How the
Co.As.It. Italian Family History Group
was born

by: Dominic Joseph Arrivolo


Was it because I kept getting flash backs of my early life as school boy?

Those many Italians kept coming back in my mind – they came and they went.

Those Sunday nights, before WW2, visits to my uncles place in Arthur St, Randwick, NSW – the men playing cards on the back verandah, the women chatting around the kitchen table.

It was not until I went to the USA on business in 1961, that my eyes were opened to find more cousins, many relatives – where did they all come from, how and where did they all fit in?

That should have been sufficient to arouse me, but no, I was too busy then.

In 1980, when we learnt that Mum was dying, that reality raised my curiosity and interest in finding my family background.

So many ‘so called’ cousins and friends came to visit who I had not seen for years. It made me think, where did they fit in? Do they all belong to our family?

Mum was so happy to see me scribbling notes in my exercise book after they left. I then asked the question, ‘how are they related Mum’? She started telling me, and I continued to scribble away…… where she insisted that I keep writing this information.

But how was I to put it all together? That was the problem I was faced with.

With 8 pages of white butchers wrapping paper, that’s how I started on my own.

After I retired, I came across one of those relatives who could speak a little English. One relative in particular, who was born in Salina, had been the Deputy Mayor of Santa Marina on the Island of Salina. This man helped me so very much. We were able to put it all together and it started to make some sense.

I had sheets of paper everywhere – that only I understood. It was only when my son purchased a computer and bought me a family history program that it all became a reality for me. I got started and put what I had together correctly.

In 1998, I visited Co.As.It’s Heritage officer and met Linda Nellor. Linda made me feel that I had something of value to offer others who wanted to know more about discovering their ancestry. With her help, we put our heads together and formed ‘The Co.As.It. Italian Family History Group’. The Group was formulized in 2001.

I thank my Mum, as it has been so rewarding.



Dominic Joseph Arrivolo is a founding member of the Co.As.It. Italian Family History Group and was Chairman from 2001 ~ 2013.