Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Hidden Italian Records on Ancestry.com

Did you know that Ancestry.com has Italian Vital Records hidden on their website?  This little known secret has enabled me to trace many of my Sicilian ancestors and cousins in the records of the old country.

Another little known fact is that Italy has vital records that date back to the middle of the nineteenth century.  U.S. vital records did not begin consistently in most U.S. states until the early decades of the twentieth century.  You can find the hidden vital records for your ancestral Italian towns by searching the Card Catalog at Ancestry.com

We can illustrate how to find these "hidden Italian Records" by using the marriage record of my great grandparents as an example.  The first step is to enter the name of the Italian province where the marriage occurred into the Ancestry.com Card Catalog as shown in the image below:

The search result is entitled Siracusa, Sicily, Italy, Civil Registration Records 1900-1929 (In Italian)

Oh yes you will need to be able to read Italian records to decipher the contents of these records.  I can help you with that.

By clicking on the search result, you are taken to the following web page. DO NOT USE THE SEARCH ENGINE. You need to use the locality drop down boxes to browse the records because they are not indexed through Ancestry.com. However, there are indexes in these record sets as you will learn momentarily.

Towards the top of the page on the image above, you can see the bent arrow that I added to the image which states: "To browse this image set, select from the options below.  Carlentini is one of the localities available in the drop down box.

The next step is to select the Record Type that you want to browse.  In this case we are looking for a marriage that we think happened about 1903 so we select "Indice Annuale Matrimoni." This translates to Annual Marriage Index.

After selecting the Indice Annuale Matrimoni, a list of years appears and I selected the year 1903 and this is the image that appears.

This is the part that takes a little bit of knowledge and experience with the Italian records to decipher the Italian words and handwriting.

The first column header is "COGNOME E NOME" which translates to "SURNAME AND NAME."

The next column header is "Num. di Registro" which spelled out is "Numero di Registro" which translates to "Register Number."  However there is a lot more here than just the name of the bride and the groom.

The first line reads: "Cimino Antonino di Sebastiano e di Grasso Carmela."  In this case the name of the groom is Antonino Cimino and his parents are Sebastiano Cimino and Carmela Grasso.  One thing that you do not see is the prefix "fu" which means "late" or "deceased" so in this case the parents of Antonino Cimino are both still alive in 1903.  Antonino Cimino is my great grandfather.  A few years after he was married, he immigrated to Omaha, Nebraska.

The next line gives the name of the bride Maria Ossino and her parents Giovanni Ossino and Concetta Bruno who were also still alive in 1903. Maria Ossino is my great grandmother and she immigrated to Omaha in 1911 and by that time she had three children whose birth records also appear in these "Hidden Italian Records."

The next two lines show the marriage record of Filadelfo Calafiore to  my great grandfather's sister, Lucia Cimino.  We know that because the names of the parents of Lucia Cimino are also Sebastiano Cimino and Carmela Grasso.  The father of Filadelfo is Giuseppe Calafiore and he is still alive. The mother of Filadelfo is "the late Sebastiana Marino."

Notice how the surname is written first and the given name is written second.  Sometimes this leads to confusion for an indexer or researcher that is unfamiliar with Italian records.

By noting the register numbers of 46 and 47, we can then find the complete marriage record by going back and browsing the "Atti di Matrimonio" which we would call "Marriage Records."

As you can see in the above image, this record set for Carlentini in Siracusa Province covers the period 1900-1929.  This is a very valuable period as it includes many marriage and birth records for many of the immigrants that came to the U.S.  Similar records are available for many Italian towns.

Not every province has these records available on Ancestry.com.  For example in Sicily there are only three provinces covered: Agrigento, Caltinisetta, and Siracusa. There are four provinces in Lombardy: Como and Lecco, Lodi, Pavia and Varese.  Most other localities are dependent on microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  For example here is a complete list of the 32 microfilm available in Salt Lake City for Carlentini. Nati is birth, Matrimonio is marriage and Morti is death.

Film Notes

Nati 1820-1826, 1831-1832
International Film
1438738 Items 4-7
Nati 1831-1832, 1825, 1827-1830, 1833-1838, 1838-1839
International Film
Nati 1838-1839, 1840-1843
International Film
Nati 1844-1850
International Film
Nati 1850-1859
International Film
Nati 1860-1871
International Film
Nati 1872-1892, 1893-1894
International Film
Nati 1893-1894, 1895-1899
International Film
Matrimoni 1841, 1842-1891
International Film
Matrimoni 1892-1899 -- Morti 1820-1844
International Film
Morti 1840-1866
International Film
Morti 1867-1892
International Film
Allegati 1830
International Film
1466644 Items 3 - 5
Allegati 1830-1836
International Film
Allegati 1836-1841
International Film
Allegati 1841-1847
International Film
Allegati 1848-1854
International Film
Allegati 1852-1861
International Film
Allegati 1861-1870
International Film
Allegati 1870-1880
International Film
Allegati 1881-1887
International Film
Allegati 1887-1892
International Film
1466653 Items 1 - 3
Diversi 1820-1865
International Film
1607324 Item 2
Memorandum 1820-1837
International Film
1607677 Items 4-5
Memorandum 1838-1887
International Film
Memorandum 1888-1898
International Film
1607679 Item 1
Nati 1900-1910
International Film
1962962 Item 4
Pubblicazioni 1900-1910 -- Matrimoni 1900-1910 -- Cittadinanze 1900-1910 -- Morti 1900-1910
International Film
1962963 Items 1 - 4
Nati 1911-1916
International B1 High Density
2141646 Items 5 - 6
Nati 1917-1929 -- Pubblicazioni 1911-1923
International B1 High Density
Pubblicazioni 1924-1929 -- Matrimoni 1911-1929 -- Morti 1911-1919
International B1 High Density
Morti 1920-1929
International B1 High Density
2141649 Items 1 - 2

The only records above that have been digitized on FamilySearch.org are the records with the camera icon.  This is another reason why these "Hidden Italian Records" on Ancestry.com are so valuable to genealogists with Italian ancestors.  Contact me if you would like help accessing records for your Italian ancestor.

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