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Now What?: Military Mystery
6/19/2014
Finding Italian military records.
Q. While visiting a family hometown in Italy, I found my great-uncle Angelo Fossa on a monument for soldiers killed in World War I. I requested his military records from the provincial office and from Rome, but he wasn't listed. Where do I go from here?

A. When Italian unification was completed in 1870, all 18-year-old men were subject to mandatory conscription. Each town (comune) maintains a record of locals who served in the military, so the easiest way to get a post-1870 record is from your uncle's town government (municipio). But if the record no longer exists, or if officials prove unhelpful, you have two alternatives:

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