◊ (Thanks to Wikipedia: Wikipedia, Guida Generale degli Archivi di stato Italiani, Guida degli Archivi Diocesani d'Italia.)
A FAMILY TREE: is a simple chart representing family relationships in a conventional tree structure form.
As normally presented, a family tree "grows" down from the top, from the oldest generations at the top to the newer generations at the bottom. A tree showing the descendants of an individual will more closely resemble a tree in shape; one showing the ancestors of an individual will be wider at the top than the bottom. The convention is usually to show successive generations moving down the chart. As we move down the tree we get into the more recent generations.
The image of the tree probably originated with one in medieval art of the Tree of Jesse, used to illustrate the Genealogy of Christ in terms of a prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah, 11, 1). Possibly the first non-Biblical use, and the first to show full family relationships rather than a purely patrilineal scheme, was several family trees of the classical gods in Boccaccio’s Genealogia deorum gentilium (On the Genealogy of the Gods of the Gentiles), whose first version dates to 1360.
The longest family tree in the world today is that of the Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius (551-479 BC). The tree spans more than 80 generations, and includes more than 2 million members. An international effort involving more than 450 branches around the world was started in 1998 to retrace and revise this family tree. The latest findings will be published next year (2009) by the Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee to coincide with the 2560th anniversary of the birth of the Chinese thinker. This latest edition is expected to include some 1.3 million living members who are scattered around the world today.
Family trees can have many different themes. One might encompass all descendants of a single figure, or all known ancestors of someone living today. Another might include all members of a particular family (male-line descendants). Another approach is to construct a tree including all holders of a certain office, such as kings of Germany. This relies on dynastic marriage to hold together the links between dynasties.
CIVIL RECORDING (Italian: Anagrafe – recording of resident people – from the Greek άναγραφή, “register”)
It’s the recording of population every Municipality must take and its main goal is to show the number of inhabitants and the situations of residents/non residents.
Anagrafe is strongly connected to Civil Status, which is the collection of Birth, Marriage, Death and Citizenship Books, and the notes to these books (i.e: divorces, naturalisations, etc.)
Municipality in Italy must have two sorts of recordings: one is the APR, the other is the AIRE.
HERALDRY in its most general sense encompasses all matters relating to the duties and responsibilities of officers of arms (1) To most, though, heraldry is the practice of designing, displaying, describing, and recording coat of arms and badges. Historically, it has been variously described as "the shorthand of history" (2) and "the floral border in the garden of history." (3) The origins of heraldry lie in the need to distinguish participants in combat when their faces were hidden by iron and steel Helmets (4). Eventually a system of rules developed into the modern form of heraldry.
The system of blazoning arms that is used today was developed by the officers of arms since the dawn of the art. This includes a description of the shield, the crest, and, if present, supporters, mottoes, and other insignia. An understanding of these rules is one of the keys to sound practice of heraldry. The rules do differ from country to country, but there are some aspects that carry over in each jurisdiction.
Though heraldry is nearly 900 years old, it is still very much in use. Many cities and towns in Europe and around the world still make use of arms. Personal heraldry, both legally protected and lawfully assumed, has continued to be used around the world. Heraldic societies strive to promote education and understanding about the subject.
At the time of the Norman conquest of England, modern heraldry had not yet been developed. The knights in the Bayeux Tapestry carry shields, but there appears to have been no system of hereditary coats of arms. The beginnings of modern heraldic structure were in place, but would not become standard until the middle of the 12th century.(5) By this time, coats of arms were being inherited by the children of armigers (persons entitled to use a coat of arms) across Europe. Between 1135 and 1155, seals show the general adoption of heraldic devices in England, France, German, Spain and Italy(6) In Britain, the practice of using marks of cadency arose to distinguish one son from another, and was institutionalized and standardized by John Writhe in the 15th century.
In the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, heraldry became a highly developed discipline, regulated by professional officers of arms. As its use in jousting became obsolete, coats of arms remained popular for visually identifying a person in other ways—impressed in sealing wax on documents, carved on family tombs, and flown as a banner on country homes. The first work of heraldic jurisprudence, De Insigniis et Armiis, was written in the 1350s by Bartolus de Saxoferrato, a professor of law at the University of Padua.(7).
From the beginning of heraldry, coats of arms have been executed in a wide variety of media, including on paper, painted wood, embroidery, enamel, , stonework and stained glass. For the purpose of quick identification in all of these, heraldry distinguishes only seven basic colors(8) and makes no fine distinctions in the precise size or placement of charges on the field (9) Coats of arms and their accessories are described in a concise jargon, called blazon (10) This technical description of a coat of arms is the standard that must be adhered to no matter what artistic interpretations may be made in a particular depiction of the arms.
