Italian Citizenship Staff Spotlight: Corey Oiesen

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Corey is one of our expert staff members providing expertise with our Italian citizenship services. As a professional genealogist with experience in Italian, French, U.S., and Canadian research, she brings a plethora of knowledge and insights.

Corey earned an M.B.A. in international business from Georgia State University and a B.A. in international studies/French from Virginia Tech University. She holds certificates in genealogical studies from Boston University and Monterey Peninsula College and has completed the Excelsior University practicum in genealogical research. She completed the ProGen Study Group, an 18-month intensive study of the book Professional Genealogy.

Corey has worked with Lo Schiavo Genealogica since 2013 and manages our dual citizenship program. She enjoys helping clients throughout the dual citizenship process, both through the consulates in the U.S. and onsite in Italy. She is passionate about resolving challenging issues with client documents. In her spare time, she runs an Italian language conversation group in her town.

Recently, we asked Corey 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 working as a professional genealogist since 2008, after being a serious hobbyist. I started working with Lo Schiavo Genealogica in 2012, doing some translation projects and moved into working in Italian dual citizenship.

2.  What motivated you to pursue this career?

As a hobbyist, I worked on some adoption and missing person/Doe cases, as well as several translation projects and began to see the value of this type of work as a career. I started attending genealogical conferences and institutes to learn more about building a profession in the field.

3.  What was one of the most surprising things you discovered in your work?

It has been fun to learn more about settlements of Italians in the U.S. and other countries.  For example, I’ve lived in Northern California for decades, but had no idea that so many of those with Italian ancestry had ancestors from Liguria and the Lucca area. Another big surprise was the excellent condition of some of the church records we consult, even from the 16th century.

4.  What is one thing people get wrong when it comes to doing research?

Some researchers get eager and try to jump to the old country too quickly. Even if their immigrant ancestors had an unusual name, they might be surprised at the number of people with that name in the old country. It is important to exhaust the research in the new country first and build out the ancestor’s identity. Finding the town of origin is most important, but also, what was his profession? Who were his associates? Did other relatives immigrate? Building out the ancestor’s identity in the new country is key to finding them in the old.

5.  What are the top three tips you can share?

a. Go beyond Internet searching. Writing or visiting archives can help you break down the walls in your research.

b. Learn Italian. I don’t meet many folks who speak English in the small towns. Given how nice people are, gesturing can help you until your conversational skills develop.

c. Keep learning. Genealogy can be a solitary activity, so make the effort to connect with others to learn their methodology.

6.  What is your favorite place/thing about Italy?

I love the people. They are always willing to speak with me in Italian and are very forgiving if I make errors. My favorite place is Bergamo Province because of the people and the natural beauty. Bari Province is also at the top of my list because of the scenery. Granted, I have loved every place I’ve visited Italy.

7.  What is your favorite Italian expression?

“Acqua in bocca”  means keep the water in your mouth, or, to keep something a secret. As genealogists, we work with deeply personal information. So we know how to keep “acqua in bocca.”

All of the staff of Lo Schiavo Genealogica work to the highest genealogical standards. We also know the value of ongoing learning, so studying and expanding our knowledge through a variety of educational opportunities is a priority.

In some cases, our clients are seeking some basic support of services but for us, we strive to over deliver by going over and beyond just document retrieval. We believe exceptional customer service is a non-negotiable and standards of service are paramount.

We would love to learn about your situation – contact us today for a free assessment!