|Italian Army Uniform circa 1900|
If you have an Italian ancestor, you should look for his records of military service. If you do not know his town of birth, but you know the province, military records can help you to locate the birthplace. Military records can also give the name of his parents and a personal description. The Family Search Wiki has a great article about how to access military records here:
Military conscript records are kept by birth date at the provincial government archives. The records for Siracusa were started circa 1890 and have entries for persons born in the 1870s until the dawn of the 20th century. The LDS Church has microfilmed many of these records. I ordered the Siracusa province microfilm for my great grandfather, Antonino Cimino in 1994 at the Reno, Nevada LDS Family History Center. Today you can order microfilm online.
I checked the microfilm number in the Family Search catalog to see if the records had been digitized but they are still only available on microfilm. Here is the record that I printed from the microfilm in 1994:
Here is the transcript that I made back in the 1990s:
!MILITARY: 1893 Italian Army; First enrolled 6 Aug 1893. He was called to the army and he joined 5 Dec 1898. He served in the 38th Infantry Regiment. He was the bugler for his regiment. He served in that regiment until 1901. In 1902 it appears that he was assigned to the 20th Infantry Regiment.
The personal description includes the following: son of Sebastiano [Cimino] and Carmela Grasso. Born 23 December 1878 in Carlentini. His height was 1.66 meters (5 ft., 5 inches). His coloring was rosy(roseo). His hair (capelli) was blond (biondi) and eyes (occhi) brown (castagni). He had a sound set of teeth (dentatura). His profession was farmer or peasant (contadino).
SOURCE: LDS #1642308 Conscription class of 1878, Card #9751
Start by looking up the military records for the province where your ancestor lived in Italy. You can order microfilms though the online ordering system at FamilySearch.org for viewing at your local Family History Center. Here is an excerpt from the Family Search Wiki which tells what is available and how to look it up in the Catalog:
As of 2008, the library has the following records:
You can also use the Italian microfilms at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. There is an Italian expert on staff at the library in Utah in case you have any problems. The staff at the Family History Library are very helpful. I am also available to consult with you or if you prefer, I can order the microfilm for you.
Happy Columbus Day!