The idea that each element of a coat of arms has some specific meaning is unfounded. Though the original armiger may have placed particular meaning on a charge, these meanings are not necessarily retained from generation to generation. Unless the arms incorporate an obvious pun on the bearer's name, it is difficult to find meaning in them.
Changes in military technology and tactics made plate armour obsolete and heraldry became detached from its original function. This brought about the development of "paper heraldry" that only existed in paintings. Designs and shields became more elaborate at the expense of clarity. The 20th century's taste for stark iconic emblems made the simple styles of early heraldry fashionable again.
DIOCESAN ARCHIVE: the origin of diocesan archives dated back to the constitution of Christian communities.
It was an essential necessity for every Church to keep memories of Bishops and of their acts, the benefactors and, first of all, of eminent members of the community, especially Martyrs.
As communities grew, the papers produced - and that deserved to be preserved - grew the same way, and the churches started to have huge pieces of property, meeting houses, cemetery and other goods, that sometimes were very big and rich, that got the attention of central state authorities. These old archives followed the fate of the States and were turned upside down by barbaric invasions.
After the holy Council of Trent many diocesan archives were re-organised, or newly founded: the necessity of restoration in the life of the Church in its various institutions led to that decision.
Diocesan archives keep today all the so called “serie proprie” (“proper series”), among which the copies of Parish recordings are found, and, very often, they also keep all those papers that were once in the Parishes and that today are preserved there and can be easily studied by the common public.
CENSUS: A census is the procedure of acquiring information about every member of a given population. This term is mostly used in connection with national 'population and door to door censuses' (to be taken every 10 years according to United Nations recommendations); agriculture censuses (all agriculture units) and business censuses (all enterprises). The term itself comes from Latin: during the Roman Republic the census was a list which kept track of all adult males fit for military service.
It is widely recognized that population and housing censuses are vital for the planning of any society.
The first known census was taken by the Babylonians in 3800 BC, over 5000 years ago. Records suggest that it was taken every six or seven years and counted the number of people and livestock, as well as quantities of butter, honey, milk, wool and vegetables (1)
Censuses in Egypt are said to have been taken already during the early Pharaonic period. 3340 BC and in 3050 BC. re censuses were also taken by the Persian Empire’s military, by the Chinese, the Hebrew, and the Grecian.
Rome conducted censuses to determine taxes. The word 'census' originates, in fact, from ancient Rome, coming from the Latin word 'censere', meaning ‘estimate’. The Roman census was the most developed of any recorded in the ancient world and it played a crucial role in the administration of the Roman Empire. The Roman census was carried out every five years. It provided a register of citizens and their property from which their duties and privileges could be listed.
In the Middle Ages, the most famous census in Europe is the Domesday Book, undertaken in 1086 by William I of England so that he could properly tax the land he had recently conquered. In 1183, a census was taken of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, to ascertain the number of men and amount of money that could possibly be raised against an invasion by Saladin, sultan of Egypt and Syria.
In more recent times, more precise demographic survay were taken in such cities as Venice, Naples and Florence from XV century on.
The so called Florentine “Decima” (Grand duchy and Republic Decima) and the Cadastre can be considered a sort of census.
CADASTRE (also spelled cadaster) is a comprehensive register of the real propery of a country, and commonly includes details of the ownership, the tenure, the precise locations. the dimensions (and area), the cultivations (if rural) and the value of individual parcels of land.
The word came into English by way of French and Italian, variously attributed to the Late Latin capitastrum, a register of the poll tax, and the Greek κατάστιχον [katastikhon], a list or register, from κατά στίχον [kata stikhon], literally, "down the line", in the sense of "line by line."
It gives rise to the adjective cadastral, used in public administration, primarily for ownership and taxation purposes. The terminology used for cadastral divisions may include counties, parishes, ridings, hundreds, sections, lots, blocks, and city blocks.
Surveys are used to document land ownership, by the production of documents, diagrams, sketches, plant (plats in USA), charts, and maps. They were originally used to ensure reliable facts for land valuation and taxation. An example from early England is the Domesday Book. Napoleon established a comprehensive cadastral system for France which is regarded as the fore-runner of most modern versions. Cadastral survey information is often a base element in Geographic/Land Information systems used to assess and manage land and built infrastructure. Such systems are also employed on a variety of other tasks, for example, to track long-term changes over time for geological or ecological studies, where land tenure is a significant part of the scenario.
