Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

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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Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

Postby volpin » 17 Jul 2013, 16:39

Hello everybody,

I am looking for a confirmation whether I am eligible for an Italian passport.

My ancestors from my father's side:

Great-great-grandfather: Paolo VOLPIN - Born in Italy & Died in Brazil
Great-great-grandmother: Teresa CAPATO - Born in Italy & Died in Brazil

Great-grandfather: Giovanni VOLPIN - Born in Rovigo, Italy (approx 1855) & Died in Brazil (arrived as an Italian and never denounced his citizenship/nationality)
Great-grandmother: Paschoa SANTOLATO - Born in Italy & Died in Brazil

Grandfather: born & died in Brazil (never had an Italian passport)

Father: born in Brazil (never had an Italian passport)

Me - female: born in Brazil (never had an Italian passport)

My sons: born in Switzerland (never had an Italian passport)

We have all the birth- and death certificates from my grandfather, and the birth certificates from my father, myself, and my sons - linking my GGF to my GF to my father, to me, to my sons.

I am actively looking for documents related to the birth and/or baptism of my great-grand-father Giovanni VOLPIN, from Rovigo (either the city or province) in the Veneto region in Italy.

Giovanni emigrated to Brazil, settled in Pedreira - São Paulo state, and died there in 1932 at 77 years of age, meaning he was born in or around 1855 (1854 - 1856).
His parents were Paolo VOLPIN and Teresa CAPATO.
Upon arrival in Brazil, their first names were changed to João, Paulo, and Theresa.


We do not know
- Giovanni's exact birth date
- Giovanni's exact town of birth (Rovigo is a city but also a province)
- in what year Giovanni left Italy and arrived in Brazil,
- from where he left in Italy (as Veneto is in the north perhaps Venice or Genova), and
- where in Brazil he arrived (large ports are Santos in the São Paulo area and Rio de Janeiro).

In addition to the citizenship eligibility, I am wondering whether people have looked for documents of ancestors in the same area (Rovigo province or Veneto region), and if yes, where you were successful (local administration, church, cultural groups, etc.)

In case anybody has experience with looking for documentation regarding people emigrating from Northern Italy, that would be helpful as well.

I currently live in Switzerland, and we are not far from the Rovigo area. I could even go there in person in case I would have a good lead.

Thanks / Grazie / Obrigada
G. VOLPIN
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Re: Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

Postby mler » 18 Jul 2013, 01:32

Assuming there were no naturalization along the way (before1992), you and your children qualify for citizenship recognition. A naturalization, while not a formal renunciation, effectively ended citizenship before 1992.

Do you have a death and/or marriage certificate for your ggf? They may provide some guidance.
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Re: Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

Postby volpin » 18 Jul 2013, 10:20

Hi mler

None of my ancestors ever naturalized (an active process to become Brazilian), and they did not actively renounce their Italian citizenship.
None of them ever served in the Brazilian army.

Just to understand your comment better, was there a (citizenship-) law change in Italy in 1992, which excludes certain emigrants and offspring from these emigrants to be considered Italian?

My great-grandfather arrived in Brazil, settled in the small town Pedreira-SP, married my great-grandmother whom he met on the boat over from Italy, had a family, got a job and never left Brazil again.
On his death certificate it states he is "natural de Rovigo, Italia".
It also mentions the names of both his parents, his wife, and all his children. Unfortunately it does not mention his exact birth date.

My grandfather, father and myself were born in Brazil, making us automatically Brazilian ("law of soil" like in the US).
I understood that this does not mean we are not Italian.

Another thing I was thinking about; upon arrival in Brazil, my great-grandfather's first name was changed from Giovanni to the Portuguese equivalent, João.
The same for his parents; Paolo became Paulo and Teresa became Theresa.

Could this be an issue, as his name in Italy is different than in Brazil?
The death certificate only mentions the Brazilian/Portuguese names.

Thanks!
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Re: Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

Postby mler » 18 Jul 2013, 13:28

I asked about naturalization because you mentioned that your sons were born in Switzerland, and I wondered if you had naturalized in that country. The law DID change in 1992. Before that date, naturalization caused a loss of Italian citizenship; after that date, it did not.

Name changes occasionally cause difficulty, but a discrepancy in a surname is more problematic than a discrepancy in the given name. The changes you describe seem simple translations of the given name. Generally these types of discrepancies only become an issue at some of the more "difficult" consulates (New York is a prime example). I think it's likely you will be fine.

