Should I be optimistic?

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JJOC1414
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Should I be optimistic?

Postby JJOC1414 » 29 May 2008, 22:52

This is probably directed to those who live in Italy and have had experience requesting documents at a Comune.

Six weeks ago I wrote to the Sindaco of Sulmona requesting a copy of the birth certificate for my grandfather ("atto di nascita con paternita' e maternita' - in carta semplice e con le eventuali annotazioni marginali"). I heard nothing for four weeks, until I remembered that we had just had elections, so I checked to see if there was a new Sindaco. There was, so I wrote him a letter congratulating him on his victory and directing his attention to the request I had sent his predecessor, copy attached. I thought this might generate a response, but no.

Two days ago I sent a fax to the Ufficio Anagrafe and I included copies of the two previous letters, but this time I also informed them that I will be at their office next Tuesday (I live in Milano) in hopes of securing the requested document.

I realize that nobody has a crystal ball, but should I be optimistic or pessimistic when I show up at the Ufficio Anagrafe with copies of the three letters, asking once again, naturally with all due humility and respect, for the birth certificate. My experience with government workers, at least in Milano, doesn't give me a warm feeling, but I'm hopeful that in a small town like Sulmona (about 25,000) my luck may be better.

Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

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Re: Should I be optimistic?

Postby nuccia » 30 May 2008, 07:09

Well I guess you won't know until you try! Six weeks is not unheard of to be waiting for a reply from any comune in Italy so don't give up!
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Re: Should I be optimistic?

Postby BarbaraR » 30 May 2008, 09:26

Ask -a-l-w-a-y-s- a 'fotocopia dell'atto integrale di nascita / matrimonio / morte per ricerca storica sulla mia famiglia'. The price is the same (1,50 Euro).

It's better than 'in carta semplice'. There are always interesting notations on them. So, try again...

They take a lot of time even here in Italy from town to town... SO, do not dive up !

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Re: Should I be optimistic?

Postby Italysearcher » 05 Jun 2008, 19:26

Definitely show up, preferably as soon as you arrive so if they ask you to come back tomorrow you can oblige. If not, pull out your copies and insist. There is a law that states you are entitled to a reply in a reasonable time. 6 weeks is reasonable! Ask for a 'fotocopia'. Tell them you don't need it stamped, it will help.
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ANNOYING THE SAINTS - Stories of my Life in Italy. http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-b ... ly/7731505

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Re: Should I be optimistic?

Postby JJOC1414 » 06 Jun 2008, 22:25

Just to update this story. I'm now back from Sulmona and I'm happy to report that I obtained everything I wanted!

I had some incredible luck the evening before I was due to go to the Comune. After looking up the name La Vella in the Pagine Bianche, I was searching in the center of town for some addresses that I had found for this name. When a woman walked by the house that had La Vella listed, I stopped her to ask if she knew this family. She said she didn't but she brought me to a house nearby to see somebody who she thought would know this La Vella family. When I meet this 2nd woman and tell her my story, explaining also that I was going to the Comune the next day in hopes of getting an atto di nascita for my ancester, she invites me into her house and proceeds to call her daughter. It happens that her daughter works in the Comune! The mother hands me the phone and I give all the details to her daughter, and we set a time for my visit to the Comune the next day. Then she offers me caffè and I spend the next 20 minutes talking to her and her huband about life in Sulmona, about her ancesters, etc.

The following morning, the mother is waiting outside my hotel to take me to the Comune!!! Fortunately this is just across the street (yes, I actually planned this proximity when I booked the hotel), so she takes me inside and presents me to her daughter. I passed several people who were waiting outside (it's a small town so it didn't look anything like lines in Milano). Her daughter, apparently having arrived earlier, had everything already prepared, both the extract and the photocopy of the actual atto. Not only that, but she also allowed me, very discreetly, to take detailed photos of the actual book (Foglio di Famiglia) started 101 years ago, which showed changes in the family composition over a 30-year period, including when my Grandfather emigrated to the US and his sister left the family to go into a cloister. The information was so rich -- names, dates, addresses, etc. -- I don't need to tell you that I was in a state of shock, and extremely grateful to this mother and daughter (they politely refused the dinner I offered that night, but I insisted that they join me next time I visit -- which they seemed to accept).

It is easy at times to be cynical about the way things work in Italy, especially when dealing with public offices, but this is just one more example since I've been here (20 years) that things can also work in unimaginably wonderful ways too when you're lucky enough to run into very nice people.

After all my worry about whether to be optimistic or pessimistic, I thought you'd enjoy the outcome.

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Re: Should I be optimistic?

Postby nuccia » 06 Jun 2008, 23:35

JJOC1414,

Thats amazing.. You're right...definitely an enjoyable story and just another reason why you should never give up!

Congratulations!~

:)
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