Florentine Catasto was established in 1427 to obtain a better distribution of taxation and considered both real estates and non-property assets. It should have been taken every three years, but after 1433 the renewal did not happen at a fixed time interval.
COUNCIL OF TRENT The Council of Trent was the 19th Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. Considered one of the Church's most important (1) councils, it convened in Trent for three periods between December 13, 1545 and December 4, 1563, as a response to the Protestan Reformation (1) It clearly specified Catholic doctrine on salvation, the sacraments, and the biblical canon, answering all Protestant disputes (1) It entrusted to the Pope the completion of some sections of its work, as a result of which Pope Pius V issued in 1566 the Roman Catechism, in 1568 a revised Roman Breviary, and in 1570 a revised Roman Missal, thus initiating what since the twentieth century has been called the Tridentine Mass (from the city's Latin name Tridentum), and Pope Clement VIII issued in 1592 a revised edition of the Vulgate (2).
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor favored the calling of a council, but the popes were generally reluctant, and Francic I of Frances also raised difficulties. Pope Paul III finally summoned the council in 1537 for Mantua, which was blocked by France, and in 1538 for Vicenza, which got no support from the Emperor (2) A 1542 convocation for Trent finally took effect in 1545, and the Council convened for three periods: 1545-1547, 1551-1552, and 1562-1563, with the first suspension caused by an epidemic at Trent and the second by a revolt against the Emperor and the personal opposition of Pope Paul IV (2).
In reply to the Papal bull Exsurge Domine of Pope Leo X (1520), Martin Luther burned the document and appealed for a general council. Pope Paul III (1534–49) – seeing that the Protestant Reformation was no longer confined to a few preachers, but had won over various princes, particularly in Germany, to its ideas – desired a council. However, the council was delayed until 1545, and convened, right before Luther's death, at Trento (at that time a free city of the Hply Roman Empire under a prince-bishop), on December 13, 1545; the Pope's decision to transfer it to Bologna in March, 1547 on the pretext of avoiding a plague (2) failed to take effect and the Council was indefinitely prorogued. It closed with a series of ritual acclamations honoring the reigning Pope, the Popes who had convoked the Council, the emperor and the kings who had supported it, the papal legates, the cardinals, the ambassadors present, and the bishops, followed by acclamations of acceptance of the faith of the Council and its decrees, and of anathema for all heretics (3).
The number of attending members in the three periods varied considerably. The council was small to begin with (2) It increased toward the close: the decrees were signed by 255 members, including four papal legates, two cardinals, three patriarchs, twenty-five archbishops, 168 bishops, two-thirds of whom were Italians. The Italian and Spanish prelates were vastly preponderant in power and numbers. At the passage of the most important decrees not more than sixty prelates were present.
The main object of the council was twofold, although there were other issues that were also discussed:
The Holy Council of Trent determine in 1563 the duty of Parishes to record, in appropriate books, all Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths, Confirmations and to draw up the so called “Status Animarum”, that were censuses of the Parish, that were yearly compiled by the Priest when he yearly visited the parish families on the occasion of Easter blessing.
GENEALOGY: (from Greek: γενεά, genea, "descent"; and λόγος, logos, "knowledge") is the study and tracing of family lineages and history. Genealogical research is a complex process that uses historical records and sometimes genetic analysis to demonstrate kinship. Reliable conclusions are based on the quality of sources, ideally original records, the information within those sources, ideally primary or firsthand information, and the evidence that can be drawn, directly or indirectly, from that information. In many instances, genealogists must skillfully assemble indirect or circumstantial evidence to build a case for identity and kinship. All evidence and conclusions, together with the documentation that supports them, is then assembled to create a cohesive "genealogy" or "family history." Traditionalists may differentiate between these last two terms, using the former to describe skeletal accounts of kinship (aka family trees) and the latter as a "fleshing out" of lives and personal histories. However, historical, social, and family context is in any case essential to achieving correct identification of individuals and relationships.
Historically, among Western societies the genealogical focus was the kinship and descent of rulers and nobles, often arguing or demonstrating the legitimacy of claims to wealth and power. The term often overlapped with heraldry, in which the ancestry of royalty was reflected in their coats of arms.
Many claimed ancestries are considered fabrications by modern scholars. An example of this is the Anglo-Saxon chroniclers who traced the ancestry of several English kings back to the god Woden, the English version of the Norse god Odin.
