Episode 295 - Genetic Genealogy Reunites Amer-Asians With American Military Dads, Catholic Record Indexing Project Expands, Ask Us Anything On Italian Dual Citizenship

podcast episode Aug 25, 2019

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with Drew Smith, co-host of the Genealogy Guys podcast. Fisher and Drew begin Family Histoire News with a story of a 104-year-old survivor of the Holocaust. And what a birthday party she has had! Find out what made this celebration extra special. Then, the guys talk about the resolution of the Centerville, Utah assault case that was recently solved using genetic genealogy, and resulted in the “opt in” for law enforcement change on GEDMatch.com. Then, Fisher talks about some recently found letters of King Edward VIII from before his days as king. Find out why these letters are so fascinating in a historical context. Then, Drew shares the news about a modern day royal who has gone high tech. Hear what she is up to. Drew then updates us on some recent endeavors of the Genealogy Guys.
Next, Fisher visits with Jessica Howe from Legacy Tree Genealogists. Jessica is focused these days on cases involving children fathered in Asia by American military men. Jessica shares stories of reuniting and explains how she solved one particularly remarkable case. There’s much to be learned from Jessica’s efforts.
Then, Fisher visits with Thomas Lester and Molly Rogers. The two are key players in the New England Historic Genealogical Society and Boston’s Catholic Archdiocese in achieving the eventual goal of indexing over 11 million records from the Catholic Churches of New England. Find out where the project stands now and what information these records contain and how they might help your research efforts.
Then, NEHGS Senior Genealogist, Rhonda McClure, answers a question about records needed for dual citizenship between the United States and Italy. Wait til you hear what Italy requires for you to become one of them!
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!

Transcript of Episode 295

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Drew Smith

Segment 1 Episode 295

Fisher: And welcome to another spine-tingling episode of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And it’s great to have you along. We’ve got another great show today. We’re going to be talking Catholic records, genetic genealogy reuniting children from Asia with their military American fathers, and “Ask Us Anything” today about dual citizenship especially in Italy. You will not believe how complicated it is. That’s all coming up later in the show. I want to remind you by the way if you haven’t done so, sign up for our “Weekly Genie Newsletter.” It’s a great way to keep track of all the current stories, things that are happening within the genealogical field and stories that will relate to you, or you relate to it as a genealogist. And you can do so through our Facebook page or at ExtremeGenes.com. Now, David is on vacation this week, so naturally we’ve got to find somebody to fill in, and we’ve got a great one this week from Tampa, Florida. He’s somebody you know from the Genealogy Guys Podcast. He is Drew Smith. Drew, welcome to Extreme Genes. It’s great to have you on.

Drew: Thanks Scott. I’ve been looking forward to it although I’ll tell you, I’m not quite as funny as David and he sings karaoke better than I do.

Fisher: [Laughs] He’s a good karaoke singer. You’re absolutely right.

Drew: He’s amazing.

Fisher: Well, let’s talk about our Family Histoire News today because we’ve got some amazing stories starting with Israel.

Drew: So, one of the things that’s been exciting of course as the holocaust gets further back in history, we know we’ve been losing people, people who survived the holocaust, but yet there’s someone who’s 104. And the news came out recently about this person who celebrated with their descendants and they didn’t get all their descendants. I guess they just weren’t practical, picked out 400 of them.

Fisher: Yeah.

Drew: Imagine. [Laughs]

Fisher: Four hundred of them and this was at the wall there in Jerusalem.

Drew: Yes.

Fisher: And it was just kind of a way to celebrate a victory over the Nazis. And this woman lost her parents and she lost other family members and now here she is celebrating her 104th with 400 descendants in Israel. What a great story and of course…

Drew: Yes, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren.

Fisher: And second greats I’m sure they are there too. It’s got to be. [Laughs]

Drew: Oh, there probably are after all this time.

Fisher: Yeah.

Drew: Amazing. And I think they were saying they missed 10%, so they couldn’t all be there, but 90% of them were there, and that’s so exciting.

