Italian Comune Birth Certificate Date and Surname

Over 25 million Italians have emigrated between 1861 and 1960 with a migration boom between 1871 and 1915 when over 13,5 million emigrants left the country for European and overseas destinations.
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Italian Comune Birth Certificate Date and Surname

Postby digatta » 04 Sep 2012, 20:29

hi,

i'm fairly new to this forum. lot of good info here and appreciate all the people that participate to help others.

i had an italian friend contact the relevant commune in italy before i send for the formal certificates for my GGF and GGM. an initial search shows that they do indeed have both required birth certificates and a marriage certificate which is great!

questions:

1) i was informed that my GGF's birth certificate only recorded the year and has no month or day info on it. since the records are coming from italy, i'm hoping this is not going to be an issue with the consulate - my thoughts being that it will be official and coming from italy / the commune itself vs a document originating in the US.

is there any reason to feel that a lack of day or month on my GGF's birth certifcate which only contains his birth year will be an issue with the US consulate i'm applying to? and even if it is, is it even possible to amend an italian birth certificate? how would i know what month and day to change it to?

fwiw, on non required documents by the consulate (e.g. draft cards and social security death index), his birth month and day are actually listed, but they change from document to document. i haven't received any naturaliztion documents yet but my guess is he probably had to write one down on these documents. so i just want to prepare for the unexpected if this should be an issue.

2) my last name can be spelled as two words which instead of using a space often is connotated by two capital letters. for instance, it is traditionally spelled Di Gatta (with a space) but by the time one comes over to the USA, it becomes DiGatta (no space) and or simply Digatta if entered electronically in the public records required by the consulate. i can't believe this will be an issue but depending on how those birth and marriage certifcates come back from italy, they may be spelled with a space or not. i know the majority of records down the family line here in the USA were spelled with two capitals (to connotate that space but with no actual physical space separating them)

if anybody has thoughts on these Qs, hopefully from first hand experience, that would be great. if i need or even can amend the italian docs, i'd like to do so before i start requesting records.

thx much
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Re: Italian Comune Birth Certificate Date and Surname

Postby KarenChristino » 05 Sep 2012, 22:05

I would suggest checking on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org to see if you can turn up a month and day for your great-grandparents online. If that does not work, you can request microfilms from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, since you have their comune and his year of birth. It would surprise me if they did not report the date in the original documents, but you can check the microfilms before you order them from the comune.

If there really is no date, you might try requesting your GGF's military record from the state archives (if he was in Italy after age 18). That record should list his date of birth and might also list when he left for the U.S.

The birth records from Italy are your primary documents, and it's generally easier to amend the later ones. In NYC earlier this year they would not consider anything other than vital records, naturalization documents and Census records. But you may need the draft card and SSDI records, etc. to make corrections on other docs.
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Re: Italian Comune Birth Certificate Date and Surname

Postby digatta » 06 Sep 2012, 06:04

thanks karen.

i just found out about the LDS and italian birth records yesterday before you replied to my post!. so you're saying they have everything i would otherwise get from the comune in italy except that it's not the offical record i need for the consulate? that's great.

would you be able to share how to search comune's on the LDS site? i found some other crappy instructions that basically took me to a google map????

thanks for the other info you provided about military service back in italy.

finally. when you say that the nyc consulate would accept census info, would a simple digital image downloaded and or printed from ancestry.com suffice? in other words, they aren't *official* copies but i'm not sure where else one would obtain *official* census info? printing these images out produces very small print so i like the idea of logging in and showing them online or what i have saved to my computer, but my guess is they want printout files for their records.

fwiw, i've located my ancestors in the '20, '30 and '40 census's. all great supporting info that make the ancestry line clear as could be. unfortunately, they spelled our last name wrong in just about every census except the last on in '40. so i'm sort of reluctant to use them in a meeting since it will point out name discrepancies and i want to avoid that as much as possible.

any thoughts on this? it's a bridge i'll have to cross when i get there but my guess is if names aren't perfect and you don't have to show it, then don't show it!

thanks for taking the time to respond
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Re: Italian Comune Birth Certificate Date and Surname

Postby Italysearcher » 06 Sep 2012, 12:56

Since the State archives records are copies of the ones held in the Comune how can they be more accurate? If the one held in the comune has no day/month it would seem that it may have been reconstructed after the originals were destroyed by possibly someone other than the person themselves.
Hi military record may provide you with day/month but that won't change what the comune has on file and believe me, they won't add this information unless it comes to them via the Tribunale.
Request his baptism record from the parish church. Maybe the consulate will accept that if it matches the military record.
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Re: Italian Comune Birth Certificate Date and Surname

Postby KarenChristino » 06 Sep 2012, 15:44

You can order the Federal Census records online at the National Archives at --

https://eservices.archives.gov/orderonl ... wId=1-EU2U

I don't know if these records are a requirement, but they asked me for them, maybe because I only had "no records" documents for my GGF's naturalization. They did ask for certified Census records, although in the meeting they considered the print-outs. (Certified are of course more expensive.)

LDS does have tutorials that you can review online.

