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  • Genealogical research

    How much is a good genealogical research? How deep in time can it go?
    I checked the price of an Italian company and they're insane.
    Is there an American company which offers this kind of service at moderate price? Can they go back in time as much as this Italian company can, that is 1500 and even earlier (if they find any records)?

  • #2
    Originally posted by F.E.C.
    How much is a good genealogical research? How deep in time can it go?
    I checked the price of an Italian company and they're insane.
    Is there an American company which offers this kind of service at moderate price? Can they go back in time as much as this Italian company can, that is 1500 and even earlier (if they find any records)?
    They're expensive.

    I hired a lady out in Utah some years ago. She was actually a relative of mine and, living in Utah, had ready access to the big Mormon Library (I'm not Mormon, BTW).

    She was expensive and discovered nothing really earth shaking. As I recall, I spent a lot of time waiting for her reports . . . after I had paid her.

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    • #3
      It's much more satisfying to do the research yourself whenever possible

      I do almost all my own U.S. research. For records outside the U.S., I hire only reputable researchers and only ask them to search specific record groups or search for specific names. Also, regardless of U.S. or non-U.S. research, I don't hire someone to "do my genealogy" for me. They get me the records for my family names and I then analyze the records and determine how the people fit into my family tree and what the next steps should be.

      Elise

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      • #4
        Originally posted by F.E.C.
        How much is a good genealogical research? How deep in time can it go?
        I checked the price of an Italian company and they're insane.
        Is there an American company which offers this kind of service at moderate price? Can they go back in time as much as this Italian company can, that is 1500 and even earlier (if they find any records)?
        I think, unless you have proven ancestors who were well-known, like nobility, that the 1500s is about all you can get back in time for records. It's generally said that surnames came into use about 1000 years ago, but if there were no records kept, you won't find anything. My understanding is that the Council of Trent in 1548 mandated that Catholic churches begin recording births, marriages and deaths systematically. So that's the effective limit on how far back you can get in your family tree, unless your proven ancestor was a nobleman. In that case, you might be able to get back into the 1000-1200 range.

        Most of my research into my Italian ancestors has been in the LDS microfilm, which is almost solely the civil records. Not many churches in Italy, at least for my ancestral towns, have cooperated with the Mormons and allowed microfilming of their records. The civil records in southern Italy and Sicily begin anywhere from about 1809 to 1820. Through marriage records (called "allegati") that require information on deceased parents and grandparents of the bride and groom and birth records of the bride and groom, in some of my lines I've been able to get back into the early-mid 1700s.

        As far as hiring professional researchers, I haven't done that domestically. However, I did hire a Sicily-based researcher to get some documents in my main ancestral town. The LDS microfilm for that town had major gaps which covered the years my great-grandfather was born and when he married. Plus, I needed an official document from this town attesting to my grandfather's birth there, for my application for dual Italian citizenship. The researcher quoted me a price of $150, which was $50/document (great-grandfather's birth and marriage records and official notice of grandfather's birth). I agreed to that because it was worth it to me and I could afford it. He sent me the document about my grandfather's birth that I needed. Unfortunately, he could not find the documents for my great-grandfather even though the town records were complete. Since he was charging for his time, travel and expertise, I didn't get a refund and didn't expect one.

        Mike

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        • #5
          I was lucky because my grandfather's family in Denmark did one in 1937 that was able to get back to the late 1600's. Lots of parsons and so forth in my background, so that evidently helped due to the availability of church records. I had a great deal of difficulty going earlier, until, seemingly out of the blue, I stumbled on research that a distant (like 450 years separated) relative and his brothers had completed. We emailed back and forth a bit. As a by-product, I learned, and am learning, a little Danish. This pushed back my direct family line to 1540. Prior to that, the line is incomplete, perhaps due to the Danish Civil War of 1534-1536, but one can connect the dots to about 1280. Apparently, our family name was given at a beknighting in 1311.

          I guess this is pretty much in line with what MMaddi said. Because my family in Denmark had positions in the Lutheran church, were landed, and had a "noble" Våbenskjold ("arm shield," or coat of arms), it made it relatively (pun intended) easy to put it all together.

          Cost to me? Nothing. Value? Priceless. I have tried messing around with the LDS info, without much luck. But, I guess I don't have too much to worry about!

          The interesting thing with respect to FTDNA is that our immediate family lore says that we originally came to Denmark from Norway. My research can find nothing to support this, except that, pending my 67 marker test, the early indications are Norwegian I1A (Nordtvedt's I1A1 uN) . Of course, this hangs on two markers for clarification, but it would interesting if this is borne out.

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          • #6
            Actually I'd like to do this research by myself. The problem is I live 500 kms far from the town my ggrandfather was from.
            There I should have a "tour" of at least three archives (ufficio di stato civile ,archivio ecclesiastico ,archivio di stato ). It would be very long and expensive.
            I'll ask the guys at the church if they can do anything. Thank you for the help.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by F.E.C.
              Actually I'd like to do this research by myself. The problem is I live 500 kms far from the town my ggrandfather was from.
              There I should have a "tour" of at least three archives (ufficio di stato civile ,archivio ecclesiastico ,archivio di stato ). It would be very long and expensive.
              I'll ask the guys at the church if they can do anything. Thank you for the help.
              I have a similar problem. It's a good, solid, day's drive to the area in which my ggg-grandfather lived. That means gas, food, lodging, etc.

              It also means finding some way to keep my wife and three-year-old daughter occupied while I sweat over dusty records.
              Last edited by Stevo; 26 May 2006, 07:29 PM.

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