On today’s date in 1823, my third great grandparents Francesco Antonio Ferraro and Angela Maria Delle Cave were married in San Pietro Apostolo in Talanico, Sei Casali d’Arienzo (present-day San Felice a Cancello), Caserta in the Kingdom of Naples. They were the parents of Angelo Ferraro.
Francesco Antonio was born in 1798 in Talanico to Filippo Ferraro and Giuseppa Fruggieri. Angela Maria Delle Cave was born in 1800 in Talanico to Luca Delle Cave and Olimpia Librera. They were all contadini.
Filippo had not yet become a soldier in the Terzo Cacciatori. Since Italy was not yet a unified nation, the Kingdom of Naples was half of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The Terzo Cacciatori were a branch of the army of the Bourbon King Ferdinand.
Five months after their marriage their first child was born. In order from oldest to youngest, these are the children of their union whose births I have located in San Felice a Cancello, Marcianise, and San Prisco:
Clemente (died in infancy) – born in San Felice a Cancello
Filippo – born in Marcianise
Clemente – born in San Felice a Cancello
Carmine – born in San Felice a Cancello
Maria Giuseppa – born in San Prisco
Luigi – born in San Felice a Cancello
Angelo – born in San Prisco (our ancestor)
In 1824, Francesco Antonio was listed as a soldier in the Terzo Cacciatori on Filippo’s birth record in Marcianise. In 1827, when the second Clemente was born, Filippo was listed as a contadino.
There are six years between the birth of Luigi and Angelo. I do not know where Francesco Antonio and Angela Maria were living between 1836 and 1842 (the birth year of Angelo.)
Diocese of Acerra church records at Family Search
Santa Maria Capua Vetere Tribunale records at Family Search
Women’s History Month: Rispetto per I molti italiano levatrici nella mia genealogia. There are many midwives in the Italian parts of my tree. They were farmers’ wives, tailors’ wives, shepherds’ wives, innkeepers’ mothers, blacksmiths’ daughters, and landowners’ daughters. One was even an unwed mother who was the Ricevitrice di Proietti (receiver at the foundling wheel). She was a landowner’s daughter.
The first one I found was Maria Giuseppa Marcella. She was there when my great grandfather was born. She was named in civil birth records because the fathers weren’t able to report the birth. She would have to go to the municipal hall to do this. I was also lucky to find many baptismal records where a mammana or ostetrice is mentioned.
My great grandfather’s father was sick, so his sister, Maria Giuseppa went to town hall. She delivered several of Filippo‘s children and the children of many others in Case Bruciate.
A levatrice not only assisted in birthings but provided medical help to women for all female ailments. She also provided different kinds of help when there was unwanted pregnancies, as it was her responsibility to leave the baby at the foundling wheel. If the baby’s health was in danger at birth, she would perform a baptism. She also was known to assist women in their desire to maintain their youth, etc.
When I found one of these levatrice in Pescara, I could usually trace who in their close relationships was also a levatrice. In Caserta and Napoli, I have not been able to do that yet. I am positive I will find more in Campania and Abruzzo.
A couple years ago I was informed by a cousin that my great grandmother was likely familiar with midwifery because she was familiar with traditional folk remedies.
In honor of Women’s History Month this week, the following are the italiano levatrici nella mia genealogia:
Serafina Merlenghi, my great grandmother
Maria Giuseppa Marcella and
her mother Maria Carolina Colangeli (direct ancestress) and
her mother Maria Carmina Crocetta (direct ancestress) and
her mother-in-law Maria Carmina Marcucci Collalto (direct ancestress)
March is Women’s History Month, making it an excellent time to focus on the ancestresses in my genealogy. I tried a memory exercise off the top of my head going alphabetically listing names of women in my tree. I did pretty well, with the exception of Y and X.
I also listed off the top of my head where they lived. If I could find their profession, station, or husband’s station, I listed that too. All of these women were born pre-1870 and were born overseas.* Only two on my list are immigrants.
