Italian Diaspora

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Surnames/tags: Italy Italian Roots Project
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Team Leader: Cristina Corbellani

Diaspora is a term used for major emigration of people to other parts of the world. There were 4 major waves of Italian emigration between the 1860s – 1970s.

The main receiving countries outside of Europe were: the USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil and Australia. In Europe: France, Germany and Switzerland. You can read more about the economic and political reasons of this diaspora here: Italian diaspora (English) /Emigrazione Italiana (Italian) / Emigração Italiana (Portuguese)

The largest communities of descendants of Italian immigrants today are those in Brazil, Argentina, USA, France, Colombia, Canada, Peru, Uruguay, Australia and Venezuela.

If you are interested in helping out in the Diaspora subproject and are not already a member of the Italy Project, please read the Italy Project Page to learn more about the project, what we do, and how you can join us!



The aim of this part of the Italy Project is to identify those migrants and their descendants abroad and connect them to their relatives left back in Italy or that migrated to different destinations.

How can you do it? You can place the emigration stickers and categories (scroll down the page) on the profile of the migrating ancestor. See more in Italy Project Templates

Specific Resources

Names Equivalence

When researching the ancestors in Italy or the emigrant one to one of these countries, you have to keep in mind that sometimes the authorities or they themselves adapted their given name to the local language. That way, for example, Giovanni becomes José in Argentina or Ettore, Héctor. You can search for name equivalence for males and females here: Wiktionary: Appendix:Translations of male given names in multiple languages and Wiktionary:Appendix:Translations of female given names in multiple languages

Where to look for the migrating ancestor?

  • Departing Ports

CISEI - International Center for Studies on Italian Emigration - departures from Genoa/Genova

Naples Police Headquarters General Archive. Passports and Emigration (1888 - 1901) - passports granted in Naples/Napoli (not only for locals, but also for a lot of people in Southern Italy)

Naples Police Headquarters General Archive. Passports (1904 - 1909)

Naples Police Headquarters General Archive. Passports (1913 - 1917)

  • Arriving Ports

Center for Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University - Immigrant Ancestors project - several countries and ports

CEMLA Centro de Estudios Migratorios Latinoamericanos - migrants arrivals in Buenos Aires

States Index to Passenger Arrivals, Atlantic and Gulf Ports, 1820-1874

New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891

The Statue of Liberty―Ellis Island Foundation, Inc

Immigration and Emigration Records: Montevideo, Montevideo (Department), Uruguay, 1805-1872

Rio de Janeiro, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

National Archive of Australia

  • Ship Manifests

Agnelli Ships

WARNING! - Page under construction - Please tell us if you find any mistakes or a link doesn't work. Thank you!


Diaspora for each region can now be found on that regions team page:

Teams Regions Covered
Central Lazio, Marche, Tuscany, Umbria
Islands Sardinia, Sicily, Aeolian Islands
North Eastern Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Veneto
North Western Aosta Valley, Liguria, Lombardy, Piedmont
Southern Abruzzo, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise

Diaspora One Place Studies (OPS)


Comments: 17

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The Itialian project is going to reach a technical limit to add another column. My preference would be to change the column titled 'Australia' to 'Australasia'. Or perhaps 'Oceania'. The Countries involved are still very clear in the individual cells.
posted by Steve Thomas
Indeed. The countries chosen for the columns are the ones that received the largest number of Italian emigrants. "Australasia" though would be a higher category than "Australia" or "New Zealand" (or so the categories experts tell me) and we're keeping them from "Italian Modern Region to Modern Country" level right now because it helps with the search of sources. Some boxes are still void because we're still in the process of identifying and tagging with the right category the migrating Italian ancestors. I can add the links to other categories under the table as they are created, though. We encourage all wikitreers to tag their Italian immigrant ancestor with these categories.
posted by Cristina Corbellani
As I said last week, I like very much this Italian migration table.

Starting from this base, I have made another version for the German project.

posted by Steve Thomas
edited by Steve Thomas
Looks great! Glad we could help!
posted by Chris Ferraiolo
I like very much the table showing the regions that migrants departed from and the countries they went to. To me it gives a good overview of the Diaspora. Which regions did people leave from? and Where did they go?

My ancestors migrated from Europe to Australia around 1850. I am a member of different Wikitree Projects in Australia and Europe. I aim to copy this table into the migration teams I am involved with.

posted by Steve Thomas
edited by Steve Thomas
Cool. It is a good table. Thanks for your interest. =D
posted by Chris Ferraiolo
Hi, I created two profiles of Italians (Lovo-18 and Lovo-19) who came from Veneto to Brazil, specifically to Espírito Santo. I still don't know how the categorization works (I'm studying to be part of the project), but I need it to be created so that I can correctly include it in the profiles.
We are working on how to best categorize cities. Bear with us! For categories, we do town, province and put that into the region categories. Cities are a little bit more complicated.
posted by Chris Ferraiolo
I just posted on G2G about it. I saw that the levels are limited to states. If we manage to reach this level, it's already very good, as many of the categories are disorganized. I made myself available to start working with the Brazil, Immigrants category. Let's wait...
Yes. We are trying to clean the categories up. We create as we find them. So, so far the towns are just like San Pietro a Maida, Catanzaro . Hope that helps a bit.

See here:

posted by Chris Ferraiolo
edited by Chris Ferraiolo
Very good, I'm going to study more closely and try to make one for the cities here in Espírito Santo that received the immigrants. Thank you very much.
Ok. I hope you join the Italy project soon!
posted by Chris Ferraiolo
Welcome, Alex! I'm sorry I didn't see your post early.
posted by Cristina Corbellani
Hi Alex.

There are not very many categories in Wikitree for Brazil.

I imagine that in the future there will be a migration category "Migrants from Veneto, Italy to Espirito Santo, Brazil".

Until then, using the category "Veneto, Italy to Brazil", is valid and easy to understand.

When the migration structure is created it will be easy to move the small number of profiles you have created.

posted by Steve Thomas
edited by Steve Thomas
Thanks, Lance. I Just added them to the chart. You can can help adding this categories to the profiles in your tree that fit them, but only to the migrating ancestor, not to the descendants.
posted by Cristina Corbellani

Categories: Italy Project