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Genealogy Research in Italy

what is genealogy?

Often 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.

From the dusty, crumbling papers of documents people who belong to what you now are come out of the mist of time and look at you silently, affectionately, waiting for you to decipher their stories, rescue them from oblivion and pass their as yet forgotten names and stories on to the next generations.

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.

starting your research

Genealogy, like all research, 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. Though each case is different, just to have a rough idea of the knowledge involved, we have developed a genealogy research guide to help you:
» STEP 1: Find the place of birth
» STEP 2: Find dates of birth, marriage, death
» STEP 3: Find the names of an ancestor's parents
» STEP 4: Check if civil records are available
» STEP 5: Research in the Catasto Onciario
» STEP 6: Research in parish books

Records available

See databases of Genealogy Postings, categorized by place, from archives 1998-2005; civil records divided by province; Catasti Onciari (1742-1754) and more ancient records...

Surnames in Italy

Hundreds of lists divided by region, province and commune, useful to check spelling and statistics [Choose a region].

Aosta Valley Liguria Piedmont Trentino South Tyrol Veneto Friuli Venezia Giulia Emilia Romagna Umbria Marches Abruzzi Tuscany Latium Molise Sardinia Sicily Basilicata Apulia Campania Calabria Abruzzo | Basilicata | Calabria | Campania | Friuli Venezia Giulia | Lazio | Liguria | Lombardy | Marche | Molise | Piemonte | Puglia | Sicily | Tuscany

Further Resources

»Genealogy Postings: Read (and in case reply) to thousands of messages categorized by province
» Postings Archive: Over 30,000 archived messages categorized by province
» Fees and Estimates: a brief sketch of possible expenses and a form to request an estimate
» Genealogy links: A List of useful links in connection with Italian genealogy...
» For a wider overview of genealogy in Italy, visit our Italian Genealogy Portal where you can find Resources available in Italian archives.