Writing Wednesday – Ricigliano, Italy Research

What’s New with the Ricigliano Project?

I have been receiving many comments of old Rigi Project posts and thought it was time for an update and project proposal.

  1.  I met with a few Rigi’s recently to go through most of the old photos I scanned and put on my website. We were able to identify and update many photo captions. Please take a look and feel free to email me with additions or corrections.
  2. One of my Rigi clients and I hired Mary Tedesco of Origins Italy. As part of her fall 2014 client research trip to Italy, Mary spent several days in Italy researching the main lines of this client. She returned with over 450 documents (Church and Civil vital records and military records.) She also extended the main lines for this client several generations. She has plans to continue her work for us on her next trip.
  3. We extended the surnames on my client’s direct line and collateral lines. The primary surnames we have for this client are: Serritella, DeLeonardis, Malpede, Pacelli, Catino (Catena), Mennella (Mendella/Menella), Palumbo, Gorga, Meccia, Ferrone, Marzone, Turtoriello/Tortoriello/etc., Zaccardo, De Laurentis, Ramundo (Muro Lucano), Iacullo, Parillo, Sangiacomo, Bagnuolo. There are MANY other Rigi names within the collateral lines also.

Project Proposal

Rose Serritella and Daniel DeLeonardis

Rose Serritella and Daniel DeLeonardis

Mary and I are working on a potential Rigi research trip in which she would spend research time in Italy only working on Rigi lines in the Salerno Archives and in the towns of Ricigliano and Muro Lucano. I have worked with many Rigi clients in Chicago, and many others across the country have provided information through email or the blog posts. All of the information accumulated the last four years is in one database, which easily allows me to manage multiple Rigi client projects at once. I created one database because so many families merged through multiple marriages and siblings in one family marrying siblings in another.

If you are interested in working with Mary and I, please contact me. I am working with my current client, who Mary is researching for, to gather a group together. I would be managing the project and would be:

  • Analyzing the information each new client provides to see how it merges into what has already been done. Each new client would need to provide a copy of their family tree and documentation gathered relating to the line(s) or problems they wish to have researched and solved.
  • Updating the database/family tree.
  • Working with the client to set research goals.
  • Providing the specific goals of each client with all necessary information and documentation to Mary, to analyze and determine a suggested number of research days and cost per client.
  • After the trip, Mary would provide me with the documentation and her report. I would then update the database and provide all information to the client with Mary’s report and documentation for that specific client.

In essence, you are hiring me to manage the project and also Mary to pull the information.

If you are interested in learning more, please email me.

© 2015, Jennifer Holik, Woodridge, IL

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Categories: Italian Genealogy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Military Monday – Tips on Organizing World War II Records

The abundance of records available for World War II do not stop with a soldier’s service file (OMPF.) There are numerous reports which may list a soldier or provide the context in which he served (battles, citations received, movements, transportation.) These records range from the Company level all the way up to the overall war. So how do you begin to organize the materials when you start receiving them? And how do you keep track of the information you have? To answer these questions, I have a few tips to share with you today.

Tip 1: Sort digital records by type of record

I research men and women across all the branches, which most researchers do not. The number of records I receive on these individuals is mind boggling and the best way I have found to organize them is within the individual and by record type.

For digitized records I create a folder on my computer for each individual (I also create a master folder for each branch and stick the individuals within the appropriate branch.) This is helpful if you have multiple soldiers across different branches. Within each individual folder I set up additional folders for: OMPF/Service File, IDPF, Muster or Crew Rolls, War Diaries, Deck Logs, Morning Reports, MACRs, Unit Records and Histories, Books, Video, Photographs. Those are only some of the folders I use but you get the idea.

Tip 2: Track sources

For each digital record, you need a way to track the source, where did that specific file come from? Online records can be found at Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, military websites, blogs, reunion and association groups, and book sites like Internet Archive and Google Books. Creating a master document for each individual with the source of the records is important. You can include the File Name, Date of Access, Website title, Website URL, notes on the file or website. The Date of Access is important because the online world changes all the time. The file you find today and download may not exist a week from now. When you cite your sources and include the date of access, it provides more credibility to the online source.

Tip 3: Organize the paper

Paper records are another issue because not everything is digitized. I scan everything I receive on paper and include it in the soldier’s file folder on my computer. This way I have access to all my records from anywhere. Then I hole punch or put the papers in plastic sleeves and organize them in binders. My binders are currently divided into military branch with tabbed dividers for the OMPF or IDPF or other record for individuals.

Tip 4: Online storage

There are many online storage sites available to store and back-up your records and also share with others if you choose. Check GoogleDrive and DropBox, two commonly used online storage options for records. Storing records online allows you access from anywhere which can be important if you find yourself without your computer at a relative’s home and want to show them a file.

Tip 5: Tracking the information

Tracking the information from each record is the next step. I usually do this in timeline fashion through a table or by year of event in chronological order. For example using the OMPF of Navy man, George Tyler Howe, who served from 1914-1945, I set up his timeline this way. While creating the basic timeline I can cite the source from which the information came. In this case it would be his OMPF and specific documents within that almost 800 page file.

Lt. Commander George Tyler Howe


16 June 1910   Appointed midshipman from Michigan, 4th District


3 June 1911     Joined “Indiana”

23 August 1911          Service completed. “On Football Squad.”


15 June 1912   Joined “New Hampshire”

25 July 1912                Joined “Alabama”

23 August 1912          Cruise completed. “On football squad.”


7 June 1913     Joined “New Hampshire”

22 June 1913   Joined “Idaho”

25 August 1913          Cruise completed

Alternatively, I could create a file for each record type and document the information. Using Morning Reports for an Army man, I can track day by day where the soldier was and any information specific to him (wounds, MIA or KIA status, transfers.) Do what works best for you and try various methods of tracking data.

Tip 6: Adding information to a family tree

Adding information to your family tree may be an important part of your research and tracking of information. If we use Ancestry.com’s online family trees as an example, the information could be entered as a MILITARY fact and each date entered with the event which occurred in the soldier’s service. Document the source and include notes in the description. Consider uploading a copy of the document(s.) If your soldier has a thick file, the Military facts can be quite lengthy. In that case, you may want to summarize service and include a Military fact with a date range, cite all the sources of documents used to write the summary and upload the summary and/or records.

Death and burial records/facts should be entered separately. If your soldier was KIA and is buried somewhere other than the U.S., or on a Table of the Missing, indicate that. If your soldier has a Memorial Stone at a U.S. cemetery, note in the description this is a Memorial Stone only. If you can add that to a FindAGrave entry, that clarifies information on that site also.


My final tip for organizing files is to backup at least monthly, your digital files. Should your computer crash or you accidentally delete a file, you will have another copy somewhere else.


© 2015, Jennifer Holik, Woodridge, IL

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Stories from the World War II Battlefield: A Sneak Peek at Volume 2

Cover Vol 1Have you seen Volume 1 of my new book series on researching World War II records? I put together a Press Release and Table of Contents for both Volumes 1 and 2. You can view it here.

Mark your calendars, because April 7, Volume 2 will be released! Stories from the World War II Battlefield: Navigating Service of the Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Merchant Marines.

© 2015, Jennifer Holik, Woodridge, IL

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