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Our stories, our history

We all tell stories about ourselves. We use them to understand ourselves, and to imagine what we might become. These stories are built upon those of our parents, our ancestors, and of course our own experiences. The significance of this should not be underestimated -- these stories provide us with continuity, meaning and guidance. Taken together, they are our history and our future. Our ancestors emigrated from Tirol, leaving behind families and friends. They carried their memories with them, of course. But emigration during times of hardship and turmoil didn't always give them time to transmit all those memories to the next generation. They got lost in the struggle to grasp the opportunities of a new homeland. Now, two or three generations later, it is up to us find ways to reconnect with the vast well of our cultural heritage so that we can weave it back into our continuing story as Tyrolean Americans. By tracing our personal ancestry we build a bridge through time and tradition, and we see ourselves in the mirror of our ancestors. If you began to catalog your close family, as I suggested last time, perhaps you discovered that you know more about those ancestors than you thought -- the name of the town where they lived, their parents names, or the year they emigrated. Did you find old letters, postcards or photographs with names written on them? If not, don't worry -- in the age of the internet, there are many instruments with which to do more research -- I'll provide you with a number of them. For example, visit the Ellis Island Foundation's site to search their passenger ship lists. Be prepared to do some work -- successful searches often depend upon your ingenuity, to overcome errors of transcription and spelling. You may discover the name of the town where your ancestor lived, the name of a relative left behind (often a parent), the name of a relative or friend with whom he intended to stay after getting here, the name of a fianc... so many clues, just waiting for you to add to what you know. Then there are the census and naturalization records held by the National Archives. Census records often include the year of immigration and/or naturalization. Naturalizations sometimes tell you the name of the town where your ancestor was born, and a birth date. Similar information can be found using WW I draft registration cards, as virtually every male was required to register for the draft, citizen or not. I suggest you get a notebook to record everything you find -- names, dates, places, and people associated with your ancestor in the record. I have found that I never regret recording too much, but often regret not doing so. Armed with this information, you can visit the Nati in Trentino 1815-1923 website to search the baptism records for nearly any town in Trentino. Again, persistence and ingenuity will overcome most obstacles of the search. If you have the name of the town and your ancestor, you can view the actual record by ordering microfilms of those records -- marriages and deaths as well -- from the Family Search site. Those filmed records are the ultimate resource for any serious search for your roots. Do not be afraid to use a map it is a must to help you pick up a lost trail, or find other towns referred to in your ancestors records. No single record will provide you with everything -- but it is through the searching that you begin to "know" the story of the people from whom you come. You'll come to know the names of the priests who baptized, the midwives who delivered, the friends and relatives who stood as padrini, the changes of governments, the losses of children and parents -- all this and more, if you choose to amplify what you find. Names are important, but you'll need more to begin to appreciate your heritage. Start now -- your journey will be a fitting tribute to your ancestors who left behind all they knew and loved to make a better life for their children and families.
Gianna and Lou

Ellis Island 1905


Ellis Island Foundation: Free, registration required. Indexed immigration records from 18921924. Links to other genealogy sites. The Battery Conservancy: . Free, no registration required. Indexed immigration records of the first immigration center in the Battery, 1855-1890. The National Archives: Free, registration only to order records($). Use site to identify your Regional Branch for person visits. Holdings of U.S. census, naturalization and military records. Nati in Trentino 1815-1923: Free, registration required. Searchable in six languages. Indexes of all available baptism records of the indicated period. Family Search: Registration required only to order microfilms ($). Use site to order films and identify your nearest local family history center where films will be delivered for viewing. Subscription site ($), monthly subscriptions available. Census, immigration, military and other records available for online search and viewing. There are many other useful sites, which you will undoubtedly discover during your explorations. Remember to verify any family trees prepared by others, and to document your discoveries when possible. .
Gianna and Lou Gianna and Lou

Jim Caola is our guide and mentor in learning how to research and discover family roots. His paternal grandparents emigrated to Pennsylvania from Pinzolo in 1905. In 1998 Jim began to investigate his family heritage, and within the course of the intervening years he has created a database of about 56,000 individuals, a project to index all births, marriages and deaths in Val Rendena from the early 1600's through 1923, and the creation of a photographic index of all 13 cemeteries of Val Rendena, soon to be available in a set of DVDs. He hopes that his projects will one day be duplicated throughout Trentino.

