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How to find your ancestors in Italy?

It is not always an easy task, but know that it is possible to find your ancestors in Italy. Today we are going to talk about the search for ancestors, Italian citizenship and much more. Stay tuned in our post!


How to find your ancestors in Italy?

On the internet there are several sites for surname searches”, many of them in Italian, some very complete, others free and others for a fee, the fact is: today we have much easier access to information, even across the ocean. It’s not an easy task, but it’s not impossible either. Let’s go to our post of the day? How to find your ancestors in Italy? Stay with us and make the best of Italy! Here at  Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia  you make the trip of your dreams! ALSO: see our  “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”.

Our Introduction

Some databases have photos, documents, log books and other information that can help you find your Italian roots. We will not deceive you: sometimes it is not possible to find any information, there are also documents that are illegible and therefore unusable. To find as much information as possible, patience is needed, LOTS of patience! How can you find your ancestors in Italy? Let’s go now in search of the ancestors… Let’s now show you some websites. Also read Are you of Italian descent?

1) How to find your ancestors in Italy? BY ANTENATI

In Italy there is a very complete website called Antenati (Ancestors in free translation). The site is managed by the General Directorate of Archives and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, from several cities, which gathered data, documents and made the service available to the public. The good side is that it’s free and you don’t need to log in, the ‘bad’ side is that the site is all in Italian and doesn’t offer (for now) all the regions, but it’s very complete and, within the proposal it has, it fulfills its role.

To search for documents related to your ancestors on the Antenati portal, click on ‘trova nomi’ (find names) in the upper right corner. Then, fill in the form that is shown, indicating as much information as possible (name, surname, type of deed to be found, city/place of origin and year) which will make your search much easier. Then click on the ‘fence’ (search) button to see the results. If you don’t have all the details, that’s fine, but the search will take longer as you’ll need to search document by document to see if you can find what you want. The site contains a lot of information, so it’s not the fastest, but you’ll find just that document that was missing to complete the paperwork, right?! ; )

2) How to find your ancestors in Italy? BY FAMILY SEARCH

Another excellent site for searching documentation is FamilySearch. This site already has its version in English and is much more complete, of course certain information will not be available either, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Access the site, which requires a brief registration and after logging in, fill in the details of the relative you are looking for and click on search.

It is possible to save searches, make ‘document boxes’ and keep everything well organized. The interesting thing is that, when you click on the name of the person you searched for, next to the document, if available, the family links related to that person also appear. It’s great! TIP: There is also an app for iOS and Android.

3) How to find your ancestors in Italy? BY MY HERITAGE

One option is the My Heritage website. Part of the site is free, for detailed information, however, a subscription is required. For those looking for documents, it ends up worth investing. In addition, it is also possible to request DNA tests to know its origin. Interesting, to say the least! After registration and payment, you can start your search.

The search is carried out in the same way as in the others: you fill in the data, enter the location, type of document you are looking for and click search. Remember that the more information you fill in, the easier it is to find the document you need. There is also an app for iOS and Android systems.

4) How to find your ancestors in Italy? BY ANCESTRY

Another site that specializes in family trees is Ancestry. Always in the same style as the others already mentioned, it has a worldwide database. Register and fill out the form, as with My Heritage, there is a free part and a paid part, which has more details. Also available as a mobile app.

5) How to find your ancestors in Italy? BY ALTRE ITALY

As options are not lacking, there is still another site available for research: Altre Italie. This site presents documentation from the USA, between 1880 and 1891, from Argentina between 1882 and 1920 and from Brazil, between 1858 and 1899. There are often no records in Italy, but certain important documentation may be available in other countries and we don’t even think about that possibility. The website is free and available in Italian and English. After signing up, do your research and see if you find the information you are looking for.

6) How to find your ancestors in Italy? BY LIBERTY ELLIS FOUNDATION

This next site dedicated to New York City is the Liberty Ellis Foundation, which presents documentation of Italian immigrants who entered the US via NY between 1892 and 1924 (there are some records that go back to 1957). It requires a small registration and is completely free.

7) How to find your ancestors in Italy? BY COGMIX

The last interesting site is Cogmix, which is more like a surname search. The easiest to use, it mainly shows information regarding the surname and where it is concentrated in Italy. It’s for curiosity purposes.

Who is entitled to apply for the Italian citizenship?

