R.I.P. Flavio Andreatta

Dear Society members and friends…

It is with great sadness and regret that I have learned of the passing of the co-founder and genealogist of the Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada, Flavio Andreatta, on Monday, May 3, 2021.

On behalf of the Society and its members, I extend my most heartfelt condolences to his wife Helga and their families.

If you would like to send a sympathy card, you can send it to Helga Andreatta at 13 CRANBERRY STREET, KINGSVILLE, ONTARIO, CANADA N9Y 0E9.


Tim Sellan
Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada

New Society Library Address

Please be advised that as of April 2019, the Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada has a new office location and mailing address.


Society Mailing Address:


Society library address:


Primary contact:

Tim Sellan, President, Email: tim.sellan@gmail.com, Phone: 226.975.1469


Flavio Andreatta, Genealogist: (Please contact the President, Tim Sellan above)

Researching Italian Genealogical Records Becoming More Difficult

It has become increasingly difficult to research our Italian ancestry and it will become even worse. The following factors are responsible:

Draconian privacy legislation
Limited access to all archival repositories
Lack of staff in civil and church archives
Very few professional genealogists in Italy
Extreme lack of interest for genealogy by the Italian public
Continuing government cutbacks in all state and local archives
Continuing administrative changes in Italian geography
Billions of records in municipal, provincial, state, church and private archives are not indexed

Flavio Andreatta, Genealogist, Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada, July 12, 2018.

IGHSC 25th Anniversary Dinner

On Sunday, November 12, 2017, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada. In attendance were the three original founding members of the Society, Dan Marcuz (l) , Flavio Andreatta, and Dino Coletti (r) (See photo below upper left). Flavio Andreatta was given a special award in recognition of his 25 years of service as past President and genealogist of the Society. After a fine Friuli style dinner arranged by Chef Rino Bortolin, Flavio gave a lecture on how genetically inherited diseases can affect the health of Italian families.

25th aniversary dinner




The book is available online or at any Chapters/Indigo/Coles bookstores. It is also available at Juniper Books on Ottawa St in Windsor. For those who prefer to get the book from the library, it can be had from any Windsor Public Library.

MONTREAL\ aise\ – È uscito in stampa “Waiting for Chrysanthemums” di Marisa De Franceschi. Pubblicato dalla Longbridge Books di Montreal, il nuovo romanzo in lingua inglese racconta la storia di Lily, una donna forte ma sensibile, coinvolta in un omicidio che travolgerà la sua famiglia. Chi ha ucciso Sal Guerra? E perché? Il giallo Waiting for Chrysanthemums sarà presentato nell’ambito della 24esima edizione della Settimana italiana di Montreal, il 9 agosto alle 19:00 alla Casa d’Italia (505 rue Jean-Talon est, Montreal). L’ingresso è libero e aperto a tutti.
Marisa De Franceschi è nata a Muris (Udine) nel 1946. È arrivata in Canada nel 1948. Per molti anni ha insegnato la letteratura a Windsor, nell’Ontario. Ha ricevuto diversi premi per i suoi racconti. Un volume di poesie intitolato Random Thoughts è stato pubbblicato nel 2010. Nel 1998 Marisa De Frabceschi ha curato l’antologia Pillars of Lace, scritti di donne italo-canadesi. Oggi vive a Windsor con suo marito. Ha un figlio e due nipotini. (aise.it)

Getting Started With Genealogy Research

To all members and supporters:

Due to the extremely complex nature of research and the excessive amount of time required for research, I will be adopting the international methodology and standards for family history, genealogy and heraldry, effective December 14 2016.  The most important are the following:

1. Everyone must complete the questionnaire provided by the Society and returned to Flavio Andreatta.

2. All genealogies will begin with the person completing the questionnaire.  This will include the person’s immediate family.

3. All genealogies will contain the paternal and maternal ancestors.

4. All names and surnames must be the names and surnames at birth.  Anglicized names and nicknames are not to be used.

These few rules will make my work easier and you will get the best results.  Thank you for your co-operation and understanding.


Flavio A. L. Andreatta, C.H.R.E., K.O.R.I.E., K.O.P.K.C.
Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada – Societa di genealogia e araldica italiana del Canada – Societe de genealogie et d’heraldique italiennes du Canada (Canadian registered charity – Ente culturale di beneficenza senza scopo di lucro).
In Association with the Fogolar Furlan Club of Windsor.
Associations of the Society:
Associazione Le Tre Venezie.
Centre for European Studies.
Festa dei nonni.
Gruppo Azzanese di Windsor.
Gruppo Savoia del Canada.
Italian Cultural Centre of Canada.
Italian Family History Centre.
Rappresentanza di Alleanza Monarchica per il Canada.

