In the Castelvetere sul Calore episode of the second season of Dream of Italy on PBS, Kathy visits the mayor’s office to search for records of her family’s ancestry.
Gaetano Petrillo, a local genealogist, brought Kathy and her mom to the office of the mayor of Castelvetere to look for the municipal records of their ancestors. Towns throughout southern Italy started keeping birth, death and marriage records in the early 1800s. The town hall is a good place to start for any family search.
For earlier family records in southern Italy, it is necessary to visit the local church. Parishes started keeping written records by the mid-16th century, by order of the Catholic Church. This is also when the surname became commonly used in the areas that are now part of Italy. Often the surname derived from the first name of the original ancestor. Gaetano helps travelers to this area trace their roots, find family documents and meeting living relatives. He also runs The Wine Bus, private tours to explore the vineyards of Irpinia. For more information, visit: thewinebus.it
To learn how to experience everything Kathy did in Castelvetere sul Calore, get your free copy of the full Dream of Italy: Season Two Travel Guide here.