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Summer 2022

2023 Fall Trip Plans Starting !!

I'm looking forward to returning to work in Italy in October/November 2023, see and see

Christine Saffell passed away in January. She worked on some of our Italian projects at home and in Italy. But her passion was World War I research, so I am delighted that her research materials will become the Christine Saffell Collection at the Fort Douglas Museum in Salt Lake City. As her mother, her death severely affected my work this year. So my Spring research trip was much more a journey of grief than work. My last research trip was October/November 2022, as follows:

Arrived in Rome and picked up the rental car to drive to the Flaminio Village Bungalow Park. The next day I drove to the nearby French Military Cemetery. Got a brief tour and wandered about all morning documenting an assortment of graves and other information. The burials are all from WWII and a mix of Christian and Muslim from the Free French soldiers, many from North Africa, fighting to liberate Italy from the Nazis.
Took the metro downtown to visit the Verano Cemetery where I focused on the Jewish burials. This is a huge cemetery, to the point that there is a free bus with 21 stops. The bus driver was great about acting as a tour guide for me, explaining many of the monuments we passed along his route. The next day I drove down to Monte Cassino to document the CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) cemetery there.

The next day I drove to CWGC Salerno. Visited the Pontecagnano National Archaeological Museum and Park on the next day. They have an Etruscan tomb at the lower level, amazing. The colors are remarkable, as is the subject matter because it's Etruscan.

The next day I Visited the Paestum Archaeological Park. This town was SO large, and there was an active portion of the dig, all fenced off and apparently still excited about something they found. I found out later that they'd found another temple complete with a statue of the Greek god of Love (Eros), bull heads, and dolphin statues. These reveal an unknown set of religious practices dating back to 5th century BC. Can't wait for them at show up in the museum there!

On 1 November 2022 I arrived at the Cassamassima Polish Cemetery to find the gate open and a couple cars. This is MOST unusual, so I hurried inside and met the folks organizing the big even planned for the next day. That's why I timed visiting this location on these dates. They helped me find a grave for someone who had requested photos on Find A Grave. When we all left, I went nearby to the Bari Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery. I stayed at nearby Acquaviva delle Fonti and was able to wander through the town a bit, taking photos of many points of interest.

On 2 November 2022 I arrived early at the Cassamassima Polish Cemetery, although not earlier than some organizers, adult Polish Scouts who had filled a bus for the trip, and some news reporters. The Polish Ambassador to Rome would be speaking at the event, along with the attendance of quite a few Polish and Italian military officers. There is also a large Polish population in Puglia region, with an active association, so the place starting filling with their arrival. Then many local folk, in part because the choir was local, and the local educational institutions, including a group of children, participated in the event. This is the one day a year this cemetery is open and this memorial is very important to the area. The town is responsible for the maintenance of the cemetery and their care shows. That afternoon, I drove down to my B&B in Serrastretta. It's quiet and charming in the forest there.

The next day Rabbi Barbara and I met at her home in Serrastretta. I learned a lot about the group of Ukranian refugees her group had been able to re-locate in their town. The town hopes they'll stay. One went back to care for an aged family member, one moved with her husband to another location, but most are still there. This is such a successful effort that one of the other organizers was asked to speak with the Red Cross in Geneva about their business plan. The next day I drove to Sicily, this is a 3.5 hour drive, including the ferry across the Strait of Messina. I love that ride! I arrived in Castroreale in the afternoon, so I was able to take a lot of photos of the town before Mass. After Mass, I talked to the priest and got an appointment to work in the parish archives on Monday morning at 9 am. Saturday was a stormy, rainy day in Barcellona B&B, so I researched in online records to make the best use of my time in the archives on the following Monday. On Sunday I played tourist in Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, touring the town and taking photos of military monuments and other points of interest.