Here we go:
A is for Apolline Weyland, 9th great grandmother, Liederscheidt, Moselle, France, a laborer’s wife
B is for Anna Saveria Barbacone, 5th great grandmother, Rione di San Giovanni, Penne, Pescara, Italy, a contadina
C is for Cecilia “Cilla” Vocciero, 7th great grandmother, Talanico, Kingdom of Naples, unknown
D is for Dorotea Frattarola, 7th great grandmother, Farindola, Pescara, Italy, landowner’s mother
E is for Elisabetha Stauder, 8th great grandmother, Schweyen, Moselle, France, laborer’s wife
F is for Karolina Friederika Wilhemina Fehlig, 3rd great grandmother, Grohnde, Hameln-Pyrmont, Niedersachsen, Germany, master tailor’s wife
G is for Anna Dorothea Maria Grabe, 4th great grandmother, Grossmehlra, Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen, Thuringen, Germany, miller owner’s wife
H is for Anne Marie Aloisia Heinzen, 2nd great grandmother, Brig, Canton Valais, Switzerland, immigrant – dress-maker
I is for Ignota (Italian for unknown), mother of Panfilo Zenone, husband of Maria Giustina Marcella, Panfilo’s mother left Panfilo at the foundling wheel in Penne, Pescara, Italy
J is for Elisabetta di Julio, 6th great grandmother, Farindola, Pescara, Italy, unknown
K is for Kunigunde (No Last Name Known), 9th great grandmother, Hornbach, Sudwestpfalz, Rhineland Palatinate, Germany, unknown
L is for Laisa Girardo, 8th great grandmother, Talanico, Kingdom of Naples, unknown
M is for Marie Louise Koppel, 3rd great grandmother, Koerner, Sonderhausen, Thüringen, Germany, immigrant – miller owner’s daughter
N is for Vittoria Di Norscia, 6th great grandmother, Rione di San Giovanni, Penne, Pescara, Italy, a lacemaker
O is for Odile Kolsch, 8th great grandmother, Vinningen, Germany, wife of the Eschevin de Justice
P is for Veneranda Paolucci, 6th great grandmother, Farindola, Pescara, Italy, a contadina
Q is for Anna Elisabetha Dorre-mother of Quirinus Eckebrecht, 4th great grandmother, Grossmehlra, Sonderhausen, Thüringen, Germany, laborer’s wife
R is for Laura Rosa, 5th great grandmother, Contrada Tavo, Farindola, Pescara, Italy, a contadina
S is for Sandra Dragone, 5th great grandmother, Talanico, Kingdom of Naples, unknown
T is for Tommasina Secondina, 10th great grandmother, Kingdom of Naples, unknown
U is for Ursula Magliulo, 7th great grandmother, Talanico, Kingdom of Naples, unknown
V is for Vittoria Gambacorta, 5th great grandmother, Rione di San Giovanni, Penne, Pescara, Italy, a lacemaker
W is for Caroline Christina Wilhemina Julianne Geselle, 5th great grandmother, Sankt Andreasberg, Goslar, Niedersachsen, Germany, wife of silver mineworks supervisor
X is for all of the women in the tree with no surname. They were in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy.
Y is for Magdalena SteYer, 5th great grandmother, Huberhof, Nuenschweiler, Rhineland Palatinate, Germany, a farmer
Z is for Anna Apollonia Ziehl, 7th great grandmother, Monbijou, Leichelbingen, Rhineland Palatinate, Germany, farm manager’s daughter
*I only have one female ancestor in my tree that was born pre-1870 in America – Katharina Schuttler Eckebrecht. Her parents were immigrants.
Can you find one for every letter in your tree?
For my next entry this month, I plan to focus on a female ancestor we only know by her first name.
Immigrant Gelsomina Ferraro Ciocco was born in 1884 in Naples and came through Ellis Island in 1904 with her mother, Filomena Napolitano, and siblings Angela Maria Ferraro Valerioti,Elena Ferraro Scarnecchia, and Carmine Ferraro, my great grandfather, when she was 19. She was the mother of well – known biostatistician Dr. Antonio Ciocco. Like her mother and sisters, she didn’t speak English, and was detained for a simple reason. Her father, Angelo Ferraro, was not on time to collect the women to take them to Brooklyn. The passenger manifest was marked that she could read and write in her native tongue. She was my great grand aunt and the only sibling of my great grandfather that we have a photo of.