You will have to prove that your great grandfather never naturalized. The statement on the death certificate will not be sufficient. If he came to Brazil as a minor, you will also have to document that HIS father never naturalized because his naturalization would also apply to his minor child. Do you have such documentation?

It seems that your biggest difficulty at this time is obtaining the Italian birth certificates. It may be a good idea to begin another thread specifically asking for information about your great and great great grandfathers. There are very talented people here who may be able to help.

One additional point. It is important that your great great grandfather Paolo was still living in 1861, when Rovigo became a part of the newly formed Italian Republic. When Giovanni was born in 1855, Italy did not exist. Paolo could not pass citizenship to his son until his birth home became part of Italy.

Best of luck.
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Re: Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

Postby volpin » 18 Jul 2013, 16:02

Hi mler, thank you again, very useful information for me!

No, both my sons and myself never nationalized. Being born in Switzerland does not give you the nationality first of all, and you have to have lived here for over 12 years I believe (10 for children), and the eldest is only 3.
Having a european passport is convenient while living here, but we are fine the way we are at this point.
I am much more interested in an Italian passport, as it is really part of our family, more than just a travel document.

You are right, the first names of my great-grandfather (GGF) Giovanni/João, and my great-great-grandfather (GGGF) Paolo/Paulo and mother (GGGM) T(h)eresa were translated into Portuguese names.

Then, I do not have a document proving my GGGF Paolo never naturalized.
So we would need a document stating that he was still (considered) Italian at the time of his death.
Would his death certificate stating he was "natural de Rovigo (or another city), Italia" be enough?

Thank you for pointing out that we also need proof that my great-great-grandfather Paolo was still living in 1861, when Rovigo became a part of the newly formed Italian Republic.
Finding his death certificate will tell us that; an additional task on the list!

I will also post more threads on how to get my hands on the borth certificates of my GGF and GGGF.

Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge with me (and others), much appreciated.

G. Volpin
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Re: Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

Postby mler » 18 Jul 2013, 16:19

Happy to be of some help.

The death certificate, like census records, is not sufficient to prove non-naturalization. The information on such documents is provided by the individuals concerned and is never officially confirmed. You will need an official statement from a Brazilian authority stating that no record of naturalization was found for your great grandfather (and if Giovanni arrived in Brazil as a minor, for his father as well).

In the US, this statement is obtained from the USCIS and/or NARA. You will have to check on the procedure in Brazil. You may want to contact the Italian consulate in Switzerland or the consulate that serves Switzerland. Since you legally reside in Switzerland, that will be where you will apply. They can tell you specifically what documents they require.

You are tracing your lineage back many generations, a big task. I needed to go back only to my grandfather, and I had his naturalization documents. It was a time consuming task even for me but well worth the effort.

I wish you the very best of luck.
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Re: Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

Postby volpin » 18 Jul 2013, 17:13

While reading about the unification of Italy, I saw that although in the Third Italian War of Independence (against the Austrian-Hungarian empire) in 1866, the Piedmontese general Enrico Cialdini crossed the river Po and occupied Rovigo (July 11), Padua (July 12), Treviso (July 14), San Donà di Piave (July 18), Valdobbiadene and Oderzo (July 20), Vicenza (July 21) and finally Udine, in Friuli (July 22), it states that Rovigo was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, meaning the people living in that area were considered Italians as of March 17, 1861.

Before this, it might be considered part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire and the birth and baptism documents might even be in German. To be seen.

It's an interesting road of discovery not only concerning my family but also the area's history as such.
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Re: Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

Postby mler » 18 Jul 2013, 19:30

That is entirely possible.
Enjoy the journey! :D
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Re: Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

Postby jennabet » 19 Jul 2013, 16:14

......Before this, it might be considered part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire and the birth and baptism documents might even be in German. To be seen.......

It appears to me that you are not eligible to claim Italian citizenship through your great-great grand-father from Rovigno for the following reason:

1. Descendants of citizens from parts of Italy that were once considered part of the Austro-Hungarian empire would have had to emigrate abroad between December 25, 1867 and July 16, 1920.

AND

2. Claims for Italian citizenship had to be submitted by December 20, 2010.

So it appears that even if your great-great grand-father emigrated during the window stated above, you missed the deadline to apply by nearly three years. This deadline was extended at least twice up to December 20, 2010 but it appears that there will be no more extensions.

http://www.esteri.it/MAE/EN
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Re: Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

Postby mler » 19 Jul 2013, 17:31

That is an interesting point, but Rovigo is located in the southern Veneto region and was part of Italy since its formation as a nation--not annexed afterward--so it may not apply in this case. It would be important to know specifically where your great great grandfather was born.

