Italian Genealogy, Family History, Travel, Culture, and More!


It is such a great honor and privilege to be invited to speak to special groups and organizations about Italian genealogy, family history, and other genealogy topics.  I love encouraging Italian-Americans and all those of Italian descent around the world to discover their heritage.  I get excited about our shared Italian roots and the wondrous journeys of emersion that searching for those roots engenders.  That is why genealogical education — especially Italian genealogical education — is so important to me.  So, it is with thankful humility that these forthcoming presentations are listed here.  I look forward to each event and hope to see many of you there.

12 April 2014
“Travels of an Italian Genealogist in 2013”

Sponsored by the Italian Genealogical Society of America (IGSA)
Topsfield Public Library
1 South Common Street, Topsfield, MA USA
@ about 1:30 PM  (meeting is from 12:30 – 4:00 PM)

19 April 2014
“Immigrant Origins: Locating Your Ancestral Town”

Sponsored by the Essex Society of Genealogists
The Congregational Church
5 Summer Street, Lynnfield, MA USA
@ 1:00 PM

23 April 2014
“Andiamo in Italia: 
Italian Genealogical Research in Italy and from Home”
Sponsored by The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society
New York Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Street
New York, NY USA
@ 5:30 PM

26 July 2014
“Adventures in Italian Genealogy”

@ Massachusetts Genealogical Council’s 2014 Annual Seminar
Holiday Inn Conference Center
Mansfield, MA USA
@ Time TBD

12 November 2014
“Roads to Rome: Locating Your Italian Ancestral Town”

Sponsored by: Lucius Beebe Memorial Library
Lucius Beebe Memorial Library
345 Main Street,
Wakefield, MA USA
@ 7:00 PM

10 December 2014
“Andiamo in Italia: Italian Genealogical Research in Italy and from Home”
Sponsored by: Lucius Beebe Memorial Library
Lucius Beebe Memorial Library
345 Main Street,
Wakefield, MA USA
@ 7:00 PM

Invitations to speak are always welcomed.  Please click here to book a lecture near you!

-Mary M. Tedesco, ORIGINS ITALY.


World Nutella Day, 5 February 2014, is the official holiday of ORIGINS ITALY!  We are celebrating Italy’s favorite hazelnut-chocolate spread today with other Italians around the world.  How can you show your love for Nutella today?  Here are some suggestions:

1.     MANGIATE LA NUTELLA!  Eat Nutella!

2.     BALLATE!  Go ahead, dance!  If Nutella makes you happy, express it through some traditional Italian soft shoe.  If you don’t know any Italian dances, then just move to the music!

3.     FATE OPERE D’ARTE!  Express your love for Italy’s favorite spread by creating artwork.  Please send us photos!

4.     DITELA AI VOSTRI AMICI!  Tell your friends about World Nutella Day and how much they are missing out if they haven’t tried  Italy’s famous treat–Nutella!

5.     AVETE UNA FESTA!  Throw a party to celebrate World Nutella Day!!!

I hope your celebration is delicious.  Today and everyday is a great day to be Italian.

Happy World Nutella Day from ORIGINS ITALY!

-Mary M. Tedesco


Salt Lake City, Utah (SCL) is one of my favorite destinations.  What would an Italian genealogist do in Utah?  Simple.  Salt Lake City is the undisputed genealogy capital of the world.  Some like to call it, “Genealogy Mecca.”  In addition to hosting many genealogy events and conferences each year, SLC is home to the world’s largest genealogy library.

The Family History Library is located in a modern structure in the heart of Salt Lake City with 5 sprawling floors dedicated to genealogy research.  It is a treasure trove for genealogists because it houses millions of genealogical records and resources from all over the world, including Italy!  Genealogists yearn to visit SLC as children yearn to go to Disney World.  It’s that incredible.

When non-genealogist acquaintances hear that I’m heading for Utah in January, they typically respond, “Are you going skiing?” or “I hear the hiking out there is fantastic!”  Now I don’t know much about skiing or hiking in Utah, but I do respond to them by pointing out that a tremendous amount of genealogy research can be accomplished in a single visit to the Family History Library.  It’s safer (and warmer) than skiing, and you can’t get lost in the woods, except of course, for the thick groves of family trees from whence my problem-solving expertise can usually rescue me.

The Family History Library is run by (and sponsored by) the Mormon Church.  I have an immense appreciation for the efforts of the Church in gathering, microfilming, indexing, and digitizing genealogical resources, especially records from Italy!  They have provided an invaluable service to the world of genealogical research, and in so doing have made genealogy universally approachable.  Many thanks.

Since it is cost effective and efficient, I do as much research as possible using resources available through the Family History Library (and other sources) before conducting onsite research in Italy.  It is only after exhausting all records available in and accessible from the USA, that I consider conducting onsite research in Italy.

I hope many of you get a chance to visit “Genealogy Mecca” – Salt Lake City, Utah and the Family History Library.  It is a real treat for anyone who appreciates genealogy.

-Mary M. Tedesco, ORIGINS ITALY.


