Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Italian Connection

Italian Flag image from https://familysearch.org/italy

Photo from Church News HERE
One of the things we learned about in our training today was about how church officials negotiate with governments all over the world to get access to their official archives - things like birth, marriage and death records, census, and other such information.

In 2011, the Church formalized

agreements with Italy to allow FamilySearch volunteers and missionaries to  digitally preserve and provide online access to the entire civil registration collection (birth, marriage, and death records) of Italy from 1802 to 1940.  This represents a huge contribution both to the church genealogical resources and to the Italian government.  "This is over 115 million pages of historic documents and over 500 million names!” (Zentino. 2012).  According to the training we had today, right now there are 34 camera teams in Italy who are continuing to digitize records there.  Over the next five years we can look forward to many millions more records becoming available online.

This matters to me because I have a grandson with Italian heritage.  One of my goals is to help Jacob trace his ancestry back to that country and find the village or city where his family came from.  Having these records digitally available will help me to do that.  

Also, because of today's training, I now have additional help.  I met with Sister Ornella Lepore, an Italian woman who works for the Family History department at church headquarters.  She can help connect me with people in her department who can point me in the right direction for understanding Italian records and refer me to others who could translate original records I am unable to read.   Meeting her was a true answer to prayer.

In so many ways the training we are receiving to help us better bless the lives of the people we will be serving in New Zealand is enriching our own lives, and we have barely begun.  For years I have heard that serving a mission brings great blessings, both to those who are serving and to their families.  My experience so far has been living proof of those promises.

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