Paese (country) –> Regione (regions) –> Provincia (provinces) –> Comune (municipality)
In this post, we will discuss the types of Italian records that can be found at the Comune level of government. I also give detailed instructions on how you can find the address information for the Ufficio di Stato Civile of your ancestor’s Comune.
What Is Kept at the Comune?
Here at the Comune level, you will find pretty much all of your ancestors’ birth, marriage, death, and stato di famiglia records. Yay!
Estratto dell’Atto di Nascita (Birth Certificate) This record gives information about your ancestor’s birth. On the record, you will find the names of your ancestor’s mother and father, and the place and date of your ancestor’s birth. For our jure sanguinis application, we need the estratto (NOT the certificato) of the birth record.
Estratto dell’Atto di Matrimonio (Marriage Certificate) On the marriage certificate, you will find the general information regarding your ancestors’ marriage. Information you may find on this record are the date and place of marriage. Like the birth record, for our jure sanguinis application, we need the estratto (NOT the certificato) of the marriage record. Helpful hint: usually (but not always!) couples were married in the bride’s hometown.
Estratto dell’Atto di Morte (Death Certificate) If your ancestor emigrated to the United States, it is likely that he/she did not die in Italy. I thought this certificate was worth mentioning, however, in the case that your ancestor did in fact die in Italy after emigrating to the US. This certificate will show you the name of your ancestor, and the place and date of your ancestor’s death. Again, the estratto is needed.
State of the Family (Stato di Famiglia) This document is unique to Italy. Starting in 1911, all Comuni began keeping this record, which is a list of vital records data of all members in a family tree. If you know the Comune where your family is from, then you can request this document from the Stato Civile of your family’s Comune. If you need records of ancestors prior to 1911, you will probably need to pay-per-ancestor to reconstruct their record. The fee depends on the Comune.
So, that’s great. All we need is in one place! The only problem is… how do we figure out the address of the Comune?
Addresses You Will Need
For the most part, it seems like people go to discussion forums to figure out the address of the Comune where their ancestors’ records are kept.
My friends, there is an easier way.
There’s a fantastic resource online to obtain addresses of Comuni: www.Comuni-italiani.it This website is in Italian, but do not fret – it’s pretty easy to navigate if you’re in the know.
The main page of the website lists regions (Lista per Regione) at the top, and provinces (Lista per Provincia) at the bottom.
In the list of provinces, find the province you would like to investigate, and click on it. You will then come to a page that looks like this:
On the right side of the screen, under “Utili Link”, you will find a link titled “Indirizzi Municipi.” This is where you will find the addresses of the municipalities, ie: the Comuni.
Click on that link, and you will be directed to a list of the addresses of all Comuni within that province! It will look like this:
Now, just scroll through this list of Comuni – which is alphabetized – and find the one you need.
Most of the time, the offices of vital records for a Comune have the same address as the general municipality address. The vital records office at the Comune level is called the “Ufficio di Stato Civile.” So, if you are writing to the Comune di Altopascio for records, I would address your letter thusly:
Ufficio di Stato Civile
Comune di Altopascio
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, 24
55011 Altopascio (LU)
Easy peasy! Make sure you always specify the country (Italia) where the letter is going. In this address example, the (LU) stands for Lucca. All provinces in Italy have an abbreviation. It is helpful but not necessary to include this abbreviation in the address.
If you need a refresher on the materials and information you need to request records from a Comune, let’s re-read DIY Requesting Records from Italy. Otherwise, it’s time to mail in your request. Remember to do periodic follow-ups if you have not received your record in a month or less. It can certainly take a while to receive your records. Expect anywhere from one to four months.