One year later Gelsomina was residing with her parents when they lived in Brooklyn. By 1907, Angelo and Filomena had moved to Columbus, Ohio. That is where Gelsomina likely met her future husband Angelo Michele (Michael) Ciocco. They were married in early 1908 by Father Sovilla in St. John the Baptist Church.
Michael (Angelo Michele) Ciocco was born at #289 Via Borga, Guardialfiera, Campobasso, Molise, Italy on May 30, 1883 to Antonio Ciocco, a pasta maker, and Rosaria D’Onofrio. His birth record (#41) via Antenati.
Gelsomina’s son Antonio Ciocco was born May 1, 1908. Michael was naturalized in 1916 in Franklin County, Ohio.
When Michel’s parents brought the family to America, they ran an Italian bakery in Columbus. Michael worked there and was also able to graduate high school.
Gelsomina went by Jessie in “American.” I was glad United States Passport Applications up to I think, 1925, are on Ancestry and we have those photos of Gelsomina, Antonio, and Michael from 1921. It gave me a hint about where Gelsomina had lived in America up until that point. She stated she lived in Brooklyn, Chicago, and Columbus. Oh, and she was also apparently 5’5″!
Remember in 1908 she married Michael? In 1910 Michael was living with his parents and working at their bakery with Gelsomina and son Antonio nowhere in sight. So I wondered if she was living in Chicago because Michael’s passport application stated that he had only lived in Columbus since he came to America. Could she have been living near my great grandfather, her brother, in Chicago? Or near Angela Maria Ferraro Valerioti her sister in Chicago?
Maybe Gelsomina was living with her parents in Columbus. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find them on the 1910 Census. In 1912 she traveled to Naples with her parents and visited 22 Montesanto Naples. There is a monastery on Montesanto today, although not at the same address. When her mother Filomena passed away in Columbus in 1914, Gelsomina was the informant on her death record.
In 1920, Gelsomina was living with her husband according to the Federal Census. She was the bookkeeper for his pasta business – Columbus Macaroni Company.
Gelsomina returned to Naples two more times in the 1920s. The 1925 return passenger manifest showed Gelsomina and Michael lived at 101 Thompson Street in New York City.
In 1927 and 1928 I found Gelsomina and Michael in the Newark, NJ City Directory. Gelsomina was the Treasurer of their company Ciocco Macaroni Company, Inc.
Like Gelsomina’s sister Angela Maria’s husband Jerry Valerioti, Michael Ciocco appears on the letterhead of my great grandfather’s opera school, the International Grand Opera Association in Chicago. Michael Ciocco was listed as “press agent.”
Michael Ciocco’s parents continued to have their Italian bakery business in Columbus while continuing to speak their native tongue, according to the census records I found on them, and nobody suffered for it. Michael’s father passed in 1932 and his mother passed in 1936.
Dr. Antonio Ciocco – Gelsomina Ferraro’s Son
Gelsomina only had one child – Dr. Antonio Ciocco and he was extremely important to health research in Pennsylvania, if not to the nation. To discover where Gelsomina and Michael went after retirement from pasta manufacturing, I had to search for information on my 1st cousin two times removed Dr. Antonio Ciocco. By 1935, Gelsomina and Michael had moved to Baltimore Maryland, where they lived with their son Antonio who was employed by the Federal Government at the United States Department of Health as a statistician.
I found a newspaper article on newspapers.com stating that Antonio was the chief of the Hagerstown, Maryland Field Station of the U.S. Public Health Service. They likely moved to Pittsburgh with Antonio, because, in 1957, Michael Ciocco passed away in Pittsburgh, and in 1958, Gelsomina Ferraro passed away outside of Pittsburgh in New Brighton, Beaver County. Antonio was the informant on both death records and signed his name as Dr.
Gelsomina was laid to rest at St. Joseph’s cemetery in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband.
Dr. Antonio Ciocco held science degrees from the University of Naples and Johns Hopkins. The latter was likely the reason for his previous Baltimore address.
Articles referencing Antonio’s work in Pittsburgh starting around 1950 fill newspapers.com. He conducted many studies, including some on cancer statistics, and is most well-known for his study on the effects of pollution in Donora, Pennsylvania that was published in coordination with another researcher in 1948. The deadly and historic wall of polluted fog is also called the Donora Smog. In four days in October 1948, it killed 20 people and is believed to be the cause of death for at least 5 others.
