Using Microfilm at a Family History Center

"Researching the Bertagnolli Family"
by: Stan and Jalyn Bertagnolli

My Grandfather was Adolpho Francesco Bertagnolli. He was born in Tret, Trentino, Italy in 1886, the son of Francisco and Barbara Maninfior. He was raised in Italy and received his education there. He learned the shoemakeing trade, while his father was a Mason. He came to the United States at the age of 23.

We do not know much of his life in Italy. We knew the names of his grandparnets but had no other leads to the rest of the family. We tried for ten years to figure out how to get more Italian information, but had very little luck. We contacted many other Bertagnolli families that had also been searching.

Then, just this last summer, August 1998, we meet with a distant Bertagnolli cousin. She told us about a film at a Family History Center. She knew the film was there, but had a very hard time reading it because of poor eye-sight. We went to the Center in our hometown and they ordered the film for us. It was a real treasure of a find.

They had photograghed the records of Tret, the little town our family came from. We found our Grandfather and his parents and grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins. We were so happy! After all these years, there they were. Our goal now is to share it with any and all that may be looking for Bertagnolli families.

I highly recommend that you look up the nearest Family History Center and see what they have to offer. They are very helpful and charge very little to borrow a film. While prices may vary, we payed only $3.25 for the film and .50 for a "handy dandy" little genealogical word list in Italian. It was a great help in translating the records.

Here are some helpful hints (we learned by trail and error) in reading the records.

  1. First browse a few records on the roll and become familiar with the writing style. We found that the "s" can look a lot like a "p" in many cases. By searching around and becoming familiar with what you are looking at you will have much more success.

  2. Dates are almost always writen 2-4-1882, which will be day-month-year. Be careful because sometimes there will be a roman numeral for the month and a II may look like an eleven. (II being Feb. and 11 being Nov.) Also, they will sometimes use an abberviation for the last four months of the year.

    7bre or VIIbre = September 8bre or VIIIbre = October 9bre or IXbre = November 10bre or Xbre = December

  3. Request a "Genealogical Word List" for Italian when you order the film and they should arrive together. You may also see that not all the words fit just right, but close enough. We think it is because there may be a different dialect in the North of Italy.

  4. Refer to the FHC film # and item numbers. An "item" is a section of the film, as it is divided by areas and time periods. Most "items" sections also have page numbers, but if none are given you can locate the person by date. Most of the time they appear in order of the date of the events being recorded.

We hope you have much success!!

Visit the Bertagnolli's Home Page and be sure look at the "Bertagnolli Families" link for the names they have to share.

What's New in Genealogy ... Today!
click to view original photo