As you go more backwards in time, resources will become scantier, and research longer and slower. The main resource to start with is the Italian Civil Records, established in 1809 in Southern Italy and then extended to the whole country in the years 1866-1872.
A Guide to Start your Research
To start on this journey, you need the earliest data of an ancestor for whom place and date (death, birth or marriage) are known.
From there, you'll proceed through births, marriages etc, according to the availability of resources - municipalities certificates, civil records, onciari, parish books, notary records and others.
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Sections on Italian Genealogy
I. You Want to go Backwards and Find Ancestors
- You have name, surname & date of your ancestor - You need / are unsure of the place » Proceed to Step 1. The Civil Records
- You have name, surname & place of your ancestor - You need the date » Proceed to Step 2.
- You have name, surname, date & place of your ancestor - You need the parents' names » Proceed to Step 3.
- You have name, surname, date & place of your ancestor and parents' names - You have all necessary details to start a genealogical reconstruction through Civil Records. You need to check the availability of Civil Records for your place » Proceed to Step 4.
- You have exhausted the Civil Records -
If you have reached 1730-1770 you can search through the Catasti Onciari » Proceed to Step 5.
- You have exhausted the Civil Records and Onciari- You need parish books » Proceed to Step 6.
- You have exhausted the parish books and onciari, or they are not available » You need notary acts or other sources [read this article about Research in Notary Books].
- You want to engage a genealogist: see a possible fees prospect.
II. You Want to go Forward and Find Relatives
If you want to engage us to help you, contact us supplying all information available as yet to you and we'll prepare a custom estimate of feasibility, time and costs. Or you can try writing a letter to all the families bearing the surname of your ancestor in his/her municipality of origin.
- You do not have names and addresses - You can find them in the white pages
- You have names and addresses - You need to translate a letter into Italian - find assistance with an Italian friend, or contact us.
III. You Want to Know More on your Heritage
You might want to learn more about the places, traditions, customs of your ancestral land, the recipes and economy, in order to reconstruct the real life of your ancestors, to preserve the heritage that you had from your forefathers through thousands of years of history.
- You need literary resources » Find books, journals, essays that could give you a taste of what life was like for your ancestors in Italy. Also, this website focuses on the traditions and history of Italians with articles and in-depth sections.
- You need video and audio » You can search the internet, YouTube is full of suggestions.
- You are interested in learning Italian and know about the dialect spoken by your ancestors » You can start to learn through the internet, or also using our Learn Italian section.