Mirella definitely exceeded my expectations. I would call myself an intermediate genealogist. I had researched my paternal line now for a few years and had exhausted my search in the United States.
I found Mirella on the Association of Professional Genealogists webpage at www.apgen.org. I knew that was an organization to be trusted. I reviewed the websites of all the Italian genealogists on the site and I really liked what her clients said about her. She was the only genealogist I contacted. I sent her an email about what my particular research problems. One of which was our surname. I was always told that our surname was changed prior to leaving Italy. I was impressed with her response and I hired her to research both my great grandfather and my great grandmother’s lines and to accompany us on the first two days of our trip.
The first day, my father and I met with Mirella and her brother, Stefano in Fermo. Mirella had done extensive research prior to our arrival and found that my great grandfather was actually born in Capodarco, a small hamlet, later incorporated by Fermo. She made an appointment with the parish priest who gave us a tour of the church and allowed us to view some of the church records. The church records revealed that my family had a double surname since at least the early 1700s. She also introduced us to some distant cousins that still lived in Capodarco.
On the second day, Mirella took us to S’Elpidio where my great grandfather spent his childhood. Again, we lucked out with another friendly priest that allowed us to view some of the records. After S’Elpidio, we went to Civitanova Marche, the city where my great grandparents were born and when my grandfather and his siblings spent their childhood before they immigrated to the United States.
She and Stefano helped my father and I locate a number of family members’ graves in the local cemetery. Many of the graves had photos on them and they were the only photos I have ever seen of those family members. She also arranged for us to meet with relatives of my great grandmother.
Mirella provided me a list of archives in the area to further my search. I spent the rest of the week with my father going to a number of the archives and exploring the local area. Since my trip, I have kept in touch with my newly discovered relatives through Facebook and Skype. I plan on using Mirella again in a few years to explore my maternal line.