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.


2 Responses to “Italian census records”
  1. Luana Listini Whitford says:


    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?


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