Fisher: Well, the DNA stories continue to make news and the one in Centerville, Utah that caused all the problems with our friends over at GEDmatch has been resolved as the young man who has been unnamed in this case. He was the one who went and attempted to strangle an organist at a church as she was practicing on a Saturday night alone in the building. He broke in a window and he has admitted to the crime, and the victim amazingly in the courtroom forgave him and just said, “I’ve been praying for you, but I also want you to know that I have lived in fear ever since you did this, not knowing if you might be coming after me again.” So, she can rest assured that she’s quite safe now, but what a story and of course, solved through genetic genealogy once again.

Drew: And it was kind of unique because most of the stories we’ve been hearing about have been mostly cold cases. This was a unique case. This had just happen. This was not a cold case, with the concern particularly that it was a young person who did it, that what if he does it again?

Fisher: That’s it.

Drew: And this could happen. So this kind of changed the whole look at how this tool might be used.

Fisher: Well, and this is of course as a result of the fact that it’s a new tool and things evolve and things change and you know, the opt-in for GEDmatch had to come eventually and that’s what has taken place, but it’s great to have this result because this was not just a simple assault as was often portrayed in the media.

Drew: I know.

Fisher: This was really an attempted murder. She passed out three times and somehow survived this attack and so glad to see that that has been taken care of. Well, shall we go across the pond now Drew?

Drew: Let’s be posh and go across the pond though Scott. I’d like to do that.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Drew: You talk about the old royalty here and I’ll talk about the young royalty. How about that?

Fisher: There we go. Let’s start with King Edward VIII. Now, before he was King Edward, he was known as David. And before there was his lovely American heiress that he wanted to marry and leave the throne for, he had another lover at that time. And now his letters to her have been released and it seems he had some very harsh things to say about the monarchy, that it was really no longer of use, and why are we doing this to the people, and how he hated his job and he doesn’t want to put another day into it. And yet, of course, he ultimately became king anyway, so it’s a fascinating story. You can see that on ExtremeGenes.com.

Drew:And now you have a modern royal, Princess Eugenie of York, the daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah and she did something that’s the first time a royal has done. So Scott, you and I are now being joined by royalty because Princess Eugenie is going to start her own podcast.

Fisher: Isn’t this great?

Drew: Yeah! One of the things she’s been very involved with is being director of the Anti-Slavery Collective. They look at modern slavery which is human trafficking and they try to raise awareness of it. And so this podcast is exactly that. It’s going to be highlighting what’s going on in this world of unfortunate modern slavery.

Fisher: So there we go. We are trendsetters Drew.

Drew: Yes, that’s right.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Drew: We’re doing it first and then the royals come in.

Fisher: And then they follow us. [Laughs] They just say what are Drew and Fish doing now, you know?

Drew: [Laughs] Precisely.

Fisher: So, tell us what is the latest with the genealogy guys? What are you guys up to now?

Drew: Well, the thing that keeps George and me busy, George G. Morgan, my other half of the Genealogy Guys Podcast, we’ve been very involved in a Facebook group and we’re very proud of it. It’s the genealogy squad which was founded in the beginning of May with Blaine Bettinger of DNA fame and Cyndi Ingle of Cyndi’s List.

Fisher: Wow.

Drew: The four of us came, yeah…we’re kind of the Traveling Wilburys of genealogy, right?

Fisher: [Laughs] Yes.

Drew: We have our solo careers.

Fisher: Yep.

Drew: But then we come together, right?

Fisher: I like it.

Drew: So we decided that there needed to be a very good Facebook group for genealogy where there was reliable advice and places where people would get good resources. And so we created this on May 6th and in 24 hours we had 6,000 members.

Fisher: Wow!

Drew: And probably later today we will look at 20,000 members.

Fisher: Incredible.

Drew: So, we’re very pleased.

Fisher: Thanks so much for filling in for David, Drew. You’ve been fantastic and we look forward to having you on again.

Drew: Thanks Scott. Looking forward to it. Take care.

