Genealogy Research in Italy

What is Genealogy?

ancestorsOften it is important to know where we come from, for a fuller sense of direction in life, in participating to a larger general design. All those who contributed to our genetical map are in a certain sense still living inside ourselves, wherever their physical existence took place.
The research of our roots is both genetic and cultural: from the dusty, crumbling papers of documents people who belong to what we now are come out of the mist of time and look at us silently, affectionately, waiting for someone to decipher their documents, rescue them from oblivion and pass their otherwise forgotten names and stories on to the next generations.

A Starting Guide

Genealogy, as all researchers know, needs imagination, that special feeling that there must be something somewhere, and just the right stone must be moved, the right person interviewed, to connect the missing link. Find here our genealogy research guide - online since 1998, a kind of tutorial on how to start your genealogy research, collect information and research ancestors, details on where records can be found in Italy and much more. Though each case is different, just to have a rough idea of the knowledge involved, here are some steps to get you started:
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Things to Know...

First of all... you MUST know that you may become addicted to genealogy!

Secondly, you'll have to work hard on it! No matter how much you ultimately pay if you entrust a researcher with the archive work, you'll have to work on it to collect information, assemble, reconstruct and connect.

Thirdly, be ready to say it's enough - You must realize that sooner or later research will stop, because no more records will be available, or expected results very scanty.

Last, but not least... Do not expect to find a Baron waiting for you in the mist of the Middle Ages: the "aristocracy" was statistically a very small percentage of the population and often a very bad beast, exploiting the blood and sweat of the poor, religious, courageous and illiterate peasants that were the ancestors of most of us. It was them that kept the traditions, wrote the songs, passed on the recipes and for whom the frescoes in the churches were made.

Most European aristocracy is extinct, because of genetic faults of marriages, while the great-grandchildren of the "bracciali" and "cafoni" are studying in the colleges, obtaining awards, writing poems, raising beautiful kids that will reach the stars and who knows what else.

Italian citizenship

The law of 1992 about Italian citizenship, its relevance for descendants of Italians, and the prerequisites to obtain or reinstate Italian citizenship.

Records available

Visit our databases of civil records divided by province, mostly about Abruzzo and Molise.

Catasti Onciari

List of Catasti Onciari, family and property census for the former Kingdom of Naples (year 1742-1755) divided by ancient province, divided by ancient provinces.

Notary records

An introduction to research in ancient notary deeds, especially dowry assignments and wills, and their significance in genealogy research in centuries before the civil records were established, or whenever parish books are not available.

Italian state archives

List of Italian Province archives, with links to their current websites, for updated information on opening times, inventories of documents preserved, contact details.

White Pages

A guide on how to use the Italian white pages to find presence of surnames and possible relatives, addresses of townhalls, parishes and more.

Origin of Surnames

The etymology and origin of many Italian surnames, and an alphabetical guide, with growing collection of articles on some specific family names. Surnames starting with: [ A | B | C | Da | De | Di A- » Di M- | Di N- » Di Z- | Do- » Du- | E | F | G | I | J | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | V | Z ]

Surnames in Italy

Hundreds of lists of Italian surnames divided by region, province and commune, useful to check spelling and statistics [Select a region below].
Aosta ValleyLiguria Piedmont LombardyTrentino South TyrolVenetoFriuli Venezia GiuliaEmilia RomagnaUmbriaMarchesAbruzziTuscanyLatiumMoliseSardiniaSicilyBasilicataApuliaCampaniaCalabria Abruzzo | Basilicata | Calabria | Campania | Friuli Venezia Giulia | Lazio | Liguria | Lombardy | Marche | Molise | Piemonte | Puglia | Sicily | Tuscany

Genealogy Postings

Visit our Genealogy Forums, where researchers working on family history left their message in the bottle, and a Postings Archive with over 30,000 archived messages categorized by province.

Free Estimate

Send your request for genealogy research in Abruzzo and Molise, the regions where our team is active.

Further Resources & Links

  • Articles on genealogy, featuring family heraldry and specialised research fields.
  • Fees and Estimates: a brief sketch of possible expenses
  • Lists of the over Italian Communes, with link to the webpages if available, or to the province and region where the commune presently belongs. The commune is the ultimate repository of all civil records since 1809 for the former Kingdom of Naples, and since the unity of Italy (1861) for all places, and the authority that releases citizenship documents.
  • Lists of the over 35,000 Italian frazioni and smaller localities, with link to the commune, province and region where the frazione currently belongs.
  • Centro Studi Araldici, Italian institute for heraldry and heraldic research; among its sections Araldica On Line, the widest heraldry directory in Italy,and the creation of coat-of-arms.
  • Stemmario Italiano, a collection of coat of arms of Italian families which also includes free registration of newly established emblems.
  • Province Forums, Over 100,000 messages collected since 1998, categorized by region and province, where you might find messages of other visitors researching, or post your own message.
  • Various Genealogy links