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Step 5 - Research in the 18th century

You have exausted the civil records archive. You have, through acts of deaths, marriages, etc, reached approximate birth dates for ancestors in the early - mid 18th century.
If you want to proceed further backwards in time, there are still three great resources, most however without indexes: the catasto onciario (in province archives, in Naples and/or municipalities), parish registers of deaths, baptisms and weddings (mostly in churches, some in central church archives) and notary acts (in state archives), which is usually the last step, since searching through them is very slow.

For most of these the keepers of the resources (archives, municipalities, parishes) must be contacted to check the existence of records and obtain permission to make research. This means patience is absolutely necessary.

Find the Catasto Onciario

The onciario was a census of people, properties and revenues ordered in 1742 in the Kingdom of Naples. See the list of the Onciari to check whether the years you need are available for your province and municipality. If the Onciario for your municipality is not available in municipalities or province archives you should try the central archive of the "Regia Camera della Sommaria" in Naples.

Research in the Catasto Onciario (1742-1755)

The Onciario is a great resource, since a kind of "census" was requested, listing all the possessions to be taxed but also, what is most interesting for the genealogist, the composition of all the families, with names and ages of all the members.

If the catasto is available to you, list all the families with the surname you are researching (they might be connected) and request photocopies from the archive for your families. The fee will depend on the numbers of inhabitants in the place, and on the number of families bearing the researched surnames. Archives in Italy may apply different rules.
  • You can research in Naples yourself or hire someone.
  • You can order the microfilm or digital copies, which are priced by image. This is advisable only if the place is not too big. The procedure to have it made by the archive is long, send an email to the archive for an estimate. However, you might also hire a photographer who lives in the Naples area.
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