Italy, Civil Registration (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.

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Contents

Title in the Language of the Records

Stato Civile di Italia

Record Description

When Napoleon annexed large portions of Italy beginning in 1804, he also initiated the process of keeping civil records. These records do not exist in areas where the Emperor did not rule. After his defeat in 1815, many areas discontinued civil registration. Italian civil registration began again officially as Italy became a unified country in 1860; however, in some areas it did not start until 1866. By law, the original record was kept by the municipality (comune), and a copy was sent to the courthouse (tribunale). This collection of civil registration is housed at several provincial archives (Tribunale).

Civil registration (stato civile) records include births, marriages, death, and supplemental documentation files (allegati). Each type of file was kept in a separate register. Supplemental files include a title page followed by several documents such as:

  • Notes from hospitals regarding births or deaths
  • Notes from other towns or foreign countries (if a birth or death did not occure in the regular place of residence)
  • Marriage files
  • Marriage banns
  • Declarations of intention to marry
  • Other certificates

Generally, at the end of a civil register there is an alphabetical index by surname; however, not all years are indexed for each record type. Most records follow a generally accepted format, which is handwritten in narrative style and in later years in formatted records. Some of the original records were damaged due to natural elements at the time of filming, therefore, some information may have been lost or is hard to read, but for the most part they are readable. The text of the records is in Italian with some Latin included.

Record Content

Italy Rovigo Civil Registration Birth DGS 4575261 989.jpg

The key genealogical facts found on most birth records include the following:

  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Name of the child
  • Parents’ names
Italy Mantova Civil Registration (10-0260) Marriage DGS 4535610 469 Copy B.jpg

The key genealogical facts found on most marriage records include the following:

  • Date of marriage
  • Place of marriage
  • Names of the groom and bride
  • Ages of the groom and bride
  • Residence of all
  • Parents’ names
  • Witnesses’ names
Italy Rovigo Civil Registration Death DGS 4587467 85.jpg

The key genealogical facts found on most death records include the following:

  • Date of death
  • Place of death
  • Time of death
  • Cause of death
  • Sometimes the parents’ names

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • Name
  • Residence

Search the Collection

Start by finding your ancestors in the index. Use the locator information in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the birth, marriage or death records.

Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination. Be aware that as with any index, transcription errors may occur.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information about them. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. For example use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • The father’s profession can lead you to other types of records such as military records.
  • The parents' birth places as well as burial places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • It is often helpful to extract the information on all children with the same parents. If the surname is unusual, you may want to compile birth entries for every person of the same surname and sort them into families based on the names of the parents. Continue to search the birth records to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who were born in the same county or nearby.
  • The information in birth records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from record to record.

The civil registration records are an excellent source of accurate data on names, dates, and places for genealogical research in Italy. However, before 1860, when civil registration became law for the entire country, you should research the church records.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Check for variant spellings of the names.
  • Search the volumes page by page for the individuals sought.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby locqlities.

FamilySearch Historical Records Collections

Related Websites

Italian Civil Records

Related Wiki Articles

Italy Civil Registration- Vital Records

Contributions to This Article

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