14
November
2018
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01:27 AM
America/Denver

FamilySearch Unlocking Centuries of Italian Ancestry Records

Enzo Ferrari, founder of the Ferrari sports car.FamilySearch International announced free access to over  150 million Italian historical genealogical records—the largest online collection of its kind. The unprecedented initiative is the result of collaboration between FamilySearch, the Italian government, the Italian State Archives (Direzione Generale per gli Archivi or DGA), and many other archives. The free collections include over 200 years of digitized images of birth, marriage, death, and other significant family history records from all regions of Italy and many other repositories. Search the free Italy collections online at FamilySearch.org. 

Over 100 million people worldwide claim Italian roots. Today, tracing their origins to Italy is much easier. Joel Conte and his wife Victoria, both third generation Italians living in the United States, were able to extend their Italian lines back many generations using the newly accessible, free records online. “Using the Italian records and FamilySearch Family Tree hints, we were miraculously able to trace our Italian family back many generations in a short period of time,” said Conte. “It would have taken us years and decades previously to accomplish it.” 

FamilySearch has been preserving historical records from Italy archives for decades. In 2011, it launched a massive collaborative effort with the National Archives of Italy (DGA) that is proving to be “La Stele di Rosetta” (Rosetta Stone) for Italian descendants like Conte all over the world seeking their family origins. This project was the seminal initiative for all Italian historical projects with far reaching impacts. 

FamilySearch 4 Tips to Find Italian AncestorsThe effort has reached its initial goal to digitize all available birth, marriage, and death records from 1806 to 1945 found in the civil registrations of Italy in every state archive and make them available for free online. FamilySearch is now focusing on its second, much more challenging goal, to use online volunteers to create a searchable online database that makes every name, place, and date in each record (estimated to be over 500 million names) easily discoverable on any internet-enabled device—for free. 

The Italy civil registration records are the most complete of FamilySearch’s collections. FamilySearch also has Church records in Italy dating back to the 1500s. Starting a little later, Italy's court (tribunali) records can be found. Civil records became available after 1806. After annexing large sections of Italy during his reign, Napoleon Bonaparte introduced civil registration and the mandatory creation of duplicate records. Copies of birth, citizenship or residency, marriage, and death documents were kept in the community, and a second set were sent to the court having jurisdiction for the area. Today, these are a gold mine for Italian family history researchers—as they continue to become accessible online. 

Through agreements with Italian governments and other repositories, FamilySearch is preserving not only the civil records online, but also millions more from archives throughout Italy—essentially helping to open Italian archives to patrons all over the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The digital images are also a safety net against natural calamities and loss to human handling. 

FamilySearch has an ongoing goal to process over 15 million newly digitized historical records and scanned microfilm images yearly. 

"Amazingly, we will finish digitizing the civil records of all the Italian provinces in 2019, but the indexes that make the records easily searchable by name will take many more years," said Laura Giometta, who leads the FamilySearch Italian Records program. Until the records are indexed, they can be searched as a free digital image collection online. 

FamilySearch online volunteers from around the world are indexing the Italian records. "We have learned that English speakers with no prior foreign language experience can index the Italian historic records accurately without becoming fluent by learning to recognize key words through online training," said Ornella Lepore, indexing supervisor. She said very difficult records are still handled by language experts. 

Lepore says about 2,000 online volunteers are helping index the records—more than 1,000 from the US, about 530 more in Italy, and the rest from other countries. 

Explore Italy’s rich historical records: 

To help index historical Italian records, go to FamilySearch.org/Indexing. 

