Birth records 1500-1800

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gliesian66
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Birth records 1500-1800

Postby gliesian66 » 16 Sep 2014, 05:19

Can someone tell me, were birth records kept in Italy (e.g., Foggia, Naples and surrounding areas) between the years 1500 and 1800?

If so, how were these records kept, and where can I find them?

Thanks,
Robert

erudita74
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Re: Birth records 1500-1800

Postby erudita74 » 16 Sep 2014, 05:46

No civil records prior to 1800. Would have to be church records. Actually they would be baptism records, which might include birth information, and they would have to be gotten from the local parishes, if these still exist and their records have not been destroyed. In those days, it was rare for parishes to also keep copies at the diocesan level. That only started in 1917.

The problem is finding local priests who are willing to look through their church books for you. With a shortage of priests, and many administering to multiple parishes, it's a hit or miss thing. That doesn't mean though that it can't happen. Many years ago, for example, I wrote to all thirteen parishes in the city of Benevento for a cousin of mine, as there were no microfilmed civil records at the time. One priest actually replied and sent copies of the records. He even went the extra mile and typed out, in Italian, deciphered versions of the photocopied records. He just assumed we couldn't read the old script. Once he replied that he had the records in his possession, my cousin wired him a hefty donation, which may have been reason he went the extra mile. Another time, I found a website for a parish in another town for a cousin of my husband. There was an email address on the site, and I emailed the priest, as the cousin and her husband were planning a visit to the town. That priest gathered all of the requested records and even had a gathering for her and husband when they arrived and, to the gathering, he invited all of the townspeople related to her. So, you just never know.

First, you need to figure out what parishes you might need to contact. Then you need to see if they are still in existence.

Erudita

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Re: Birth records 1500-1800

Postby Italysearcher » 16 Sep 2014, 08:55

Most priests will permit personal research performed under their watchful eye. Others require the Bishops permission. I have one Diocese where the Bishop will give the priest permission to do the research IF he has the time or inclination (most don't).
Some Dioceses have begun to gather up these old records and are storing them in archives and will permit research by appointment.
Figure out which parishes you need to contact and see what happens.
Ann Tatangelo
http://angelresearch.wordpress.com
ANNOYING THE SAINTS - Stories of my Life in Italy. http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-b ... ly/7731505

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PeterTimber
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Re: Birth records 1500-1800

Postby PeterTimber » 16 Sep 2014, 15:17

The Council of Trent convened in 1543 by the Pope required parishes to begin keeping records of their parishoners in what came to be known as the BOOK OF SOULS (Libro d'Anime) Civil records commenced with full vigor by Napoleon in 1806 and registration ended in 1815 but was maintained by the Kingdom of the Two Siiclies and drifted thruout Central and Northern Italy into spotty record keeping by each city,town or village. In 1866 Civil registration became uniform and law thruout Italy upon unification. Peter
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erudita74
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Re: Birth records 1500-1800

Postby erudita74 » 16 Sep 2014, 15:44

Yes, as Peter has stated, the Council of Trent, did dictate to the local parishes that they had to start record keeping for events such as births/baptisms, marriages, and deaths. Unfortunately, what it did not do is dictate to the parishes the format of those records. As a result, there is no uniformity in the content of the church records. I thought it would be so great to see Church records from the 1500s, but now that I have, I find that it wasn't. For some baptism records, for example, you get only a date and the name of the infant and no parents' names. For others, you might get the father's name, but not the mother's, etc. The same holds true for other types of records. Also it's not just about what year the record was written. Some earlier records have more info than some more recent ones. You just never know what you are going to find until you search the records. What is recorded in the records was totally at the discretion of the priests who wrote them.
Erudita

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Re: Birth records 1500-1800

Postby PeterTimber » 17 Sep 2014, 18:41

Hey, You never know if you hit the right church and the right pew!. There is the old saying" Genealogy-Where you confuse the dead and irritate the living! Peter
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