From Australia to Italy: a 9000 mile journey to the roots

We just received this email from Bernadette: she contacted us from Australia to plan her trip to Italy to visit her Italian grandfathers hometown.
After she returned home, she wrote us a nice email with some useful suggestions for tourists coming to Italy for genealogy research

“Thank you for helping me to arrange my trip to Basilicata. It was wonderful.
You took out all the worry about travelling on my own so I could really enjoy myself and soak up the atmosphere.
Everyone really looked after me and was very helpful in the towns I visited.
The itinerary, the local guides, the driver were all wonderful.

I was able to do some great research in my grandfathers hometown and speak with people in the town, the commune and the library.
I saw where my grandfather grew up over 100 years ago and where his family lived.
I even saw his ancestors referenced in the local library.
Family research is a long process, but it makes it all the more exciting when you have Italian roots in such a beautiful country.

Someone once said that “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles”.
Through ItalianSide and the many wonderful people I met in Basilicata I’m absolutely convinced of this.
It’s important to know where you have come from in order to know where you are going.
I have many more questions and things to find out, but I found some very useful information during my visit to Basilicata.
Thanks to ItalianSide for helping to make this happen.”

A few suggestions if you are looking to visit Italy for family research:
1. Plan your questions in advance. Arriving in the town and asking generic questions may prove futile.
2. Contact the Parish Priest in the town. They know everyone in the town so it’s a great place to start.
3. Visit the town’s cemetery. Take photos of graves if names sound familiar, it might help piece together information when you return home.
4. Read books on what life used to be like in the town. It helps paint a picture of how your ancestors grew up.
5. Plan in advance! You often only have minimal time when you are away so make the most of it.
If you don’t speak Italian, then use online translators to translate your key questions before you leave.

Bernadette, Australia

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