I was lucky to find a roll of microfilm at the Family History Center which included all the baptisms, marriages, and deaths from the very small town my grandfather was born in. I am so thankful I paid the extra fee to have the microfilm on extended loan. When I began looking at the microfilm a couple of years ago, I focused on my direct ancestors and the documents I could find for them. Because the film is still at my local Family History Center, I can go back and fill in the gaps in my research – siblings!
My plan of attack is simple. Using an excel worksheet, I am documenting every baptism for the surnames Ciardonei and Siletto. My excel worksheet includes the following columns: last name, first name, birth year, birth month, birth day, father’s first name, father’s last name, son of, mother’s first name, mother’s last name, and daughter of. Below is an example from my excel worksheet. The two lines in bold are my great grandparents.
Now that the names have been entered into my excel sheet it is easy to identify siblings by sorting the columns. I have created a custom sort with the following levels:
- Last Name
- Father’s First Name
- Son of
- Birth Year
My worksheet is now neatly sorted into family groups! I have added an extra blank row between family groups to make it easier to read.
By sorting the families in this manner other relationships are starting to become clear. In the example above, it is highly likely that Pietro and Stefano are brothers since they are both sons of Matteo. I should be able to confirm this relationship by looking at the marriage records for both men and checking to see if names of the parents match.
It is interesting to also note how closely these families followed naming conventions. First son is named for the paternal grandfather. First daughter is named for the maternal grandmother.
I have already collected information from 1899-1865. I need to make another trip to the Family History Center to finish the remaining 8 years to 1858. As I have worked my way through the baptism records, I realize that I need to also do the same project for the last names Maglione and Ciamporcero to see if I am able to identify any siblings of my great-great grandparents. Once I am done with the baptism records, I will repeat this project using the marriage records. The baptism records go back to 1858. The marriage records extend back to the early 1800’s.