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Researching an Italian Soldier


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When looking through the local press for 1916, I came across a reference to Guiseppe Abbro. He was a hairdresser in my home town and when war was declared apparently returned to Italy and joined the 10th Italian Infantry. The extract mentions he was killed in action at Goritzia. The notice was published on 19 September 1916.

He owned a business in the town and apparently lived there for several years but doesn't appear on the local war memorial.

I've had no experience researching Italian troops and wondered if anyone had any ideas.

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated,

Best wishes,

Derek

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Look for Tony who posts as Beppo Sapone whose family also went back to Italy to join up, he has researched these men.

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When looking through the local press for 1916, I came across a reference to Guiseppe Abbro. He was a hairdresser in my home town and when war was declared apparently returned to Italy and joined the 10th Italian Infantry. The extract mentions he was killed in action at Goritzia. The notice was published on 19 September 1916.

He owned a business in the town and apparently lived there for several years but doesn't appear on the local war memorial.

I've had no experience researching Italian troops and wondered if anyone had any ideas.

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated,

Best wishes,

Derek

Derek

I don't think that it can be done in this case, unless you find an obit. etc in the local paper around the time of his death.

Italian soldiers records from WW1 survive, and are quite detailed. However, they will only release them to the soldiers next of kin/descendant etc.

If you feel like "chancing your arm" you could try and obtain Guiseppe Abbro's papers, but you would need to write in Italian and wait months, and maybe not get a reply at all.

For more details put the word "foglio" into the forum search engine.

Individual unit histories exist, but even if you can obtain one for the 10th Fanteria it will be in Italian, and not likely to say much about an individual O.R.

Where is your town? St Peter's, the Italian Church in London, has a memorial to London-Italians who were killed in WW1. I believe that a similar thing existed in Manchester, dismantled in WW2. Maybe there is an Italian Memorial in your nearest city?

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Guys that really chaps my ass that after this long a legitimate researcher can't get these records! :angry: I would not blame you for lieing to them but don't think it would work.

Contrast this with Canada , you get all of the record including medical & pay. :rolleyes: Canada good! Italy bad! I have also done well with NZ & Oz men but Canada is the best, as a result there will me more remembrance of their men. There are 2 CEF men buried here in Lexington Kentucky, Alexander McClintock DCM and John Benjamin French , recently got a new headstone from CWGC. I forget his name but another, buried I believe in Frankfort, was the next to last RFC veteran to die. I claimed him as the last and was corrected in next WFA Bulletin.

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Guys that really chaps my ass that after this long a legitimate researcher can't get these records! :angry: I would not blame you for lieing to them but don't think it would work.

Contrast this with Canada , you get all of the record including medical & pay. :rolleyes: Canada good! Italy bad! I have also done well with NZ & Oz men but Canada is the best, as a result there will me more remembrance of their men. There are 2 CEF men buried here in Lexington Kentucky, Alexander McClintock DCM and John Benjamin French , recently got a new headstone from CWGC. I forget his name but another, buried I believe in Frankfort, was the next to last RFC veteran to die. I claimed him as the last and was corrected in next WFA Bulletin.

Well, you know Paul Italy wouldn't be Italy without stupid and pointless bureaucracy!

I got the foglo (foglios?) for my grandfather and three great uncles. They didn't reply to my letter about another great uncle, almost certainly because he was not a blood relative, only an uncle by marriage!

We have his medals, photos, passport, death certificate and a photo of his grave. The rules say we can't see his foglio and, as he didn't have children, it looks like no-one can. That is, unless the long lost children and grandchildren of his brother, who emigrated to America, turn up.

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St Peter's, the Italian Church in London, has a memorial to London-Italians who were killed in WW1. I believe that a similar thing existed in Manchester, dismantled in WW2.

In the 1920s the Manchester Anglo-Italians donated money for a memorial to men from their community who were killed in WW1. A marble monument with a large bronze inscription was erected in 1924. However, it looks as if the British Legion stole both their site and plinth some time after 1940.

"With the outbreak of the Second World War, however, Manchester Corporation had the plaque surreptitiously removed, without permission of the Home Office. The Italian marble which housed it now carried a new dedication to the British Legion, which can still be seen today."

