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Introduction to Researching Italian Ancestors

Julie Goucher

In this presentation we look at the country that we now know as Italy before 1861, and the events that led to a unified country, with some inclusion of the Italian islands. We look at what happened next and the impact of unification. We consider migration, the various elements which led to migration, where people went, why and if they returned to Italy. Also, we consider Italy’s involvement in the World Wars, firstly as an allied country in the First World War and as an axis power in the Second World War, and the impact and consequences of those involvements, including the events after 1943. In the last segment of the presentation, we explore the resources available to those researching Italian ancestors and other key factors that need to be considered as we embark upon research.

About Julie

Julie has been actively researching her own ancestry since the late 1980s, Half Sicilian, her paternal ancestry is from Sicily, and it was researching the Italian surname of Orlando that was Julie's first step into the concept of One-Name Studies, when Julie began noting all the Orlandos as she researched. By 2002, when the Orlando surname was registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies, the amount of research she had undertaken was significant, although it was the internet age that really enabled the study to become more global and a study on migration from Italy and Sicily to England, United States and beyond. 

Julie has been the project administrator for the Orlando DNA Project hosted at FamilyTreeDNA since 2007.  

Julie now spends her time writing for a variety of genealogical magazines and books both relevant to genealogy, pharmacy, or education & learning. Julie also presented and lectured at Who Do You Think You Are? Live, the Society of Genealogists and globally, either in person or electronically. Julie is also a tutor for Pharos Tutors, teaching courses on surnames, one-name studies and European research. Julie has been a trustee for the Guild of One-Name Studies since 2015 and is currently Chairman.

 Julie writes at and can be followed on Twitter @juliegoucher.  

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