Termini Imerese Stories

Father Delisi's Chronicles of his trip to Termini Imerese, September 2002


Before leaving the States it was our intention to make copies of the documents at the Cathedral in Termini.
Ken wrote to Cardinal Salvatore asking for permission, but no reply came. Charles and Gloria Otto arrived in Termini with the latest technology to do the job. The camera was ideal. With our first contacts with the pastor, he was quite strict as to what we could do. We had to work through a young man, Sergio Neri, who was very knowlegible as to how to go about the research. The first day Chuck took photos of the index of the earliest book of the collection dating back to 1542 A.D. Gloria and I turned and held the pages as he snapped away. On our second visit we were able to make photos of some of the actual pages with details.
At least this will give us and indication if our relatives are to be found in this earliest of books. It is my guess that it would take months to make copies of all the books there, and then without permission, I doubt if the pastor would give his consent. All of these documents have been transferred into medal bookshelves and now under lock and key.
For my personal research before going to Termini I could get my records only as far back as 1771, but Sergio worked it back as far as 1635 A.D. This is a good sign that he knows what he is doing. It is better not to get bogged down with a lot of unnecessary dates, but to be certain of the continuity of the research.
We worked with the dates of marriage and thus my records for the present lack dates of birth and death.
Sergio has an E-mail and I am not sure if he wants to work through the mail. sneri@neomedia,it Donations are to be made to the church, but I think people appreciate personal gifts of silver dollars, and collectors coins. Another person who was doing research was Doctor Geol. Antonio Contino. Via Castellana 1. 90018 Termini Imerese. (PA) Sicily, Italy. I am not sure if they are aware that the scribes who made entries into these early books worked on phonetics. They spelled what they heard. For example the earliest entry for my family tree ended up with the entry Galisi rather than Dilisi, but all the other details were correct. My suggestion to try and make a personal trip to Termini in October when the airfares are cheaper, but the weather is cool. To my surprise Termini is cooler than Georgia at this time of year.
My cousin Mario Galiota also brought us the city hall where the early records that date back to 1820 are kept. Most of these books were copied by the Mormons, but to our surprise, newer books now contain an Index of all Family names. There were two women assigned to help with the research. Now one is able to do in an hour what previously might have taken weeks. Again personal contact is the best way to do this. In the index my family name was not Delisi or Dilisi, but Lisi (di). Therefore be aware that there may be some changes with names beginning with La, De, Di, Ga etc.
There is much more I could share with you, but enough for now.
PAX. Fr. Anthony Delisi

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