes to in-laws, I'll record their facts and the names of their parents. That's it. I don't care about their siblings or their grandparents.

I made this decision after a few people contacted me, wondering why their grandfather was in my tree. I didn't have a great answer, and I didn't plan to investigate them any further. So out they went.

I will make an exception to the rule if a relative asks me to do the work. Two weekends ago I added an in-law's siblings and ancestors because my cousin asked me to.

Now I'm concentrating on my DNA 3rd cousin's great grandmother, Angelina Iarossi. She came to America at the age of 2 with her mother. The ship manifest says they came from Castelvetere in Val Fortore, Italy. That's a bit north of the 2 towns where my grandfathers were born.

I'm eager to climb Angelina Iarossi's tree and see what I can find. I know her last name exists in my maternal grandfather's hometown of Baselice. Is there any chance Angelina had roots there and a blood connection to me?

Researching their Family as an Incentive

My first choice for Italian genealogy research is the Antenati website. This government-run site offers free access to countless birth, marriage, and death records. Luckily, they have records for the town of Castelvetere in Val Fortore.

Her naturalization papers say Angelina was born on 6 February 1901. So I went straight to her birth record. It confirms that her parents were Pietro Iarossi and Maria Iarossi. They had the same last name.

A few quick document searches helped me climb my great uncle's wife's family tree.
A few quick document searches helped me climb my great uncle's wife's family tree.

I love it when a birth record includes one of the parent's father's name. Angelina's 1901 birth record told me that:
  • Her paternal grandfather was Antonio Iarossi
  • Her maternal grandfather was Costanzo Iarossi
I searched the indexes of several years (1872–1882) for the birth records of Pietro and Maria Iarossi. I found Maria Iarossi's 1879 birth record. It confirms her father's name of Costanzo, and adds her mother's name. She was Angela Maria Lupo, the daughter of Nicolangelo Lupo.

Could I climb another generation? I found an 1847 birth record for Costanzo Iarossi. I checked several surrounding years to make sure I didn't have the wrong Costanzo. His parents were Giovanni Iarossi and Catarine Forte.

I got that far while drinking my morning coffee. I'd like to get 3 or 4 solid generations of Angelina's ancestors. Then I'll contact my 3rd cousin DNA match. Her family tree on Ancestry is very small, so these findings may totally blow her away.

We all complain about DNA matches not answering us. But are we doing our best to attract them? You've got to put out the bait to score the information you want.

01 May 2020

5+ Ways to Share Your Tree with Family

I know this much is true: I'll keep adding people and documents to my family tree for the rest of my productive life.

My tree grows each week. I keep my up-to-date family tree on Ancestry.com so distant cousins and DNA matches can keep on tapping into my work.

Ask yourself this: "How many people connected to my tree have any idea what I'm doing?" I know I haven't made many efforts to draw relatives in. I tend to share with those who ask questions.

When a relative wants to see what you've learned, how do you show them? Here are 5 ways you can share your family tree research with your family.

1. Grant them access to your online tree

Seeing the family tree laid out makes more sense than a list of who had which children. The visual format works much better for me. It's immediately clear.

If you can put your family tree on a site like Ancestry.com, you can invite your family to see it. They don't need a subscription to see your tree. I like having the Ancestry app on my phone, too, so I can show it to a cousin when we're together.

2. Print large documents at home

This is a project I began a long time ago. I had an accordion folder that expands and has a slot for each letter of the alphabet. I wanted to fill it with folded-up ship manifests, census sheets, and vital records.

Create a family-history-to-go collection of full-sized documents.
Create a family-history-to-go collection of full-sized documents.

I began with my 2 grandfathers. I printed out ship manifests and census forms. At that time, I didn't have their Italian birth records or U.S. marriage or death records. I continued on to my maternal grandmother's parents. They also sailed from Italy to America. I printed their ship manifests and census sheets.

The best part of this project is that I didn't shrink the documents to fit onto a letter-sized sheet of paper. I used my printer to spread the image across several sheets of paper. There were 4 to 6 sheets of paper for each large document.

Then I trimmed the pages, taped them together on the back side, and had nice big documents. I folded the documents down to fit into my accordion folder. Then I gathered all the documents for one person and paper clipped them together. Finally, I put the batch into the slot with the first letter of their last name.

3. Order an oversized family tree

Years ago, my cousin Theresa encouraged me to share our Sarracino family tree.

I told her that branch was far from complete, but she urged me not to wait. So I used Family Tree Maker to make a chart of the descendants of the earliest Sarracino ancestor I had found.

I saved it as a PDF file with very large dimensions. Then I brought the file to a local print shop (Staples or the UPS Store can do the job). They used a plotter to print the tree on a sheet of paper 2 feet wide by 6 feet long.

At home, I laid them on my dining room table and folded them to fit into standard manila envelopes. I had copies for the heads of 40 families. I carried many of them to a Christmas family gathering and sent the rest out by mail.

Everyone seemed amazed. They'd never seen the whole clan laid out that way.

4. Create a book of life

My "Book of Life" article from March 2019 is still drawing lots of readers each week. I wrote about a one-of-a-kind binder I made for my mom's 1st cousin on her milestone birthday.

To create the book, I printed regular page-sized family trees and documents. I split some documents onto 2 pages to make them more legible, and I put them on facing pages in the binder. I slipped each item into a plastic sleeve (I had a few of these), making the pages easy to turn.

Use common stationery items to create a Book of Life.
Use common stationery items to create a Book of Life.

I created "call-outs" by printing important facts on leftover yellow paper. I cut them down to size and placed them on top of images like ship manifests. This is helpful when a document is hard to read. You can use a call-out to make it clear who we're looking at.

The binder had an extra pocket inside its back cover. I slipped in an oversized document, folded down to fit. It also had a clear pocket on the front cover where I put a title page and photo.

5. Create a digital experience

This is one I still need to try. Picture any DVD you may own. The opening screen usually has an image from the movie and a menu of choices to select. What if the image were your ancestors and the menu had different family members to choose?

Each selection might lead to a photo of the ancestor, or their hometown, with some large text to read. That might lead to a view of their ship manifest with a photo of the ship and a closeup of their line(s) on the manifest. Next there might be a photo of their first home and a look at their family on the census. Your time and imagination are the only limits. Plus any learning curve for using various software.

You can distribute this work by CD or place it online for relatives to download. (Remember that most new computers don't have a CD drive.) Or you may want to create this just for yourself. What a great way to preserve your legacy!

Think outside the box to create something special out of your family tree.
Think outside the box to create something special out of your family tree.

There is also another way to share your work, and that's in a book you create. See "How to Share Your Family Tree Research with Relatives." Your book may be filled with small family trees, document images, stories, and life stories you write.

I'm grateful to my cousin Theresa who pushed me to print that large family tree so many years ago. Her daughter still has it and cherishes it. Another cousin (my Book of Life recipient) has hers up on a wall.

Which of these projects will you choose for sharing your family tree work with relatives? Start with the one that sounds the easiest and move up from there.