Sicilian Genealogy

Finding Your Sicilian Ancestors: I Know My Ancestral Town – Now, What?

Finding Your Sicilian Ancestors: I Know My Ancestral Town – Now, What?

       Naturalization papers and passenger manifests can identify the towns where our Sicilian ancestors were born. Such information is also sometimes available in newspaper articles, family documents, passports, draft registrations, and the like. Once ancestors’ names (as used and spelled in Sicily) and ancestral towns are known, the search can begin in earnest […]

Finding Your Sicilian Ancestors: Beyond Ellis Island

Finding Your Sicilian Ancestors: Beyond Ellis Island

        There are several common misconceptions about the immigrant experience at Ellis Island. One is that the handwritten names on early ships’ passenger manifests were actually the signatures of the immigrants themselves. That’s not true. The forms were filled out by a ticket agent or ship’s officer at the point of departure […]

Expanding the Search for PASSenger Manifests (Finding Your Sicilian Ancestors)

Expanding the Search for PASSenger Manifests  (Finding Your Sicilian Ancestors)

    Last time, I detailed the type of information found on the ships’ manifests of immigrants to Ellis Island, documents that are available on the free site www.ellisisland.org. That site, one of the first to display manifests, can be very helpful, but it has its drawbacks. ellisisland.org sometimes maddeningly displays a manifest that clearly […]

Beginning the Search – Census Information (Finding Your Sicilian Ancestors)

Beginning the Search – Census Information (Finding Your Sicilian Ancestors)

Having identified the name of a Sicilian immigrant ancestor, you’re prepared to search for records that may give his date of immigration and/or his date and place of birth. These may be contained in family records such as passports, marriage records, naturalization papers or membership documents of the mutual aid societies, or Società di Mutuo […]

In Search of our Ancestry: Butcher, Baker, Basket Maker

In Search of our Ancestry: Butcher, Baker, Basket Maker

      I’ve discussed early traditions for determining given names for Italian children.  Today, most names consist of one or more given names combined with family names, or surnames. Surnames are a relatively recent phenomenon in human history.  Nobility and landowners may have had identifying names besides their given names, but ordinary residents of most countries […]