I always requested photocopies of the original documents when I wrote to our comune in Italy. But these were actually different than the print-outs I obtained from the LDS microfilms. Same information, of course, but a different handwritten copy, and some words were much easier to read. It was explained to me that at the time of their creation, the comunes were required to make an additional copy to send to the State Archives.

So there's a chance that the original records were passed along to the state before they were destroyed at your comune. (From what I understand, the LDS photographed the records from the state archives. My dad was aware of them doing this before WWII if I recall correctly.) It just seems so curious that there is no day or month, but if the records were destroyed at the local level they might only be working from an index right now which may explain it.

Ann has a good point that the local church should have a baptism record. But I would request it from everyone available since you never know what you might find -- and a query doesn't cost anything. Some agencies will be more efficient than others. (I personally did not have great experiences with the church in the U.S. and I don't think the Consulate will accept a baptism record.)

When I wrote to the state for one of my GGF's military records, they offered his B.C. as well, either certified or not. They also charged a fee whereas the commune did not.
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Re: Italian Comune Birth Certificate Date and Surname

Postby digatta » 06 Sep 2012, 23:19

KarenChristino wrote:You can order the Federal Census records online at the National Archives at --

https://eservices.archives.gov/orderonl ... wId=1-EU2U

I don't know if these records are a requirement, but they asked me for them, maybe because I only had "no records" documents for my GGF's naturalization. They did ask for certified Census records, although in the meeting they considered the print-outs. (Certified are of course more expensive.)

LDS does have tutorials that you can review online.



karen thanks for the link to the certified census order

regarding the LDS. i improvised and i think i found the microfiche for my target comune for the needed birth years. i didn't find help on doing this online, but i think what happens is i sign in, pay the fee and they ship the microfiche to a local history center which it appears is basically a local LDS church. i assume they have a microfiche reader i can use to load the fiche and browse it. does that sound correct?

question is do the fiches have an index? are they arranged by name or birthdate? or do i just have to browse through thousands of records.

sorry. as i said i didn't find help on the site about the specific questions i asked.

thanks for all your other help
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Re: Italian Comune Birth Certificate Date and Surname

Postby digatta » 06 Sep 2012, 23:44

Italysearcher wrote:Since the State archives records are copies of the ones held in the Comune how can they be more accurate? If the one held in the comune has no day/month it would seem that it may have been reconstructed after the originals were destroyed by possibly someone other than the person themselves.
Hi military record may provide you with day/month but that won't change what the comune has on file and believe me, they won't add this information unless it comes to them via the Tribunale.
Request his baptism record from the parish church. Maybe the consulate will accept that if it matches the military record.


italysearcher thanks for the info.

i talked to somebody else who suggested that maybe the woman at the comune was just reading the birthday info off a register index which didn't transcribe his birth dd and or mm, only his birth year. that sounded logical to me. so i'm going to hope for the best by requesting the birth certs and see if anything is missing first before starting to attack the other avenues including baptistry records as you mention.

actually i'll probably conduct a search in the LDS before requesting from italy b/c it sounds like they'll have the *actual* records and are likely to tell me the information that exists behind that which may have only been partially transcribed to the index at the comune.

thanks for your help!
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Re: Italian Comune Birth Certificate Date and Surname

Postby KarenChristino » 07 Sep 2012, 02:11

They should have a reader at your local LDS Family History Center -- but you should probably check with them to be sure. They were staffed by volunteers in Brooklyn, and it's a great convenience, but I'd also call ahead before you go in to be sure someone's there.

The indexes to the comune records that you mention are also on the films. You'll have to check whether they are on the same one as the actual birth records, sometimes they are not and you might have to request an additional one. You can always go through them month by month, but depending on the size of the town and the age of the records, quality of handwriting, it can be much easier to start with the index first. I found mine arranged by birthdate, but the index is roughly alphabetical.
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Re: Italian Comune Birth Certificate Date and Surname

Postby Italysearcher » 07 Sep 2012, 08:44

You don't say what the comune is but these second copies were mostly from the former Kingdom of the two Sicilies and this continued usually to 1865. Some towns continued to make 2nd copies but not most.
As far as the comune reading of an index and telling you there is no day/month, this would only occur if the index survived and the records did not. Isloa del Liri has this situation. Great indexes, but lacking many records.
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Re: Italian Comune Birth Certificate Date and Surname

Postby digatta » 08 Sep 2012, 09:48

Italysearcher wrote:As far as the comune reading of an index and telling you there is no day/month, this would only occur if the index survived and the records did not. Isloa del Liri has this situation. Great indexes, but lacking many records.


i sure hope this isn't the case. i just found the necessary naturalization records that qualify me for JS. the nat record has my ggf's bday the same as it is on his WWII draft card. it list's his wife with birthday which matches the birthday of his wife given to me by the commune. that would seem to qualify as proof that this is the exact person whether the mm dd are missing on my GGF's birth certificate or not.

but whether it's obvious that the man in the nat record is the same person in the italian birth cert (aka my ggf), based on what i've read in forums, if i can't find a comune birth cert with the actual mm / dd i'm going to be fighting a potential uphill battle.

i must admit, it seems odd that a birth cert would NOT have the mm dd. the date is probably the most important thing on a birth cert. equally as important as the name and the parents.
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