I tried finding information about Michael and Gelsomina’s pasta companies but I didn’t turn up anything. The Campobasso ancestry of Angelo Michele Ciocco and his parents can very easily be traced on Antenati.
Who do you think Great Grand Aunt Gelsomina resembles the most?
My immigrant great grandfather has one more sister – Giovannina Ferraro.
Talanico, San Felice a Cancello, Caserta, Campania – When Vito Barbarino and Angela Nicolino are appearing in your pedigree twice as your forebears, you know two people in your Ferraro ancestry must’ve been related. It turns out that great great grandfather Immigrant #3 ~ Retired Army Captain and Merchant Angelo Ferraro‘s parents were related because Vito Barbarino and Angela Nicolino from Roccarainola are in his ancestry on both sides of his family. They were his great great grandparents twice through their daughter Giulia Barbarino – the ancestress of Angelo’s mother Angela Maria Delle Cave and Giovanna Barbarino – the ancestress of Angelo’s father Francesco Antonio Ferraro.
Giulia and Giovanna Barbarino were sisters, both daughters of Vito Barbarino and Angela Nicolino.
This all makes the parents of Angelo Ferraro third cousins.
Vito Barbarino and Angela Nicolino began to appear in the Talanico, San Felice a Cancello’s San Pietro Apostolo’s church records around 1690, with the notation that they were from a parish of Roccarainola, which is about 5 miles from the ancestral town of Angelo’s parents, San Felice a Cancello.
What can be gleaned from the online church records from the Diocese of Acerra concerning the Barbarinos is that their son Giacomo Antonio was at one point contributing the largest amount of tomolo of grain in tithes to the parish of San Leonardo in San Felice a Cancello. Tomolo is an old Southern Italian measurement.
You can see the from pedigree of both parents of Angelo that, yep Barbarino and Nicolino are indeed in each one.
Giulia Barbarino married Lorenzo Delle Cave in 1721. Giovanna Barbarino married Leonardo De Lardo in 1716. Descendants of both sisters married approximately 100 years later and had Angelo Ferraro.
So. They were related. At least they weren’t 1st cousins HA!
Immigrant Carmine Costantino Girolamo Angelo Ferraro was born in 1878 in the Montecalvario neighborhood of Naples Italy and came to America as a Franciscan priest in 1904. He was my great grandfather. Montecalvario is a northern neighborhood in the Quartieri Spagnoli, an infamous section of neighborhoods created in the 16th century by the Spanish rulers. In short, they housed the troops that controlled the populace and crushed rebellions. It is a neighborhood known for high crime and unemployment.
When my great grandfather was born, his father was a merchant and his parents named him after his mother Filomena Napolitano’s father Carmine, in the Italian naming tradition. Carmine was the second son, and would therefore be named after his maternal grandfather. The family lived on Via Pignasecca, #16. See: On This Day in 1878. Carmine was one of 6 children. The others were in order of birth: Antonio (oldest child), Angela Maria, Gelsomina, Elena, and Giovania.
Late in life, my great grandfather wrote an essay on the state of opera in America published in Who’s Who in Music in 1954. At the back of the book was his biography, written by him. He put in there that he attended high school at the Naples Royal Military College/Reale Accademia Militare. It is also known as Nunziatella. This is a link to the English Wikipedia entry on Nunziatella. He also put in there that he attended the Naples Conservatory of Music Naples at San Pietro a Majella. You can read about that conservatory at this Wikipedia link. One more note about his Naples education in the biography was that he had a Ph.D in Literature and Romance Languages. Since his father was a retired military officer, Capitano Angelo Ferraro, I can see he might have attended the Nunziatella, but of course, we don’t know if he attended for a few years or just one year.
By 1899 he was in the Italian Army for two years as a Lieutenant. He stated later in a federal file I obtained here that his Italian military service was completed in 1901. That would have made him 23. He is the only great grandfather I have that I cannot obtain his military record from Italy. The Archives of Naples claims the draft year he belonged to was destroyed by allied bombing in WWII. I wonder if that is really accurate.
