Since Christmas vacation at my grandma's in Udine, I've been doing a little more poking around to see what I could find regarding my grandma's great grandfather Pietro Magistris. Since the palazzo that was once a silk factory, I figured that they might have some old documents, or at least know a little bit about the history of the building in which the museum is now housed. I emailed them using the contact information on their website and got a speedy reply. Unfortunately, they didn't have much information on the building and its previous incarnations. However, the woman who replied very kindly cc'ed my email to a librarian in the Castle of Udine's library.
About a week later, I received the kindest email from this librarian, who attached the above picture of a plan for the Palazzo Giacomelli Magistris, from the time when it was in use as a silk factory. It appears to be the design plan for the construction of the building and includes the dimensions of the palazzo and the name of the architect. The signature at the bottom left is that of my grandma's great grandfather. The librarian also gave several suggestions about where to look next for information, but unfortunately, the books he suggested are all in Udine. It will have to wait until the next time I go to visit my family, which will hopefully be soon.
I have also been asking around for information here in Istanbul: on information about Italian silk traders and their connection to the Istanbul silk traders, on archives that would have death certificates, dating from the late 1800s... I have emailed the American Research in Turkey organization and the Italian Institute of Culture in Istanbul, but have yet to hear back from either. Perhaps a personal visit will be more fruitful.
In mid-February, for our semester break, I will go to Capadoccia with my friend Misty. I read online that there are still working silk factories in the area and if time allows, it would be interesting to visit one and observe the process. Until then, I may try to do a little more digging around Istanbul.