post. I had just described the first step I took in finding the birth date of my great-grandfather, Pasquale Ursino, from Catania, Italy. Below, I start with the second step...
2) Search for Pasquale’s birth date in the military records for Catania.
It is easier to search the military records first rather than the civil birth records. The city of Catania is divided into six sections of the city for civil records for the time period of interest, and I had no idea what area of the city pertained to Pasquale. Furthermore, the cutoff dates for some of the films straddle 1862-1864, which meant I would not only have to order all six sections of the city, I would have to order the films ending or starting in 1863 or 1864. Remember that years are often rounded in records depending on the month of birth and/or death.
a. On the online familysearch.org catalogue site, I searched for Catania, Italy, where Pasquale Ursino was born.
b. I found the film number 1962396 for the military “Liste di Leva” records for 1856-1869.
c. I drove to my local Family History Center and ordered the microfilm. It took about 3 weeks to arrive.
d. I searched the records until I found my great-grandfather.
The military record on microfilm said Pasquale Ursino was born in Catania on 10 April, 1863. His parents were Orazio Ursino and Maria Stabile. The record said his occupation was “ortolano” which refers to his orange groves, but it was later crossed out along with the entire record. There was a note that said he was now “marinaio” and that he was “inserito marittimo al numero 3443.” In other words, his draft placed him in the Navy, and he served as a sailor.
Now I know that at age 20, in 1883, my great-grandfather served his country. He would likely have finished his duty by age 22 and returned to his orange groves. Most military requirements were completed in 1-2 years, depending on the branch of service (the Navy required longer service).
One note about Pasquale’s birth date – Easter Day was on April 5th, 1863. The military record said his birth date was 10 April, 1863. This is not surprising. My grandmother could still be right that he was born on Easter Day because children were often born at home, and the birth dates on birth certificates were usually the dates that the child was declared at the town hall. Many of my relatives have incorrect birth dates on their birth certificates because of this reason.
e. The military record was scanned, and I also took a picture of it with my camera. The pictures often come out better with my camera than the microfilm scanner.
f. On the family group record I wrote:
a. Pasquale Ursino’s birth information.
b. Source information (city, film number, volume, years covered, and page number).
The pictures below show the military record for Pasquale Ursino. The number 3445 tells us there is information in a Navy record book and that his record number is 3445. To date, I do not know how to find this record or where it would be available. The LDS library does not have naval records on microfilm. This may be another item to search for on location in Sicily.