Lynn Serafinn tells how the genealogy research project ‘One Tree. One Family. One Humanity.’ aims to create a visual and spiritual reminder of how we are all connected.
Welcome back to Trentino Genealogy. As this blog is brand new, before I start writing articles on genealogy, I thought it would be best to start out by describing WHY I made this blog in the first place.
I created this blog to be the home of a research project I am calling ‘One Tree. One Family. One Humanity.’ I have chosen that name because the more I do my research, the more I am convinced that ALL human beings are connected at a fundamental level. I believe the key to understanding our global connection starts by understanding our personal ancestries. That’s why this project will start with the research of a single parish, to serve as a ‘protype’ for other projects to follow.
This prototype will be the parish of Santa Croce del Bleggio in Trentino, Italy. Years of research of this parish has convinced me that EVERY person who has even the smallest degree of ancestry from this parish, is related by blood. This is because the vast majority of people in rural Trentino married within their own parish. This creates a rich tapestry of inter-marriage between families. This means, if you look hard and long enough, you can discover a family connection — even if a distant one — with pretty much anyone whose family once lived in Bleggio. And this interconnectedness is not just found in Bleggio, but in any of the ancient and historic parishes throughout the province of Trento.
Today, as a result of mass migration at the beginning of the 20th century, thousands of descendants of Bleggio are dispersed throughout the world – especially in the United States. Many of them have little or no idea of their ancestral roots, nor even that they may have many living relatives still in the land of their Trentini ancestors. Conversely, many of the people of Bleggio have become disconnected from their relatives on the other side of the ocean.
To reconnect our long-lost mutual family, the goal of the project will be to identify and ‘map’ everyone either born in that parish, or whose ancestors came from there, from the 1500s to the current era, and to create a rich collection of information and resources for living descendants.
The hope is to achieve this goal by doing the following, over the next 5 years:
- Create research tools to aid those who are interested in tracing their family origins in the Giudicarie Valley of Trentino, Italy (former part of Austro-Hungary, prior to World War 1).
- Catalogue the complete parish records (birth, deaths and marriages) from the parish of Santa Croce del Bleggio from the 1500s (when the records begin) to 1923 (when the scanned images end)
- Cross-reference all entries so family GROUPS can be collated.
- Construct a parish-wide FAMILY TREE from these family groups, to be referred to as the ‘One Family Tree of Bleggio’ (unless we come up with a catchier name!)
- Identify as many descendants of these family groups as possible (both in Italy and abroad — especially in the United States, where so many descendants currently reside).
- Incorporate the vital information, photos, etc. of these descendants into the ‘One Family Tree of Bleggio’.
- Programme all this data into a searchable, online resource for the public to research their ancestry.
- Write and publish a series of books on the history of the various family lines of Bleggio, incorporating local history of the times (in both English and Italian).
- Provide help to descendants of Bleggio in accessing and using these resources, so they can preserve their own family history.
- Train others to maintain the system and/or to develop the same kind of project for other Trentini parishes…and perhaps in other parts of the world as well.
This project is already underway, and many elements of aims 1-5 are partially complete. As of this writing (Feb 2016), over 4,000 names (mostly of Bleggio origin) have already been catalogued, funded solely by myself. I’ve already spent thousands of work hours AND thousands of dollars/pounds/Euros. I haven’t taken a single dime for my work (not yet, anyway).
UPDATE: 27 April 2017. The tree now contains almost 17,000 names, and is growing every week.. You can view it at https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/tree/110809816/family
There is no way to complete this project without help from independent funders. For that reason, starting in 2016, there will be a series of fund-raising projects to raise money to complete the various steps of the project. If you would like to see this vision become a reality, I invite you to subscribe to this blog, so you can receive our articles and be informed when the first round of fundraising will take place.
Everyone who supports this project via our fundraising events will receive some sort of genealogical ‘gift’ in return for their support (I will tell you more when we get closer to the time).
Thanks so much for taking the time to read about the ‘One Tree. One Family. One Humanity.’ project. If you’d like to speak to us about the project, please drop us a line via the contact form here on the Trentino Genealogy website.
I look forward to hearing from you.
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LYNN SERAFINN is a bestselling author, online marketing consultant and genealogist specialising in the families of the Giudicarie, where her father was born. She is also the author of the regularly featured column ‘Genealogy Corner’ for Filò Magazine: A Journal for Tyrolean Americans.
Through extensive research, Lynn has already linked together thousands of Trentini in an extended family tree. Her current research project is called ‘One Tree, One Family, One Humanity,’ the goal of which is create a genealogical ‘map’ of everyone either born in Bleggio, or whose ancestors came from there, from the 1400s to the current era, to serve as a visual and spiritual reminder of how we are all fundamentally connected.