Monday, July 16, 2012

Taking Our Italian Legacy Digital

Taking a short break from my family history rants, I'd like to shine a spotlight on a few intriguing online initiatives that have significant relevance to Italian genealogy.  The first two came to my attention through Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter during just the past month alone.

Endangered Languages Project

"With the Endangered Languages Project, Google puts its technology at the service of the organizations and individuals working to confront language endangerment by documenting, preserving and teaching them."   Such an initiative has immense potential for the preservation of Italian dialects.  They are a pivotal part of our cultural story and should be treasured.  Though much was done to compromise their usage after the unification of Italy in 1861 through much of the 20th century, Italian academic institutions and linguists have been working diligently in recent decades to preserve and teach these priceless aspects of our legacy.  Perhaps this will be another vehicle for these efforts.  A few projects relating to Italy have already begun.

L'Archivio Storico Luce 

L'Archivio Storico Luce on YouTube contains thousands of videos chronicling seventy years of Italian history and social life from the 1920s to 1990s. For example, I was excited to find the following newsreel footage from the early 1950s showcasing fishermen in my family's hometown of Molfetta.

Digitizing Italian Civil Registration Records  

An historic partnership between FamilySearch and Direzione Generale per gli Archivi (DGA) will result in free online access to millions of Italian Civil Registration documents.  This monumental project will entail a great deal work.  Volunteers are encouraged to participate in indexing efforts..

It's very exciting to see such initiatives come to life.  I can't wait to see what will be next.