Fisher: And coming up next we’ll talk to Jessica Howe from Legacy Tree Genealogists about genetic genealogy reuniting American fathers with their Asian children. That’s in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 295

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Jessica Howe

Fisher: Hey, we are back at it on America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth. Very excited to have Jessica Howe on the show. She is a genetic genealogist for our friends at Legacy Tree Genealogists, based out of Alabama. How are you, Jessica?

Jessica: I’m great, Fisher. How are you?

Fisher: Awesome. I’m so glad to have you on the show, because you are a specialist in Amerasian genetic genealogy, meaning you’re helping a lot of people who are looking for their American fathers, and often this has to do with military service from World War II, and through the period of Vietnam, and of course Korea. How long have you been doing this?

Jessica: For about five years.

Fisher: That’s awesome. You know, we all know about genetic genealogy and what it does here in the United States, and what it does for cold cases and crime. Talk about this speciality, this little branch of genetic genealogy, because I know it’s got to be very big.

Jessica: It is. It’s starting to become more popular, the more availability the DNA testing has become, and people are sending DNA tests to their family and friends in Asiaand these people are looking for answers about their biological fathers. It was a big issue for American soldiers to R&R in Asia during World War II in Vietnam, and sometimes that produced illegitimate children, and our opportunity is to be able to give them a name and a voice to their family.

Fisher: This has got to be quite a surprise to some to these old soldiers now, when you get in touch with them.

Jessica: It is, yes. A lot of times it comes out of the blue, but they’ve handled it pretty well. Every person that we’ve had an opportunity to help, we’ve explained the situation and they’ve been welcomed with open arms.

Fisher: Isn’t that great?

Jessica: It is.

Fisher:And, I’ve always seen that even here in the States. I mean, most cases work out pretty darn well. I mean, there’s some, and they get announced pretty loudly sometimes, that don’t work out so well, but the overwhelming majority do, and I think that says a lot about our society, don’t you?

Jessica: I do. In the time that we are living in right now, any time that you can bring joy and happiness and closure to someone, then that’s all we’re about.

Fisher: Exactly. Let’s talk about some of these cases that you’ve dealt with here. I know that you had one recently in Taiwan. Tell us about that case.

Jessica: Okay. I had a client. Her name is Annie, and Annie was born in Taiwan during the Vietnam War to a Taiwanese mother and an American soldier. Her mother never really spoke about her father, and it appeared that she had had a relationship with the father, but didn’t really want to discuss it at all. So, later on when Annie was seven or eight years old, they immigrated to the United States, and her mother married, but a few years after immigrating, sadly passed away, and she took the name of Annie’s father with her when she passed away.

Fisher: Oh boy.

Jessica:Yeah. So, about 40 years later, Annie decided she was going to take DNA tests because of the advancements in genetic genealogy, but unfortunately she didn’t have any close matches. The closest matches that she had on all three testing sites were around the fourth cousin match, or farther away. So, she enlisted my help and we were able to provide her with information and do genetic genealogy, and find her father who was living, and now she can give pictures to her children, her grandchildren.

Fisher: Wow, isn’t that something? Well, let’s talk about that now. You’ve had fourth cousin matches as the closest. What did you have to do to break this case?

Jessica: Well, we took all of her matches on three different websites that she had tested on, and compared those. And the closest ones we tried to find patterns in locations where the people’s family trees had different locations. With Annie’s case, all of her family had DNA matches only in Scotland and Ireland, but her mother had always told her that her father was an American soldier. So, we traced the family trees all the way up to be able to find a common ancestor with several different DNA matches, and said, “Okay, John and Jane are definitely Annie’s great, great grandparents.” Okay, from there we were able to branch it out down further and then find one out of all Jane and John’s nine children, only one of them immigrated to the United States.

Fisher: Okay.

Jessica:Yes, so we ended up taking that and build that family tree down, to be able to find potential candidates who were around the same age that Annie’s father would have been, and see if any of those gentlemen may have been stationed in Taiwan or served in the military at all. For the ones that were passed away, we were able to access military records and kind of get an idea whether or not they would be good candidates. None of those gentlemen were, so we decided to work on the living candidates, and we sent correspondence to those.

Fisher: Sure.

