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Sicilian Genealogy and Heraldry

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by Louis Mendola
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Sicilian Genealogy and Heraldry by Louis Mendola

In Sicilian genealogy, a generation by generation lineage to the Late Middle Ages isn't unusual. This definitive guide shows you how to do it.

Sicily boasts the world's best genealogical records, revealing the deep roots of a Sicilian identity and facilitating the construction of many pedigrees into the fifteenth century. Based on the author's 30 years of experience as a foremost expert in the field, this is the first complete guide ever published in English dedicated exclusively to Sicilian genealogical research. (Its publication established a new subject category in the Dewey catalog.)

Topics range from parochial, civil and feudal records to DNA haplotyping, religion, rural life, cuisine, ethnography, coats of arms, surname origins and Jewish genealogy, with insightful, accurate information on historiography and research strategies (a few published here for the first time). Its reading list is a veritable canon constituting a syllabus for Sicilian studies.

With scientific rigor and disarming candor, "the Indiana Jones of Italian history" shows you how to "push the envelope" of your family history research into Sicily's multicultural medieval era. Family history is more than names, dates and pedigrees; it is the people and culture behind the names. Social context is not overlooked. If there were ever a handbook on Sicilian identity, this would be it. Mendola's books offer much in the field of Sicilian ethnology.

This book covers a wide range of topics in detail, transcending conventional strategies to explain the "how and why" of historical research: shortcuts and methods as well as advice on pitfalls to avoid. As a serious guide for dedicated researchers, it presumes some familiarity with basic genealogy, recommending introductory books to complement what one reads in this one, so don't expect photographs of vital statistics records and other documents. Even for family historians at the beginning of their research, this book is an excellent consultative reference.

It brings to life an arcane, often elusive, field. Significantly, the author destroys many myths about Italian family history, and about Italy itself, while describing real social history. Especially impressive is his refreshingly distinctive writing style, with blunt reality checks sprinkled throughout the lengthier chapters. That's the kind of pragmatism missing from most genealogical guides.

The chapters on heraldry and the aristocracy will interest fewer readers than those on simple lineal research, but claims to coats of arms are based on lineage, while most pedigrees before circa 1450 focus on the nobility.

Readers will notice the book's relatively small print. Were the font size any larger, this volume would have run to some 500 pages. (It is printed on archival-quality paper.)

By his own admission, Mendola's tone is at times sardonic, as if this elder statesman were scolding the field's less disciplined historians while setting the stage for its beginners. Just when you think that his treatment of a particular topic has become tiresome or excessively theoretical, he inserts a concrete example to make his point. It's an effective technique.

In his assaults on the machinations of historical revisionists and genealogical fabulists, along with fake royalty and others who manipulate history for their own edification, the author takes no prisoners. Like Verres, the Roman governor of Sicily who fled into voluntary exile following Cicero's opening speech at his trial for corruption, genealogy's fantasists should flee the moment Lou Mendola enters the fray. In fact, quite a few have, as the author has been consulted over the years by journalists, law-enforcement authorities and others seeking to expose genealogy's identity tricksters.

His role is not unlike that of a lon

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Ebook Details
Size: 1.7 MB
Publisher: Trinacria Editions LLC
Date published:   2015
ISBN: 9781943639007 (DRM-EPUB)

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Nonfiction > Biography & Autobiography > People of Color

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