The BARGA GENEALOGY RESEARCH GROUP (BGRG) is an international, not-for-profit group. The members of BGRG share an interest in researching their ancestral origins from the city of and region surrounding Barga, Italy, and helping others do the same. We currently have over 100 members from around the world. The BGRG is managed and maintained entirely by volunteers.
This website is the repository of all the genealogical data uncovered by volunteer members since the Group's inception. Access to these extensive resources is only one of the benefits of membership.
Another is the practice of sharing knowledge. When members search for ancestors using new and existing resources, family histories and connections are discovered. As these are shared with the Group, the depth and breadth of our resource collection is enriched, clearing paths to success for future researchers. This cooperative research activity is a very dynamic benefit of membership.
Since the BGRG is focused on a finite geographical area, it is extremely likely that distant family connections can be made with other active members. In human terms, the value of such connections cannot be overestimated.
Resources the BGRG Offers
The founding members of the BGRG, in an effort to find the most authoritative genealogical information, sought to enter into agreements with local parish priests. After all, priests of the Catholic Church had been keeping meticulous records of parish members’ life events for hundreds of years.
The arrangement was to benefit both parties. The BGRG would digitally photograph the documents page by page for the church, and in turn, would be allowed to keep copies of the photos for further study.
The agreements were not without caveats. For a more complete explanation please read the background story of our organization and the ambitious work we are engaged in. Suffice to say, the copies that were kept by the BGRG became the foundation of the Group’s research library and is now available on this website. As the Group grew, and more members conducting their own searches volunteered to study and index documents, the collection grew to the state we currently enjoy, and continues to grow.
Some of the records we have photographed are from the seven parishes within the comune of Barga (Barga, Loppia, San Pietro, Castelvecchio, Albiano, Sommocolonia, and Tiglio). We also have an index of the census that was done in 1841 for the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and a list of soldiers from Barga who died in WWII, including pictures. By using the Internet, BGRG members may study these and many other fascinating records from the comfort of their own home.
In addition to church and government records, we have the family trees that represent the hard work of individual members researching their own ancestral line. These are provided to the BGRG for publication, specifically to share and assist other members in completing their own search. Our online family tree database provides a user-friendly interface for exploring these graphically appealing and revealing depictions of family blood lines.
Digitizing records. To assist every current and future member in conducting their personal genealogical research, our primary "mission" is to photograph the records in Barga and convert them into digital format. This ambitious goal is shared by the churches in Barga, because as time goes by, the records inevitably deteriorate further. By helping to preserve historical records, we assist the community in retaining its valued heritage and help each member to get closer to their family roots. If you believe that you have distant ancestors from this area, there's a good chance you will learn about them using our collection of records.
Building Family Trees. As mentioned earlier, it has become increasingly popular for members to build detailed family trees using their home computer and easily available software. Most of these software packages possess a feature that allows the export of a "GED" file. These GED files can be added to our online database where the personal tree information is always maintained intact and secure. Publishing family trees is an important activity of the BGRG because of the wealth of information that can be stored in one. Shy about new software? One can always find another member willing to share their knowledge on how their favorite Mac or Windows software is used, and how they built their family tree.
The BGRG Forum and Website. Members may connect with each other via email (addresses are available on this site) and also by using our Member's Forum, sometimes called the BGRG Bulletin Board. Once logged in members can begin and respond to discussion topics. We are currently busy revamping the entire website's look and navigation. When released, all of our great research and resources will be easier to find, use and understand - including the Forum. Our volunteer developer promises to have the most recent Forum topics shown right on the Home page so you can easily jump into the conversation.
Reunions in Barga Finally, and most elaborate, are the reunions in Barga. In 2007 and 2012, members traveled from around the world to meet and spend time with each other in the environment of their ancestors. The days were filled with guided tours, strolling lectures, special meals, and generally, wonderful camaraderie. Even though it is a complex event to coordinate (considering our volunteer work force), the lasting positive reactions have justified organizing another in the years to come.
Our ambition is to find people who share the same interests - no matter what language they speak.
Naturally the original records are in Italian, and our website is written in English and we use Google to translate. We hope to reach "children of Barga" living in other countries who will join and make this a more diverse and robust online community for all members.