Origin of Trentino Names

Here are several names in our database, their meanings, derivations and origins. There will be an indication of how many names are currently in our database displayed in this manner: DB # 2 Corradi derives from the name of Corrado which suggests: audacious in the assembly. Originates from the Valsugana; 1500 Giovanni Corradi of Cles; 1572 Giovanni Giacomo of Stenico;1691 :GiovanniCorradi di Bono1789; Giuseppe Corradi of Stenico. Variations: Coradello, Coradi, Corradini. In Austrian: Conrater, Corrader, Konradtier : DB # 2 Eccher found among those settlers of German origin in Vallarsa and Folgaria. Dal Dosso (Eck)-Dosso refers to meadow in Italian, is the corresponding Italian name originates from Vallarsa, Folgaria, Val dei Mocheni, Perginese, Bedollo, Val dei Laghi. Variations: Boneccher e Bonecher (Valsugana), Chieccher in dialect of Pergine); Schoffernecher e Schoofernecher (German names in use in the Valsugana. Alberto de Eccher Dall`Eco (18421926) born in Mezzolombardo, phyiscist, university professor, inventor; Celestino Eccher (1892-1970), composer, teacher, priest, began the Diocesan School of Music. : DB # 20 Pellegrini..derives from the word for Pilgrim, pellegrino; has implication of a foreigner, an outsider as well as a traveler in a foreign land. 1524 Pelligrinate a Vezzano.;1608 Giovanni Battista Pellegrini-Ala in the Val d`Adige;1732 Iovanes Beregine Blanchetti, from Gavazzo; Giovanni Battisa Pellegrini from Tione; 1803 Bartolemeo Pellegrini from Tione. : DB # 3 Povinelli.originates from old dialectal word for PaulPoulo..found in the Val Rendena, Giudicarie, Cavedine and Vezzano; Giovanni Povinelli, Pinzolo, a knife grinder and emigree to USA. : DB # 19


Supporting our Community

Our Tyrolean forbearers came to Merica with no supports other than their courageous determination. There were no Trentino o Tyrolean support infrastructures or advocacy groups. The Bishops and Don Guetti even discouraged their departures from the safe and traditional haven of the province. Nonetheless, they came and in absence of such support, they supported themselves typically settling in what could be called colonies of their paesani. Father Bolognani, our veritable apostle and champion, relates in his book how they not only settled so much with their fellow Tirolesi but pursued the very same work and livelihoods to their disadvantage. The Province had no resources or possibly an imagination of what and how to possibly help their emigrants. And so, I sa rangiadithey took care of themselves. One of the first advocates that reached out to our community in some formal way was a Giovanni Armistadi, a teacher and emigrant from Arco. He created a magazine that reached out to the Tyrolean/Trentini paesani. The Risveglio was a monthly magazine begun 1947 and continued until 1951. We will be researching the Risveglio in future editions of the Fil. There is a long history of Tyrolean clubs that sprang up in different parts of our country whose role and function was to serve their immediate communities with no affiliation with the Province. They were social clubs where fellow paesani could find themselves and enjoy each others company. Louis Rossi started the thought of gathering the clubs back in 1971-73. He reached out to all the clubs to have them gather in 1972 - but was unable to have it succeed. The idea however did not fail.. Louis along with Amelia Braskie embarked on a new attempt and launched the first convention in 1974 with the support of all the clubs. In 1976, another convention
Giovanni Amistadi Tyrol Club 1909-Young Immigrants from Prezzo occurred where there was established a confederation of these many individual clubs under the umbrella organization ITTONA which stands for the International Tirolean-Trentino Organization of North America. There title suggested a quasi-dual identity or nomenclature that represented the vast majority of emigrants who immigrated here prior to the annexation of the Tyrol to Italy at the end of the World War I and the later immigrants who came from now Trentino-Alto Adige. ITTONA interacts with the Trentini Nel Mondo and the Province of Trento organizations and agencies. ITTONA welcomes new clubs and coordinates biennial conventions to celebrate and to promote fellowship among Trentini and their descendants. Trentini nel Mondo was established in 1957 with similar goals of creating a solidarity and resources for Tyrolean-Trentino associations throughout the world. The individual clubs are referred to as a Circolo, a circle or cell. Clubs currently exist in the following areas: Alliance Ohio, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Hazleton PA, Milwaukee, Northern Minnesota, New England, New York City, Norway MI, Ogden UT, Pittsburgh, Readsboro VT, San Francisco, Solvay NY, South Alabama, SE Pennsylvania, Southern California, Seattle, Rock Springs WY. In Canada: Alberta, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Windsor.

The Filo` magazine is a service to the Tyrolean-Trentino community and, despite its recent existence, it should be considered a support and a service to our community. It has no affiliation to any organization or association. It has been underwritten by the Office of Emigration of the Province of Trento. In July, the biennial convention will be held in Mountain Iron, Minnesota on July 20-22. It will feature presentations, entertainment and interaction with Tyrolean descendants who are residents of the USA and Canada, along with some visitors who are residents of Trentino/Alto Adige.. Information about the convention can be found on their website If you have any questions regarding registration please contact the club at or call at: 218-263-5067.
Gianna and Lou