In 1904 he acquired a passport to come to America as a Franciscan Priest at the Questura in Naples. When did he have time to study the priesthood? That is a very good question. My grandmother had a letter from him stating he did missionary work in Peru as well. This had to have happened before he first came through Ellis Island. In my previous post about the first time he put his foot on U.S. soil: On this day 112 years ago… he traveled to America with his mother and sisters (excluding Giovania) to meet their father Angelo and brother Antonio in Brooklyn. Carmine was NOT detained at Ellis Island.
By 1906, according to the word of mouth of my forebears, Carmine had left the priesthood. There are conflicting stories on where he was a priest. I have heard NYC and all of the towns in Ohio that begin with a “C.” I did check with the archival center for the Diocese of Columbus to see if he was a priest there. Why Columbus? Because that is where I found him in the 1907 Columbus Directory living with his parents at 394 Goodale. Whatever happened to made him leave is no bother to me, and since I have no document or record to say why he left, you are just going to have to use your imagination. They couldn’t find anything on a priest with his name.
It is my understanding that at that time, if you can believe the librarian at Columbus, Columbus had the largest little Italy second to NYC, so it is natural that they had the Italian language newspaper L’Eco there.
In 1908, Carmen married Helen Kirsch before a Justice of the Peace in Chicago. I would like to take this opportunity to remind my cousins that Carmen and his brother-in-law Jerry Valerioti seemed to move to the same places during this time period. Jerry and Carmen’s sister Angela Maria were detailed a few weeks ago here: Immigrant #2: Angela Maria Ferraro Valerioti – Mother of a Renowned NYC Investigator and a NYC Refuse Company President. Approximately one month before the birth of my grandfather, also named Carmen, in May 1909, my great grandfather filed his Declaration of Intention to become a citizen of the United States with an occupation recorded as “teacher of foreign languages.” In the 1910 census I found what I thought was the incorrect people or was another case of an indexer on Ancestry making the census 1910 census entry whatever they wanted like when they called Fritz Eckebrecht “Grity” Eckebrecht. But the name of the spouse, Helen, and child incorrectly spelled Carmein, and birthplaces of the parents, even though it should say Switzerland for Helen’s mother, was too coincidental. See for yourself-
And I was also thrown off by my great grandfather’s occupation/industry:
The “W” next to fruit stands for “working on his own account, not an employee or employee.” Hmmm…Helen must have been pregnant at the time of that census because their son Angelo was born that year. When he was naturalized in 1911 his occupation was listed as “broker.” Then I knew for sure that was my great grandfather. Also in 1911, Helen and Carmen welcome their oldest daughter Philomena Mesta. Not only was she named after her paternal grandmother Filomena Napolitano, but her maternal great grandmother in Switzerland was named Regina Anna Maria Catharina Josepha Philomena Gentinetta.
Back to that biography he wrote for Who’s Who in Music with a mention of his Chicago education. He stated he had a D.O. from Chicago Medical University. Hmmm….
The family moved 4 times in the following years until 1920, moving between Ohio, New York, Chicago, and back to Ohio and had four more children: Louis, Anna, Helene, and Victor. Before a 1914 move to New York I found an odd newspaper article that referenced C. Ferraro from Youngstown, Ohio in 1912. At that time my great grandfather’s sister Elena was living in there with her husband Angelo Scarnecchia. I am not positive it is my ancestor but below is the article regardless.
That article is another one that goes into the “Hmmm category” isn’t it? There was no opera singer named Armanno Vittorio though. I tried to find him. Nor was this tenor in anymore newspaper articles from this time period. But there was and still is a Colon Theatre. It is called Teatro Colon. You can just draw your own conclusions this article because I just don’t know if it means anything or not.
We also have a photo of my great grandfather that I tried to date to the 1910s. He was posing with what looked like a gavel, white gloves, a mantle, and an apron. For a while I thought that was the photo at his naturalization until a friend of mine showed it to her husband, a Mason, and he explained that was a Masonic mantle and with the white gloves it meant he was the Grand Master. I don’t know what town or state it was from.
By 1920 he was living in Warren, Ohio again and told the census taker he was a grand opera singer. In 1921, Carmen was the Director of the Youngstown International Glee Club in addition to his traveling opera singer business. According to that biography I have mentioned, he wrote that he was an opera conductor since 1922. They had their daughter Gloria in Ohio before moving back to Queens, NY where their last was born in 1924, Romauldo. That should be 9 total children. Also in 1924, my great grandfather toured Europe and took my grandfather along.
