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Community Forums › How Can I locate my Family in Italy › Northern Italy › Research before 1861?

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Research before 1861?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:11 pm    Post subject: Research before 1861? Reply with quote

Hi all!

I was wondering if anyone here had any expertise on researching Italians before 1861. We have just figured out - thanks to the documents on FamilySearch - that my great-grandfather would have been born about 1856, five years before unification.

Would the only source of records then be the Church since the Italian state did not exist yet?

My family is from Vittorio Veneto and the surrounding small towns. Obviously, before WWII it was Vittorio, but I'm not sure where to go pre-unification. Any help is appreciated!
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Research before 1861? Reply with quote


My experience with Italian records is mostly in Sicily, so it is really very different from the north. In the early 1800's (I want to say maybe 1805), Napoleon came into Italy, and put in place what is known as the Napoleonic Code. This was a system of civil record keeping, separate from the church, for the births marriages, and deaths of each comune. Prior to this, all records were kept at the church level only. These codes, and Napoleon, were highly unpopular in the North, and when Napoleon was ousted most Northern areas stopped using the record system, reverting back to church based record system. The South kept Napoleon's system in place, so we are luck in there is an abundance of records starting in about 1809.

I would say your best bet would be to write a letter to the parish church in Vittorio, asking for the records you think you need. If you need help in writing a letter, post here, and one of our Italian speaking members would be happy to help! You should also include a donation to the church in your ancestor's name, and try not to overwhelm the priest. A few records shouldn't be too bad, but it all comes down to the local priest.

Hope that helps a little!

Researching- Savoca, Farfaglia, Mamazza, DiSano, Lomonaco, and Ponticello from Castiglione Di Sicilia (CT)
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 4:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Research before 1861? Reply with quote

many are the primary source of Unification, especially state store, great. Even the archives of the Catholic Curia, before the unification was what replaced. The problem is that everything is in Italian, but just a little. If you need help, please write me at the email! denisevitti @ yahoo.it
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