A Little Italy
7/18/2010
These 10 genealogy resources will give you a taste of your Italian roots.
“What’s new?” This question ranks high on the FAQ list when you run into someone you haven’t seen for a while.
 
In genealogy, “What’s new?” can elicit an excited iteration about a new website filled with indexes or records, making an ancestor search quicker and easier. But ask a researcher tracing Italians “What’s new?” and you’re likely to get a shoulder shrug, a toe kicking the dirt, a mumbled “Not much.”
 
It seems Italian genealogy is moving into the electronic age at a sloth’s pace. A minuscule number of Italian records are popping up on sites such as Ancestry.com <ancestry.com> and FamilySearch’s Record Search Pilot Site, but I bet they aren’t the ones you need.
 
The reason for this sluggish progress? In Italy, records—births, marriages, deaths, recent censuses and church records—are kept at the local level, in town halls and churches. Given that, in its Italian research outline, the Family History Library (FHL) boasts “about 60,000 microfilms and microfiche containing information about people who’ve lived in Italy,” that’s a lot of records to digitize. And remember, the FHL doesn’t have every record on microfilm for every town and every time period. So you can see the magnitude of the problem for going to all those local repositories and getting their records digitized and online.
 
The news isn’t all gloom and doom, though, and the sidebar on page 58 shows you steps for digging into your Italian roots. But first, let’s focus on 10 resources that’ll enhance your research and get you going—without having to go to Italy.