Searching for ancestors in books

There are many tourism books about Trentino. Although good for general information, they are not really useful for learning about family history.  Here is where specialized books that can be invaluable.  

Chini crest

Chini coat of arms

For example, one of my ancestral lines bears the surname Chini, from the village of Segno in Val di Non.  Searching for the name and village led me to discover a book entitled Memorie e Genealogia dei Chini di Segno, by Marco Benedetto Chini.  I found a copy online, and discovered that it contained a history of some of the CHINI familes of Segno. Also included were 27 detailed family tree charts showing the desendency of most of the villagers bearing the Chini name (including some who came to the US).  The author obtained the data from church and village archives.  Information from the book enabled me to trace my CHINI lines to the 15th century.   There was also information showing my family’s distant link (ok, 8th cousin, twice removed!) to Fr. Eusebio CHINI (Padre Kino), a famous 17th century explorer of the American southwest and Mexico who died in 1711.  A statue commemorating his exploits sits in the US Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Another book was sent to me by a researcher — “Quella era la vita allora – I racconti degli anziani di Fondo, Tret e Vasio” was published by the village of Fondo and contains interviews with villagers born in the early 1900’s, detailing their lives and family stories.  It is useful for anyone researching the village of Fondo or Tret, or who otherwise would like to know about life in Val di Non in the early 1900’s.

Such books can be hard to find and are often written in Italian.  One way to find them is to by searching online for your surname and ancestral village.  Once found, you might be able to borrow the book via interlibrary loan from your local public library; or purchase it through an online international bookseller.

Related posts:  Researching ancestors through published books.

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