In modern times, genealogy became more widespread, with commoners as well as nobility researching and maintaining their family trees. Leading to genealogy becoming an even more popular hobby. With the advent of the Internet, the number of resources readily accessible by genealogists has vastly increased, resulting in an explosion of interest in the topic. The Internet has also become not only a major source of data for genealogists, but also of education and communication. According to some sources, genealogy is one of the most popular topics on the Internet.
Genealogists typically pursue their own ancestry and that of their children and spouses. Professional genealogists may also conduct research for others, publish books on genealogical methods, teach, or work for companies that provide software or online databases. Both also try to understand not just where and when people lived, but also their lifestyles, biographies, and motivations. This often requires — or leads to — knowledge of antiquated laws, old political boundaries, migration trends, and historical social conditions.
To keep track of their citizens, governments began keeping records of persons who were neither royalty nor nobility.
Major life events were often documented with a license, permit, or report. Genealogists locate these records in local, regional or national offices or archives and extract information about family relationships and recreate timelines of persons' lives.
Records that are used in genealogy research include:
Information found in historical or genealogical sources can be unreliable and it is good practice to evaluate all sources with a critical eye. Factors influencing the reliability of genealogical information include: the knowledge of the informant (or writer); the bias and mental state of the informant (or writer); the passage of time and the potential for copying and compiling errors.
The informant is the individual who provided the recorded information. Genealogists must carefully consider who provided the information and what he or she knew. In many cases the informant is identified in the record itself. For example, a death certificate usually has two informants: a physician who provides information about the time and cause of death and a family member who provides the birth date, names of parents etc.
When the informant is not identified, one can sometimes deduce information about the identity of the person by careful examination of the source. One should first consider who was alive (and nearby) when the record was created. When the informant is also the person recording the information, the handwriting can be compared to other handwriting samples.
When a source does not provide clues about the informant, genealogists should treat the source with caution.
Even individuals who had knowledge of the fact, sometimes intentionally or unintentionally provided false or misleading information. A person may have lied in order to obtain a government benefit (such as a military pension), avoid taxation, or cover up an embarrassing situation (such as the existence of a non-marital child). A person with a distressed state of mind may not be able to accurately recall information. Many genealogical records were recorded at the time of a loved one's death, and so genealogists should consider the effect that grief may have had on the informant of these records.
The passage of time often affects a person's ability to recall information. Therefore, as a general rule, data recorded soon after the event is usually more reliable than data recorded many years later. However, some types of data are more difficult to recall after many years than others. One type especially prone to recollection errors is dates. Also the ability to recall is affected by the significance that the event had to the individual. These values may have been affected by cultural or individual preferences.
Genealogists must consider the effects that copying and compiling errors may have had on the information in a source. For this reason, sources are generally categorized in two categories: original and derivative. An original source is one that is not based on another source. A derivative source is information taken from another source. This distinction is important because each time a source is copied, information about the record may be lost and errors may creep in from the copyist misreading, mistyping, or miswriting the information. Genealogists should consider the number of times information has been copied and the types of derivation a piece of information has undergone. The types of derivatives include: photocopies, transcriptions, abstracts, translations, extractions, and compilations.
In addition to copying errors, compiled sources (such as published genealogies and online pedigree databases) are susceptible to misidentification errors and incorrect conclusions based on circumstantial evidence. Identity errors usually occur when two or more individuals are assumed to be the same person. Circumstantial or indirect is evidence that does not explicitly answer a genealogical question, but either may be used with other sources to answer the question, suggest a probable answer, or eliminate certain possibilities. Compilers sometimes draw hasty conclusions from circumstantial evidence without sufficiently examining all available sources, without properly understanding the evidence, and without appropriately indicating the level of uncertainty.
ONOMASTICS or ONOMATOLOGY: is the study of proper names of all kinds and the origins of names. The word is Greek: ὀνοματολογία (from ὄνομα (ónoma) "name"). Toponymy or toponomastics, the study of place names, is one of the principal branches of onomastics. Anthroponomastics is the study of personal names.
For some cultures (and celebrities), only one name is needed to indicate a certain person without ambiguity. In others, a single personal name may be insufficient, requiring alteration to a hypocoristic/diminutive nickname or addition of a byname based on a specific individual's traits, family, home, occupation, or other. In most of the world, individually-based bynames have become hereditary family names, perhaps retaining little descriptive resemblance to the ancestral namesake's original byname.
