Italian Roots Project Civil Records from 1600s & 1700s

+7 votes
My Italian ancestors are in southern Italy- Cosenza and Giovinazzo, Bari - The online archives are ok from about 1790 thru 1890. My brickwalls seem to come right around 1750 and can only get a tad of information from death records/marriage records with parents birthdates that are in the late 1600s.

I realize that Napoleonic law is what really kicked Italy into records keeping during the 1800s and before that it was scarce church records.

But I am curious to know how far Italian Roots members have been able to go back in their Italian family research?

Any advice on searching for records from the 1600s or 1700s?

Does there reach a point when you really cant go any further back because of a lack of Italian documentation?

Any advice or imput is appreciated!

in Genealogy Help by Michele Misurelli G2G Crew (950 points)

3 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer

The earliest Italian records I have seen online from my experience were from the 1700s in Gesualdo, Grottaminarda and Frigento. Archivo di Stato has a bunch of records online.

Everything really depends on how fast communes and churches get scans online for Familysearch and other places. So the best bet I have found is to contact communes or the churches. For the second part you may have to go to Italy or hire someone to research for you.


Good luck!
by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (430k points)
selected by Jeannette Saladino
+3 votes
Ciao Michele,

I am in the same boat as you, with family from Bari (nearly all Modugno, but for some reason my grandfather was born in Giovinazzo).

I am thinking there must be some pre-Napoleonic era records available, at least in the province of Bari. The reason is that some of the marriage records I am finding from the early restoration period (1815-1830 or so) mention the filing of additional documents (the allegati) including birth records of the bride and groom and death records of the parents, some of which occurred prior to the Napoleonic Stato Civile establishment.

However, they're generally not in the Antenati online archive, perhaps because they may have only been filed locally and not in duplicate like the other documents that were sent to the state archive, but that's purely speculation on my part. I was in Modugno last week on a trip to Bari and Basilicata but didn't have time to stop by the comune Stato Civile to test that theory. They do have email addresses so I might try inquiring about marriage allegati for those older marriage records.

And I wouldn't say that pre-1800 church records are scarce. It depends on the church but most towns have a "big steeple" mother church, so I would start my church inquiries there. Even little Modugno (granted, not as little as it used to be) has records in its main church that go back that far.
by Frank Santoro G2G6 Mach 2 (28.2k points)
Hi Frank!

 Thanks for responding. I know the records in Bari are a bit better than for in Cosenza. I remember hear years back something about one of the main churchs in Cosenza had a fire or caught on fire and also a subsequent earthquake- missing several years of old recordings and that was one of the big reasons for the absence of older records- I have not been able to confirm this however.

I think a big part of it might be the time involved and the churches there in Cosenza not willing to invest the time and money it would take just to photograph records let alone transcribe them and upload them. Its a huge job no doubt.

How far have you seen able to go back in your tree? @600s? 700s? Just curious.

Hi Michele,

No, I am stuck around late 1700s just like you. The Antenati portal does not have Modugno's marriage records from the early Napoleonic era but Family Search does (but only if you are at a FHC or FHC partner library). Found a new puzzle - I have a direct ancestor whose 1850s death record lists one person as the mother and the 1810 marriage record lists another person as the mother (same father). But father and 1810 mother both died before the Napoleonic era so it will have to be Comune and church records that fill in those blanks.
+2 votes

Hi, I'm new on Wikitree.

As much as I know, napoleonic civil records started in 1809, but it might differ from location to location. Larino in Molise has civil records online on from 1809 to 1900. That's also what is available at the state archive.

The church books from Larino go back to 1500s, but until now I couldn't convince the archivist to digitalise them. It would be a huge effort (which I would make), but first there must be a database or similar to upload.

by I. Caruso G2G6 Mach 1 (10.4k points)

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