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About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Comments 1 - 14 (14)
Thank you for your message.
Annamaria Naccarato
02
December
2018
Thank you so much for all the work that you have done and continue to do. I would be lost without Family Search. Unfortunately many of the records I need are from Cosenza archives and they are not available online yet. I am able to go to our public library to access but it is a time consuming process as I need to read every document. But I have been persistent and found a large number of my ancestors. Is there a proposed date when these documents will be available online? Mille Grazie.
Chris Liberatore Lewis
28
November
2018
I've been researching my Italian ancestry for nearly 42 years. It's simply amazing to me the information and images of records I've been able to find in just the last 2-3 years. I've found eight records of close family members just in the last two weeks. The emotions that fill my heart are simply indescribable. Thank you FamilySearch and the many volunteers helping to make this happen. Grazie! Grazie!
Mark T
26
November
2018
Are these organized in any way or is there a guide to what each file contains?
Saullo
26
November
2018
Researching for family history
Elizabeth Benetti
23
November
2018
P am researching for my greatgrand children who will know nothing of their Italian ancestors if l dont try and do their history so thank you... We are researching Recoaro Vicenza Veneto
Pedro Hernandez
21
November
2018
Great news! It's a wonderfull job you guys do here! Does someone know why Naples civil registration ends in 1865? I'm looking for a birth certificate of 1871...
Ana Paula cervigni
19
November
2018
Familia Cervigni .
Catherine
19
November
2018
De tout cœur merciiiiiiiii
larry bonacci
18
November
2018
angelo antonio bonacci born adami,italy,catanzaro,adeline spagaria born conflenti italy
Dorotea Anna Rita Kockritz
18
November
2018
Dear FamilySearch, I am thankful for all the free help you gave and are giving to me, but I find unfair that for reading some records I have to go to a family centre or library( and also find where they are) because I have some health problems and it's difficul for me to take a bus or train and also walk for a long time. Why shouldn't beall records free ? When I do my Family tree I give also many infos about my ancestors and also give thelinks. Many warm regards by Dorote
Paul Nauta
20
November
2018
Dorotea,

We apologize if the records you are seeking are not readily available online at FamilySearch for home access. Would you be so kind as to share with us the reference information (microfilm # or FamilySearch Catalog collection name) for the records you're alluding to, and we'll look into it.

As a basic principle, FamilySearch seeks to make the most historical records available to the broadest number of patrons as quickly as possible. If limitations to access exist in our collections, it is usually at the request of the original record owner (archive) or partnering organization. In the case of a partnering organization, the restriction is usually temporary to afford the partner sufficient time to recoup their costs for helping to digitize or index the collection.
Louis Menditto
18
November
2018
I have been to the villages villages of both my maternal line in Sicily and paternal line in Caserta. I was saddened to see the decaying condition of records sitting on cold damp shelves of the sacristy handwritten in Latin going clear back to the late 1500’s. I was most grateful to the catholic priests in both parishes who gave me full access. There was much more there than I could ever possibly extract in a few days. Time and the elements are taking their toll. Hopefully someday these records will be made available online. In the meantime, Family Search has kept me plenty busy extracting and verifying civil records.
Paul Nauta
20
November
2018
Louis,

We are glad you are discovering your Italian ancestors in the newly publish civil registries on FamilySearch. The FamilySearch records team shares in your angst to preserve the vast volumes of genealogically significant historical records located in thousands of archives throughout Italy. We are progressing as quickly as possible with existing resources and volunteers. Thank you for your support and interest.
sandra clark
17
November
2018
Will you be able to digitize the Catholic Church records? I heard a couple of years ago that the Pope was forbidding this.
Paul Nauta
20
November
2018
Sandra,

FamilySearch is digitizing church records in Italy, as well as other document types of genealogical significance. These are approached on a collection by collection basis where contracts to do so are in place. New digital images from the Italy efforts will be published in the FamilySearch Catalog until a searchable name index is available. Thank you for your support and interest.
Grazia Govone
17
November
2018
Dreams come true. I'm thrilled. Thank you
Joseph Alacchi
16
November
2018
Please do consider digitizing some of the other genealogical resources held at the state archives beyond civil registration. The following sources held at the Archivio di Stato di Napoli would be supremely helpful for pre-1800 genealogy all across Southern Italy, and, in my humble opinion, should be given top priority once the digitalization of civil registration records is complete:
- Catasto onciario
- Catasti antichi and numerazione dei fuochi (the few fragments that survived WW2)
- The genealogical manuscripts of Serra di Gerace
Francesco Fullone
16
November
2018
I have the same suggestion. But be carefull, the catasto onciario were writed in two copies. Today on is de n Naples and the other in the smaller ads of every province. The two copies of the catasto are not the equal and there exist other documents like "atti preliminari" or "stati delle anime" accompain the catasto, that are not digitalized yet. I think familysearch need to start accepting privates documents from the users and public it online
Paul Nauta
20
November
2018
Joseph,

We have shared your post with the FamilySearch Italy records development team. Thank you for using our Italy collections online. Happy discovery!