Good afternoon! I’ve been doing some Italian genealogy lately and have found many of these forum threads helpful for new ideas. Thank you! Recently in research I became stumped on where to find Italian birth records for my great-grandfather. I’m wondering if anyone can give any advice, insights, thoughts, or any help at all. Here’s the story:
I’m looking for the birth certificate of Agostino DiBella who was born to Gioacchino DiBella and Giuseppa Tomasello on April 11th, 1906 (according to his SS-5 and the results of a Naturalization index search) in either Mistretta or Santo Stefano di Camastra, Sicily. He came over on the Re. D’Italia, arriving at Ellis Island on August 17, 1911. He came over with his mother and 3 other siblings.
Here’s where the issue starts. The ship manifest says that the DiBellas lived in Santo Stefano di Camastra and that Giuseppa and the children were all born in Mistretta, a town just south of St. Stefano. My understanding is that the ship manifest records are more reliable because it was filled out in Italy by someone who knew Italian. As far as Agostino and his older sister Carmela knew, they were born in St. Stefano. On Agostino’s Social Security application form he listed Santo Stefano as his place of birth and Carmela wrote to a relative saying that Agostino was born in Santo Stefano.
But when I searched April 11th 1906, I couldn’t find Agostino DiBella. I’m wondering if there are other birth records not put online or if the ship manifest was wrong about the place of birth.
I also tried searching the familysearch.com records for Santo Stefano di Camastra, but the online birth records aren’t available for 1906. Am I missing something?
I have tried contacting the communes of Mistretta and Santo Stefano di Camastra to get Agostino’s birth certificate but the search has been fruitless so far. I mailed a birth certificate request in Italian to Mistretta early July, registered mail, but something happened and there has been a hold up. I’m waiting to hear back from the postal service of what’s happening with the letter. I just recently emailed the Segretario of Mistretta and Santo Stefano in Italian about Agostino’s birth certificate but it sounds like some communes read or respond to emails.
If anyone has any ideas of what to do next, I’d really appreciate it!
Heres Giuseppe Dibella birth record from Santo Stefano di Camastra INDEX#43 1903 March 18th in the town of Santo Stefano di Camastra birth of Giuseppe Dibella son of Gioacchino DiBella age 36 farm hand and Giuseppa Tomasello
Wow! That is an amazing find. Thank you so much for your work! So this is the birth record of Agostino's older brother, Giuseppe.
This is really helpful because, among other things, it shows that the ship manifest was wrong about Giuseppe's town of birth.
This also is a great springboard for further Italian research as it is the first Italian vital record of ancestors our family has seen. Marty has already given us an enticing view into what information the birth certificate holds. It looks like Giuseppa's parents were there as witnesses as well.
So Giuseppe was born in Santo Stefano di Camastra instead of Mistretta like the ship manifest claimed, making the ship manifest was wrong about the birth place of Giuseppe. That leads me to believe that the ship manifest may also be wrong about the birth place of Agostino. He must have been born in Santo Stefano di Camastra like the family said all along.
But the birth records of Santo Stefano di Camastra aren't online for 1906 even though all the other years are. I wonder why that is? Were the records somehow lost? Destroyed? I wonder...
Thank you for your surprisingly quick response and valuable information it contained. I can feel this brick wall slowly melting away!
P.S. I'm starting to wonder why Mistretta was listed as the town of birth for the whole family on the ship manifest. But that's not true. I wonder why they would put that.
Are you asking for that birthdate for Agostino birth act If you are I would give just the year Can I see your request for the record Another thing both towns are only about 16km apart that might have been in both towns for the births Have you tried for a search for marriage record?
Yes, my email request to Santo Stefano di Camastra for Agostino DiBella included his birth date, 11 April, 1906. You're saying I should just give the birth year?
So since the towns were so close together, the birth may have been recorded in either town? That makes sense knowing that in the US naturalizations weren't always completed in the county of residence. Sometimes they would just go to the nearest county courthouse. So it could be that the whole family was born in Mistretta but the births were recorded in Santo Stefano di Camastra.
I know that a marriage record for Agostino does not exist in Italy. He went to America when he was 5 years old and lived there the rest of his life.
I searched for the marriage record of Agostino's parents, Giaoccino DiBella and Giuseppa Tomasello circa 1893 in Mistretta and in Santo Stefano di Camastra (using the indexes in the back of the Registro to search quickly) but couldn't find anything.
The online search for birth records for Agostino's other siblings turned up nothing as well. Maybe the family moved around a lot? But usually families in the older times didn't move as much as people now do because moving was so expensive and not really necessary, is what I understand.
Maybe Agostino and his parents moved around some before going to America. It's really confusing as to why I can't find any other records of the family.