Re: Colaianni / Colajanni surname in San Pietro Avellana

Posted by abruzzo2000 on 06/25/03 at 4:13 AM

Subject:   Re: Colaianni / Colajanni surname in San Pietro Avellana

In Reply to: Colaianni / Colajanni surname in San Pietro Avellana posted by Shirley Colaianni Sinclaire on 05/30/03 at 3:07 PM:

The Military records for the places in the Province of Isernia are held in the Archive of Campobasso. Address:
Archivio Di Stato
Via degli Orefici, 43
86100 Campobasso (CB)

It seems what you need is names of brothers and sisters born after 1900, and, as you discovered already, the Townhall records were destroyed during WW2. The second copy is held in the Tribunal of Isernia, which will deliver the years up to 1928 to the Archive of Isernia some time in the future. So far, very few archives in Italy have records up to 1928. Some years may pass therefore before you can make any research in the Civil Records after 1900.

Military Records in the archive of Campobasso are not divided by place, and it is almost impossible to check all the Colaianni that appear in the indexes. What you could do, with a lot of time and goodwill, is to read the military books, almost 3 per year, with about 300 names each, which will take some days. These books are in only one original and were never microfilmed, so you'll have to research in the archive of Campobasso. You will find in this way the possible Colaianni brothers that were in the Italian army. You will not find those who emigrated before performing the military service. And of course no sisters.

Conscription Records instead were lists sent by the single municipal offices to the Military Administration. They sent all the names (with details of birth and parents) of the males born each year. These Lists are divided by place, so the research will be easier, and should be presently kept (but this is to be verified with a phone call) in the archive of Caserta. These Conscription lists will allow you to find all the brothers who survived infancy. But still no sisters.

You say you did not have a reply from the parish. This seems to be the only possibility, if parish records were not destroyed, to find ALL the brothers AND sisters of your grandfather who were born after 1900. If you did not get a reply, there may have been many reasons. One is that there may have been only sisters after that date, and their descendants will have another surname. Another is that also brothers and sisters emigrated - San Pietro Avellana had over 2500 inhabitants in 1911, and today there are only 700. Read this article:
that states how the inhabitants went not only to the USA but also to France, Switzerland, Argentina,

In Italy there is a scarcity of priests, and many of our parish priests are foreigners from other countries of Europe, especially East Europe, and from Africa. They usually did not study Latin, and old parish records may be not understandable for them. Other times, because of this scarcity, parish priests have 2 and also 3 parishes, and in each they must celebrate Mass, teach catechism to the children, fulfill all their other duties, and this means they really have no time to make research, especially since genealogy research is not one of their duties.... Some parish books do not have an index, which means you have to read page after page, and it will take an hour to read just the births of a couple of years.

If your letter to the parish priest was not very specific, the priest may really have been unable to help. You could write again, being this your only resource available at the moment, with a very simple requests, like "Vorrei sapere i nomi di figli di (your grandparents) nati negli anni 1900-1910" with a very kind letter, and an offer to the church as a Mass for your ancestors praying the priest to keep it even if he cannot help you. Introduce yourself, if you are member of a Catholic parish include that and in case the greetings of your priest, a personal approach is more friendly that a flat genealogy request - even though it is possible you did all this already.

A very good addition will be to address the priest personally (like "Caro Padre Antonio"). If you call the townhall of San Pietro Avellana (+ 39 865.940131 or
+ 39 865.940291), with someone who speaks Italian near to you, ask them the name of the priest and also his phone number, so you may follow up your request some time later with a call - you can usually find priests at dinner time, that is Italian time 8-9 pm.

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