Jessica: And a gentleman contacted us and said, “Hey, I was in Taiwan during this period of time. Not really sure. Don’t think I’m the birth father.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Jessica:But, you know, I’d be happy to answer any questions for you I can.


Jessica: We said okay, that’s great, yeah. He agreed to do a DNA test and we sent him a test, and when the test results came back, it was positive that was Annie’s father.

Fisher: Wow! So, it sounds like he kind of had a little hint that maybe he was just because of the time and place, yes?

Jessica: He actually had absolutely no idea. He was totally shocked. He left about six months after Annie had been conceived, and went back to the United States and had a long career here in the US, and he went on with is life and never really thought anything of it. And then when we contacted him out of the blue, he was really caught off guard. We explained that this isn’t a scam. This isn’t something that we’re trying to…

Fisher: It isn’t going to cost you anything, just some spit.

Jessica: It isn’t going to cost you anything, yes. No one wants anything from you. We just want to be able to give her some answers. And if you’re not, then that’s okay, we won’t bother you. And if you agree to do one, that would be wonderful.

Fisher: Well, not only that, if he does the test and he’s not the father, at least it gives you another test to compare against, maybe there’s a closer relationship to somebody.

Jessica: Exactly, because we knew that he was definitely related to Annie, but we wanted to make sure whether it was one of his brothers, possibly, or a distant cousin, you know, a closer cousin.

Fisher: Sure, than what you had.

Jessica: Right, so, shockingly enough he ended up being the only person we needed to test.

Fisher: [Laughs] You were prepared to do a lot more, weren’t you?

Jessica: I was. It never works out that way, ever. You never have someone the first time that you speak with them, and, you know, say: “Did you happen to have any relationship with any women while you happened to be in Taiwan?” And he said, “Yeah, I did, but everybody did.” And I was like, “Okay, that’s okay.”

Fisher: Yeah. No judgement.

Jessica: Yeah, no judgement. Not a problem. That’s not what I’m asking you about. I just want to make sure if you can verify all of this family history for me. But it ended up giving Annie some really good health information too, because her father’s family had had some medical problems that she needed to be aware of, and it gave her a lot of closure and gave her family a picture to be able to put with Annie and say, yes, you know what, yes you do look a lot like your dad.

Fisher: Yeah. Well, that’s such a big deal. It’s such an amazing thing, and it’s important for people to understand, too, that sometimes you don’t need DNA direct from the birth parent either, to figure out who the birth parent is. I mean, that’s what genetic genealogy does. So, even if you can just get somebody close to them, you might be able to figure that out.

Jessica: Yeah. I dealt with a case last year where an elderly woman had been adopted in the early 1930s, and she didn’t know any of her biological family. She’d taken the DNA test and we were able to confirm who her parents were through DNA, because of some distant cousins that she had had, and come to find out her biological father and the biological mother were in-laws.

Fisher: Oh wow!

Jessica: So, yeah.

Fisher: Okay. [Laughs]

Jessica: Yeah. It was kind of shocking, but she was okay with it, and she ended up being able to meet some of her half-siblings that were still living, and some of the cousins and grandchildren of those family members, so it was wonderful.

Fisher: Yeah. It really is amazing. I am a little bit surprised, and, to listeners who don’t know much about genetic genealogy. I’m still kind of surprised when I hear people say, “Well, why would they take a test?” you know, like a criminal or something, if they know that they’ve got this. I say no, they don’t identify the criminals that way or identify ancestors, because you know, the second great grandparents aren’t around to test. You do it through their descendants, and look at the amazing results that we have, and as we’ve talked about on past shows on Extreme Genes, you can figure out birth parents through autosomal testing typically, as far back as the 1700s, and it’s really quite remarkable what can be done to confirm, right?

Jessica: It is. It is and it’s really helpful for people that don’t have any family history. If you are an adoptee or an orphan, and you want to be able to, not necessarily even find your biological family, if you want to be able to find family members, to find out health information, that’s always really good you know.

Fisher: Sure.

Jessica: So, you can go find a lot of interesting stories. You don’t necessarily have to do it to be able to find out who your biological family is.

