Local Documents to Identify Your Ancestors
You should have a copy of each of the following documents for your Waldensian ancestors who descended from the ancestor who emigrated from the Waldensian Valleys. This discussion and its examples focus on United States sources, but if your Waldensian ancestors settled elsewhere, you should seek similar documents. Vital records are kept in virtually every country to which Waldensians have immigrated.
If you lack any of the following documents and don't know how to obtain them, your local library or genealogy society can help you find out how and where to get them.
This isn't merely a matter of trying to accumulate documents. These types of records often hold important clues that will help your search:
- a death certificate (or equivalent) for each of your Waldensian immigrants.
- an obituary for each of your Waldensian immigrants.
- the marriage certificate(s) of each Waldensian immigrant couple, if married after leaving their homeland.
- the U.S. (or other) census entry for each of your Waldensian immigrants, for each census after they arrived in the U.S. (or census records in the country they moved to).
If you can find a written or printed family history, it may help you identify relatives who may possess such letters and other documents, and who might be interviewed.
You also should have acquired, or should now proceed to acquire, a copy of whatever letters you can find from the first generation or two of your immigrant Waldensian ancestors.
There may be other documents the immigrants brought with them from "the old country": immigration papers, military records, and so on.
If there's a senior member of your clan who has recollections of the immigrant family, you should make it a high priority to carefully and lovingly interview that person and, if possible, record the interview.
If your Waldensian ancestors lived in a given U.S. county over a period of years before the late 1800s, you should study the published history of that county to see if they are mentioned. It was very fashionable in the late 1800s to publish county histories, and most of them include genealogies.
Write down all you know so far about your Waldensian ancestors: names, dates, places. Include not only the dates and places of their birth, marriage, and death, but also other dates you know so far: when they immigrated, where they lived and when, and so on—all the important dates you know so far.
Whenever possible, you should base what you write on actual documents, rather than on your memory or family tradition. Look around your home and contact relatives to add to the information you have.
Once you used this process to trace your pedigree to your immigrant Waldensian ancestor, you are ready to use this site to extend your Waldensian pedigree even more.