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Post by erudita74 » 05 Jun 2013, 01:28

Unfortunately I can't help you with the translation of these Sicilian riveli records. Here is some information about these type of records from Sicily though to help you in understanding their content

"Sicilian Riveli Records By Robert Ralph Porcaro Columbus Day 12 October 2005

During part of the years 2002 and 2003 I had the privilege to serve as a volunteer at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City Utah. My assignment was to scan and catalog over 1,100 Riveli microfilms. During that time I reviewed microfilm records for many of the 389 villages in Sicily. What a wonderful way to become acquainted with the homeland of my grandfather. As I scanned the microfilms I would locate the community on a map of Sicily then look up information on the atlas and gazetteer. Later I was able to search the internet for pictures and historical information on several communities. The following article is an attempt to summarize a few things I discovered about Riveli records from Sicily.

The Riveli
Riveli in Italian means to reveal. The Riveli record served as a census to record inhabitants (anime) and possessions (beni). The Riveli pages were bound together in a volume with a string threaded through a hole near the top of the page and another string through a hole near the bottom of the page. Most volumes held the records of up to 1,000 pages. A few Riveli records exceeded 1,000 pages.

Purpose of the Riveli
A Riveli was a census to determine population and taxation for revenue. The Riveli served the king of the country as a monitor to determine how many males there were in the kingdom that were of age to serve in the military or to work on road projects and also how many animals and producing farm land was available to produce food for the kingdom.

Years Available on Microfilm
The Family History Library has microfilms of Riveli records for many of the years that Riveli records were recorded. I have personally reviewed the following years from varied communities in Sicily.
1548, 1569, 1583, 1584, 1589, 1593, 1597, 1607, 1612, 1614, 1616, 1621,
1623, 1624, 1636, 1637, 1639, 1651, 1652, 1664, 1674, 1681, 1682, 1714,
1747, 1748, 1750, 1752, 1754, 1755, 1756, 1757, 1765, 1811, 1812, 1815

About the Indice (index)
Older indexes such as 1674 listed family names using the given name, (first name) first, in alphabetical order followed by the surname. Following the name in the index is a page (folio) number and with some luck you can find the actual Riveli record either following the index or on another microfilm. Some indexes precede the record some follow the record, and some records have no index. I have experienced reading an
index where there is no Riveli record available. Also, I have seen names listed on the index but that person’s Riveli page is not included with others. Finally, I have found a family Riveli page with others but that persons name was not in the index. Some indexes include the head of the household with other members of their family listed with

Information on Riveli Records
There are many words used in a Riveli record that are common to most records. Following is a list of a few words to be familiar with.
Tassa=tax, terra=land, anime=souls/inhabitants, beni=goods/possessions,
lordo=gross amount to be taxed, netto=net amount to be taxed (usually
5-10%), mascoli=male, fimmini=female, capo di casa=head of household,
moglie=wife, figlio=son, figlia=daughter.
The name of the head of the household is listed on the top of the page
(usually on the right side), and again in the text of the Riveli
(usually after the word anime), and at the end of the Riveli on the left
side of the final page.
Sometimes the name of the father of the head of the household is listed
on the first entry at the top of the page and once in a while the
mother'™s name is also listed.

Within the text of the Riveli is first the name of the head of the household followed with the name of the wife (sometimes with her maiden name) then the children. Sometimes the children are listed with sons' names first then daughters next. Ages are listed for males only. But I did find a few records where the females had their ages listed. Be aware that ages were estimates and then rounded off to the nearest ten years, so in most cases are not accurate. In many Riveli records the head of the household has his nearest neighbors listed also. Look for family groups. It is interesting to note
that the Riveli record for the common person was often scribbled and brief whereas a Riveli record for the aristocracy was printed in formal calligraphy with detailed pages. Sometimes the pages were adorned with fancy borders and large calligraphy letters.

I have even found pages with ink line drawings of the person taxed. The
conclusion of each Riveli had the name of the tax assessor and at times
the signature of witnesses and occasionally the priest of the community.

Items Taxed
Taxation was placed on people and possessions including real estate, buildings, and animals. The animals were divided as caprai=goats, giumenta=mares, cavalla=horses, bovi=cattle, vacche=cows, pecore=sheep,asini=donkeys and muli=mules. I saw pigs mentioned in the Riveli but never on a tax summary. The animals that pulled carts were inventoried separately (animale ad uso di carrozza). Note that the taxation was ten percent of the value. (2197=219, 1049=104 etc.)

Land was taxed according to use such as irrigatablili=able to irrigate, frumentale=for growing grain, boschigne=wooded or orchards,rampanti=sloped or hillside, and non pagano=not profitable. Houses were taxed by the amount of rooms on each floor. Included in the assessment were vineyards, orchards, groves, water wells, farm tools, sheds, silos,and household furnishings. Land was sized in hectares. One hectare=2.47 acres.