Contact info: For more information, please contact the President, Tim Sellan, at tim.sellan@gmail.com or 226.975.1469.

Friuli Fest Dinner 2016

The Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada held its first Friuli Fest Dinner on Thursday, November 3, 2016 at the Fogolar Furlan Windsor. It was an authentic Friuli cultural evening featuring the Fogolar children’s choir, Friuli wines from Vins dal Friul Wines, dinner arranged and presented by Chef Rino Bortolin, and lecture by IGHSC president Flavio Andreatta on the genealogy of the Friuli people. It was a very nice cultural event enjoyed by all. ffdinnercollage

IGHSC 21st Anniversary Dinner 2013

Society members at Paglione Estate Winery.

Society members and guests at Paglione Estate Winery.

The Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada celebrated its 21st anniversary on November 6th with a wine and pizza dinner at Paglione Estate Winery near Harrow Ontario. Winery owners and hosts Sam and Nancy Paglione served up the best brick oven pizza and quality wines we have ever had. The Paglione Estate Winery is now the official winery of the Society! To see all the pictures taken and a short video of Sam playing the accordion, go to our Google web album.

Society Registers New Coat-of-arms

Logo Società (2) June 2013The Society has recently updated and registered a new coat-of-arms. Our coat-of-arms features the symbol of the roman eagle in the shield set on top an azure blue background, which is our society colour as well as the official colour of Italy. The lower left tri-colour ribbon represents the flag of Italy, as the lower right ribbon of red and white represents the flag of Canada. The lions on either side of the shield are supporters that serve an ornamental function.

Festa dei Nonni 2011

Festa dei Nonni 2011

The Italian Genealogy Society of Canada had it’s most successful Fest dei Nonni or Grandparents Day Celebration at the Ciociaro Club near Windsor last Sunday, October 2, 2011. We had wonderful displays of family histories and Italian culture. There was also a very enjoyable comedy skit where society members and guests dress up like immigrants and try to answer questions questions from our President, Flavio Andreatta – who is a retired Canadian immigration officer. There was also a silent auction of various valuable and rare Italian cultural items to raise funds for the society. The dinner was excellent as well. Check out a few pictures of the event on our Picasa web album.

Italian Coat-of-Arms for SELLAN Surname Found

Italian Coat-of-arms for SELLAN surname found

Lo stemma della famiglia Sellan

Through the diligent research work of Flavio Andreatta, President of the Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada, the original authentic Italian coat-of-arms for the SELLAN surname has been found. The “blazon” or description of the coat-of-arms, states that the shield is quartered, with three horizontal black bars with gold in the first and fourth quarters and a pattern of black rhomboids or diamonds with gold in the second and third quarters. In the crest above the shield, there is an armoured arm holding an unsheathed sword. The coat-of-arms is framed by a helm (or helmet) and mantling. While the helm and mantling are ornamental, they are specific to this coat-of-arms. There are many rules regarding the design of coat-of-arms. The interpretation and reproduction of the blazon of the Sellan coat-of-arms was done by a qualified heraldic artist in Italy.

Given the fairly simple design of the coat-of-arms, it is estimated that it is certainly an early version and is also the original version. It is estimated to date back to the 1300s . In addition to the coat-of-arms, it has been found that the Sellan surname has a family motto or saying, “Bellando debellas” (Latin), or “We will vanquish our enemies” (English). The origin of the saying dates back to the XIV century (1300s).

Patterns, colours and symbols used in coats-of-arms usually do have a specific meaning. But these meanings are not standardized. They are specific to the individual coat-of-arms at the time it was created. It is also possible that patterns or colors may have been chosen for aesthetic reasons. Records of the original meaning of a color or pattern in a given coat-of-arms may no longer exist. Most Italian families have a historical coat-of-arms, but not all of them. A coat-of-arms is a way of identifying a specific person. It is a type of property protected by law. No person can claim or use your coat-of-arms as theirs if it is registered to you. Traditionally, an Italian coat-of-arms is first registered to a specific person, then handed down to descendants in the family.

A symbol of a horse saddle has been shown on the Internet and claimed to be the Sellan coat-of-arms. This certainly is NOT the Sellan coat-of-arms. It is not even a coat-of-arms at all, as it does not conform to any rule of design for coats-of-arms. The Internet is not a reliable source of information on Italian heraldry. Only the Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada and its select partner organizations in Italy should be considered a reliable source of information on Italian heraldry. Our Society’s research library can identify whether a coat-of-arms exists for any given Italian surname.