Most Western European cultures use the name order indicated by the common synonymous phrases "first name" for personal name and "last name" or "surname" for family name.
NOBILITY: is a government-privileged title which may be either hereditary or for a lifetime. Titles of nobility exist today in many countries although it is usually associated with present or former monarchies. The term originally referred to those who were "known" or "notable" and was applied to the highest social class in pre-modern societies. In the feudal system (in Europe and elsewhere), the nobility were generally those who held a fief, often land or office, under vassalage, i.e., in exchange for allegiance and various, mainly military, services to the Monarch and at lower levels to another nobleman. It rapidly came to be seen as a hereditary caste, sometimes associated with a right to bear a hereditary title and, for example in pre-revolutionary France, enjoying fiscal and other privileges. Today, in most Western countries, "noble status" is a purely honorary dignity that confers no legal privileges; an important exception is the United Kingdom, where certain titles - titles of the peerage, until recently, guaranteed a seat in the Upper House of the UK Parliament; hence its name, House of Lords - still confer some residual privileges.
Nobility is a historical, social and often legal notion, which should not be confused with socio-economic status which is mainly statistical based on income and possessions. Being wealthy or influential does not automatically make one a noble, nor are all nobles wealthy and influential (aristocratic families have lost their fortunes in various ways, and the concept of the 'poor nobleman' is almost as old as nobility itself).
Countries without a feudal tradition do not have a nobility as such. Various republics, including the United States and Italy have expressly abolished titles of nobility. Although many such societies have a privileged 'upper class' with great wealth and power, this does not entail a separate legal status, or different forms of address.
European nobility originated from the feudal/seigniorial system that arose in Europe during the Middle Ages. Originally, knights or nobles were mounted warriors who swore allegiance to their sovereign and promised to fight for him in exchange for an allocation of land (usually together with serfs living there). During the time period known as the Military Revolution, nobles gradually lost their role of raising and commanding private armies, as many nations created cohesive national armies. This was coupled with a loss of the social-economic power of the nobility, owing to the economic changes of the Renaissance and the growing economic importance of the merchant classes (or bourgeoisie), which increased still further during the Industrial Revolution. In countries where the nobility was the dominant class, the bourgeoisie gradually grew in power; a rich city merchant was more influential than a minor rural nobleman. However, in many countries at this time, the nobility retained great social and political importance; for instance, the UK's government was dominated by the nobility until the twentieth century.
The nobility of a person might be either inherited or earned. Nobility in its most general and strict sense is an acknowledged preeminence that is hereditary: i.e., legitimate descendants (or all male descendants, in some societies) of nobles are nobles, unless explicitly stripped of the privilege. In this respect, nobility is distinguished from the peerage: the latter can be passed to only a single member of the family.
PARISH ARCHIVES: The Holy Council of Trent determine in 1563 the duty of Parishes to record, in appropriate books, all Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths, Confirmations and to draw up the so called “Status Animarum”, that were censuses of the Parish, that were yearly compiled by the Priest when he yearly visited the parish families on the occasion of Easter blessing.
Baptism and Marriage recordings came first, followed (statistics say after an average 20 years) by Death recordings and, still later, “Status Animarum”.
The exigency to verify the absence of obstacles to marriage, and then the necessity to obtain a marriage license by the Bishop - especially in those areas where endogamy was much practised – led Priest to draw up downright complete genealogical trees, that often shows many generations and that are priceless for today’s genealogists and researchers.
STATO DELLE ANIME (Status Animarum): The Council of Trent obliged the Parishes to keep records, in apposite books, of births and christenings, deaths and marriage and to do yearly recordings called “Stati delle Anime”, a sort of census filled by the priest on the occasion of Easter blessing. These registers list, year after year, all the families that belonged to the Parish, sometimes the age of the members and the Sacraments received (in this case, one or more letter “C” was added: only one in case of Confession, two in case of Confession and Eucharist - “Comunione” in Italian – and three in case of Confession, Eucharist and Confirmation. Usually adult people were identified by three “C”, and children had no “C”, as they had not received any Sacrament yet, except Baptism). These documents are of primary importance in reconstructing a genealogy, but they are much less common then Baptism, Marriage and Death Books, often quite discontinuous and fragmentary.
VITAL RECORDS: he Vital Record Office (Civil State, Stato Civile) deals with the correct compilations of Civil State Records, that is to say of all those books where the vital data concerning birth, marriage, death and citizenship of people living (or having lived) in a certain Municipality are listed. Vital Record Office in Italy also issue certificates concerning the information stated in the books.