Friday, February 12, 2010

Catholic Hierarchy

Since one of the few clues I have about my Italian great-great grandparents is that Ernesta Maddalena Bergamasco "had an uncle who was a bishop in Italy" (family memoir written by my great-aunt Espezzia Angelina (Galfre) Gola, 5 June 1990), I am in the process of learning more about the Catholic church.

Catholic Hierarchy

The site through which my research is currently focused is Catholic Hierarchy.  It lists Bishops, past and present.

As I mentioned in my post about Ernesta in October 2009, we don't know her mother's maiden name.  There were no Bishops with the surname Bergamasco, so the uncle must either be her mother's brother or a great-uncle.

So I am currently using the process-of-elimination method of research.  First, I am looking for Bishops born between 1800 and 1860, which would be the most likely time frame for Ernesta's uncle to have been born. 

Ernesta was born in 1874, so I can't imagine her mother was born any earlier than 1830 or any later than 1860.  An uncle, if a brother to her mother, would probably have been born in the same time frame.

Bishops in Italy

Also, I am focused on Bishops who served in Italy, since that is what the family memoir tells us.

I am creating a Word file where I am storing information on each Bishop who fits this profile (born between 1800 and 1860; served in Italy).  From there, I will do my best to locate information on each man and try to eliminate the possibilities.

Later, I may have to expand my search to other countries or another generation (if it turns out we are talking about a great-uncle versus an uncle; that would open up 2 more surname possibilities, at least, as then we would be looking at a man who was either Ernesta's mother's maternal OR paternal uncle, or Ernesta's father's maternal uncle).

One thing at a time.


  1. Thanks for laying out your research process in such detail, Wendy. I find our skills really improve when we get to take a peek at what others are doing.
    Are you fluent in Italian? If not and you need a hand I might be able to help you.
    Evelyn in Montreal

  2. If sharing ideas, methods, and more can be of help to anybody, that makes me happy.

    I know enough Italian (and Spanish and French) to get by. My husband has 3 overseas options for where we will move this year - Alaska, England or Germany. If he gets either England or Germany, I am immediately going to start brushing up on my Italian (I work on my French daily), because my first impulse will be to visit Cuneo and Moneglia!