The labyrinth of the world

"Ettore Borghi" Library, via Dante Alighieri, n. 11 - Archivio ex ospedale psichiatrico "S. Lazzaro", ISTORECO Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia State Record Office

9,30 - 12,00; 9 May 2017 - Study Seminar

Dida_2017 Locandina


When the organisation of an event such as Quante storie nella Storia. Settimana della didattica in archivio [Stories within History. Didactic Archives Week] is no longer questioned by those that perhaps have been participating in it for years, you know that you have achieved a significant result. Nevertheless, in an extremely diversified regional context, the Artistic, Cultural and Natural Institute of Emilia-Romagna, the Archivist and Bibliographic Authority of Emilia-Romagna and the Emilia-Romagna division of the National Italian Archivist Association (ANAI) believe it to be of vital importance that we continue to stimulate and support initiatives designed to educate, raise awareness and promote our archival heritage. Liber focorum p 49r


The 16th edition will be held between 8 and 14 May as part of the annual seminar oriented towards archivists and teachers. This year, the event has been organised in collaboration with the Historical Archive of the City of Modena. The key theme of the day is the journey and will be analysed from three different perspectives: the narration of a journey through documents, with a particular emphasis on educational experiences related to creative writing, the spatial dimension, using documents to journey through the local area, including experiences involving associations such as Trekking Italia, FIAB and CAI, and the temporal dimension, a journey through time made possible by archive documents, which act as guidance tools along the often bumpy path that is historical research.


On behalf of the other bodies supporting Quante storie nella Storia, the Artistic, Cultural and Natural Institute would like to thank the cultural institutes and organisations that have, over the course of past editions, helped to create Didactic Archives Week by granting citizens and the scientific community access to resources, professional skills and, most important of all, the archives themselves.




Dirigibile titolo EN




Recomposing one’s family memories by going back in time is a journey that may take the research to unpredictable places, where all the indications seem to point back to one other. It can feel like you have entered a hall of mirrors, where it is hard to distinguish between the actual object and the infinite reflections thereof. Archival research is often thus, and its labyrinthine nature can be further heightened in the case of genealogical/family investigations, in which it is often the people directly concerned who confuse the issue and tend to conceal more than they reveal. 

Introduction to the initiative:

Giampiero Romanzi, Archival Superintendence of Emilia Romagna-Bologna State Record Office



Master of ceremonies Giampiero Romanzi


Archive and historical research: a guide to genealogical research via sources conserved in the Reggio Emilia State Record Office

Luciana Bonilauri

Italy’s State Record Offices are a real gold mine when it comes to reconstructing our personal and family history, particularly that of Reggio Emilia, because – unusually – it holds the documentation of the municipal archive, including civil registry and status records, which form the basis for genealogical research. While this research may initially be designed merely to satisfy curiosity, it can become fertile ground for the creation of a history of private lives, of the day-to-day, of a way of life, of that “culture” whose meaning modern historiography has amplified to bring it in sync with the vision of anthropology itself.


Family Search, where generations meet

Maurizio e Daniela Polelli

Founded in 1894, FamilySearch International is the largest database in the world for family history research. With over four billion names registered, it represents a free support tool for genealogical research.


Health records and more. Reconstructing family history from the psychiatric hospital archive

Chiara Bombardieri

The archive of a former psychiatric hospital conserves personal documents of great importance – and great sensitivity when it comes to the protection of personal data. Following the example of paradigmatic cases, the initiative will analyse what information can be found on the patients and employees of the San Lazzaro and how the research can be furthered using external sources.


The veterans’ archives of Reggio Emilia: an essential source for the study of the 1900s

Michele Bellelli

The archives of veterans’ associations are essential sources for the study of the 19th and 20th centuries and in particular the conflicts that took place during them. These archives conserve the military memories of tens of thousands of Reggio Emilia citizens who fought in conflicts from the Risorgimento to the Second World War. The data gathered by these associations, which have deposited their material with the Polo Archivistico and ISTORECO, help us to reconstruct the stories of the veterans themselves, in addition to various aspects of families lives interrupted or torn apart by war. Associations for military personnel, veterans, war wounded, handicapped, partisans, former prisoners and civilian victims have for decades kept the memory of the suffering of their registered members alive. Now that, for age-related reasons, their activities are slowing, the precious material that is stored and produced by such associations is being made available to families and citizens as testimony to our shared past.


Standing portraits. The profession of the notary in the records of the Reggio Emilia State Record Office and how they reconstruct the past

Paola Meschini

The figure of the notary becomes important in any social context when their signature makes the documentation issued by them public. These documents carry publica fides and their contents are immediately considered to be authentic, unless they are contested legally. All economic relationships – which are inextricably linked to family relationships – must be regulated by a notary in order for their erga omnes efficacy to be recognised. It is thus easy to understand how, in order to be correctly pieced together, all family histories must be seen through the investigation of notary archives – only then can we obtain accurate, reliable data on family events and bonds.


Talks and presentations of other archives


Questions and summing up


Documents to download

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