Italian Genealogical Records Help!
June 24, 2010 2:14 AM   Subscribe

Help me find a (reputable) person or agency who can procure genealogical records from Italy (specifically Sicily) -- preferably who can communicate in English

Greetings MeFi. Long-time listener, first time caller.

A while ago, i found out that i was eligible for dual citizenship in Italy jure sanguinis. I have been slowly gathering the required documents from the US, but i am having some trouble finding someone who can aide me in locating the documents in Sicily. I know in which commune the documents should reside. I also understand that it is possible to do it yourself, but i do not speak Italian, nor do i know anyone who does. This is making the process somewhat more difficult.

I have done the relevant googling, and there are a million hits. Most agencies seem somewhat shady or simply don't respond when contacted. I am not afraid to spend a little money to get these documents.

The documents i am seeking specifically are: Birth Certificates and Marriage Certificate for my great grandparents.

The Commune in question is Graniti, Messina, Sicily.

Any ideas?
posted by frmrpreztaft to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I just talked to the register office in Graniti on the phone (+39 0942 29005).

Apparently, you just need to send them a letter (I can help with translation) with all the relevant data you have, names, DOBs, etc. They said the research can take some time (many, the employee said, end up in nothing because for instance the subject lived in a neighboring town), so the more data you have, the better.

Also, you need to specify how you need the documents (faxed, email, mail) and in case, send along the mailing fees.
posted by _dario at 2:50 AM on June 24, 2010

(I forgot to mention: there's a € 0,52 fee per certificate, unless you need them in bollo, then I believe it's around 15€ each in taxes)
posted by _dario at 2:54 AM on June 24, 2010

1 -- If you want to confirm that the records exist before you spend money on a service, you can request microfilms from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. They'll send them to any of the local Family History Centers where you can go and look for the records. You don't need to know Italian to be able to use the films and find your ancestor's name.
2 -- There are a bunch of form letters online for just this purpose. Here's a decent one. You just plug in your info in English and it'll translate it for you. (Or you could take _dario up on his generous offer of translation help).
3 -- I used My Italian Family when searching for one of my ancestors. They were nice and seemed competent, but they did not find my ancestor in his village (which I was later able to do using FHL microfilms) and cost a lot of money.
Congratulations! It's so much fun when the red passport comes in the mail! Memail me if you have any questions about the process -- I managed it for myself as well as my mother and sister.
posted by katemonster at 5:26 AM on June 24, 2010

The folks at are very knowledgeable about Sicilian genealogy and I believe he does research for a fee.
posted by tamitang at 5:54 AM on June 24, 2010

Thanks so much for the responses.

_dario: I am not sure what in bollo means! i would like to take you up on your offer of translation sometime in the near future, but after i request the microfiche from the Family History Library. Turns out there is a local branch not two miles from my apartment. This is great news!

katemonster: Thanks for the super-helpful links. I have a bunch of questions regarding the process, especially surrounding the process of obtaining an Apostille. I'm sure you'll have Memail from me soon :)

Any other tips/tricks greatly appreciated!
posted by frmrpreztaft at 8:04 AM on June 24, 2010

From experience I can say that Italian consulates are extremely helpful with this sort thing.
posted by Neiltupper at 11:32 AM on June 24, 2010

in bollo certificates - or documents - (oh, explaining italian bureaucracy to an american!) have a stamp that demonstrates the payment of a certain administrative fee. They're required for certain (but few) uses. In most cases what's needed is simply a certificate, issued on carta libera (lit. "free paper").

re: translation: feel free to memail me when you have your information!
posted by _dario at 8:22 PM on June 26, 2010

Just as an update, I was able to utilize the Family History Center's microfilm, and I was able to confirm that my relatives were indeed born in Graniti. I was unable to locate a marriage certificate, and this somewhat worries me.

Thanks for all the help :)
posted by frmrpreztaft at 3:44 AM on August 3, 2010

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