Please join us on Saturday, February 9 as we explore our immigrant ancestors.  Genealogist Rich Venezia will help you navigate your journey through immigration research.  He will be presenting four sessions throughout the day.  Registration is suggested for each session.


Session 2:  11:30 am
Discovering Your Immigrant’s Origins: Exhausting Every Resource

Pin down your elusive immigrant ancestor’s place of origin using some well-known – and lesserknown – record sets, ideas, and techniques. 
Audience Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Immigrant ancestors can give us quite the challenge when trying to find their exact place of origin. The endless “Ireland” notations or “Italy” listed as place of birth can drive genealogists, both beginner and expert alike, mad. This presentation delves into various and diverse records that are found stateside so as to narrow down that search, as well as ideas for when the paper trail continually runs cold. The main suspects will be discussed, as will numerous lesser-known and lesser-used records.

A (non-exhaustive) sample of some of the record sets covered: 

  • Ship manifests
  • Naturalization records
  • Vital records
  • World War I/World War II draft registration cards
  • Church records
  • County histories
  • Probate files
  • Ethnic record sets


Rich Venezia is a New Jersey native who now calls Pittsburgh home, with roots in Italy, Ireland, England, Wales, and Prussia. He founded Rich Roots Genealogy in 2013. He was a member of the research team of Genealogy Roadshow (PBS) for two seasons, and also consulted on Follow Your Past (Travel Channel). Rich specializes in 20th-century immigrant ancestry. His main areas of focus include Italian, Irish, Pittsburgh and New Jersey/New York City research. He also assists clients with dual citizenship applications for Ireland and Italy. He holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University, and is the Past-President of North Hills Genealogists. He is a proud Italian dual citizen. He spoke about "How to Grow Empathy From Uncovering Your Roots" at TEDx Pittsburgh 2017.


This event is part of our Becoming American series on immigration. Becoming American is a project of City Lore in collaboration with the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and the International Coalition of the Sites of Conscience.  The project has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.