Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Hey Randy: Where in the World is Monopoli and Are There Genealogy Records?

At the Chula Vista Genealogical Society annual picnic today, we had a celebration of life for our  recently deceased board member, Wanda, and shared the event with a religious group that she was a member of.  I talked to several from the religious group, and one fellow asked me a question about how to find records of his family from Monopoli in Italy.

I told him that had records in digital microfilm form, and could be accessed for free, but he would have to register to use them.  He did immediately!  I told him that the search was a bit complicated, and he assured me was great on a computer.

So I asked him to send me an email with the surname of interest and I would try to lead him to the records and how to access them with results.  He immediately sent me an email.

When I got home this afternoon, I set off to learn about the records for Monopoli, which I had never heard of and had no clue where it was.  I checked Wikipedia, and there it was, on the Adriatic Sea at about the "heel" of Italy, with an interesting history.

Here is the text of the email I sent back to my new friend (with the surname anonymized):


I found Monopoli in Bari province on the heel of Italy.

On the FamilySearch Historical Records List (, I entered Bari in the Filter field.  For the results, see for the list of databases available.  You will have to sign into FamilySearch.

On the database with an index, you can see the indexed information but can only see the record image when you go to a FamilySearch Library like the one in Mission Valley.  There's one in CV too.

I went searching for M*****o in Monopoli on the first database, which is a "browse only" collection - which means you cannot search a digitized index.  But you can look at the digital images.  Here are the steps to take:

1)  On the collection page ( click on the "Browse through 1,626,044 images" link.

3)  The next screen ( is a list of the different villages in Bari with records in this collection.

4)  Search for Monopoli on the list and click on it - here is the link for it:

5)  That brings you to the record sets "books" they have for Monopoli between 1866 and 1929.  Everything is in Italian, of course.  But "Morti" = death, "Nati" = birth, "Matrimoni" = marriage, "Allegati" = allegations of marriage, etc.  The biggest collection is marriages, with books from 1866 to 1929.  Births are only from 1901 to 1911.

Fortunately, most of these "books" have an index in the back by last name.  And they usually have some sort of index number.

6)  I clicked on the 1908 "Matrimoni" book and found  the handwritten index in the back.  Click on the image number box and type in a number in the top left corner of the screen - where it says "Image 1 of 127."  Change the "1" to "124" and hit Enter.  It should go to Image 124 (

On image 124, an index with M names, there is an entry for Saverio M*****o as entry #80.  The challenge is to find that in the other images.  You have to hunt for it - I used the entry #80 to look for it going page-by-page.  I found it on image 42 of 127 (

The image for this marriage record is attached.  This is probably NOT your ancestor but it is probably a relative!

The process takes a while to learn, but I'm sure you can do it.  That's why I gave you both the keystrokes and the link so you can work out the process.

Obviously, if your M*****o ancestors married in another year, you would select the correct year and search it as above.  If you don't know the year of marriage, then you will have to go through the book indexes for each year until you find them.

Do you have the names of your M*****o ancestors (grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.) who were born, married or died in Monopoli in the available time period?  If so, go look for them!!

You could also search for the indexed information on the second collection on the first link above - the one without access to the images.  I found 640 M*****o persons on that index, and many were from Monopoli.


Well, that was fun, and we'll see if my new friend can figure out the Italian records available for his surname.  I hope so.  He may come back and say he can't read the handwriting, or doesn't know the meaning of words, so that's another lesson (probably with an Italian word list on FamilySearch or Google Translate).

You never know, he might join CVGS or one of the other San Diego area genealogy groups - we do have an Italian group.  

Anyone with Italian ancestry interested in looking for 19th and 20th century records of their ancestors can use the example above to find records on FamilySearch.  If they are not on the Historical Record Collections list, they may be in the Family History Library Catalog.


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