Italian Genealogy Records at a Glance

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Civil registers of birth, marriage and death

• begin in 1809 or 1866 for most of Italy
• start in 1820 in Sicily

The Family History Library (FHL) has microfilmed civil registers up to 1866 for much of central and southern Italy and some of northern Italy. In some cases, FHL film goes up to 1910. Some of these Italian civil registration records are digitized on the free website, where for the most part, you’ll need to browse unindexed records. The original records are kept at local registrars’ offices in each town or city.

Church records

• baptism records begin about 1500
• marriage and death records begin about 1520

The FHL has records from some parishes up to 1900 and some up to 1925. Surviving records are kept at the local parish church.

Military records

• begin in 1792 for enlisted men
• conscription of all males began in 1865

The FHL has microfilmed records from the 1800s through the early 1900s for the provinces of Parma, Cosenza, Catania and Torino. Copies of original records are kept in local military archives and, after 75 years, transferred to the provincial archives and made public

Get tips for accessing the FHL’s microfilmed records through your local Family History Center.

Researching Italian roots? Get expert advice on finding genealogy records of ancestors from Italy in our Best Resources for Tracing Your Italian Roots video class, available from Family Tree Shop.

A version of this article appeared in the July 2010 issue of Family Tree Magazine.