Cathy Granatino Gill is a professional genealogist who specializes in Italian, Irish, Virginia, the US South, and DNA research. Cathy received her BA in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley and her JD from George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC. She also holds a Certificate from the ProGen Study group, an intensive 18-month course in professional genealogy.
As an attorney, she has worked extensively in the international arena as an immigration lawyer and as an international consultant in case management. In her capacity as an immigration lawyer, Cathy processed applicants for US Citizenship and Asylum/Refugee Status in Consulates and Embassies throughout the world, as well as in the US Federal Immigration Courts.
Cathy has worked with Lo Schiavo Genealogica, LLC as a Dual Citizenship Specialist since 2016. She is a second-generation Italian American who is passionate about her Italian family and heritage.
Recently, we asked Cathy to share a little bit about who she is and insights into her love of all things Italian!
1. How long have you been doing this work?
I have been doing genealogy since I was 15 (50 years now!) and Italian genealogy to the extent it pertained to my own family (my paternal grandparents were both born and raised in Italy), but it wasn’t until I was hired at Lo Schiavo that I started getting more involved in Italian Genealogy.
2. What motivated you to pursue this career?
I love genealogy; I’ve had various careers over the years (lawyer, knitting store owner, teacher) but I always did genealogy along with whatever else I was doing. When I closed my knitting store, I thought about retiring, but I really wasn’t ready to do that yet. I saw the ad from Lo Schiavo, and it was a match made in heaven for me.
3. What was one of the most surprising things you discovered in your work?
In my personal genealogy, my grandfather was left at an orphanage. We still don’t know his genealogy; DNA doesn’t even help.
4. What is one thing people get wrong when it comes to doing research?
They don’t do a thorough job; they believe everything they see; they copy and paste family trees which might be full of errors. Ok, that’s 3 things. But it comes down to sloppy research.
5. What are the top 3 tips you can share for research?
(1) Don’t take on an overwhelming amount at a time. Keep things in bite-size chunks and focus on a carefully crafted research question;
(2) cite your sources. Even if you think you will remember where something came from, you won’t. And research without sources are useless;
(3) learn how to use DNA in your genealogy. Even if you don’t become an expert in DNA, it will help your work immeasurably.
6. What is your favorite place/thing about Italy?
Everything!! ❤ I love Italy. I would say the people. They know how to live unlike any other population I have seen. Rome is probably my favorite place in the world. It is so ALIVE and vibrant. I would gladly spend the rest of my days there.
7. What is your favorite Italian expression? Butta la pasta, mamma!
We work to the highest genealogical standards and are constantly studying and expanding our knowledge through a variety of educational opportunities. While at times clients simply want us to find a document in an Italian archive, we go above and beyond simple document retrieval in the quality of our translation and analysis of each document. We think standards and education in the field are important. Because of this belief, a client is afforded protections and recourses, if our work was not up to professional standards.
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