Special Recognition
It is apparent that the Riveli records were focused on the peasant farm workers. Very few Riveli records were found listing nobility. However, when they were found they listed the person’s title such as Don or Donna for honorable people and Duca, Duchessa, Barone,Conte,Contessa, and Principe, for nobility.

Items of Interest
A few records listed a ten year back tax for persons that lived and worked in a community but had not been taxed for the past ten years. See the 1811 Riveli for taxation for individuals living in a community between 1800 and 1809.

Monetary Values on Riveli Taxation
Many of the Riveli records assessed the taxes in a system that is recorded in history. The following are from Monete Siciliane Antiche on the internet at Also from the introduction to the book Lo svilupo Di Villafrati 1596-1960 by Giuseppe Oddo. Monete Sicilane Antiche: In 1862 the Cambio Rate was: 6 Denare =1 Grano
1 Grano = .0215 Lire 20 Grani =1 Tari 1 Tari = .425 Lire 12 Tari
=1 Scudo 1 Scudo = 5.10 Lire 30 Tari =1 Oncia o Onza 1 Oncia
=12.75 Lire
(Tariffe: Bestia di Carico) Tariff on animals information is from Lo
Sviluppo di Villafrati 1596-1960 by Giuseppe Oddo (page 16). Bestia di
Carico (loaden or burden) = Grana 2 Carro a 2 Ruote (cart with two
wheels) = Grana 4 Bestia di Lettiga (litter or pulled) = Grana 6
Carrozza a 4 Ruote (cart with four wheels) = Grana 8 E 2 Cavalli
(cart with two oxen) = Tari 1 A 4 Buoi (with four oxen) = Tari 2

The Three Valleys of Sicily
The Riveli records are stored in repositories by community in alphabetical order according to one of the three valleys of Sicily. Val Di Mazara is the western half of Sicily with its border starting between Termini Immerse and Cefalu on the north and Licata on the south. Val Demone is the northeastern portion of Sicily with its border starting at Enna and going to Catania on the east. Val Di Noto is the southeast portion of Sicily with its border starting at Enna going to Licata on the south.

Writing on Riveli Records
Most ink was home made and much of the writing has faded over the years. Common damage to the pages came from poor storage procedures in damp rooms. Damage occurred from dampness, mold, and worms.

Community Name Changes
Watch for name changes of a community over the years. Also, watch for spelling including dialect, Greek, and Latin.
Corleone = Cariglione, Coneglione, Coniglione, Cuniglione, Canigliumi, Cunigghiuni
Bisacquino = Busachino, Busschino, Busaguino, Busaechini
Monreale = Montisreaalis
Mezzojusso = Mensojusso, Meliguisi, Mioijusto, Mezzoiusso Busacchino =
Bisaquini, Bisaquino, Bisagrum, Bosachino, Bascchino
Sciacca = Ciacca,Sacca, Sacce, Xacca, Xiaca, Xiacca
Agrigento = Gergenti,Girgenti
Capri = Crapi
Aderno = Aderna, Adrano, Adranus, Adranu, Adranum, Adirmo
Geraci = Jachi, Dijaci, Jaci, Girachi, Di Jaci, Iaci, Jacis, Jachi,Jiraci

Comune Vari
Comune Vari is a variety of community records mixed, scattered,
incomplete, and at best random. They may or may not be indexed. There
may only be one report from a given community mixed in with many from
another community Some commune vari records have a great deal of Riveli
records for one community followed by many from another community. If
you’re lucky the microfilm you are reading will have each of
several communities in alphabetical order. Most commune vari records
are, however from one geographical area from one of the three valleys of
Sicily. It appears as though the Riveli recorders missed a few people
and went through the countryside gathering information and taxes for
those missed previously.

Bridges from The Past
Riveli records could be your means to bridge from your civil records back in time. Note that many of the available records are a generation apart, so a person listed as a child on one record will appear as the married head of a family in the next record.

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Post by justinfrombklyn » 05 Jun 2013, 15:27

This is great thank you erudita. But is there anyone that can try to translate the words at least so I can understand the context

Thanks again

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Joined: 27 Aug 2012, 20:26


Post by erudita74 » 06 Jun 2013, 04:50

justinfrombklyn wrote:This is great thank you erudita. But is there anyone that can try to translate the words at least so I can understand the context

Thanks again

These types of documents are very difficult to decipher, which is why you are probably not getting translation help for them on the forum. While I can make out some of the words here and there, I can't get enough of them to understand what these documents are saying. This is the reason why years ago I gave up on doing the riveli microfilms for the Sicilian ancestral towns of my husband and myself. I did only one roll of riveli microfilm for one of the towns and found only one record which had the name of one of my husband's ancestors. All that document gave me was a count of the number of mules he possessed and on which he was being taxed. I have found the Latin church records for that town to be of much more value in getting the ancestry back into the 1600s, so I have concentrated my efforts on those. I am glad though that you found the article about those type of records of some value. Hopefully someone else on the forum has experience in deciphering and translating the Sicilian riveli documents. From samples I have seen of them from time to time, I think they tend to vary in format and specific content, depending on the town in which they are found.


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