Additional information has been found through private sources in Italy on the origin of the Sellan surname. The name SELLAN is a Trevisan-Friulian surname. Most Sellan families trace their family origins to the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in Northeastern Italy, especially around the city of Pordenone in the province of Pordenone. Our research has shown records indicating that the Sellan surname may have originated as SELLANO from the Piemonte region in Northwestern Italy. G.B. Crollalanza noted the noble ancestry of the Sellan/Sellano surname in his book, “Dizionario Storico-Blasonico” (1886), about the blazons of Italian nobles.

Ownership of the Sellan coat-of-arms shown here is currently registered through the Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada to Mr. Timothy Sellan of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. However, any person with the surname Sellan whose ancestors are from Italy, can claim this as their family’s ancestral coat-of-arms. Permission is granted by Timothy Sellan to any Sellan in the world of Italian ancestry to display the Sellan coat-of-arms for personal use. If a Sellan wishes to use this Sellan coat-of-arms for commercial purposes, permission is granted only if:

i) It is clearly noted that the Sellan coat-of-arms is the property of and registered to “Timothy Sellan – Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada”.

ii) The user does not claim the Sellan coat-of-arms as their own property.

iii) A charitable donation is made to the Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada.

For more information on researching your family’s Italian coat-of-arms or family history, please feel free to contact the President, Tim Sellan at tim.sellan@gmail.com. Our Society has the largest library on Italian genealogy and heraldry in the world outside of Italy. Our research is done competently, honestly, and at a fair cost. This information about the Sellan coat-of-arms may be shared in other publications, but please be sure to quote the Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada as the source.


Timothy Sellan
Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada

Flavio Andreatta Wins Governor General Medals

Society President Flavio Andreatta

On February 4, 2011, our Society President, Flavio Andreatta, was awarded the Governor General of Canada Peace Officer Exemplary Service Medal for 20 years of loyal and exemplary service to law enforcement in Canada.  On the same date, Flavio was awarded the Governor General of Canada Medal Bar for 30 years of loyal and exemplary service to law enforcement in Canada.

Flavio Andreatta states, “I am very proud to be the first and only Italian born Citizenship and Immigration Officer and Minister’s Delegate to have received the highest amount of awards from the Canadian Government.”

Festa dei Nonni 2010 fundraising event a success

Last Sunday, October 3, 2010 the Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada held its second annual Festa dei Nonni fundraising event at the Ciociaro Club near Windsor, Ontario, Canada. It featured family history displays, choir singing and prizes. President Flavio Andreatta said that the event was an great success.

“The organizational skills of our Chairman, Anna Saurini, were evident at our second annual Festa dei Nonni.  I consider it to have been a success.  With the assistance of Emanuele Calamita, everything went smoothly.  I wish to thank Anna, Bruno, Eva, Helga, Luciano and Tim for the hall set up.  Eva and Luciano Ranieri were exceptional in donating so many items for the raffle.  As always, Vince Del Duca, excelled as the master of ceremonies.  Thank you, Henrietta, for the grand prize!” – Flavio Andreatta


Marisa De Franceschi publishes new book “Random Thoughts”

A New Book by Windsor Author Marisa De Franceschi

 (Windsor, ON) Monday, August 16, 2010Longbridge Books, a publishing house based in Montreal, has recently released Random Thoughts: Poetry and Prose Sketches by Marisa De Franceschi. 

 A welcome addition to Canadian literature, Random Thoughts is a collection of short prose sketches which express the often complicated feelings one may have for sons, daughters, husbands, sisters, friends, and the world at large. The sketches are sometimes lighthearted and whimsical, but they can also be poignant expressions of disappointment, disbelief, and distaste for what the writer is witness to. Although the tone may vary from piece to piece, the overwhelming drive and goal is to spotlight situations that will cause the reader to ponder what is really happening beneath the surface. The author’s priorities are to entertain but also to encourage a rethinking of our relationships with our fellow man.

Marisa De Franceschi has published four books including the novel Surface Tension (1994), the short story collection Family Matters (2001) and the anthology Pillars of Lace (1998). Her short stories, articles and book reviews have appeared in publications such as Canadian Author & Bookman, Pure Fiction and Accenti Magazine. She is a college professor in Windsor.

