Grazie, grandma!
May 10, 2006 8:34 AM   Subscribe

How do I get my great-grandfather's and great-grandmother's birth and marriage certificates from the town of Randazzo (province of Catania, Sicily), Italy?

Recent conversations with Grandma have exposed that I (and my brother and father!) can get an Italian passport based on my paternal great-grandfather's Italian citizenship. As an EFL teacher seeking jobs in the EU, this is really exciting news.

I've done some (e-)footwork here.

The Italian consulate in Los Angeles, the consulate closest to my home in the States and the one we'll be dealing with, wants my great-grandfather's and great-grandmother's birth and marriage certificates. We think we've got access to all the other things they want. The consulate doesn't seem like it wants to be very helpful in finding the documents - they ask only to be contacted once all the documents are present - and I'm living in Indonesia right now, so it's not exactly a "just pick up the phone" situation.

Now, the town has a website, where, I think, one can request vital records like birth certificates, or at least ask about them. However, it's all in Italian, and while I'm not sure, I think I'd have to be in Italy to physically obtain and sign for the record.

There's an e-mail address for someone who deals with "anagrafe," "registration," which seems like the appropriate department, but I could be wrong.

I've stuck some links at the bottom, all of which are linked to or are part of the town's official site, but which I can't read. Any help on your part, Italian-speakers of AskMe, would be much appreciated.

The town's official site is here:

The town's list of e-mailable officials, I think:

A website which seems to offer some kind of e-vital documents service?

This seems like a common thing we New Worlders try to do - anyone out there with experience in the Italian-ancestry hunt who can offer some advice? Lastly, if anyone could provide me with some sample Italian text I can use to e-mail the right people, I'd love you forever!
posted by mdonley to Law & Government (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: BTW, I've seen these people but don't know if it's worth the expense to spend $350 on something I could do myself with some e-mailing, or if there's a whole scam industry based around passport-chasing folks like me.
posted by mdonley at 8:50 AM on May 10, 2006

We did this for my Irish grandparents, and we had to actually go to Ireland to get the documents, but I am not sure how much of that is related to the fact that both of my grandparents were born on islands off the coast of Ireland with no record-keeping facilities.
posted by MeetMegan at 9:02 AM on May 10, 2006

this is the phone/fax number for the PR department, Ufficio Relazioni con il Pubblico +39-095-7990031-- fax +39-095-7991863

if you want to email them first, try this:
Sono (your name here), un cittadino americano che al momento vive in Indonesia. Il mio bisnonno e la mia bisnonna (insert their names here) sono nati e si sono sposati a Randazzo; avrei bisogno di ottenere una copia dei loro certificati di nascita e di matrimonio per poter richiedere, come previsto dalla legge italiana, la cittadinanza italiana. Vi prego di farmi sapere come devo procedere. Non parlo italiano ma un amico può tradurre testi scritti per mio conto.


your signature
If they give you a hard time, let me know, I'll try to call them on your behalf. my email is in my profile.
posted by matteo at 9:33 AM on May 10, 2006

and you don't need to love me forever
posted by matteo at 9:34 AM on May 10, 2006

better yet: please don't love me forever
posted by matteo at 9:34 AM on May 10, 2006

You're third URL is offers forms for auto-certification, which would be your great grandparents attesting to where/when they were born/married.

You'll want to contact the Ufficio Anagrafe directly. You might be able to pull this off via registered letter (not email; you'll want proof of reciept for when things take fooooorever) but I have a hunch that a personal apperance is going to be neccessary. And probably more expeidient, in my experience of Italian Red Tape in General

I wish I could offer more information but I find variances in 'forms needed for X' between the various municipalities of Rome, let alone different comune.

And on preview, matteo's answer beats mine as per ususal. ;)
posted by romakimmy at 9:34 AM on May 10, 2006

oh: you should email the anagrafe official:

maybe c/c the administrative assistant:

and I don't really think you're in the position of making an Autocertificazione Anagrafica -- they'll need more than your word, since you're not a citizen (yet) and they won't double-check for you. but there are plenty of online resources for people in your position.
posted by matteo at 9:37 AM on May 10, 2006

My former boss did this two years ago.

She ended up flying to Sicily after six months of frustratingly trying to get people to cooperate by phone or by email. The first time she went looking for public records she was told they were "closed for cleaning." But on day two she got them no problem and now has her Italian passport. And a good story to tell, I'd imagine.

So, uh, anyway, I guess that would be me thirding or fourthing "It's possible you'll just have to go in person."
posted by bcwinters at 12:32 PM on May 10, 2006

I just sent the Sicilians a letter and threw in a $5 bill. Got all the papers 2 weeks later with a postcard of their town.
posted by baklavabaklava at 2:07 PM on May 10, 2006

Are you sure about a claim working based on a great-grandparent? Several sites, including this one, indicate it's only valid up to the grandparent. That means you might need to get your dad through the process so he can "pass" on the right to you. I hope I'm wrong. Good luck.
posted by dness2 at 2:45 PM on May 10, 2006

Great grandparents are fine: in fact, all you need to be able to do is trace a bloodline back to an Italian citizen, no matter how many generations. There are a couple of caveats:

-at every step of the bloodline the parents must have been married when the child was born.

-women did not give Italian citizenship to their children before January 1, 1948; before that date it was only passed from father to chilren. It was passed to female children, but not from a female parent.

-if your great grandfather was already naturalized when he gave birth to your grandparent, then you're out of luck. This is a kind of bizarre rule, but it's true; the reason is that when you naturalize in another country you automatically lose your Italian citizenship.

More details here.

I'm going through this same process right now; great grandparents born in San Giorgio Morgheto, Calabria. Lucky for me, I have a living relative working in the civic records office of that town.
posted by louigi at 2:57 PM on May 10, 2006

My wife got her birth certificate from Nogare by faxing them with the details. She received it in 10 days!
posted by Neiltupper at 5:42 PM on May 10, 2006

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