Hi Cathy, thanks for the welcome and the reply. (
I tried many times to figure out whose family I was looking at on the Cortale website, sorry I got it wrong!)
I'll start at the beginning on my success in Cortale. I wrote a letter to the Mayor (not the form letter most people use) but a letter describing my upcoming visit to the area and my curiosity about the commune. I described in detail my personal relationship with my grandfather and my desire to learn more about his commune and possible family links using the Civil Records during my visit. I translated the whole letter using Bablefish and I sent it email in early April using the address on the commune's website.
I waited a couple of weeks for a reply and got no answer so I translated it again sentence by sentence using Google translate and sent it again using email.
No reply in a week so I decided in early May to try mailing the letter using Express Mail at the USPO (
although they don't deliver to Cortale -- just to Jacurso so I sent it there with the Mayor's Cortale address.)
The day before I left (5/31) for Italy I received an email reply from the Vice Mayor explaining that they would welcome my visit!
That's when I swung into action and contacted Cherrye Moore (check out her website, my-bellavita.com, I had stumbled on it and had bookmarked it.) Cherrye is from Beaumont, TX but lives in Catanzaro. I asked if she could arrange a driver/translator to bring me to the Muncipio office in Cortale and spend the morning with me there. She did -- and what a wonderful guy she got me!
When we got to the Muncipio office, the clerk had already located my grandfather's birth record and we went from there (I had the date my great-grandfather died and with those two pieces of info we were able to locate seven (7) documents going back as far as 1815!
) Unfortunately I've given you all the information I have on Angela Frontera. (I have a Word document detailing all 7 documents I have and the 12 additional documents I would like to get, but I can't figure out how to get the info to you.
A word about the records in Cortale. As you know, there are indexes that are then associated with the actual written documents in ledger books. Unfortunately, the indexes in many instances do not match up with the ledger books. It's fairly frustrating, but you can't get discouraged!
This was true no matter what type of document we were researching.
On the commune's website you can find the history of Cortale. Here is an excerpt: 'On 1 May 1816, during the Bourbon period, it (Cortale) became the capital of the district with jurisdiction over common Jacurso, Vena and Carafe." So I believe while they may have some documents between the 1808 and 5/1/1816 these will be sporadic. I know their current documents inlcude the year 1916 as that's when my grandfather died, but I don't know if they have any more current records.
I have some great stories of my two day visit to Cortale and the nearby areas and my husband has some pics he took. A trip of a lifetime, although we hope to go back again one day in the not to distant future
Thanks for all you've done on bringing Calabria closer to all of us.