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Civil Law Notaries: Using Notarial Records to Build a Family History by Melanie D. Holtz, CG - Digital Download

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Notarial records are a valuable resource in those areas of the world where civil law notaries recorded all legal transactions. Property deeds [land, personal, or agricultural], mortgages, wills, dowries, late birth registrations, marriage permissions, and many other types of documents can be found within this record set. These records often provide key details about a family, their relationships, and financial transactions which cannot be found within any other type of genealogical resource. Understanding the procedures behind the preparation of these documents is key to understanding their method of conservation, the formats the documents will be found in, and the contents therein. This lecture will provide examples of several Italian and French documents that were particularly descriptive and which provided key details on the families being researched.

This was hosted by the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and was presented to a live webinar audience on November 15, 2016. 1 hour 11 minutes, plus 4 pages of handouts. For more information about the Board for Certification of Genealogists and genealogy standards, visit

The recording is also included as part of the monthly or annual membership.

Viewers' comments:
  • Excellent presentation
  • Good overview of the subject for someone like me who unfortunately does not have roots in Italy or France. Excellent handout!
  • Good, challenging presentation.
  • Interesting
  • Interesting subject and a very knowledgeable instructor
  • It appears that notarial records are excellent sources of information. Will look into them as part of my research if they are available in the locations that I am researching.
  • It was very interesting and helpful.
  • New information for me. Now that I know about Notarial records, I plan to use them when possible. Thank you so much!
  • Thank you. I learned so much tonight. Looking forward to learning more in my family.
  • Thanks so much for breaking down this difficult area. The examples were particularly helpful.
  • This was very good -- and I appreciated the 'new information' in red -- inserted as it came after the 'old information in black'..
  • Unique topic
  • Very informative. Amazed at how much information you can get from notarized records.
  • Very Interesting!
  • Very interesting! Another place to search, I have Italian and French family lines.
  • Thank you for bringing new ideas of research, it was appreciated.
  • Wonderful following specific examples to better understand notarial records.

About the author:
Melanie D. Holtz, CGsm is a board-certified genealogist, lecturer, and writer with a specialty in Italian genealogy and Italian-American dual citizenship. With offices in both the U.S. and Italy, she’s able to provide her clients with a wide range of services, including Italian ancestral tours. Melanie is also a co-administrator of the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research and the author of several courses on Italian genealogy available through Family Tree University and the National Institute of Genealogical Research.

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