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

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ORIGINS ITALY Founder and “Genealogy Roadshow” Host Mary Tedesco will present two Italian genealogy lectures at the Explore Your Italian Roots Seminar in Beverly, MA on 14 May 2016: “Roads to Rome: Locating Your Italian Ancestral Town” and “Andiamo in Italia: Italian Genealogical Research in Italy and from Home.” Detailed lecture descriptions below. Objects and documents from the Beverly Historical Society’s collection related to Italian-Americans in Beverly will be on view.

When: Saturday, May 14, 2016 from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM.
Where: Italian Community Center, 302 Rantoul Street, Beverly, MA.
Cost: $20/$10 BHS and ICC members.
Registration: Please contact Beverly Historical Society @ (978) 922-1186 or info@beverlyhistory.org.

Detailed lecture descriptions:

  1. “Roads to Rome: Locating Your Italian Ancestral Town”
    • Walking the streets of your ancestral town in Italy can be the experience of a lifetime. This lecture will provide strategies and resources for discovering your Italian ancestral town using records available in the United States and online.
  2. “Andiamo in Italia: Italian Genealogical Research in Italy and from Home”
    • With knowledge of your ancestral town in Italy, it is possible to start research using Italian records. Italy offers many records beyond birth, marriage and death. Discover what records are available and how they are accessed. Research by correspondence will also be discussed.

See you there!

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How do you fall in love? With so many good-looking people walking around Basilicata, the answer is self-evident: travel there, meet one of the beautiful people and fall in love. Yes, because the people I’ve met there are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside – so disarming and so warmly seductive. Ah, but then reality sets in. You awaken to the fact that you are indulging in the age-old Italian fantasy of amore. (If that’s the case, I think I’ll curl up on the sofa with a glass of fine Aglianico wine and watch La Dolce Vita!) Nonetheless, in Basilicata you will certainly fall in love with the inherent romance of this wonderful place – sweeping landscapes, picturesque mountaintop villages, delicious food, and lovely people. It’s a hidden gem that many visitors to Italy (and even some native Italians) don’t ever anticipate or consider.

Basilicata is a Southern Italian region wedged between Campania and Calabria to the west and Puglia to the east. Like Calabria, Basilicata has coastline on both the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas. During the late 1800s through the early 1900s and beyond, tens of thousands of immigrants from Basilicata ventured abroad in search of new opportunities. Sadly, many descendants today have not retained any tangible connection to Basilicata. That’s why a genealogist like me specializing in Italian ancestry finds her way to Basilicata – to search for those lost family roots and reconnect Italian Americans to their origins.

Like many places in Southern Italy, Basilicata is charming, yet affectionately inefficient for those of us here for archival research. And that’s okay. In Basilicata, it’s perfectly acceptable to tell friends and colleagues, “arrivo” / “I’m arriving,” if you’re twenty minutes away. In some cases, appointment times are only approximations of the actual times that meetings take place. But it is also understood that things are arranged and scheduled always with the best intentions. And thus, after some routine logistical adjustments, our onsite genealogical research progresses as intended.

Now let’s not forget about the incredible food! A few months ago, one of my research associates and I spent a productive week tracing the ancestry of an ORIGINS ITALY client with roots in the mountainous area on the border of the Italian regions of Campania and Basilicata. The local culture is uniquely its own and the cuisine is out-of-this-world amazing. At the Agriturismo Ponte di Annibale in Ricigliano (SA), Italy, Giovanni Turturiello and his family serve local specialties and make you feel right at home. When you go there, try the ravioli with porcini mushrooms. It’s the best I’ve ever tasted. Warning: You cannot be on a diet and eat there, but it’s well worth it! (Full disclosure: Agriturismo Ponte di Annibale is located in Campania, a stone’s throw from the Basilicata border, and the food is representative of the area’s scrumptious, comforting cuisine.)

Potenza, the regional capital of Basilicata, is a must visit for any Italy enthusiast. It has all the essential elements: rich history, local culture, great food, and wonderful people. I was very surprised at how few foreigners were there. I thought, where is everyone? For some reason, they are not here visiting this enchanting and beautiful city! This is something I hope will change in the future.

The only real disappointment I have about Basilicata is that Potenza and the historical city of Matera are not efficiently linked via public transportation. Thus, you will probably need a rental car to take a day trip to see one of the rarest jewels of Italy. I must visit Matera in the future.

What else is there to say, but “Go there!” Basilicata is a place that you will visit for the first time and wish you had known about it sooner. If you have ancestry from Basilicata, it’s all the more reason to book your flight right now. The experience will change your life. So, go there! Travel to Basilicata and you will surely fall in love!

-Mary M. Tedesco, ORIGINS ITALY

(Pictured: Muro Lucano, Potenza, Basilicata, Italy. Photo © Mary Tedesco.)

20160419 Mary T GRS Whaling Museum graphic

Join Mary Tedesco, co-Host of the PBS TV series GENEALOGY ROADSHOW, on Monday, April 25, 2016 @ 6:00 PM for an advance screening of the GENEALOGY ROADSHOW Providence episode before it airs on PBS in June, 2016. This episode contains a special segment filmed at the New Bedford Whaling Museum!

When: Monday, April 25, 2016  @6:00 pm
Where: New Bedford Whaling Museum (18 Johnny Cake Hill  New Bedford, MA 02740)
Details: Free and Open to the Public
Registration Required Click Here

GENEALOGY ROADSHOW brings together genealogists with everyday people whose unique family claims form the basis for significant ROADSHOW stories. Mary Tedesco will describe the process she used as a genealogist to trace a local New Bedford resident’s lineage to a whaling family.

20160404 WGBH PBS Genealogy Roadshow insider screening2

Yesterday evening (4 April 2016), WGBH, Boston’s PBS station, hosted an Insider Screening of the “Genealogy Roadshow” Boston episode. The screening was followed by a genealogy panel discussion featuring “Genealogy Roadshow” Host and ORIGINS ITALY Founder Mary Tedesco and two of her rockstar colleagues Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt, CG and David Allen Lambert.

WGBH Insiders will be able to view a recording of this special event soon @ http://www.wgbh.org/support/insider.cfm.

Genealogy Roadshow premieres on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 8:OO PM EDT on PBS stations. More info @ www.genealogyroadshow.org.

Special thanks to our friends at WGBH!

In the photo (left to right): David Allen Lambert, Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt, CG, and Mary Tedesco

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ORIGINS ITALY Founder Mary Tedesco & ORIGINS ITALY were profiled in the Spring 2016 issue of Ambassador, the magazine of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF). Special thanks to NIAF and Silvia Donati! Mary discusses the influence of her Italian immigrant grandparents on her genealogy career; the upcoming season of “Genealogy Roadshow,” and highlights ORIGINS ITALY’s genealogical research services.

NIAF members, please click here to read the article!

Thanks NIAF!

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