Chini Family Resources

There are hundreds of books about Trentino.  Although these books are good for general information, they are not really useful for learning about family history.  Here is where specialized books can be invaluable.  The idea is to search for books about your ancestral village, name origins, or even guides to record repositories.  Some well known sources come to mind – vendors such as Amazon and AbeBooks; the very useful  publications of the Province of Trentino, etc.

One of my ancestral lines bears the surname Chini, from the village of Segno in Val di

Chini crest

Chini coat of arms

Non (almost my entire Trentino ancestry is from the villages of 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, ordered it, and discovered that it contained a detailed history not only of the Chini name, but also of some of the CHINI familes of Segno. 

Extremely useful were 28 detailed family tree charts showing the decendency of most of the villagers bearing the Chini name (including some who came to the US,and others who emigrated to Argentina and Verona). The author obtained the data from church and village archives.  The data is heavily skewed to the male lines, but marriages of many of the males are shown,  with names of spouses,  providing additional leads.  

As was common in the smaller Trentino villages, members of different clans and branches married.  So, you will often see both husband and wife bearing the same surname.  I cross-checked many of the family tree charts to the microfilmed records maintained by the LDS Family History Library, and found they were mostly very accurate (some minor discrepancies). 

The page below is a small example of the family tree charts contained in the book.  

Chini Family Tree Chart

Example of a family tree chart found in the book.

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.

If you are interested in seeing what the village of Segno actually looks like, try Google Earth.  The most common way to find a village is using the search box.   However, for some reason, Segno dids not appear in the search when I tried it. But, if you search for Tuennetto, then scroll on the map, you will see Segno. Drag the “little man” man icon from the upper right corner onto any street in Segno, and you will get a closeup look of all the buildings, houses, street, etc. You can navigate the streets getting views of houses, stores, gardens, etc. as if you were walking in the village. Google Earth is a free download.

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4 Responses to Chini Family Resources

  1. allenrizzi says:

    GREAT POST! I too have Chini lines in my family tree and I have done considerable research on this surname. Interestingly, most Chini families stayed right in Segno and its frazioni.

  2. Jack Recla says:

    I just returned from Ronzone, a small village in the Val di Non. I have spent 50 years looking for my paternal family and was finally able to meet many of my cousins for the very first time. I would love to share my story and adventure on Trentino Heritage.

    Jack Recla

    >

  3. Theresa Zeigler says:

    Thanks so much Sal. Your piistscare as always, so interesting. I hope you are doing well in your retirement years. Fondly, Theresa

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