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#1: We're home - and our brick wall crashed! Author: BonValLocation: Florida PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 10:43 am
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Hi all - we're home from the best trip we have ever taken anywhere! Italy was beautiful and we were blessed with great weather most of the time!
We were wined and dined by family - and everyone was thrilled with the genealogy book I had done - and of course, more names and dates were added due to marriages and births in the last couple of years.
Everyone from the Commune of Itri were so helpful and generous of their time in helping us. We also were blessed by the help of the Padre Giorgi of the Church of the Annunziata in Itri. We drove to Campodimele and met the Sindaco who pledged the Commune's help - he set up an appointment for us with the office of the vital statistics there. The gentleman in charge told us his mother had told him about a relative who moved to Itri and was killed walking home from the farm, hit by a speeding car by a rich person from Rome after the WWII. Turns out that was our Nonno Valentino and we may be distantly related! But he spent time searching while we were there and the Atta was found - the birth certificate for our Nonno handwritten in old Latin script with the death information noted in the margin! So we know his birth information, his parents, his death, and possibly even his grandparents! In addition the officer has volunteered to a complete family sheet for us and will email me and then regular mail further information! So we now have the maternal line back into the late 1700's!!! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
Now I have one disappointing - no -- red hot angry issue to discuss. When I am done, I hope all of you have a new appreciation and iunderstanding of why Italy - specifically The Church - is being strict about accessing records. We met with a local priest at the church in Itri - this gentle soul was more than accommodating with us - and allowed us to read the registers more than 150 years old. BUT - we did not find our family information that should have been there. What we did find was two pages TORN deliberately out of the register. Each handwritten page had three families' information on each side - so TWELVE families are now deprived of their information!!!! Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad And to boot -- he gently explained that TWENTY books had been so dessicrated!!!! Now figure out home many will never find their information because of some idiot!!!! Itri had been bombed during WWII and also had a fire so church records were the only hope for many family researchers! Now this. It disgusts me that anyone would be so heartless, selfish, and callous! We as genealogists are supposed to be protecting and preserving, not destroying. So this fool has contributed to why Italy has yanked cooperation with groups like LDS and is slowly attempting to do the job as time and money permit themselves. Even still after this, the Commune of Itri and the Priest as well as Campodimele gave lovingly and generously of their time and found us so much information - and for this we as a family will always be eternally grateful! In addition to family records, they also all blessed and gifted us with books, posters, and pamphlets of the area to aid in our research! I was truly humbled by all of them!

#2: Re: We're home - and our brick wall crashed! Author: liviomorenoLocation: Rome (Italy) PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 10:53 am
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What a great story! Thank you for sharing.

#3: Re: We're home - and our brick wall crashed! Author: JamesBiancoLocation: Westfield, MA. PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 11:36 am
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Sounds like a wonderful experience!

Who would have ripped those pages out?
What time frame was this (the records)?

That is truly upsetting.

#4: Re: We're home - and our brick wall crashed! Author: ElevenLocation: New York PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 12:51 pm
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Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

Only someone very ignorant would do something like that to very old documents. I am surprised that anyone was allowed access to those books without being supervised. Maybe it was an "inside job"..someone who worked there?

#5: Re: We're home - and our brick wall crashed! Author: CaroleLocation: Valtellina - Near Lake Como PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 12:51 pm
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You clearly enjoyed your return to your roots Bonval, and it seems to have been an unforgettable experience. What a shame though that you had to find such a sad situation regarding those family records - or lack of them as it turned out.

Perhaps this goes to show just how important it is that somebody (anybody) saves records of this type which are just SO valuable to many in their search for thier heritage.

I can understand the anger from both the church and individuals at this wanton vandalism of ceturies old, irreplaceable records - and to what end? to be able to show off to friends that they have 'the originals' ? Well if someone showed me something like that, I'm afraid I would call the police...

It obviously wasn't the LDS who did it, nor the church itself, but I'm not sure that the church, with the best will in the world has the means to digitalise their records fast enough to ensure thier safe journey into the future.

#6: Re: We're home - and our brick wall crashed! Author: JamesBiancoLocation: Westfield, MA. PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 2:22 pm
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Carole wrote:

I'm not sure that the church, with the best will in the world has the means to digitalise their records fast enough to ensure thier safe journey into the future.

All I can say is they better get on the stick and do something. Keeping these deteriorating old volumes under lock and key (as is the case in so many instances) unavailable to the public AND refusing to digitize either privately or with the help of volunteers is completely irresponsible. They are the guardians of these precious documents, and are allowing them to deteriorate with neither preservation nor reproduction. In my opinion what they are doing is just as awful as what the selfish individual who removed the pages BonVal talks about did.

There are thousands of individuals and associations who would take this project on, even with limitations and restrictions just to preserve the images. I am not even talking about the LDS church.

ok My rant is over lol
Cool

#7: Re: We're home - and our brick wall crashed! Author: nucciaLocation: Toronto, Ontario, Canada PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 3:05 pm
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Welcome home and kudos on a wonderful trip! I can't believe someone would be foolish enough to destroy those records! (ok..maybe I can...) Our archives both in the US and Canada have experienced such vandalism so we shouldn't be surprised about this happening in the Churches. But I have to agree with Jim here..The church is being irresponsible by allowing these records to deteriorate. If know one can see them or access the information in anyway and they stay under lock and key, they will be about as much use to people as if some jacka** went through them and ripped out the pages. They will become useless anyway so they really need to step up and make a decision here..an unselfish one and one that preserves a piece of history. Even the Bible was reproduced, so why not the records?

Now my rant is over too but I reserve the right to rant again - and again - and again.. lol lol

#8: Re: We're home - and our brick wall crashed! Author: BonValLocation: Florida PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 6:28 pm
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The time frame of the registers we were in were the 1800's - this particular priest was stgill trusting enough withus to allow us to freely view the books so we were pleased with his attitude. The Communes in both instances are working on saving their records. Intersting tidbit - Campodimele at that time frame sent their records to Itri (where records were lost and destroyed) but the town(village) kept their books too. DUring WWII era books were thrown out - to a dump or something according to our new friend - but a resident found them, and at risk, saved all of them to return to the town when safe! One person literally saved hundreds of years of history!!!!
I am not sure what the answers are - Italian privacy laws are so strict that people tend to go overboard in many instances - yet I am not pleased all the time at how open we are - and any information posted to the web remains forever - so we do need to learn to balance all of this - but I suspect we will be hardpressed to save all of this information as fast as some of it is deteriorating. And yet, both of these two towns keep those books under lock and key in their offices now in beautiful cabinets so at least the musty mildewy basement scenario is not happening even if they are not in protected elements.

#9: Re: We're home - and our brick wall crashed! Author: nucciaLocation: Toronto, Ontario, Canada PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 6:10 am
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That is great that at least someone had the good insight to save those records! And also a good thing the records are not in a basement. In both my comuni the records have so much water damage its not funny!

Regardless, you seem to have had an amazing trip and I'm having for you. Smile



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