Today I've decided not to focus on one surname but to instead focus on Surname Databases and what they can add to your family research. When I began researching I added my Surnames to almost every mailing list and database I could think of. For a while nothing happened. Then suddenly I was approached by someone who was also researching one of my surnames. We began emailing back and forth exchanging information and eventually we were able to fill in many missing pieces to both our family trees. Mind you, the information people provide you with is only as good as the source from which they themselves got it from so remember to validate your sources by either requesting where the information being given to you came from or by following up on each new lead yourself. I have learned to source my information as I enter it into my software program to avoid having to it at a later date and I always provide sources to people I exchange data with. This has proven to be a real time saver for me as I can go back to any name in my database and know exactly where I got the information and how accurate I believe it to be. It's also important (as I learned the hard way) to back up your database regularly to avoid losing information in the event of a power failure or breakdown. We'll talk about this later though.
So, here is my Italian Surname Database which I just updated this morning. We have had 25 new entries in the last few days. Surnames are grouped in alphabetical order and and require constant updating. The most common surnames being submitted seem to start with the letter C (with over 200 entries), followed by M, S and T. The page sees approximately 300 views a day and this number keeps increasing every few months. For this reason, I highly recommend submitting your name on one or more lists. You may get lucky and find someone who holds the answer to that missing puzzle piece!
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