Websites and Organizations for Italian Genealogy Research

Websites and Organizations for Italian Genealogy Research

David Rumsey Map CollectionFrom 1880 to 1920, more than 4 million Italians immigrated to the United States (often, traveling back and forth a few times first), where they tended to live alongside other Italians in urban areas. Today more than 17 million Americans can claim Italian ancestry. Among exciting new...


David Rumsey Map Collection

From 1880 to 1920, more than 4 million Italians immigrated to the United States (often, traveling back and forth a few times first), where they tended to live alongside other Italians in urban areas. Today more than 17 million Americans can claim Italian ancestry.

Among exciting new resources for Italian genealogy are 137 collections of civil registration, church and other records at the free FamilySearch.org. Most aren’t indexed, so to find an ancestor’s records, you’d need to know the comune (the basic administrative division, similar to a municipality) and frazione or contrada (similar to a neighborhood) where he or she lived. An ongoing Italian Ancestors Project is organizing volunteers to index these records.

Family Tree University’s new Italian Genealogy 101 four-week online course, starting May 19, will help you use American records to figure out where in Italy your ancestors came from, then delve into Italian genealogical records.

Ancestry.com has an Italian sister site, Ancestry.it, but it also has collections of Italian records available with a subscription to the US Ancestry.com site. Some of these will duplicate what’s on FamilySearch.org, after an international records-sharing agreement last September.

Many other websites and organizations that aren’t quite as well-known also have resources for tracing Italian roots, including

In Italian Genealogy 101, you’ll learn about all these and other resources for researching your Italian ancestors, including how to access and understand Italian records, and how to deal with common brick walls in Italian family trees.

Italian Genealogy 101 starts May 19 and runs through June 13. You’ll find a course outline and a link to register at Family Tree University.

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  1. Diane, in seeing your post today, I hoped that the reference to FamilySearch’s Italian Ancestors Project meant there were some new developments–new record collections and new indexing efforts in recent months. When I clicked on that link, though, I found that the FamilySearch blog post dates to January 2013 and that the many posts there from people like me eager to help index records from small towns in southern Italy still hadn’t been answered.

    The biggest advance FamilySearch can make in attracting new researchers and helping them discover their Italian ancestry would be to enlist the help of people whose ancestors came from the small towns in southern Italy. The second best thing is to enlist indexers who have been doing research in Italian records and are familiar with the towns, surnames, and language. FamilySearch should have in its database the information for those who have invested in renting microfilms with Italian records and obtained records from the FHL.

    Thanks.