STEP 1: Find the place of birth

To get you started you need place and date of birth of an ancestor. In this section we'll examine the possibilities you have to discover the municipality of origin of your ancestor, when the date of birth is known.

You don't know the place of birth of an ancestor but you have the date

One of the following documents (which someone among your relatives may also have ...) might give you the place of origin:
  • an extract of death, to be requested from the administration (county etc) where your relative deceased
  • the immigration manifesto or naturalization paper: there are many websites and sources on the web and more are being added every day just to allow this research
  • an extract of marriage, to be requested from the local administration or church where the marriage was celebrated

The above documents cannot be found.

» Proceed to find where your ancestor's surname appears in Italy
Consider that Northern Italy and Rome were also favourite destinations of emigrants from the former Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Check where the surname you are researching appears nowadays in Italy. Before that, you can also print our province maps and write in the municipalities the "surname score" (how many surnames in that municipality) - the highest score will strongly point towards a place of origin.
When you click on the following links a new window will open, close it to come back here when you are done:

You are unsure of the spelling, municipality or province

» Check our lists of Comuni and Frazioni.
It is possible what your parents or grandparents knew and told you is different now. Places that were municipalities in the past may now be included in another municipality, and some municipalities have changed province when the new Provinces of Rieti, Pescara and Isernia were established. Also a new region was formed (Molise), which was previously one with Abruzzo. We'll have something online on Molise soon. We have a complete (we hope) List of "Frazioni" and "Comuni" in Italy

You know only the province and maybe approximate area, your ancestor is a man

» We can do the research for you
We'll search through 3 consecutive years in the conscription and military lists (Liste di Leva and Fogli Matricolari) for one area in a province (mandamento), and note all the names that match your ancestor's (some name+surname combinations may be very common). Often the date of request of passport (if emigration was not illegal) and residence abroad were also noted on the documents - With this procedure however you must know either names of parents or day and month of birth, to be sure you have the right person.

You know only the province and maybe approximate area, your ancestor is a woman

» This is a very desperate case but ..
A thorough search through all possible Internet and archive sources might give some results. Another option is post the terms of your research giving all possible information on messageboards and guestbooks targeted to your area.
Go to STEP 2