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Italian Citizenship Assistance Program
Italian Marriage Record_IRP Blog

Locating Italian Civil Records


Lorena Trapasso

Hello, my name is Lorena Trapasso, I’m 39 years old and live in Calabria, Italy in the province of Catanzaro. Since 2007 I have been working with ICAP obtaining Italian Civil records, and my role is as follows: when ICAP assigns me the task to request a certificate of birth and / or marriage of an Italian ancestor. I begin by conducting a search to find the address and phone number of the relevant Town Hall and then I call to confirm the availability of the registry of birth/marriage records needed, and the fees for issuing the certificate. In most cases (fortunately!) the registry is available and I proceed with preparing and sending the formal written request along with any required fee and a pre-paid return envelope. Sometimes, however, the registry that is needed may not be available due to some sort of devastation (fires, earthquakes, wars, etc.). In these cases, I verify the possibility of conducting genealogical research at the State Archives or research of the ecclesiastical archives for baptismal or marriage records.
About four weeks after I submit the written request, I call the official of the Civil Records Office to check the status. Follow up is needed as any of the following could have happened: sometimes they cannot locate the original request that was submitted to them, sometimes the office has other priorities and the request for a historic civil record is put on hold, sometimes there is need for additional documentation such as the names of the parents, ancestors, etc. in order to confirm that a record located is the correct match. Some municipalities are not equipped with phone, or email, and at times their telephone line is out of order so getting the certificate can take months of persistent follow up!

When the certificate is found, the Town Hall clerk sends it to me in the format required by the Italian Consulate to apply for citizenship jure sanguinis. If the birth/marriage record is not found, the Town Hall clerk sends me an email indicating that no record was found.

When I receive the birth/marriage records, I review them and then send them to ICAP in the US via priority mail. In the last 7 years I’ve obtained hundreds of birth and marriage records from the municipalities of all regions of Italy. Sometimes it takes quite a while for a birth/marriage record to be obtained due to complicated circumstances of the case, or due to the municipality itself. I persist until the search is completed!