Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Requesting civil records from the Comune council

There are a number of records that can be requested from the local and county (Comune) councils normally from the department “Ufficio di Anagrafe” which deals with the registration of citizens and other civil matters.

As I had the details of Edoardo and Annetta I decide to try requesting a “Situazione delli famiglia” which can also be known as “Stato di famiglia” for Edoard. This is a document that gives details of all living members of the family; it cost me a very small sum of money but took several weeks to be sent. Included on this sheet are the date and place of the birth of Edoardo, his wife’s details including her death, then his children’s details, date of birth etc. but only for living children there was no mention of the younger sister who died when she was two. The extraordinary thing that appeared on this document was the following details.Edoardo and his son Edoardo Fedele moved to Genova in 1895, my grandfather Joe moved to S. Pier d’Arena, Genova several years later in 1899. No wonder I couldn’t find any Desio in Como………….. back to the work board.

To order this document you need to know at least a place of residence or birth in Italy and a possible birth year, don’t forget that the civil records only started in most commune from 1866 and this type of document normally started around 1870, the person whom you are requesting information about must be over 18, Edoardo was born in 1850, but when I tried requesting one for his father born around 1817 they said there was no record. It can be very useful especially if you don’t know a birth date or even an exact place of birth. Needless to say I am not sure about the exactitude of all the details given as later in my research I found the son married and living in a different country before 1895, however it certainly gave me a lead as to where they all went from Como.

When I visited the council offices I found a very interesting record, I presume to be a civil register of all the people that have lived in Como, I am unaware if all comunes have the same type of record but I would think so. I was asking if they had any other Desio recorded as living in Como today, but they found nothing. The head of the department disappeared and came back with several pieces of cardboard about as big as my hand, the top end was triangle and here was the name of the person, further down their parents name, place and date of birth, if single or married and to whom they are married. When I turned over this piece of brown card on the back all the addresses that he/she had lived in whilst living in Como were noted down and at the bottom the details of leaving the comune and going to Genova.

Birth, death and marriage certificates can also be requested from the same department in the local council, but you need to send at least some details such as birth year and possibly the name of the father. A large amount of our members who have tried requesting certificates have been fairly lucky; however there are some councils that do not reply not even when you enclose a small amount of money to cover postage. I always suggest that about 10 euros be enclosed and only once was there no reply at all, others may write back saying they have not found anything but if they are small villages, with not many people working they may not reply.

All Italian males over 18 have to do their conscription. Call-up records (registro di leva) are kept even for Italian citizens who emigrated. Some of the more recent ones can be found at the council, but earlier ones will be at the state archives for the comune. I found one for my Grandfather at the State archive and will tell you about that in my next posting.

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