|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 view microfilm online or at a Family History Center if it is a restricted microfilm.
I checked the microfilm number in the Family Search catalog to see if the records had been digitized and whether they are restricted.
Here is a sample for the 1878 record of my great grandfather in the military records for the Siracusa province:
The microfilm is entitled: Ruoli matricolari per nascite 1878. This translates to Conscription class for men born in the year 1878. The microfilm number is 1642308. This film is viewable in 2018 with additional restrictions. This item is available for viewing only at your local LDS family history center or at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
I printed this image from the microfilm in 1994:
Here is the transcript that I made from the original Italian:
!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 view the digital microfilm 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 2018, the library has the following records. Click on the hyperlink to go directly to the catalog record for each Italian province that has digital microfilm for viewing at a family history center:
I am available to consult with you on Italian military records as follows:
- Search for and locate the digital microfilm for your ancestor,
- Read and translate the Italian records,
- If no records have been microfilmed for your province, a letter can be sent to the provincial archives for you.
Please contact me in the contact box in the right hand column.