Fisher: Yeah, you don’t have to necessarily need a relationship, and sometimes they are toxic, you know? You don’t want that relationship, but fortunately, most of the time we hear pretty good stuff.

Jessica: Right, exactly. It’s always good to hear the good stories.  Sometimes you hear the bad. It comes with the job.

Fisher: [Laughs] Well, this sounds like a great offshoot of genetic genealogy, dealing with people from Taiwan, the Amerasians, and identifying their military parents. Great work, Jessica! Thanks so much for coming on, and we hope to have you on again sometime.

Jessica: Absolutely, Fisher. Thank you so much! You guys have a great day.

Fisher: She is Jessica Howe. She’s a genetic genealogist for Legacy Tree Genealogists, and what great work. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to a couple of people involved in that Catholic record indexing project going on right now in New England. They’re at four and a half million records so far, looking to get to eleven million. They could use your help, and you’re going to want to hear what might be in it for you, on the way in five minutes, on Extreme Genes.

Segment 3 Episode 295

Host: Scott Fisher with guests Molly Rogers and Thomas Lester

Fisher:Hey, back at it. It is Fisher here on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Always excited to talk to my friends at the New England Historic Genealogical Society because there’s always so many new projects going on. I think the biggest one they’ve got going right now, encompasses all of the New England area with their historic, Catholic records online. I’ve got Molly Rogers. She’s the database coordinator for NEHGS and Thomas Lester. He’s the archivist and records manager for the Archdiocese of Boston. Greetings you two! You’ve got some growing news to share with us.

Thomas: We do. Thank you for having us on the show.

Molly: We’re excited to be here.

Fisher: So, tell me about this. I know the goal is to get to like 11 million names that are in the original records and right now how many are you up to?

Molly: We’re at 4.5 million names right now. So, we started with the records from 1789 through 1900 and now we’re excited to announce that we’re extending the project from 1901 to 1920.

Fisher: Wow! Now, that period I would imagine is one of great growth, right? So, you might have as many names in that 20 year period as you did for 50 or 70 years before that.

Thomas: Absolutely. In terms of actual volumes that we’ll be digitizing and number of index names, it almost matches up exactly, like that 20 years matches the numbers for the first 100 plus years we didn’t we did the initial phase of the project.

Fisher: Oh, wow! So, this is going to be something also that’s closer to people living now. So, you might find more connections as a result of this 20 year period. Now, as you go about indexing all these records and getting them online, are they available for free?

Molly: So, we are currently making two different databases. The first is free and its image only. So, that means you can sort of browse through the images on our site but nothing is searchable. Our second database is called Massachusetts Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston records 1789 to 1920 and it’s fully searchable if you are a paying member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Fisher: All right, two levels. So, for all these records, what can we expect to find in those, especially this new 20 year period you’re working on?

Thomas: Well, I think after the turn of the century, so from about 1900 to about 1920 you start to see new immigrants arriving, obviously Irish immigration was kind of the focal point of the 19th century but now you see new groups arriving. So, you’ll see people arriving from Italy, Poland, Lithuania, Portugal, and so I think this is going to broaden the interests of a lot of people who have ancestors from those countries and that arrived in the area during the first two decades of the 20th century.

Fisher: Does this cover New York quite a bit as well?

Thomas: Um, we don’t see too many from New York but the earliest records the Archdiocese of Boston when it was created covered all of New England. So, some of those earlier records cover all of Massachusetts and the other New England states, including Indian missions as well.

Fisher: Oh, wow. So, when we hear the Diocese of Boston, we’re not talking about that limited area. You’re talking about all of New England and of course people who came to New England who were Catholic and who were married, or christened, or buried at that time, they might show up in those records, correct?

Molly: Yes. The most common record types that we’re digitizing are baptisms, marriages, and confirmations. But some parishes often have death records and maybe sick calls, so there are a variety of different record types.

Fisher: Parents on there? Origins?

