Does anyone have any suggestions for on site Italian Research? [closed]

+8 votes
I am off to Italy soon to research my great grandfather. I am curious if anyone has done any on location research in Lombardy Italy that might have pointers to share.

I have tried contacting the records center via email with no success. I was able to get information that my ancestor's birth records are probably not available from the state as he was born just prior to that information being collected,  but maybe the church. I was also told that there would probably be family records for his family (I assume like a census) collected by the state.

Through DNA testing I have a few other individuals that I am related to, that were born in the same area around the same time. I am hoping I can get information on them as well.
closed with the note: Answered
in The Tree House by Lance Martin G2G6 Pilot (111k points)
closed by Lance Martin
Antenati is a great resource (though with any Italy project, it's best to narrow right down to a commune - and you need to be ready for the peculiarities in some areas - it's a long road!).

Other than that, the best I can suggest is you contact AC at:
She's extremely knowledgeable and very supportive!

2 Answers

+2 votes
Best answer
Hi, I have done a lot of research in Bergamo, Lombardy. Do you have any clues about his town of origin? I assume you are looking for family in relation to this ancestor in your WikiTree - Andrew Martinucci

Unfortunately the civil records online with Antenati usually start from 1866 and onwards so his birth won't be there.

I ran the surname Martinucci in the Cognomix website and get the highest frequency in for the surname in province of Sondrio in Lombardy - in particular the towns Piuro & Chiavenna

If you have a known town, then you can go to local parish and view records. It will depend a bit on how flexible the local priest is - sometimes they want a written permission that you have requested for the local diocese to view the records. Once you have access to parish records, there will be the birth registrations (many Lombard villages had civil registrations of births from c. 1812 onwards in a separate book and also the church records of baptisms in the church book.) but the most valuable resource may be the Anagrafe records (from the local community) or Status Animarium ("State of Souls" from the church) which list all the families by name, usually with date of birth, marriage, death.  It would often state if a family member moved to another town or parish (or to America.)  In small villages, often these older Anagrafe & civil registration books are kept in the same location with the church records (usually in the office of the local church).

Here is a helpful page from Antenati describing records in Italy.
by Susannah Zemke G2G6 (6.2k points)
selected by Lance Martin
Thank you Susannah. This is very helpful. And it is good to know that Chiavenna (the town I have selected to start my search based on the DNA evidence) is also one that you mention.

I have just been in contact with two other people who have been to Chiavenna and they assure me that there are very few Americans that come back to visit, and they will make it quite easy for me. They each claim to know the only person who speaks english in the town, one of them being the mayor, the other the local librarian.

With these personal references in town, and the information so adeptly outlined from you, I am hoping the fortune from my cookie last night "Travelling at this time would be a good investment of time and money," proves correct.

If you have read this far, thank you again, and unless I hear an objection, I will try and incorporate what you have told me into the wiktree Italian resource category when I return.
Good luck with your trip! Glad to hear Chiavenna is already one of your destinations. My other tip would be to have multiple fully-charged devices (iPad, IPhone, camera) to take digital images of records - if you do find your Andrea Martinucci, then take photos of Anagrafe & other records if possible because once you start sorting out the family line, you will probably discover that you are related to many of the families and you will be able to better read and decipher the records when you are back at home on your computer with a large screen. I really hope you succeed in finding your ancestors!
I did go to Chiavenna and found his birth record at the church.  

In Chiavenna, there are not a lot of English speakers. The priest at the church didn't speak any English so luckily I had the help of a local.

The church had closets full of records older than his as well.
Wonderful! It must have been very special to be in Chiavenna!
0 votes
Ancestry,com has extensive Lombardia Italy geneology records,and

Family Search.Org.
by Wayne Morgan G2G6 Pilot (921k points)

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