Help with my Italian genealogy?

I have been doing my family's genealogy for about a year now and my grandparents gave me most of my info, the rest I discovered through online obituaries and records. But as soon as I trace my roots back to Italy I hit brick walls. I'm not sure why but it is like my ancestors never existed before they came here. Is this a common problem to come across with Italian genealogy? The towns where my family comes from are, (Bisacquino, Palermo, Sicilia), (Castellammare del Golfo, Trapani, Sicilia), (Lercara Friddi, Palermo, Sicilia), and (Esperia, Frosinone, Lazio, Italia). Does anyone have any advice or experience on what I can do to continue my search? I included a picture of my tree with the surnames of my ancestors just incase you have better luck than I did. Thanks for all you answers!

7 Answers

  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Everyone hits brickwalls, however most who internet research hit them far sooner than those that research via primary records ( the only 'primary' records online are IMAGES of the actual record)

    Everything online is only a clue about where to look to find a record, if you have been adding to your tree using transcriptions from websites, then that is very likely the problem, as they are only clues, not verified and many are not the only way to end up is a dead end once the copy and paste runs out...............

    So what primary records do you have copies of which gives you the towns where your ancestry are from? If you haven't got any then forget those towns as anyone can add anything to a website...if it is not an image it is not real.............

    Go back to the last verified proof you have regardless of when thet was......... as you want to research your own ancestors, not just have names on a tree, especially if those names are nothing to do with you.

    Then you can start with these these are images and you will need to research, it won't be put n a name and click a have to read each and every page.......... but if you find ONE event of ONE ancestor then that is a great find and VERIFIED proof and that is what research is about..........

    There are connecting records, such as the naturlisation documents which may give you more innformation and other spellings of names, even a town where you can look at records and some of the better FH forum which speicalise in the ancestry you are doing.... most US and UK forums will have an Italian forum and it always helps as some of those people do have resources they will look at for you.....................

  • 8 years ago

    Before you jump to Italy or Sicily I would strongly suggest that you get what is called primary information, usually vital statistics (birth marriage & death records) once you have these you can check spelling of names and dates. You can also use immigration and naturalization records, Census (although they are often not correctly translated and you should check the actual page of the Census. Obituary records provide CLUES not evidence, the person who is writing it is not the person it is about and it is not uncommon for errors to be made in them.

    My experience with Italian Genealogy, is limited. My Great-Grandparents came in the mid 1800's and it has been very difficult to trace them. Only recently did I find information that my Great-Grandfather was naturalized and that apparently my Great Grandmother remarried (briefly) after his death. But I have still not been able to locate the naturalization records or any marriage records in the name she was using in 1910.

    I have also found 4 spellings of their surname in various records, including a misspelling in a deed that apparently was make by the county recorders office.

    There are Italian Cultural Centers that might be able to assist you, if there is one where you live or you could use a Family History Center.. The one I volunteer has one person who is very experienced in Italian research and ever center has various levels of experience.

    Try The Family History Centers are listed in the location section. There is also a Tutorial - click the phrase free courses in the bottom left corner of the first page.

    Researching in Italy or Sicily, is difficult (most of my success has been with Church Records) and if you do not speak and read Italian or Sicilian I have found it almost impossible.

    Source(s): Genealogical researcher 40+ years. Anthropologists & retired Instructor
  • 8 years ago

    Just wondering...

    have you ever personally GONE to a courthouse, and physically searched through a dusty book? Or walked through a cemetery, over grown with weeds?

    There are billions of records in the world that are not on any website. Or no one has published them in a book. Even more..people often expect a birth certificate, not realizing that birth certificates or records were never even required at certain times. They don't exist in many places TODAY.

    Of course they existed. People here have a soft idea of what research involves. I am not trying to be hostile by any means, just raise awareness for you. Yes, it is common that what "we" here take for granted, the rest of the world has no idea of.

    Over at, there is a section for MAIL LISTS, which are email discussions of topics. Italian genealogy is one (and probably more focused). Join one of those, and you'll find persons expert on what records were kept, and more important, how you MIGHT find them. You may have to go to Italy if it really means a lot to you.

    Don't feel bad..I have the same issue with Chinese lineage.

  • 8 years ago

    Family Search JUST added over a million Italian records, both civil and church records this week. Most have been indexed, but some are browsable digitized copies only. Palermo was one of the cities I noticed. Scroll down to the list of regions next to the world map and choose Europe. Then choose Italy to view all the new records.

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  • 8 years ago

    Joseph, don't view what you see in online family trees as a record whether it is in a free website or a fee website like Ancestry.Com. Even when you see the same information on the same people from many different subscribers that doesn't mean it is correct as too many people copy without verifying.

    Actually if you just happen to find any of your family in an online tree and you definitely see wrong information those that run the websites will tell you that is between you and the other subscriber. They don't get involved. It would be too costly for them to hire people to verify all the information their subscribers submit. That is true of fee websites like Ancestry.Com.

    Now one of the best sources for genealogy are Catholic church records. Parishes keep separate registers on baptisms, first communions, confirmations, marriage and deaths. I know in our parish baptismal information is put in all registers except first communion. When a child is confirmed, for instance he holds a little card in his hand and on one side is his confirmation name. On the other side

    is his baptismal information. All this Information is posted in the confirmation record. Then they look him up in the baptismal registers and post by his baptismal information that he was confirmed in that parish on such and such date. If he was confirmed in another parish after they record all information in their confirmation register they mail that little card to the parish of baptism and the parish of baptism then records in their baptismal record that he was confirmed in such and such parish on such and such date. The same is done if a person marries within the church. The parish records the information in the marriage register and then they go to the baptismal register and note the person's marriage information. In our diocese all of those registers are periodically sent to the Diocesan Chancery Office to be microfilmed. Now it is customary that there is a small charge or small donation expected when getting any information. They would be swamped if they did all this for free. However if a family moved all over the country pretty much all the places they lived could be traced by checking the registers for sacraments of the Catholic church.

    Good Luck!

  • neale
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    i could be finding for Immigration and naturalization archives. i could pass ti the closest family members background midsection and use the subscription web content that are available there at no value. i do no longer use Ancestry extraordinarily for Italian analyze and that i've got on no account chanced on it to be very efficient. I even have lots from the county archives that my Maternal family members lived in and intensely just about no longer something in Ancestry.

  • 8 years ago

    Have you tried looking at Italian genealogy sites? There are quite a few.

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