Molly: Mostly. Every parish does it differently. So, if it’s baptisms they definitely have parents. If it’s marriages, you’re never quite sure whether they recorded it or not.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Molly: And again, for the place of origin, sometimes it might be just their address in Boston and sometimes it’s the county that they came from in Ireland. It really depends on who was keeping the records.

Fisher: Right. So you can find them it’s just kind of a pot-luck kind of a thing.

Thomas: Yes. It depends on who was recording the entrees, what their standards were at the time. Then also, as you do move into the 20th century, we actually see on the pages they go from just using a blank notebook where they’re recording the basics, to a notebook that they purchased where there’s a template printed and that prompted them to fill in places of origin, occupation, parents, and so whoever was entering the records was guided along. As you move forward in time to more recently it becomes more robust.

Fisher: So, it gets a little more detailed as we get into this next period.

Thomas: Absolutely, more consistent across the board as well.

Fisher: Sure.

Molly: These are all arranged at the church and parish levels.

Fisher: Okay. So, you could actually go in and find perhaps government records then of the same thing afterwards if you find their name in the database.

Molly: Yeah. We’ve tried to compare sometimes different immigrant groups like are they in both the church records and the state vital records. And sometimes it’s very clear they kept their records well, everyone is there. And occasionally, we’ve had trouble finding them in the state records. So, I think these church records are really important in those cases where maybe this is the only record of that child.

Fisher: Now, why would it be that they would be only in the church record but not in a state record? Just out of curiosity.

Thomas: We speculated a little bit, I think some of them, they recently arrived in the country, they may not have known they had to report it to a civil authority and they may just have been doing it at one place, doing it at their church when the child was baptized. That’s sufficient enough.

Molly: I think when you work with the records there’s so many different steps in the record taking process where something could have gone wrong.

Fisher: Sure.

Thomas: Even the records in both places you’ll see small discrepancies in terms of spelling or a date of birth might be off by one day. So that’s not uncommon to find either.

Fisher: Oh, yeah. Well, you can find that in pretty much everything. So, how many volunteers do you have working on this thing right now?

Molly: We have about a 100 volunteers. Some of them come into our research library on Newbury Street in Boston, while others work remotely from their computers all across the country.

Fisher: That’s great. So, you‘ve probably got Catholics and non-Catholics working on it. How long do you think it will take to complete the project, at least this next phase to get it from 4.5 million up to 11 million?

Molly: We’re hoping to complete that phase by 2024. And then I think with this next update we’re going to double that number again, and honestly, that might take us till almost 2030. It’s a lot of stuff.

Fisher: Oh, wow! [Laughs] You need more volunteers, that’s the deal.

Molly: [Laughs] Yeah.

Fisher: Can we help you with that?

Molly: My colleague Rachel Adams is the database services volunteer coordinator. So, she’s always looking for more volunteers and can explain the project to people and get them started if they’re interested.

Fisher: Okay, so Rachel Adams. If somebody wants to volunteer how can they reach her?

Molly: Her email address is, [email protected].

Fisher: All right, that will be really useful. So, ultimately then after you get up to the next 20 years, are you going to continue beyond that, from 1920 forward?

Thomas: Well, I think we have quite a bit of time, at least a few years until we get to that point and we’re almost done scanning everything through 1920s. So, right now we’re just kind of getting started on this next phase of the project. And 3-4 years down the line when that’s complete I think we can re-evaluate the landscape at that time and see if it’s the right decision to move forward. But we’re very excited about getting this next phase started.

Fisher: Absolutely. So Thomas, you’ve been working on this for a long time, so have you Molly. Tell us a story of something somebody has found that really made an impression on you.

Molly: I think one of the most exciting things one of our patrons reported, she had been looking or a marriage record for many, many years. She had actually visited Thomas at the archive in Braintree in person. She looked in all the right places and she could not find this record. Once we had the volumes indexed, it turns out that this marriage record was scrawled at the bottom of the baptisms book. So, she was finally able to find that record, it was in totally the wrong place.

Fisher: [Laughs] Totally in the wrong place. That happens now and again, doesn’t it? And it’s just such a shock and such a pleasing thing, but it kind of makes you mad too, doesn’t it?