Complementing this post, many people are looking for documents to be able to apply for the Italian citizenship, right? But who is entitled to apply for the Italian citizenship?

  • All those who are descendants of Italians are entitled, but with some limitations regarding transmission through the maternal line – only those born after 1948 have the right.

  • Children born in a non-marital union, cases of recognition of paternity or maternity during the child’s minority and adoption are cases included in the right of Italian citizenship.

  • Another way is through marriage with descendants of Italians (if the spouse who has the right applies for citizenship – it applies to straight and homosexual couples). Men, on the other hand, cannot have dual citizenship recognized if they marry Italians or descendants of Italians, in which case only the couple’s children can have the recognition. Men, in this case, can apply for Italian naturalization.

  • For citizenship inherited through marriage, it is necessary to wait three years to apply for citizenship. The documents required are the birth certificate, marriage certificate and the spouse’s identity card.

Which documents do I need to apply for the Italian citizenship?

For children of Italians born outside Italy, it is necessary to gather: birth certificate of the child and parents, marriage certificate of the parents, death certificate (if the ascendant has died) and the original identity card of the father or mother and the applicant. For grandchildren, great-grandchildren or great-grandchildren of Italians, the birth certificate, marriage certificate of the relatives in question, their death certificate (if the ascendant is deceased) and the negative naturalization certificate (if any) of all family ancestors.

How does the citizenship application process work?

Gather all the documentation and make an appointment at the Italian Consulate in your city. After that, wait for the call for registration and, after completing the process, enter the Italian passport application via appointment.

Important to Know

  • Citizenship, by right of the Italian State, can be DENIED, even with all documents in hand. Another thing: after submitting the documents, there is no point in calling the consulate every two days: THEY will inform you when you need to go to the consulate. Don’t be surprised if they schedule an ‘interview’. The practice is also provided for in Italian law and they have the right to request when and if they find it necessary, O.K.?!

How much does it cost and how long does the application take?

This is where the trouble begins: authorization to obtain Italian citizenship can take 5 to 10 years. Even if you gather ALL the documents on your own, you will often have to translate some documents, the documents requested to be translated must be SWORN TRANSLATION, that is: it must be done by a translator in foreign languages, appointed and registered at the commercial board, a simple translation is not valid! During the process you may be called upon to review documents, request a sworn translation or request for rectification; it’s normal!

The value to ‘get right’ all the documentation can reach a 1,000 USD (of course there are different cases!). As you know, doing it through Italy, this process takes much less, on average 3 months. So once you have all the documents in hand (translated and sworn) you can choose this option, and in Italy there are several agencies and lawyers specialized in this type of process.

Customized Services

It is often the reminder of origins that attracts relatives from many different places and we see descendants willing to stop for a little longer ‘to visit different places’. And then I will be able to meet this new goal, with personalized services at places of departure of the greatest Italian emigration, starting with my adopted land, Calabria. Learn more about this region through my other blog made especially for my Calabria at Your travel to Calabria.

Now you can find the many relatives, places, origins and traditions of Calabria that was left behind to seek new opportunities. Anyone who intends to find their origins and doesn’t know how to do it, just know that there are several ways available and useful in this search. We are a valuable, safe and professional company.

What do I do?

A personalized itinerary in the great-grandparents’ city of departure, including advice for a possible family reunion. I guarantee it will be a memorable and once-in-a-lifetime experience! We can also recommend a serious company to look for your Italian documents!!

Client Roseli Bertelli sitting next to the Mayor of Malito, Cosenza and I, Ana Patricia as an escort.


North of the Cosenza area, specifically in Morano Calabro, there is a partnership with the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre that has been going on for years, just to witness the objective and to further reinforce the emigration of thousands of inhabitants of Morano Calabro in Brazil, after the Second World War.

Click here without commitment and ask for your quote now!
Do like Roseli, come and discover your hometown with me!!


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How to find your ancestors in Italy? Even if your intention is not to take Italian citizenship, it is worth curiosity and it is very interesting to know the origin of the surname, where it is predominant and its meaning.

Are you insecure?

And if you feel insecure, have no time, and need help to organize your trip,  don’t hesitate to contact me!  I will love to help you make your dream trip to Italy come true. And how can I do that? Keep reading this post until the end and you will understand how we make your life and your trip much easier.

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