Italian genealogy by Stefania Fangarezzi

professional genealogist

My working method

Genealogy: my work, what I do and how I do it

Census has always been the fundamental document to learn information about people and the land where people lived and, during the centuries, have been kept both by Civil and Ecclesiastic Authorities.

Starting with the Council of Trent (1545-1563), Parishes were obliged to keep the “Liber Quinquies” (the Five Books). They were the Book of Baptisms, of Marriages, of Deaths, of Confirmations and the so called “Status Animarum”, “Stato delle Anime”, a yearly census where all the families that lived in that Parish were listed. Thanks to those recordings, today we can analyze families year after year and see how families changed. These documents give priceless information, from an historical as well as a scientific and statistic point of view, and are a starting point for a genealogical research.

This research is often very complex, sometimes long and often brings forth discoveries and surprises which surpass all expectations. The professional researcher works methodically through the State Archives and Church Archives. These are sometimes kept at the Parish, or are gathered up in Diocese Archives, so that they can be better preserved. The researcher has direct access to these records, allowing them to be examined without diverting Priests from their pastoral duties. Only a professional researcher has such experience that allows her to find, collate and evaluate the documents and obtain a well-founded and reliable genealogical tree.

Genealogy is often considered a science for noble people only, or for those people whose family enjoyed a special prestige in the past.

This is an absolutely wrong approach to genealogy, in fact every family has written its history, even if it has almost always been an unconscious and involuntary process.

The history of every family is written in Parish Archives, where our Ancestors’ vital steps were carefully recorded: Baptism acts commemorate the birth and the first admission into the community, the Marriage acts mark the beginning of a new family, death acts are the final farewell of the individual to life: to survive in memories only.

Not only memories, to tell the truth: each event in life was marked by documents, where our ancestors played both a main role (let’s think about dowries, buying and selling, about all those acts that regulated the division of crops, about quarrels and arguments) or a walk-on part, i.e. in censuses, where our ancestors appears with their families as elements of the society they belonged to.

A genealogical research, if done with scientific method and rigour, can hold surprises, maybe not always sensational, but always useful to let us know the people we descend from.

Full genealogical tree Genealogical tree
consists of a volume that contains documents (pictures, photocopies or transcriptions, according to what rules of the various Archives allow to do) that show the handing down of the family from father do. Documents are kept at Civil State Office of the Municipality where the family lived, at Parish Archives, that can be still kept in their original seats, or transferred, for conservation and consultation purposes, to Diocese Archives, and at State Archives. Acts that concern real estate, public charges, honours, civil suits and criminal cases, and, in general all those documents that reveal the living presence of our ancestors in their relationship with society, public administrations, bureaucracy , can give information from which the researcher profits. The book is perfectly bounded by a skilled bookbinder and is completed with a large size genealogical chart, that includes all the family branches, and a agnatic tree, that shows the direct line of descent, from father to son.
The research usually reaches XVIth century
as a consequence of the fact that recordings started, for most Parishes, in the second half of that century, in accordance with the laws issued by the holy Council of Trent (1545-1563). Further researches, regarding particular sources or documents, will be discussed with our customers.
Genealogical tree (limited to XIXth century)
collection of the documents that concern more recent generation of the family, usually to the beginning XIXth- end XVIIIth This research is mainly made at the Civil State and Historical Archive of Italian Municipality and in State Archive, where the “pre-Unitarian” Archives are consulted. The final work consists of original certificates, transcriptions, pictures or photocopies, according to what rules the various Archives allow us to do.
The documents are bounded in a brochure made by a skilled bookbinder and is completed by a full genealogical chart, that shows collateral branches of the family.
Single documents needed by our customer for administrative use (i.e.: citizenship)
or for the admission to Knightly Orders. In these cases, documents are legalized by the authority in charge.
History of buildings and properties
by means of cadastre documents and decime, with the help of notary documents, it is possible to reconstruct the history of a house, of an old building, the transfer of property inside the same family (i.e. in case of inheritance or gifts) or towards third parties, as in case of contract of sale.
Not only the documents that pertain to stately palaces
that belonged to noble families, but also country houses, farms, or city buildings are carefully examined. The history of houses often brings light to family history

Special services

On demand, we can provide you with the following special services:

  • hand painted genealogical tree;
  • “Nuptial” genealogical tree; the direct descendents of the new couple is shown on the background of a picture, chosen by the customer, of the place of origin landscape or of the church where the marriage is celebrated. Very impressive, it can be a nice and original gift for a young couple.

Graphic variations: the genealogical tree can be realised in many different graphic versions (i.e.: initials illumination, different colours for males and females, “old style” genealogical tree).

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