Molly: Yeah.

Fisher: Well, guys good on this, it sounds like you’re really rolling along now with this next phase, 4.5 million records right now in the historic Catholic records online at NEHGS.org. She’s Molly Rogers, the database coordinator for the project. He’s Thomas Lester, the archivist and records manager for the Archdiocese of Boston, a great project that’s going to go on for a long, long time. If you want to volunteer and help make this thing happen as you heard, you can do that at,[email protected]she can help get you involved and maybe we can move that timeline up. Thanks for coming on, you guys.

Molly: Thank you for having us.

Thomas: Thank you.

Fisher: And coming up it’s another Ask Us Anything segment as we continue on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 4 Episode 295

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Rhonda McClure

Fisher: And welcome back to America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here and it is time once again to talk “Ask Us Anything.” And if you've got a question for us for our plethora of professionals, all you have to do is email us at [email protected]. And I've got Rhonda McClure from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. And Rhonda, it’s great to have you back. And our question today is from Michael in New York and he says, "How do I go about gathering the records I need to become a dual citizen of Italy?" So, I know Ronda, you're an expert in that kind of field.

Rhonda: Yes, I am.

Fisher: Italy though is a little different as I understand it when it comes to dual citizenship.

Rhonda: It is, in that it was the two countries that I considered dual citizenship by descent, in that you can trace back beyond just your parents to perhaps acquire that dual citizenship. With Italy, one of their big issues is whether or not your immigrant ancestor naturalizedbefore your next ancestor was born.

Fisher: Oh.

Rhonda: Basically, what they're saying is, if you great grandfather came into the US and naturalizedbefore your grandfather was born, then you do not qualify, because he's already abdicated his connection to Italy.

Fisher: Sure.

Rhonda: If your great grandfather comes into this country and your grandfather is born and then great grandpa naturalizes, then you can qualify, because the child was already born before the father gave up his connection.

Fisher: So, I would imagine the logic here as confusing as it may be, is that the baby did not renounce the citizenship it was born to at the time, right?

Rhonda: Exactly.

Fisher: Okay.

Rhonda: Provided of course you do that after 1912.

Fisher: After 1912, wow! So, there's a lot of rules.

Rhonda: There's a lot of rules.

Fisher: A lot of rules here.

Rhonda: There's a lot of rules.

Fisher: Wow!

Rhonda: With Italians.

Fisher: What parliament thought this one up? So, how far back can you be Italian and still get dual citizenship under these rules?

Rhonda: So, the big thing is the immigrant. Technically, the furthest back I think they allow is like second great grandparent.

Fisher: Okay.

Rhonda: But again, that's got to be the person like coming to this country, then when they naturalize plays a role. So, if theynaturalize before 1912, they basically did renounce not only for themselves, but for all of their descendants.

Fisher: Sure.

Rhonda: Yet to come.

Fisher: Okay.

Rhonda: Even if you were born, it’s already been renounced. After 1912, that was no longer part of it.

Fisher: Interesting. Okay. So where do they get these records then? Obviously you want to get the naturalisation record for your immigrant ancestor and a birth record for the person who comes after that in your line, and I would imagine right down to yourself, correct?

Rhonda: Yes. You have to get a lot of records. So, basically starting with yourself. If you do qualify, say, to the great grandparent, you have to have your birth, marriage record. You have tohave your parents, both parents’ birth and deaths if applicable plus their marriage.

Fisher: Yep.

Rhonda: So, through the paternal, you'd have to have your grandparents' birth, marriages and deaths. And then your great grandfather's birth, marriage and death.

Fisher: So this is basically like joining like a lineage society practically, right?

Rhonda: Pretty much.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Rhonda: And on top of all of that, with the Italians, not only do you have to get all of those records and they all have to be certified.

Fisher: Right.

Rhonda: The naturalisation record doesn't need to be certified, but then everything has to be translated into Italian.

Fisher:[Laughs] Of course!

Rhonda: And all of the records, both the certified records and the translations, need to be certified and then apostilled, which is basically an international certification.

