Genealogical Records in Italy


History of Sacramental Records
- A very good article on the history of church records in Italy.

More information on Italian Sacramental Records - This article is more indepth and also very good.

The church records in Italy are not as easy to obtain as they are here in the US. You must remember that these records belong to the church and they do not HAVE to give the information to anyone that asks as it is considered private personal information. My experience with obtaining records from Italy has been largely disappointing. I did receive one record out of the 10 or so letters I sent to several comunes. I included a self addressed envelope with a return postage certificate (obtainable at the post office) with each request, and included a donation for their time, but never received anything in return from the other nine (nor was my money returned!). I don't know whether visiting the comune and requesting them in person would yield better results or not! I think that Cuggiono residents find it difficult to obtain civil records for people other than themselves, so that is not a good sign in my opinion.

I think part of the issue could be that there are so many people with the same names in a particular comune, that, if you write and ask for information on a "Pietro Berra", there may be 30 or more people with the same name and they simply don't know which one you are looking for! Send a date of birth, marriage or death, or names of other known family members, the more information you can arm them with the better - it may increase your chances of getting the information you are requesting.

Another problem may be if you are looking for records from many years ago, consider the possibility that, due to fire, flood, or some other unknown cause, the records may no longer exist. The articles above would imply that you could write to the Curia that a particular comune is in. This may be a backup solution worth a try.

I wish I had the magic answer so that we could all get the information we need - however, it's just not that easy. As we continue to search, someone will either share their success stories, or on the other end, people will realize that we ARE interested in the country our ancestors called home and find a way to accommodate our requests. I have become the eternal optimist about this!