The best part of being an Italian genealogist is traveling to Italy on behalf of clients to conduct research using Italian records that are not online, microfilmed or easily accessible from the United States.  Being enchanted by the land and its people is an inherent benefit of professional Italian genealogy research.  In 2013, I took two trips to Italy spending about three and a half months in beautiful Italia.  The more I see of Italy, the more I love this wonderful land of my ancestors.

In 2013, I visited and/or conducted research in the following Italian locations:

  • Calabria: San Pietro a Maida, Maida, Catanzaro, Lamezia Terme, Curinga.
  • Lazio: Rome, Frosinone, Ceccano.
  • Le Marche: Ancona, Fabriano, Sassoferrato.
  • Liguria: Genova.
  • Sicily: Palermo, Catania.
  • Trentino-Alto Adige: Rovereto, Trento, Laghetti di Egna, Sorni di Lavis, Lavis, Brennero.
  • Tuscany: Florence, Siena, Chiusi, Sarteano, Montepulciano, Piombino.
  • Umbria: Perugia.

This is a total of 8 Italian Regions, 12 Provinces, and 25+ cities and towns.  Onsite research locations included 8 Archivi di Stato (Italian State Archives), several Catholic Diocesan Archives, many municipal offices, and more cemeteries than I can recall at the moment.

Travel is mostly by train and occasionally by plane if the locations are a significant distance from one another – like Palermo to Rome.  One of my relatives referred to me as the “Trenitalia Customer of the Year.”  I’m still waiting to hear from Italian train operator, Trenitalia, about my award.  Just kidding!

Besides shuttling around Italy in 2013, I also saw a bit of the USA while attending genealogy conferences and conducting research – Salt Lake City, UT (twice); Las Vegas, NV (Yes, for a conference!); Portsmouth, NH; and Fort Wayne, IN.  2013’s genealogy travel airline mileage total is over 25,000 miles.  I loved it!

I’m now planning my client research trips for 2014.  It’s exciting.  The challenging logistics of Italian travel will be offset by the charming inevitable adventures that arise while helping to solve the riddles of Italian family histories!  And in between client research projects, I make it a point to visit my cousins and my family’s ancestral towns.  Through my travels, I have grown to appreciate and adore small town Italy.  I hope each of you will also be able to share in the wealth of culture and beauty that are the earmarks of our beloved ancestral homeland.

Have a wonderful and prosperous New Year!  Buon Anno 2014!

-Mary M. Tedesco, ORIGINS ITALY.


Panettone is a delectable sweet Italian bread usually shaped in a circular loaf that originated Milan.  This tasty treat is typically enjoyed at Christmastime and gained national popularity in Italy after World War II when it was manufactured in large quantities and sold at an affordable price.  Many Italian immigrants who left Italy brought their love of panettone with them abroad.  As a result, panettone is now being enjoyed in many countries around the world.

In early January 2013, I arrived in Rome, Italy at my cousin Giuseppe “Pepino” Tedesco’s home to find the largest pile of panettone I’d ever seen.  At least 25 packages of panettone in various flavors were neatly stacked and festively wrapped.  “Looks like we’ll be eating panettone until March again this year,” he said in Italian.  The sight of all this panettone triggered fond memories from my own Italian-American childhood.  My grandparents always receive panettone from Italian friends during the holidays, but nowhere near as many loaves as Pepino.

Italians seem to give panettone like we Americans send Christmas cards – same sentiment, but slightly more delicious.  In Italy (and among many Italian families abroad), giving the gift of holiday panettone can be interpreted as a gesture of friendship, love, appreciating, and so much more.

It is no surprise that Pepino receives oodles of panettone each year.  He is completely selfless and goes out of his way to help his family and friends with whatever they need.  He is always thinking of others before himself.  I always feel welcomed and loved from the moment I enter Pepino’s home.  He greets me with a big smile, open arms, a kiss on each cheek, and an “Oye, Maria! Come va?”  Time then disappears as we begin enjoying family time together and many hours of socializing and eating delicious Italian food.  And of course, at the end of the meal we enjoy a few slices of panettone with our espresso.  Heaven on earth.

In addition to being the recipient of record amounts of holiday panettone, Pepino is also a natural genealogist and keeper of many family stories that have long been forgotten by others.  As the most senior member of the Tedesco family in Italy, he is also a patriarch.  His love for his hometown of San Pietro a Maida, Calabria, Italy is indisputable.  He lives in Rome now, but he is 1000% Calabrian to anyone who asks.  When I took my first genealogical research trip to San Pietro a Maida, Pepino was right there with me.  He was standing beside me as I conducted genealogical research in the parish church so he could see the records of our ancestors for himself.  He often tells relatives and friends that I am looking for our earliest ancestor – “Adam Tedesco.”  As in, the Biblical first man, Adam.  Pepino’s faith in me as an Italian genealogist certainly keeps me motivated!

I look forward to chatting with Pepino on Christmas Day to see how he’s doing, hear the latest family gossip, and, of course, to ask him how many loaves of panettone he received this year.  If this year is anything like past years, he will need some time to count all the panettone before returning to the phone.

Best wishes for a very Happy Holiday Season from ORIGINS ITALY!  A special thank you to each client, friend, and family member that has made 2013 a fantastic year.  Thank you all!

-Mary M. Tedesco, ORIGINS ITALY.

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