For more detail see here: http://www.ancoatslittleitaly.com/

Edit

Sorry, for some reason this link doesn't take you all the way there. Click on the link and then click on "the war years" in the hamper on the left of the page. Once you have "the war years" page up scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the third link from the bottom "The Campaign for the War Memorial "

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Italian soldiers records from WW1 survive, and are quite detailed. However, they will only release them to the soldiers next of kin/descendant etc.

Hmm now where I have seen this before Tony! :lol:

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Italian soldiers records from WW1 survive, and are quite detailed. However, they will only release them to the soldiers next of kin/descendant etc.

Hmm now where I have seen this before Tony! :lol:

I know exactly what you are thinking Neil, but I didn't say anything because Paul is also American :D

Actually, for other Pals, the American records people have a similar rule!

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You can get around that I think, but they always tell you they are burned. Seems to me on one of the last requests I did, which was some time ago, at least on US the said I did not need to cite freedom of information act.

What has happened lately?

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Thanks for the information guys,

Tony, I live in Lochgelly - a small town in Fife. There are still a number of Italian families who have been resident in the town since the Great War but none of the older family members seem to have any recollection of Abbro.

Unfortunately his obituary doesn't give much information beyond the fact that he was a hairdresser in Main Street.

There are still a few more local newspapers to check. Hopefully I'll find something in one of those.

All the best,

Derek

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Thanks for the information guys,

Tony, I live in Lochgelly - a small town in Fife. There are still a number of Italian families who have been resident in the town since the Great War but none of the older family members seem to have any recollection of Abbro.

Unfortunately his obituary doesn't give much information beyond the fact that he was a hairdresser in Main Street.

There are still a few more local newspapers to check. Hopefully I'll find something in one of those.

All the best,

Derek

Derek

How badly do you want to do this? If you are interested enough I can tell you where on the net to place a request with the best possible chance of his family seeing it.

Please advise

Cheers

Tony

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Hi Tony,

I'd be grateful for any advice. I've spent some time researching most of the names on the Lochgelly War Memorial and thought I had a complete record of the men from the town who fell during the war.

However I had no idea about Abbro.

If it's not too much trouble I'd be grateful for any suggestions.

Cheers,

Derek

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You can get around that I think, but they always tell you they are burned. Seems to me on one of the last requests I did, which was some time ago, at least on US the said I did not need to cite freedom of information act.

What has happened lately?

Hi Paul,

I was attempting to get the Service records of a non-relative of mine, KIA in Vietnam.

At least they haven't incinerated the Vietnam Records, they just deny you if you're not the next of kin.

Take care,

Neil

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Neil I have been trying to remember if I have ever gotten a complete set from the remarkableyincompetent Military Records Center St Louis & it may be that I have not. I have done real well with Kentucky men & their statement of service card which lists dates of service, where stationed , where enlisted, race, ranks, engagements, wounds overseas service, % disabled, a lot.

THese are on record at the state AG office cause we have had 2 veteran's bonuses, heck I got one of em, I can get these in 1 to 2 days, it takes St Louis a year to say sorry it's burned but my memory is they will give it to you if by miracle they locate it, right?

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Hi Tony,

I'd be grateful for any advice. I've spent some time researching most of the names on the Lochgelly War Memorial and thought I had a complete record of the men from the town who fell during the war.

However I had no idea about Abbro.

If it's not too much trouble I'd be grateful for any suggestions.

Cheers,

Derek

Derek

I will get back to you, with full details of who to contact, in a day or so.

I have just obtained a book produced in WW1 to raise funds for a Committee to aid the families of Italian servicemen in the UK. I have placed a query about this book/committee in the "Other" section and wonder if anything will come of it?

Try a search using "The Book of Italy" for full details.

Regards

Tony

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Neil I have been trying to remember if I have ever gotten a complete set from the remarkableyincompetent Military Records Center St Louis & it may be that I have not. I have done real well with Kentucky men & their statement of service card which lists dates of service, where stationed , where enlisted, race, ranks, engagements, wounds overseas service, % disabled, a lot.

THese are on record at the state AG office cause we have had 2 veteran's bonuses, heck I got one of em, I can get these in 1 to 2 days, it takes St Louis a year to say sorry it's burned but my memory is they will give it to you if by miracle they locate it, right?

