Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Dear Randy: How Did You Find the Birth Record for the Italian Ancestor?

In my email, a reader asked me that question, also commenting:  "Have you created a source citation for this record?  Can you show me how?"

1)  Here is how I found the birth record of Giacomo Sturla in the Italian Civil Records found on FamilySearch digital microfilm.

*  A California death record and a Social Security Death Index record said Giacomo Sturla was born on 7 July 1892, and census records said he was born in Italy.  Family information said he was born in Lavagna, Italy, near Genoa.

*  I went to the FamilySearch Catalog ( and typed "Lavagna" in the search box for a place name to determine if there were any records available for Lavagna.

*  A link for "Italy, Genova, Lavagna" appeared and I clicked on that.

*  A page for "Lavagna" appeared and there was a link for only one record set - for "Italy. Genova, Lavagna Civil Registration"

*  That link led me to a page for a set of digital microfilms titled "Italia, Genova, Lavagna. Stato civile : Tribunale, 1866-1939" which is comprised of many microfilms of marriages, deaths and births from Lavagna between 1866 and 1939, but there are not records for some years.

*  The birth record for Giacomo Sturla was in 1892, and I found it in the "Nati, 1892" (births) set of records.  Here is the set of digital images on this set of records - there are 174 of them:

*  I found the birth record for Giacomo Sturla on image 77:

2)  Now for crafting the source citation:

*  RootsMagic does not have a specific source template for Italian civil registration records, but it does have a  source citation template for "Digital Archives," which is useful and appropriate (since the record was found online and not in a physical repository).  Here is the source template open on Giacomo Sturla's profile:

*  I filled in the template fields with the appropriate material on the screen above, and ended up with the completed source citation in RootsMagic:

*  The Footnote source citation is:

"Italia, Genova, Lavagna. Stato civile : Tribunale, 1866-1939;" Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 December 2019), , "Nati, 1892," image 77 of 174, #112, Giacomo Sturla birth record, 7 July 1892; citing records microfilmed at Chiavari (Genova) Tribunale.

3)  I downloaded the record image using the "Download" button on the FamilySearch page, and renamed the file to "GiacomoSturla-1892-BirthReg-LavagnaGenovaItaly-Nati1892-image77of 174" and then placed it in the file for his family on my computer hard drive.  I then added it to the Media for Giacomo Sturla in RootsMagic.

4)  That's it - pretty easy to find once you understand how the digital images are organized, but there is no index so you have to do a bit of searching image-by-image, and then extracting the information to go into the source template.

5)  The next task is to transcribe and translate the information in the record.  I will do that in another post.


Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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