I have been researching my Italian ancestry for over 17 years. I have ordered microfilm from Salt Lake City and have pored over handwritten documents written in Italian until I went cross eyed. I thought I had exhausted every avenue in my research of the Cuba line, short of visiting the old country. And then a funny thing happened . . .
I decided to browse the Italian collection at FamilySearch.org. Did you know that you could browse records by location? When I typed in my family surnames, I wasn’t surprised to find that my ancestor’s records had not been indexed. After all, they were peasants living in tiny, rural towns. But by browsing the Italy Image Only Historical Records, I found that documents from one of the tiny, rural towns had been uploaded to the site. Italy, Caltanissetta, Caltanissetta, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1866-1910 and Italy, Caltanissetta, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1820-1935 were both present, however, the State Archive has to be viewed at a Family History Center.
I started by looking at the Nascite (birth) records for the years surrounding my grandfather’s birth year. Giovanni Cuba was born in 1887 and I knew his brother Michele was born in 1884 and brother Giuseppe was born in 1890. Were there any older or younger siblings? An index of births is produced each year which lists surnames in alphabetical order. It is tedious work, looking through the handwritten indexes of each year, but luckily my ancestors were the only Cuba’s living in Caltanissetta. Once you find your surname in the index, you need to find the specific record number it references.
And then I found her – Angela born to Luigi Cuba and Rosaria Dimenza on December 31, 1881. Eureka! As fate would have it, a few weeks after I found Angela’s birth record, I was contacted by one of Angela’s descendants who told me that Angela had married Calogero Vizzini, had four children and died in Italy. For the past year, I have been putting more and more of my genealogical research online. I’m not sure how my cousin found me, but I’m glad she did. I am hoping to share more information and photos with her.
By the way, more and more Italian records are being uploaded to Ancestry.com. Their Italian records are broken out by year which makes it a bit easier to search. If you don’t want to pay for an Ancestry subscription, most public libraries do have a subscription and you can browse their collections for free.