Thursday, October 13, 2016

My First Foray Into Italian Civil Registration Records - Success!!

My two grandsons have Italian roots - three of their great-grandparents were of Italian ancestry.  Their great-grandmother has provided information about births, marriages and deaths from family records for two of the Italian lines - hers and her late husband's line.  But I want records.  I want to have records for her, for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

According to the great-grandmother, her parents were Leone Morandi (born 8 October 1894) and Maria Angeli (born 8 July 1896), both in Bagni-di-Lucca in Lucca province.  I don't have a marriage date for them.

I had no idea if I would be able to find records for these 2nd great-grandparents of my grandsons, but it was worth investing some time in the attempt.

1)  I went to FamilySearch to see what records are available for Bagni-di-Lucca.  I put "lucca" in the "Filter by location" field on the Historical Record Collection list (

There are two collections - both Civil Registration collections.  There are no indexes for these collections - I have to browse them.

2)  I chose the second one to browse:

This collection has 1,335,192 images.

3)  I clicked on the "Browse this collection" link on the screen above, and saw the first Waypoint list - for towns within Lucca province:

Bagni di Lucca is the second town on the list.

4)  I clicked on Bagni di Lucca on the screen above, and saw the second Waypoint list - of record books for the town:

I see "books" for "Allegati (matrimonia)" [wedding attachments, according to Google Translate) and for "Morti" (deaths) and for Nati (births).

5)  I'm looking for an 1894 birth and an 1896 birth, so I picked the collection for "Nati 1886-1899 Pubblicazions 1866-1873."  I clicked on that link and saw the first image - which has an FHL microfilm number on it:

There are 3003 images on this microfilm and online "book" - for births from 1886-1899.  I went browsing, and figured out that the birth records were in chronological order (except for several right at the front.

6)  I quickly figured out that the records were in Italian (duh!) and then was faced with the translation problem.  I went back to Google Translate and figured out that "eighteen hundred ninety six" was something like "milleottocento novanta sei."  I checked all of the names of the months and other numbers from one to 31 too because I knew I needed to figure out the day of the month.   For Maria Angeli, I figured out I should be looking for her birth date of "otto luglio."

7)  It took a while to find Maria's birth record - I clicked on every 100 images until I could figure out the order used in the record book - but I found it on image 1490 of 3003, using the key words for the year and the date that I had determined from Google Translate (three images):

The full page image, downloaded from FamilySearch looks like this:

As you can see, there are three birth records on each image at this point in this record "book."  I renamed the file and saved the record to my Angeli surname file on my computer.

8)  Here's my attempt at a source citation for this record is:

"Italy, Lucca, Lucca, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1866-1929." Images. FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 October 2016), "Nati 1886-1899 Pubblicazions 1866-1873," Atti di Nascita, image 1490 of 3003, Maria Angeli birth entry; citing original records from Tribunale di Lucca (Lucca Court, Lucca). 

I looked for Leone Morandi's birth record also in 1894, but that was before I figured out that there was more than one record on each image.  i'm going to go back to look again.  

There is a notation below Maria Angeli name on the record above - it denotes her marriage on 11 9 1920 to Leone Morandi.  Cool - another record to look for!  The boys' great-grandmother will be thrilled!

9)  I am not an experienced researcher in Italian records, but I am willing to try.  I think I understand how FamilySearch has put these records online, and I am very grateful for these records and all of the records they have digitized and put in record collections online.  The alternative is to search on microfilms at the Family History Library and/or a local FamilySearch Library..  

Since there are no indexes yet for these records, I am willing to invest some time in browsing for records, and have a real sense of accomplishment when I find something I was looking for.  When indexes are available for these records from all over Italy, then real research breakthroughs will occur for many genealogists with Italian roots.  Until the, the process above in unindexed collections will have to suffice. 


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Stephen said...

Thanks, Randy. You're lucky: my great-grandfather was from Lucca, but he was born in 1861, just before the available records start. Oh well.

Zio Fani said...

Hi Randy,

I have been a reader of your blog for some 10+ years. I specialize in Italian research and appreciate you writing about the topic even though it is not your forte.

A quick tip for you is that while FS has not indexed the records the old Italian Mayors did the work for you and indexed them for you during the period of the record. The index can be found at the end of each year in the birth years you are searching.

This tool enabled me to find your Leone in about two minutes. The source is below with the URL to take you to the record image.

"Italia, Lucca, Lucca, Stato Civile (Tribunale), 1866-1929," images, FamilySearch ( : 22 May 2014), Lucca > Bagni di Lucca > Nati 1886-1899 Pubblicazioni 1866-1873 > image 1224 of 3003; Tribunale di Lucca (Lucca Court, Lucca).

Ciao... Michael

Zio Fani said...


Below is the info for the marriage and image link... keep up your great work.

"Italia, Lucca, Lucca, Stato Civile (Tribunale), 1866-1929," images, FamilySearch ( : 22 May 2014), Lucca > Bagni di Lucca > Matrimoni 1912-1929 Morti 1911-1917 > image 668 of 2139; Tribunale di Lucca (Lucca Court, Lucca).

Ciao... Michael

Zio Fani said...


His parents marriage:

"Italia, Lucca, Lucca, Stato Civile (Tribunale), 1866-1929," images, FamilySearch ( : 22 May 2014), Lucca > Bagni di Lucca > Pubblicazioni 1874-1899 Matrimoni 1866-1890 > image 3040 of 3142; Tribunale di Lucca (Lucca Court, Lucca).

Her parents marriage:

"Italia, Lucca, Lucca, Stato Civile (Tribunale), 1866-1929," images, FamilySearch ( : 22 May 2014), Lucca > Bagni di Lucca > Matrimoni 1891-1899 Morti 1866-1884 Indici decennali (matrimoni) 1866-1875, 1876-1885, 1886-1895. > image 350 of 2899; Tribunale di Lucca (Lucca Court, Lucca).

Her mother's Birth (Maria Lucia Magi):

"Italia, Lucca, Lucca, Stato Civile (Tribunale), 1866-1929," images, FamilySearch ( : 22 May 2014), Lucca > Bagni di Lucca > Nati 1868-1885 > image 1771 of 3088; Tribunale di Lucca (Lucca Court, Lucca).

Ciao... Michael

Randy Seaver said...


Thank you so much for the great hint. And the work finding the other records. After I finished my post, I found Leone's birth record and the 1920 marriage record. I looked for Maria's father's birth also - I knew it was 1868 from the family records, and I found an Angeli in about the right month but it didn't have the right parents. I will have to check the indexes you mentioned. I did see the index for one year in the births when I was browsing.

This was good genealogy fun for me - I learned a lot (even how to count in Italian) and will integrate my blog post into my FamilySearch Digital Microfilm presentation I'm giving in November.

Randy Seaver said...

A question, Michael:

Do you use the film strip to find the yearly indexes, or do you find them by finding the start or end of the year?

Zio Fani said...

I use both methods and my experience from many years reading microfilm frame by frame.

All the best on future Italian research and look forward to reading from your experience in Italian records.

Ciao... Michael