The Catasti Onciari of 1742
The ancient Provinces of 1742
- Abruzzo Citra (capital Chieti): present provinces of Chieti or Pescara.
- Abruzzo Ultra I (capital Teramo): present provinces of Teramo or Pescara.
- Abruzzo Ultra II (capital Aquila): present provinces of Aquila, Pescara or Rieti.
- Basilicata (capital Matera): present provinces of Potenza or Matera.
- Calabria Citra (capital Cosenza, included places today in the province of Cosenza.
- Calabria Ultra I (capital Reggio): present provinces of Reggio Calabria, Catanzaro or Vibo Valenzia.
- Calabria Ultra II (capital Catanzaro): present provinces of Reggio Calabria, Catanzaro, Crotone or Vibo Valenzia.
- Capitanata (capital Lucera): present provinces of Foggia, Avellino or Benevento.
- Molise: present provinces of Campobasso, Isernia, Chieti, Benevento.
- Napoli: present provinces of Napoli or Caserta.
- Principato Citra (capital Salerno): present provinces of Salerno or Avellino.
- Principato Ultra (capital Benevento): present provinces of Avellino, Benevento, Salerno .
- Terra di Bari: present province of Bari .
- Terra di Lavoro: present provinces of Caserta, Frosinone, Benevento, Avellino, Isernia, Latina, Napoli.
- Terra di Otranto: present provinces of Lecce, Brindisi or Taranto
The Catasti before 1742
However, it was possible for the Universitates (the municipalities) to pay taxes with a simpler method, called "gabella" which was basically a tax on consumer goods. For this reason only a minority of municipalities, until 1740, chose to pay taxes with the "battaglione" method, and for many places therefore no ancient catasti exist, since they were not compiled.
The Catasti of the 1742 Law
The result was a kind of census of all the population of Southern Italy with all their ages, profession and property, including houses and lands with extension and boundaries, big animals (horses, cows, oxen, donkeys, sheep, goats), debits, rents, credits. A kind of Domesday book, that each universitas (municipality) had to make out in two copies, one to be kept at the universitas for further updates, the other to be sent to Naples to the regia Camera della Sommaria, the central tax authority of the Kingdom.
As a rule, in addition to possessions in land, buildings, farm animals, credits and debits, the document stated the name, age, profession and origin (if from another place) of the family head; moreover, the name, surname (sometimes) and age of the wife, names and ages of any children and cohabiting relatives and servants in the family. There were also lists of all church properties, and estates owned by citizens of other places.
The catasti extant in the Archive of Naples
For a thorough family demographic study a very good knowledge of handwritten Italian and acquaintance with land use regulations, measures, names of places of the mid 18th century is advisable.
The books can be requested for study in the Archive of Naples; the archive has a photographic section that can release microfilms, prints from microfilms, or digital images of whole books.
Contact us with details and priorities.