One more note about the biography – he wrote he was awarded the Order of the Crown of Italy in 1920. He wrote that title given to him was “chevalier” and that is FRENCH! It should be “Cavaliere!” I have never found anything to prove this or disprove and quite frankly I have no idea where to find out if this Order of the Crown award was given to him.
At this point, my great grandfather didn’t go anywhere for a few years and ran his music school. In October 1931 he married Natalie Schinitz. The following week he was arrested on suspicion of alien smuggling and ended up serving a prison sentence in Leavenworth for 1 count of mail fraud. This is the Chicago Tribune link to the article about his arrest. Basically he took money from people to bring their relatives into the country. He was a model prisoner, worked in the prison infirmary, and was released after serving only 1 year of his 2 year sentence. The only objection to his being paroled came from his brother-in-law, Helen’s brother, Albert Kirsch. Yep.
His 9 children were split between three homes while he was in prison. Two daughters when to live with a niece in New York (probably Margherita Valerioti, I have no proof), the oldest boys, including my great grandfather, went to live with my great great grandmother Anna Heinzen Kirsch, and the youngest stayed with Natalie. While he was in prison, there is a bit of evidence that Natalie divorced him, so I believe then the youngest children would have gone to live with their grandmother Anna Heinzen Kirsch. I have no proof of that though.
By 1940 he had moved back to Brooklyn and was living with two of his daughters. He began using the name Mario Carmen and was listed as vocal instructor with the industry “opera” in the 1940 Federal Census under the name Mario Ferraro. He taught singing until he suffered a heart attack in 1962. He passed away on September 5, 1963 and the name Mario was used on his death record with Carmen.
Final Thoughts on this Posting
There are a ton of oral stories associated with my great grandfather. I only stuck to what was found in the paper trail he left in Italy and across the country. It was very easy to find records about him and to locate articles about him. I have no doubt that I haven’t found everything yet-this includes all of the articles about my great grandfather’s federal case in the Chicago newspapers and also one from the New York Times. You may be reading this and think I should have included more of them. Maybe you are right.
I have a story about trying to get his birth record from Italy the same time I was trying to get a copy of his case file from the Department of Justice by filing a Freedom of Information Act Request. The Department of Justice told me I couldn’t have the United States Attorney’s file on a man born in 1878 because: 1. I hadn’t proven he was dead, even though he was born in 1878; and 2. They weren’t positive I was a United States citizen.
So I appealed their decision on my Freedom of Information Act Request. That same day that I mailed my appeal to Washington D.C., which is about two hours away, I mailed my request off to the Commune of Naples, in Campania, Italy. It was October 31st. Naples is a place that is over the ocean on another continent and stuff… Two weeks later to the day I had my great grandfather’s birth record in my United States mailbox. Then on December 27th, I received a letter from the United States Department of Justice that they were reviewing my appeal. It is easier to get records from Italy you see. I never got the case file from the Department of Justice.
Columbus, Chicago, Warren, and Youngstown City Directories
The New York Times
Wikipedia and Various Travel Websites
Cook County Birth, Marriages, and Death Records
Warren County Death Records
New York City Death Records
Who’s Who in Music, 1954
Family photos, memorabilia, documents, and letters
The nice people at the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Diocese of Columbus
next immigrant: My other immigrant great grandfather
If it is not too much to ask, I would like Babbo Natale or La Befana to put more Campania records on Antenati San Beniculturali, for Sinterklaas to put more German Lutheran records on Archion.de, and for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to find Angelo’s Special Inquiry Hearing case file. I would love to find those missing marriage documents in Caserta and see the military documents relating to Francesco Antonio Ferraro!
Last year I heard ALL of Napoli would be on Antenati this year. HA! Or should I say “ho ho ho!” Nola, Caserta, Salerno, Chieti, Novara how I wish you were on Antenati too!
Antenati is the Italian Archives record repository. It translates as “Ancestors.” It is free. The images are downloadable and clearer than microfilm and of course, enlargeable. Once you have the name of the province your ancestor came from, you can check to see if the archives from that province have been added to Antenati by the Italians. Eventually Italy will have all archives uploaded to the website. The newest added archives are mentioned at the bottom of their homepage under “latest news” or on the news button at the top of the page. And oh YES, on that homepage, if you cannot read Italian, click the Union Jack in the upper left corner!
