Italian census records

I see a lot of posts on message boards asking about Italian Census records.

There really aren’t any of the type you see in North America or the United Kingdom.

This photo is an example of how a census was conducted.  Each person in the town had a personal record card indicating all their personal information.  In this example, name, parentage, date of birth, marriage etc would be found on the reverse.  As you can see the Census (Censimento) is indicated in the middle.  Every census year a postcard is mailed to the person’s last known address and they are asked to report to the town anagrafe office where their card is then updated for the census year.  In this example, the person was present for the years of 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991 and died in 1998 (above).  If they don’t report, a local policeman is sent to the last known address to find out why and the results noted.  i.e. emigrated, moved to another town, died etc.. This card system was in place in most towns from 1936 although I have seen it as early as 1906.

The 1921 Census of Sora (FR)

An alphabetical list of Heads of Households (with paternity) is now available for the town of Sora.  This census was created in 1921 listing Head of household, other members of household, profession, and dates of birth, and includes the address for most records.  It was then used as a ‘State of the Family’ for the next 10 years and is invaluable for identifying possible living relatives.  It includes death dates and occasionally information on family members who emigrated to USA and other countries.  If, after consulting the index, you want to view the actual record there is a charge for the digital image.  If you want to consult the index, please email me directly at

Fontechiari – 1811 Census of males living in the town

On 13 December 1811 in a town named Schiavi (now known as Fontechiari) a list was created of all male inhabitants of the town over the age of 15 years in 1811, including vagabondi, temporary residents or travellers.  This is a comprehensive list which includes the person’s title, name and surname, date of birth and profession. There are also ‘observations’ such as ‘born in Sora’.  Unfortunately , except for one or two persons it does not give the father’s name.

There are 426 names on the list of which 8 have no birthdate listed.  These persons are noted as having been born in other towns. The oldest person on the list was Domenico di Carlo born 10 May  1728  and the youngest was Orazio di Zeppi born 26 December 1796.

This list was no doubt created for military purposes to determine how many persons could be drafted into Napoleon’s army.  The “lista di leva” was a list created of young men who had reached the age of 18 years and were available for conscription. This is the only town where I have seen this type of list which includes every male living in the town with no regard for their age or physical condition.


Italy’s most famous “census” created in all the towns of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies between 1742-1753.  Although it is far more than a census it does list each family, their ages, occupations and taxable holdings.

I am currently collecting names of interested persons so we can order a copy of this Census since it can be quite expensive.

So far we have interest in Alvito, Atina, Ceprano, Monteforte Irpino (AV), San Donato val di Comino, Sora, Vallerotonda, Vicalvi and Villa Santa Lucia.  If you would like your name added to the list of participants please email me at  with the subject line – Catasto and the town name.


  1. Hello,

    I hope you can help me. My grandfather was an orphan born in Italy around 1877. I was given information he was an illegitimate son of a priest and possibly born near Genoa. His name was Enrico Listini

    Can you provide any information?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.