 Available at : Chapters/Indigo online and Longbridge Books, Montreal

Italian Surname Map / Mappa Italiano del Cognome

Would you like to see a visual map of the distribution of people in Italy with your last name? Go to the website at http://gens.labo.net/it/cognomi and type in your surname in the box under “Cognomi:” and hit Enter or click the arrow button. A map of Italy will pop up and display the results. You can click on three different styles of maps and even zoom in for a close up view. This will give you some idea of the possible region of origin of your surname. For further information about the origin of your Italian surname, please contact our society President, Flavio Andreatta, at ighsc-sgaic@sympatico.ca or call 1 (519) 733-0949 in Canada.

First Annual “Festa dei Nonni” a Success

Last Friday, September 11, 2009, our society held its first annual Festa dei Nonni or “Grandparents Day Celebration”. This was a family dinner fundraiser that featured a buffet style dinner, family history displays, door prizes and a grand prize raffle. The Leamington Italian Choir sang a few old fashioned Italian songs for us. A good time was enjoyed by all. Be sure to attend our next Festa dei Nonni to be held at the Ciociaro Club on Sunday, October 3, 2010. See you there!

The Origin of the Italian Language: Part 2

Last Wednesday, December 9, 2009, our Society President, Flavio Andreatta gave a lecture on the Origin of the Italian Language – Part 2. He began by mentioning that there are several major languages commonly spoken in Italy. These include Albanian, Bavarian, Catalan, Cimbian, Corsican, Croation, Friulian, Slovene. Other minor languages are also spoken including German in the north, Greece  and Latin in the south, plus many dialects. Major branches or groups of Italian dialects include Gallic, Italic, Latin, Greek and Venetic. They vary in phonetic pronunciation and use of vowels.

Before 1935 in Malta, Italian was the primary language. After 1935, Maltese grew to become the dominant official language in Malta. Italian is a minor language in Somalia, Eritrea, Libya, Ethiopia, and Tientsn China. Italian is widely spoken in Monaco, Corsica (a French territory) and 29 other countries.

In 1890, only about 2 percent of Italians spoke official Italian. Otherwise they spoke a dialect. But they could still understand Italian if it was spoken to them. By 1900, over 30 percent of Italians could speak Italian. This was largely due to schooling. By 1930, over 80 percent of Italians were fluent in Italian.

It is interesting to note that back in Italy, dialects still change over time. This is not the case after Italian immigrate to another country. Brazil has the largest population of Italian immigrants at over 1.5 million, as does Argentina. The people of Malta speak Italian today largely due to media broadcasts. Italian officials once refused to recognize Friulian as an official language. Today Friulian is not only an official language, it is also taught in schools. In Chipilo, Mexico, there is a population of light skinned people who speak a Venetian dialect that is well maintained to this day. This is thought to go back to Venetian Italian immigrants to the area from around 1865.

The Origin of the Italian Language: Part 1

Last Wednesday, November 11, 2009, Flavio Andreatta, President of the Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada, gave a seminar on The Origin of the Italian Language: Part 1. The Italian language an official language not only in Italy, but also in Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, Slovenia, Croatia, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and the European Union (EU). Italian is also widely spoken in Malta, Eritrea, Somalia, France, and Greece.

The Italian language has its roots in the Latin language. The goes back to our ancient Indo-European ancestors known as the Aryans. Those Indo-Europeans who settled across much of Europe and eventually into what is now known as Italy, were called the Italics. Of the Italics in Italy, a large tribe known as the Latins settled in the Lazio – Latium region where Rome is. Their language became dominant in the region and became known as the Latin language. This is why Latin was the official language of ancient Rome.

Over time, three languages became common in the broader region – Latin, Greek and the local dialect. After the fall of the Roman empire around 476 AD and the last Emperor was dethroned, the use of Latin declined and the use of the local language or dialect was increased. The local dialect was generally a dialect of Latin. Verbal use of language was common for local usage. For communications beyond that, written use of language was necessary. For 1,000 years, the locals only spoke the local Latin or dialect. The common people were otherwise illiterate as only Roman Catholic monks were allowed to read and write.

By 1200 AD, the Toscana – Lazio region of Italy had become the centre of Italy. There was active commerce, banking and a demand for formal schooling. By 1300 AD, this region had become the commercial centre of the world. This forced the need for one formal language. Famous authors like Dante and Macciavelli wrote in “lingua franca” or the language of the people. This helped make the local Tuscan dialect more common. The high level of local commerce, art, culture and formal schooling fostered a need for writers and a formal standard language. Eventually the Italian language arose from the local dialect of the Toscana region, especially Firenze.

Flavio Andreatta will continue with The Origin of the Italian Language: Part 2 at our general meeting at the Ciociaro Club next Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. Click on the link in the sidebar for a map and directions.