Fisher: Oh my gosh! This is really complicated. All right, we have to take a break Rhonda, and we will continue on this question about dual citizenship in Italy and some other places, coming up next when we return in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 295

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Rhonda McClure

Fisher: All right, we're back at it for our final segment of Extreme Genes this week, America's Family History Show. I'm talking to Rhonda McClure from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. We're doing our “Ask Us Anything” segment. And we got this question from Michael in New York about how you go about getting records for dual citizenship in Italy, and it’s really turned in. I had no idea Rhonda that it was this complicated. An international certification and what the timing is and after what year and before. Anything else that we missed in the last segment on Italy that Michael should know?

Rhonda: Well, patience is a virtue.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Rhonda: Because in addition to getting the records here within the US, of course for the couple that comes over, you have to get their records from Italy and that can take some time. They've got a lot to do. They don't understand the big deal of this, so it could take time to get those records again, a certified record from them.

Fisher: Sure.

Rhonda:And then you have to get an appointment with the consulate. And some consulates are about two to five years in getting an appointment with the consulate.

Fisher: I remember hearing that Mike Piazza who's a hall of fame catcher, used toplay for the LA Dodgersand the New York Mets, he's obviously of Italian descent and he did this. He's got the dual citizenship and he actually coached an Italian baseball team and enjoys doing that, so it’s really interesting. Any other countries with unique rules here while we're on the subject?

Rhonda: Well, the only other country that allows for dual citizenship through descent would be Ireland. And they allow it provided that you have a grandparent that was born in Ireland. And for the purposes of Ireland, they consider it to the entire Ireland, so that includes Northern Ireland as well the republic.

Fisher: Okay, so grandparent is it, beyond that it’s too far back.

Rhonda: Exactly.

Fisher: Okay.

Rhonda: Exactly.

Fisher: Any of these rules when they naturalizedor any of that stuff?

Rhonda: No, they do not worry about any of that information. Theirs is a lot more straightforward. And basically what you're doing is, you're being put onto a foreign birth registry and then after that you apply for your passport. And their records are a lot less as well. You just need to have certified copies of vital records for everybody, but nothing has to be translated, unless it’s in a foreign language. So, like if it was in French then you'd have to translate it.

Fisher: Sure. They want it in English.

Rhonda: Exactly. And nothing has to be apostilled like the Italians.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Rhonda: Fortunately.

Fisher: There's a word I never wish to hear again, thank you. [Laughs]

Rhonda: [Laughs] But the one thing for the Irish is, they will not take any substitutes for civil records. So, in other words, if you can't find a civil birth record out of Ireland for that grandparent, you're out of luck, because they will not substitute a church record. It has to all be vital records, civil vital records.

Fisher: Wow, government records!

Rhonda: Um hmm, exactly.

Fisher: Okay. And so, the benefits of course in Italy in dual citizenship and in Ireland are what? Why do people generally do this?

Rhonda: Well, for a lot of people, it so that it opens opportunities perhaps to work in the EU, because of course both counties are part of the EU. And it’s easier to work there if you have an EU passport.

Fisher: Is it easier to travelalso?

Rhonda: I mean, it can be, because you can enter in under the EU passport. So under the Italian passport or the Irish passport rather than your US passport and then travel is easier. The downside to that is, if you get into trouble in any way, shape or form, don't call the American consulate, because you did not go in as an American citizen.

Fisher: Oh wow! That's interesting.

Rhonda: So they cannot help you.

Fisher: She's Rhonda McClure from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Fascinating conversation! Thank you so much, Rhonda and thank you, Michael for the question. And of course if anybody's got a question for “Ask Us Anything” you can email it to us at [email protected]. And that is a wrap for this week's show. Thanks for joining us. Hope you learned a few things that are going to help you out in your journey. And by the way, if you haven't signed up for our Patron Club yet,you've got to do this. You can go to Patreon.com/ExtremeGenesor you can sign up through our Facebook page or through ExtremeGenes.com. And for a very minimal contribution, you get all kinds of benefits, including early access to podcasts, bonus podcasts and all kinds of other great stuff. Talk to you next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice normal family!

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