In the meantime, you might want to pose this question to BBCWatcher at http://www.italiancitizenship.freeforums.org

I don't know anyone more knowledgeable about Italian citizenship law.
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Re: Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

Postby volpin » 19 Jul 2013, 17:46

Dear mler, jennabet,

I am not 100% when Rovigo became part of Italy.
Some articles say 1861, others 1866 (during the Third Italian War of Independence against the Austrian-Hungarian empire, when the Piedmontese general Enrico Cialdini crossed the river Po and occupied Rovigo on July 11.

The map below Italy 1815-1861 seems to indicate it was still part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire in 1861.

http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/polisci/facu ... /ITALY.GIF

Rovigo certainly became part of Italy before 1920.

However I guess I have to make sure this law does not apply to the Rovigo area; "...were once considered part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and would have had to emigrate abroad between December 25, 1867 and July 16, 1920...".

So it either applies to an area covering Veneto-Lombardy-Trieste or only (the still largely German speaking area) Südtirol / Alto Adige which was annexed by Italy after the first world war.

I hope only the latter!!

Thanks!
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Re: Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

Postby mler » 19 Jul 2013, 17:51

I edited my last post after checking the law. I do suggest you pose this question to BBCWatcher. If anyone knows the answer to this, it would be he.

www.italiancitizenship.freeforums.org
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Re: Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

Postby jennabet » 19 Jul 2013, 17:53

It applies to the entire region of Veneto.
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Re: Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

Postby mler » 19 Jul 2013, 18:43

This was posted by BBCWatcher in the forum I mentioned:

"Sometimes the realities of nationhood and shifting international borders affect citizenship. Italy's borders have changed since 1861, but there's one set of border changes that is particularly relevant in many citizenship recognition cases. Around 1920 Italy officially annexed certain northern territories that were part of Austria in the early 20th century. These areas include parts of Trentino, Alto Adige/Südtirol, Friuli-Venezia Giulia (particularly Trieste and Gorizia), and Belluno. Local residents of these areas legally became Italian citizens on this date.

According to Law no. 379 (14 December 2000), if your ancestor was born and resident in present Italian territory that was part of Austria in the 20th century, but your ancestor emigrated (i.e. left Austria and Italy) prior to July 16, 1920, you cannot be recognized as an Italian citizen on the basis of descent from that particular ancestor."

As far as I can tell, Rovigo was not a part of Austria in the 20th century.
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Re: Eligible for Italian Citizenship (GGF-GF-F) ?

Postby volpin » 19 Jul 2013, 19:12

Thank you for the discussion and new points of reference!

I found the follwing on the website:
http://www.esteri.it/MAE/EN/Italiani_ne ... inanza.htm


4. GRANTING OF ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP PURSUANT TO SPECIAL LAWS

A. Law n. 379 of 14 December 2000, provides for recognition of Italian citizenship to persons born and formerly resident in the territories of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire and their descendents in possession of the following requirements:

-> birth and residence of an ancestor in the territories formerly belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and annexed to Italy at the end of the First World War in the Treaty of San Germano;

-> emigration abroad of an ancestor between 25 December 1867 and 16 July 1920.

Claims for recognition of Italian citizenship had to be submitted by 20 December 2010 to the Italian diplomatic-consular authorities if the applicant was living abroad, or to the official statistics office (Anagrafe) of the city of residence if living in Italy.

Claims submitted by the deadline are examined by an inter-ministerial commission set up in the Ministry of the Interior, which rules in function of satisfaction of the prescribed legal requirements. If the ruling is favourable the Ministry of the Interior issues clearance for recognition.


Please correct me if I am wrong, the way I read the first requirement "birth and residence of an ancestor in the territories formerly belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and annexed to Italy at the end of the First World War in the Treaty of San Germano (=Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1919)", is that the area of Rovigo does not apply.

At the end of the first world war, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol was annexed by Italy from the Austrian-Hungarian empire (by then Austria and Hungary).
Most of the Alto Adige/Südtirol part of the area was traditionally a Germanic / German dialect speaking area (I have a good friend from there who told me about what happened in this area, which still has a special status within Italy).

Rovigo on the other hand was annexed/added to Italy in the period 1860-1870 (after my GGF was born) but it is an area which historically has been an Italian dialect speaking area.

I will certainly run it by BBCWatcher at http://www.italiancitizenship.freeforums.org
mler, can I use your user ID as a reference?


Grazie !
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