Hi Paul,

As far as I know that is their policy. I think the problem I'm having is this is a Vietnam era casualty so they sent me a very nice letter saying that without the consent of the immediate family I could not access the records. I don't have any contact with the immediate next of kin so it seems I'm out of luck.

Anytime I've tried WW I records they tell me they were burnt normally a year or so after I ask.

take care,

Neil

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Hi Tony,

I'd be grateful for any advice. I've spent some time researching most of the names on the Lochgelly War Memorial and thought I had a complete record of the men from the town who fell during the war.

However I had no idea about Abbro.

If it's not too much trouble I'd be grateful for any suggestions.

Cheers,

Derek

Derek

I will get back to you, with full details of who to contact, in a day or so.

I have just obtained a book produced in WW1 to raise funds for a Committee to aid the families of Italian servicemen in the UK. I have placed a query about this book/committee in the "Other" section and wonder if anything will come of it?

Try a search using "The Book of Italy" for full details.

Regards

Tony

Derek

Well, as I had no reply to the query I posted on Saturday, it seems as if no-one knows of an archive containing the records of the "Committee in Aid of the Italian Soldiers' and Sailors' Families in the United Kingdom". Shame really, as it would have saved you a hell of a lot of work!

You might try the link posted by Egbert tonight but, as stated before, you have to be a relative before the Italian Army will release any records to you.

My advice to you would be, firstly go again to: www.ancoatslittleitaly.com and click on "Message Board". The top right hand side of the page has "Send a Message". Click on that and post a message explaining that you are looking for information on Guiseppe Abbro, and why. This site is visited by English speaking people of Italian origin from all over the world. A relative, or even just someone who knows of the Abbro family, may see your message and contact you. Take a look at the "Previous Messages" and you will see the sort of thing required.

While you are at this site click on the "Family Surnames" section. Then scroll down the page and, on the bottom right, you will see "Italian Surname Map of Italy". Click on this and then put "Abbro" in the box below "Cognome" and click on the red arrow. You will see that the name is not common and seems to be seems to be confined to two or three Provinces of Italy, which ought to narrow down your search. I would put money on the fact that he came from the Province of Frosinone. The vast majority of Scots-Italians originate in either Tuscany or Frosinone or, as they say, "North of Naples, South of Rome".

Next go to the "Anglo-Italian Family History Society" page here:

http://www.rootsweb.com/~ukaifhg/

Repeat the above! However, do it all at www.ancoatslittleitaly.com first because you may need to actually join the A-IFHS before you can post queries. In any event you can read the messages other people have left.

You should also go to the "Italian Genealogy Homepage":

http://italiangenealogy.tardio.com/modules...=article&sid=11

Then go to the "Community Forums", listed under "Community"

Firstly, go to the "Italian Genealogy Forum" and ask a question about Guiseppe Abbro. Explain who you are, and why you are searching for information. Even if your man is not known, the family name will be. What would be ideal is for you to find out your mans home town/village. You can then obtain information about him from the Civil Authorities. If you are very lucky you might find his distant relatives, probably somewhere in America!

Whilst still at this site go to the "Italian History and Culture Forum", also listed under "Community". Post a question about Abbro, the 10th Italian Infantry and his death. Apart from the fact that someone who knows of or is related to Abbro may see it, an Italian Military Historian might as well. It would be no great problem for such an expert to scan and send a page or two that you can then have translated.

Lastly, keep your fingers crossed. If none of this works I have some more ideas for you. Told you it would be complicated and time consuming! :D

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Tony,

Thanks very much. You've given me plenty to get on with. I'll let you know if I have any success.

As a matter of interest I found a few WWI Italian postcards at the weekend. If you're interested I'll scan them and post them here later in the weekend.

Thanks again,

Derek

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  • 6 months later...
Tony,

Thanks very much. You've given me plenty to get on with. I'll let you know if I have any success.

As a matter of interest I found a few WWI Italian postcards at the weekend. If you're interested I'll scan them and post them here later in the weekend.

Thanks again,

Derek

Hi Derek

Did anything ever come of your search for the Abbros?

Cheers

Tony

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