There are three ways to take you to the archives to look at the civil records. Let me explain the first way. You can click Regions and Sources on the homepage. See the picture below. I selected Regions and Sources and this is the page it took me to: Regions and Sources (Territorio e le fonte)
When I get to this page I clicked on the map of Italy in the Piemonte Region at the top of the boot to see if Verbania records have been added. I got the message that the “images not yet available” for this province. But by hitting Verbania, or any other province listed for Piemonte, Antenati gave me the email address of their archives. Note the three tabs that can be clicked at the bottom of the left half of the image for Information, Civil State, and Military drafts. Important information is listed telling a researcher what is available and where it is available if it is not online. If I am checking for Torino, look at all of the information it gave to me, expecially on how to find military records in English:
Torino even has a fourth tab where links for other sources can be found. Very, very nice Torino researchers. I am jealous! If I was looking for records in Torino on Antenati I would hit “Browse civil state records.”
The second way to get to where I want to browse records of my ancestors is by selecting the blue wording “State Archives” on the home page. I would be taken to a page listing all of the State Archives available for browsing on Antenati, to this page. One does not need to go to the first option if they know their archives are on Antenati. I like this way most of the time because I know that I am usually heading to the Archives of the Province of Pescara. At this point now, if looking at the records on Antenati, English is of no use. All of the browsing I do in the records on this website will be in Italian.
After I hit my selection of “Archivio di Stato di Pescara” I am taken to a page that looks like this:
Most state archives on Antenati have this same setup or will have the same setup once all civil records are added to Antenati.* In Pescara, and other states that were once part of the Kingdom of Naples, the years for each designation of records listed above is this:
Stato Civile Napoleonico: 1809-1815
Stato Civile della Restaurazione: 1816-1860
Stato Civile Italiano: 1861-1930ish (note that birth records won’t go past 1910 because of privacy laws)
In some of the northern states, the Napoleonic records start earlier. Indexes made by the town scribe for each year of records are either at the beginning or end of the records in Pescara. But remember if you are searching the 1809 records in Pescara, there are not many indexes in any of the record batches. Town officials didn’t keep them yet. You will have to read each record to look for your ancestor. If you are searching a town with indexes for 1809 in Pescara you are very lucky.
After you decide what time period to search you are taken to an alphabetical listing of all of the communes in that archives. From there you are taken to the list of records available for the commune.
*Some archives on Antenati have church records in the database. I think I saw one the other day going back to the 1400s. The Archives of Rome do not resemble the Pescara setup above either. The Comune of Naples is setup by its quarters and contains few indexes.
The Third Way to Access the Database’s Records:
At the home page, at the top you could have clicked “Browse.” Don’t worry, just hit the Union Jack in the top right corner again if the site has reverted back to Italian. It would have taken you to a page that looks like this:
The only thing you need to fill out is the place and the year fields. Hit “Search.” After a few searching moments a page will appear with the archival holdings available in the database. To browse the desired records you will need to hit the word “Apri” on the left next to the records. This way has the same desired affect as the first method I told you about. Once again, everything beyond the word “apri” will be in Italian.
The final feature of the website to tell you about is the “Browse Names” option on the home page. If you click that option on the homepage you will be taken to this page where you can search indexes done by volunteers. Below is an image of the page.
The area pointed out in red tells you which archives on Antenati have been already been indexed. The fields are self-explanatory but I give a warning. Only a few archives have been indexed so far AND in Pescara, particularly in Penne and Farindola, the indexes aren’t complete. One should search for their ancestors B/M/D the old fashioned way- by browsing the indexes done by the town officials yearly at the beginning or end of each year of records.
This is a quick example: I typed in my great grandmother’s last name in the Cognome field: Merlenghi. I know she was born in Farindola so I put that in the field for place (Comune/Localita). I decided to not fill in anything else because Farindola is small and I hit search. She is right at the top of names as you can see below.
I hit “Apri” under the names of her parents. It takes me to this page and there is her birth record!
One more tip when searching in Italian civil records: The additional marriage documents you need in the allegati or processetti are numbered and match the same number at the top of the marriage act. Good luck!