On Monday, I worked in the parish archives in Castroreale and was able to extend some family lines back to 1688. On the drive to Polizi Generosa, I stopped along the highway to get some photos of the Isole Aeolie. The day was wonderfully clear, without the coastal fog that usually hides these islands. At Polizzi Generosa, I was able to get a tour of the church, including the treasury and learned a lot about the impressive history of the now small town. It was a major hub of commerce and political power a few hundred years ago. Unfortunately, the priests for that Diocese were all at a spiritual retreat to prepare for the intense holiday activity coming soon. My guide assured me that the records for that parish/town were all located there (with no duplicates at the Diocese) and could be researched when the priest returned the next week.

Note: on 20 Mar 2023, I returned to Polizzi Generosa and talked with the priest. He asked me to email my request. I have every month since then with no response (no bounce back, either). This was the only work I did on that trip, so I'm not posting it on Last Trip.

The next day, In Termini Imerese, I discovered that the Archivio di Stato was closed till 2023. I had hoped to locate some census or notarial records to make up for not being able to obtain church records in Polizzi Generosa. Next trip... Nearby, I spent some time in Blufi and played tourist taking photos for a while. Stayed at a B&B in Cimpampini, a suburb of Petralia Soprana. The next day I went to the Archaeological park and museum at Himera. It is a favorite place of mine. I was delighted to see that a new Archaeological Museum across the highway next to the Temple ruins is now open. It's focus is the Greek Temple and it is a small but delightful museum.

On Thursday, I stayed at the Agriturismo Duca di San Martino, This is a delightful working farm with a petting zoo where the animals have fairly tale names. Delightful. In the summer they have a spa and a full pool, making me glad I visit here in the Fall. On Friday, I arrived at the Cathedral in Mazara del Vallo at 9 am. I met with the man I'd worked with before and was able to find two documents before and was told that research needed to be done the next day. I drove over to Selinunte to wander through the archaeological park there with the Greek temples.

On Saturday, I returned to the Cathedral at 9 am. He regretted to tell me that there was a funeral that morning, so the research needed to be done on Monday. As I went outside, I saw some military folks gathering for the funeral. They represented many military services, but relatively few civilians seemed to be arriving for this funeral. Took photos! Then went to the museum in Castelvetrano and watched the sunset at Marinella. On Monday, I returned to the Cathedral at 9 am. This time he told me to return for research at 3 pm through the back door where he met me. I was able to research the marriage records of the Cathedral for 1690-1704. The same for the marriages of the Cathedral for 1676-1690, 1657-1676, 1643-1656, and 1630-1643.
I then flew an evening flight from Trapani to FCO. The next day I flew from Rome to home in SLC.
In October/November, I will be researching in the Cathedral in Mazara del Vallo. Hoping to find the Jewish Star of David window that remains of the synagogue now a post office in Taormina. Also hoping to get into the church records in Alia again. Then moving up through Italy researching cemeteries for military burials and visiting Rabbi Barbara in Serrastretta. plan on doing WWI and WII research in the provincial archives in Cosenza. Then in Bari area, the Polish cemetery at Cassamassima and the Jewish Internment camp at Alberobello. In Napoli, searching inquisition and Jewish tax lists. In Rome, visiting the Jewish Synagogue and doing more research in the Vatican Apostolic Archives. Also work in church and provincial and town records at a few towns and cities yet to be determined.

I'm looking forward to meeting with both American and European friends (old and new), as well as returning to favorite places and visiting towns I haven't seen before!

I presented "Finding Immigration Journeys to America From Italy“ and “Enjoying Italian Research Abroad" at RootsTech ( My talks can be viewed anytime for a year afterwards (or more) at

I recorded “Italian Concentration Camps in World War II“ for the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Conference in London.

My book on CD titled
Sicily, Part 1 and Part 2 is now available on 2 CDs or .rar files. With a file for each town (plus many other files), it relates the history of Sicily as reflected in the photos, records and festivals of its towns. It contains over 2500 text and photo files and can be ordered at CD order.

My latest book is titled
American Prisoner of War Camps in Colorado and is available at Amazon in paperback format.


© Kathy Kirkpatrick 1997-2023